Canyon Lake is known as “The Jewel” of the Texas Hill Country, a reservoir located on the Guadalupe River, just west of San Marcos and northwest of New Braunfels, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the sunshine and cool water.
This “Water Recreation Capital” offers eight parks, 23 boat ramps, two marinas, campgrounds, a golf course, a country club, and a yacht club on the lake for fishing, boating, sailing, kayaking, and floating. That’s not all. You’ll also revel in jet skiing, water skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing, rafting, and swimming.
Canyon Lake has plenty of things to do to keep you busy and places to stay like lodges, cabins, bed and breakfasts, cottages, hotels, vacation rentals, campgrounds, and RV parks.
1. Drive The River Road To Overlook Park
Start with a drive along the majestic River Road, 10 miles alongside the Guadalupe River, and lined with enormous cypress trees between Canyon Lake and New Braunfels. The River Road takes you through four river crossings, tree tunnels, campgrounds, farmlands, ranches, and ultimately ending at the heavenly Overlook Park. Find activities like paddleboarding, geocaching, birdwatching, fossil hunting, and live music at local restaurants.
2. Canyon Lake Beaches
Visit three parks with beaches at Canyon Lake. These are “swim at your own risk,” with no lifeguards on duty. Be sure to wear a lifejacket or borrow one of the loaner jackets posted around. Go scuba diving in the lake and find an underwater ghost town, plus old cars, boats, bikes, motorcycles, houses, and even graveyards.
3. Canyon Lake Day-Use Parks For Picnics
Canyon Beach Park on the north shore of Canyon Lake is a day use-only park for paid guests from April through September. No pets are allowed here.
Comal Park, a day-use park for paid guests on the south shore near Startzville, has two boat ramps, 65 picnic sites, a large swim beach with two restrooms, and a children’s playground. Pets on a 6-foot leash are allowed in the park, but not in the swim area or water.
4. Canyon Lake Camping
North Park only allows tent camping at 19 sites, which have a picnic table and fire ring. No popups, trailers, or RVs are allowed. North Park is a popular diving area where participants must rent a campsite to dive.
Canyon Park is a primitive tent camping-only park on the north shore of the lake near Hancock, with day use at the swim beach near the entrance. You’ll find 150 tent campsites, two overnight shelters, a day-use shelter, a boat ramp, courtesy dock, vault toilets, water fountains, and over eight miles of hiking and biking trails. No shower facilities are available.
This beautiful Class A Potter’s Creek Park allows paid tent camping and RVs only at 114 modern RV sites; this is not a day-use facility.
Cranes Mill Park offers 30 RV sites and 30 tent-only sites on a long peninsula reaching out into the lake, with picturesque sunrises and sunsets.
Rio Guadalupe RV Resort has 16 river view cabins, nine poolside cabins, and full RV hookups. Rio is open year-round for reunions and corporate events and is equipped with a meeting room and swimming pool.
5. Canyon Lake Boat Rentals
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Suntex Watersports at Canyon Lake Marina and Cranes Mill Marina offers ski boats, wave runners, tritoons (three-tube pontoon boats), kayaks, and paddleboard rentals. Check out a double-decker with slide or a 22-foot or 25-foot pontoon boat hosting groups of eight to 11 with room to spare.
Watercraft Rentals, located on the northeast side of the lake, is a premier boat provider with a fleet of top-of-the-line watercraft with friendly personal service, including a selection of pontoon boats, ski boats, or deck boats, all with tops. Get kneeboards, wakeboards, skis, and ski vests included at no extra charge with all ski boat rentals.
Located in the town of Canyon Lake, Canyon Lake Adventures offers wakesurfing boats with a captain, double-decker party barge pontoons, jet skis, hose-powered water jetpacks, i-floats, and kayak rentals.
6. Canyon Lake Cabins
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Hill Country offers excellent kid entertainment for the best vacation ever. You can stay in various cabins, cottages, or lodge rooms. Enjoy attractions included with your stays like the indoor pool, water zone, outdoor swimming pools, splash pad, mini-golf, jumping pillows, playgrounds, outdoor sports, ball pit, hayrides, and disc golf. Get a discount on a golf cart when you rent a cabin for four days or more.
For trailer and RV camping, access the red carpet RV sites with full hookups or electric and water tent sites with grill, picnic table, and fire ring.
Mystic Quarry Resort, a modern glamping and RV resort, offers tiny houses, Boho glamping tipis, safari lodges, cabins, RV sites, or tent sites near the Whitewater Amphitheater. Some accommodations are dog-friendly.
Bunk Haus Lodging & RV Park on the lake offers 35 RV sites with full hookups, plus 15 cabins with a queen bed, bunk beds, kitchenettes, dish satellite, and linens. You provide the kitchenware. Six motel rooms with Wi-Fi, smart TVs, and Dish are available.
Pro Tip: Hideout on the Horseshoe’s 19 cabin resort overlooking the Guadalupe River is on the famous Horseshoe Loop in Canyon Lake. Enjoy luxury accommodations perfect for weddings, family reunions, or business outings.
7. Canyon Lake Vacation Rentals
Check out Canyon Lake vacation rentals at Airbnb. You’ll find charming cabins, unique lake getaways, condos, and homes that sleep two to over one dozen family members.
8. Canyon Lake Resorts
Canyon Lakeview Resort is a hidden jewel featuring outdoor settings and glorious views of the lake. You’ll find an excellent place for friends to gather for an outdoor wedding, family reunion, or special event.
Savor five outdoor pools and an indoor pool at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Hill Country. Enjoy spacious two-and-three-bedroom villas with a fully-equipped kitchen and living room. Miniature golf, arcade games, ping pong, two bars, and a snack facility are available to guests.
The Lodge at Turkey Cove boasts 14 accommodations with unsurpassed lake views, some with kitchens, or kitchenettes, decks, and barbecue pits onsite for cooking. You’ll see herds of deer here.
9. Canyon Lake B&B
Equinox Inn at Biscuit Hill Bed & Breakfast offers eight quaint rooms with lake and garden views and king-sized beds with luxury linens. The rooms have a private bathroom, balcony, and fireplace. Hot tubs and on-site massages are available.
10 Canyon Lake Golf
Lakeside Golf Club is your top opportunity for an exciting round of golf in Canyon Lake. The 19th Hole Bar and Grill provides a laid-back atmosphere and a fantastic menu, including the best burger and brew around.
11. Canyon Lake Yacht Club
On the north shore bluff overlooking the lake, Lake Canyon Yacht Club (LCYC) has focused on family sailing since 1967, supporting an active racing program. Don’t miss the Wurstfest Regatta, a signature event since 1968. Besides a clubhouse with a party deck, swimming pool, and a boat-rigging tower, you’ll find 144 waterfront slips, ample docking for dry sailboats, a two-lane launching ramp, and dry storage for over 150 crafts.
12. Canyon Lake Gorge
Explore the remarkable mile-long Canyon Lake Gorge carved by catastrophic floodwaters in 2002, uncovering dinosaur tracks, perfectly preserved fossils, fossilized sea urchins, and ocean ripples in the limestone. See the lagoon and spring-fed seeps and waterfalls. Book a tour here.
13. Canyon Lake Wineries
La Cruz de Comal Wines boasts the Wrongheaded Hombre, a combination of Tony’s Sonoma Mountain Zinfandel and Lewis’s estate-grown Black Spanish grapes. Pontita Vineyard and Winery was created in 2013 to provide a premium boutique wine experience. Try the Titannic (sic), a dry, lightly oaked Riesling. At Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, you’ll find a memorable time with the 2018 Cotes du Comal a Mourvedre with sugar plums, green olive, cherries foster, and vanilla. Combat veteran, black-owned, the Kai-Simone Winery boasts a Petite Sirah with a smoky, earthy black pepper affair with a rich, fruity undertone.
14. Canyon Lake Restaurants
Gennaro’s Trattoria, authentic Italian cuisine, since 1988, features family packs like Pollo Alfredo and Gamberi (shrimp) Portobello. Choose from lobster ravioli, bistecca Fiorentina, or scampi di Napoli, plus pizzas galore. See the extensive wine selection by the glass or bottle.
Granny D’s, an American eatery serving breakfast, sandwiches, and classic entrees, is open for breakfast and lunch. Partake in breakfast plates, like a fajita omelet and caramel apple with pecan or bananas foster pancakes. For lunch, order a chicken fried steak, fried catfish, or shrimp.
Wildflour Artisan Bakery and Grill serves artisan baked goods, breakfast, lunch, and dinners, plus desserts and coffee drinks. Try a breakfast garden omelet, duck bacon croissant, a lunch house-smoked meat and cheese board, or white cheddar poblano soup.
In conclusion, head to Canyon Lake, where you can do as much or as little as you want, Texas-style.