Nothing beats the Texas heat like a camping trip to a calm, picturesque lake with water sports for family fun. Lake Buchanan, 60 miles northwest of Austin, between Llano and Burnet (pronounce it “BURN-it,” and you’ll fit in like a local) is the largest and the first of the Hill Country Highland Lakes, constructed in 1939. The lake covers 22,333 acres and is named for James P. Buchanan, who secured funding for the reservoir known as a real outdoorsman’s paradise.
Lake Buchanan Fishing and Fishing Guides
Fishing is abundant, with opportunities to catch largemouth bass, white bass, Guadalupe bass, striped bass, and catfish. White bass runs occur in the spring, February through May, with most fishing from Beaver Creek up into the Colorado River. If you’ve never been in a bass run, you’ve missed a real adventure! Just think of the cartoons we watched when we were little kids; cast the baited hook out into the water, immediately catch a fish, and whip it back behind you, slinging the fish off the hook and do it again, over and over, as fast as you can. It’s hard to keep from falling out of the boat, you are laughing so hard!
With Captain Jackie at Empty Pockets Fishing Guide Service, you can enjoy some of the best striper fishing in Texas while loving the peacefulness of this gorgeous lake. He offers 4-hour and 8-hour fishing trips for up to four people with bait, rods, reels, and tackle included. Captain Jack will clean and bag your catch so it’s ready to cook when you get home. Bring your snacks, beverages, camera, and fishing license.
Clancy Terrill with Clancy’s Fishing Guide Service is turning over the ropes to Jacob Morgan after 30 years of building his successful business. Jacob specializes in stripers, trophy catfish, and white bass.
Ray’s Striper Fishing Guide Service offers first-class boats and his best fishing experience for the big ones in all conditions. All you provide is your refreshments and your Texas Parks and Wildlife fishing license.
Lake Buchanan Vanishing Texas River Cruise
Take the Vanishing Texas River Cruise to get a spectacular overview of Lake Buchanan, the Colorado River, rugged cliffs, waterfalls, wildflowers, native Texas wildlife, and fabulous Texas sunsets from a double-decker climate-controlled cruise craft. This cruise is excellent for bird watching like herons, ducks, Canadian geese, osprey, pelicans, egrets, plus spotting wintering Bald Eagles.
Lake Buchanan Boat Rentals
Thunderbird Lodge Boat Rentals features a 22-foot pontoon seating 10 for half or full-day rentals, with lifejackets. Plus, you can rent kayaks, paddleboats, paddleboards, and canoes.
Get My Boat Rentals on Buchanan Lake offers rental boats for casual cruising, pontoon rentals for larger groups, jet skis, SeaDoo rentals, and speedboats for wakeboarding or tubing.
Lake Buchanan Parks
Cedar Point Recreation Area is a 310-acre park along Lake Buchanan’s north shore, offering a quiet picnic area and nine campsites with picnic tables, grills, and incredible lake views. You’ll find a non-flush restroom and a boat ramp.
Black Rock Park, a 25-acre lakeside park, offers swimming, bank fishing, and kayaking. Picnic areas and group facilities accommodate up to 100 people with AC, heat, and a catering kitchen. You’ll find 18 cabins plus 17 tent camping sites and 15 full hookup RV campsites. There is a restroom with showers, an RV dump station, and a 24-hour ice machine. Have fun playing outdoor games like mini-golf, sand volleyball, and horseshoes, or rent kayaks or paddleboards.
Lake Buchanan Camping
Sheltered on 940 acres of rural Texas Hill Country on Lake Buchanan’s shoreline, at Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort, you’ll find breathtaking views, dazzling sunsets, bright shining stars, and the perfect place to spend relaxing time on the lake. Choose from 64 hilltop guest rooms or several full hookup RV campsites. The more primitive Chimney Slough campsites offer picnic tables, fire pits, dumpsters, and porta-potties.
Are you looking for a place to hold a camping family reunion or scout camp? The Fisherman’s Point lakeside campsite can accommodate up to 150 people. Tanner Point Campsite features walk-in tent spots with a picnic table, fire pit, dumpster, and port-a-potty access.
Pro Tip: The resort’s lobby gift store sells ice, firewood, sodas, and snacks.
Texas Hills RV Haven, a 3.5-acre lakefront property, offers four cabins and ten RV sites with full hookups, picnic tables, and a fire ring. No public restrooms are available here; pets must be on a leash.
Freedom Lives Ranch RV Resort opened in February 2020. You’ll find 28 pull-through RV sites with full hookups. Enjoy the log home clubhouse with a full kitchen, living room area with a big-screen TV, a library, and seating areas on a wrap-around outside porch. Full doggie boarding facilities are convenient with a bathhouse, boarding house, and dog park. Equine facilities include a barn with stalls, a fully fenced 3-acre pasture, and a round pen.
Lazy Rayzz RV park offers 30 large RV sites with full hookups in a gated pet-friendly community in Buchanan Dam near the lake. Take advantage of a full laundry onsite, perfect for more extended stays. Watch wildlife like deer, rabbits, raccoons, turkey, quail, and doves along with starry nights.
Big Chief RV Resort has large modern pull-through full hookup RV sites with free limited Wi-Fi, a gorgeous swimming pool, covered pavilion, and clean clubhouse with a full kitchen, or 10 cozy, well-stocked one-and-two-bedroom cabins. Love your perfect little piece of heaven on the shores of Lake Buchanan for a week or month’s stay or camping year-round.
Painted Sky Inn features rooms for up to 50 people, perfect for reunions and group retreats. Make sure you pick up your s’mores kits and skewers for yummy fireside goodness. Take advantage of the lighted and covered fishing pier, the fish cleaning station, and boat launch. You’ll find kayaks, canoes, and paddleboard rentals available. Rent one of four units plus a tiny house.
Lake Buchanan Cabins
Thunderbird Lodge at Spider Mountains boasts 23 cabins ranging from accommodations sleeping four to 24, plus the three-bedroom, two-bath Spider House, the newest, near the lift. The convenient marina houses your boat daily, monthly, or annually, plus offers boat rentals. Spider Mountain is the only ski-style lift in Texas and the only year-round mountain bike park in North America.
Willow Point Resort features 11 single-family log cabins accommodating up to six each and a large lakeside home sleeping up to 25 guests. Enjoy outdoor games, sunbathing, boating, fishing, and swimming. Take advantage of onsite daily rentals of jet skis, kayaks, a floating lily pad, paddleboards, pontoon boats, and canoes. Check out Devils Waterhole for fantastic summertime fun.
Alexander’s Point – boat ramp, docks, and fishing camp since 1942 — has hosted four generations of families who love to fish. The cabins belonged to a grandma and grandpa, reminiscent of old-time fishing camp traditions. You won’t find luxury accommodations, but you get a quiet place to watch the stars at night and a comfortable spot to sip your coffee as the sun rises over the lake.
Lake Buchanan vacation rentals are available at Vrbo. Much of the surrounding privately owned property at the lake affords many individual lakeside homes and cottages that are the perfect places to rent.
Other Places To Visit Around Lake Buchanan
See the privately-owned Lake Buchanan Lighthouse, a well-known landmark, from a distance near the dam as you drive along Highway 29.
Falkenstein Castle in Burnet is available for daily private rental, weddings, galas, and special events. The owners visited the original Falkenstein Castle in Germany, brought home copies of the artist’s rendering of the castle and other minor sketches, and built their chateau in the Texas Hill Country.
The town of Bluffton relocated 5 miles westward when the waters of Lake Buchanan flooded the old location. The community dates back to the mid-1800s when it was a stagecoach stop. It was home to pecan orchards and cornfields before it became an underwater ghost town. The drought in 2011 revealed the ruins of the settlement when the water level dropped extremely low.
Longhorn Cavern State Park, a 20-minute drive from Lake Buchanan, is an underground scenic cavern carved by an ancient river. Enjoy a guided cave tour, explore the tall Texas tales, and admire historic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) architecture.
Pro Tip: Read more about Texas Caverns here.
You’ll find Fall Creek Winery and Vineyards in Tow on 400 acres on the northwest corner of Lake Buchanan. The Fall Creek Vineyards ExTerra Tempranillo Texas Hill Country 2017 is exquisite.
Pro Tip: You can read about more Texas wineries here.
Restaurants Near Lake Buchanan
The Overlook Restaurant at Canyon of the Eagles is the place to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the lake. You can grab a quick breakfast sandwich or breakfast tacos to go or dine in. For dinner, order Rick’s Fried Shrimp, Canyon Chicken, or Hot ‘n Crunchy Striped Bass served with mango coulis, Texas pecan rice, and a veggie. Yes, you can get a steak here too. Dinner reservations are required.
Greg’s Red Iron BBQ at The Old Drive-in location offers barbecue burgers, sliced beef, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecue plates, brisket, sausage, pork rib wraps, and tasty sides of beans, potato salad, coleslaw, or mac & cheese.
You’ll find the best hamburgers for miles around at Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub, plus beer, wine, and a beautiful lake view.
To wrap it up: don’t forget your sun hat and sunscreen, because life is always better at the lake.