The glassy water bloomed with warm colors of scarlet and tangerine, slowly changing to glimmers of blue, and finally to radiant gold, signaling the beginning of a new day. I’ve watched many sunrises across Lake Livingston over the years and even painted one.
Located in the East Texas Piney Woods, 80 miles north of Houston and 175 miles southeast of Dallas/Fort Worth, Lake Livingston is the second-largest lake in Texas. The lake, built for the Houston water supply and owned by the Trinity River Authority of Texas, has 90,000 acres of surface area, with a maximum depth of 77 feet.
Lake Livingston is 39 miles long and 7 miles wide at its widest point with 450 miles of shoreline, boasting many beautiful homes and campgrounds situated along its shores. Texas’ “Water Wonderland” is the perfect place for a weekend cabin or retirement hideaway. Let’s explore the best experiences at Lake Livingston.
1. Relax At Lake Livingston State Park
Make family memories at Lake Livingston State Park on the shores of Lake Livingston. You can camp, boat, fish, swim, hike, mountain bike, picnic, geocache, bird watch, and study nature. Alligators live in the area, so read about the safety tips. Read about the Texas Parklands Passport for seniors here. Read about pets here.
Camp in Piney Shores at 22 full hookup sites. Twelve full hookup sites are available at Red Oak, 37 at Yaupon, four areas at Hercules. For campsites with electricity only, 26 are available at Pin Oak, and all have restrooms and showers nearby. For tent sites, Briar Loop has 16 sites with bathrooms nearby. Eight screen shelters, each sleeping up to eight, are available, but no popups or trailers are allowed. Some are wheelchair accessible.
2. Go Fishing
Contact a fishing guide for white bass, striped bass, sunfish, channel catfish, or largemouth bass. Smiles on grandchildren’s faces are guaranteed when you invest in this half-day adventure.
At Palmetto Guide Service, schedule a guided fishing trip with top-rated Dave Scott Cox for white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish, plus duck hunts.
Fishing Addiction Guide Service works on three lakes: Lake Livingston, Sam Rayburn, and Conroe. This established licensed professional fishing guide specializes in white bass, hybrid striper, catfish, and crappie, fishing from a roomy 24-foot Ranger boat with the latest electronics.
Spot Locked Fishing Adventures specializes in catfish, crappie, and white bass fishing trips on Lake Livingston. Half-day or full-day tours are available.
3. Camp At Wolf Creek Park
Wolf Creek Park on the west side of the lake offers 102 spacious campsites, 54 with full hookups for RVs, and 48 campsites with water and electricity, all featuring above-ground grills, picnic tables, and fire rings. I remember some gorgeous sunrises on our camping trips to Wolf Creek.
Enjoy fishing, water skiing, swimming, and hiking while anglers have access to boat ramps, fishing piers, and custom-designed cleaning stations. The Park Store/Marina offers canoe, paddleboat, kayak rentals, fishing licenses, bait, and miniature golf. You’ll find a variety of groceries, ice, drinks, firewood, and camping supplies. Have fun playing basketball, sand volleyball, and there’s a unique playground for kids.
4. Onalaska KOA Camping
The KOA at Onalaska on the east lakefront (watch the sunsets) includes a beach, marina with boat ramps, fishing pier, covered boat slips, and courtesy docks. Have fun at the pool, hot tub/sauna, and clubhouse with a full kitchen, perfect for reunions, large groups, and parties.
Enjoy lakefront RV sites with hookups, tent sites, cabins, plus extended stay hookups. Swim at the beach or in the pool. Have a picnic, relax by the lake, enjoy the sunset, play at the playground, walk around the park, bring your boat, go fishing, or take a guided fishing tour. This KOA is located on Highway 190, right where the road crosses the lake.
5. Rent A Boat On Lake Livingston
NiceBoats.com has pontoon boat rentals and used boats for sale.
Bethy Creek Boat Rental and Storage rents a 60 horsepower fully rigged 22-foot party boat, plus canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats.
Get My Boat offers the best boat rentals in Texas on Lake Livingston for boats like a 22-foot Suncatcher pontoon cruiser or jet skis.
6. Stay At Bethy Creek Resort, Hotel & RV Park
Bethy Creek Resort & Hotel offers hotel rooms or spacious lakefront cabins with gorgeous views, a queen memory foam mattress, a full kitchen, microwave oven, refrigerator, and coffee pot. Onsite attractions include swimming, fishing, canoe rentals, wakeboarding, and pedal boat rentals.
Texas RV Parks at Bethy Creek offer shady waterfront sites with full hookups, cable TV and WiFi hookups, picnic tables, a barbecue grill, and a 1,500 square foot pavilion. You’ll find clean showers, restrooms, boat launch, boat rental, fishing piers, camp store, bait shop, and onsite laundry facilities. Arrange a guided fishing trip with Dave Scott Cox with Palmetto Guide Service.
7. More Places To Stay On Lake Livingston
Rock’n E RV Park, A Good Sam Club, boasts 39 large, wooded campsites with full hookups accommodating the largest RVs with multiple slide-outs. Voted Best RV Park in San Jacinto County for the past four years, located about two miles from Lake Livingston Dam and the Trinity River. Enjoy beautiful nature trails, pavilion, clean restrooms and showers, playground, and a small camp store.
Enjoy the family-sized cabins with pillowtop queen mattress and bedding that sleeps four, plus a full kitchen and bathroom at Northshore RV Resort. Make yourself at home at one of the full hookup RV sites, including Free WiFi, cable TV, electricity, water, and sewer. You’ll love the swimming pool, and the grandkids will have a great time at the splash park.
8. Marinas On Lake Livingston
Browder’s Marina and Campground is at the southern tip of the lake in San Jacinto County, surrounded by East Texas pine trees. You’ll find 56 RV sites, 37 tent sites offering boating, fishing, restrooms and showers, playground, cabins, restaurant, convenience store, boat launch, and bait.
Kickapoo Marina has RV and boat slip storage plus pier fishing along 620 feet of deepwater frontage with bass tournaments held during peak season. Set up your RV for your Lake Livingston retreat. Cabin available at nightly or weekly rates.
9. Places To Visit Around Lake Livingston
San Jacinto County 1887 Old Jail Museum in Coldspring has volunteer docents who share the history, stories and conduct tours. The museum is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark with a historical marker, serving as the jail until 1980.
Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, established in 1854, is located 17 miles east of Livingston. The oldest reservation in Texas occupies 10,200 acres in the Big Thicket of Deep East Texas. With history back to the 1780s, the tribes assisted Sam Houston’s army during the War of Independence from Mexico.
On the reservation, Lake Tombigbee Campground is an excellent getaway for the day or camping overnight. Choose from full hookup campsites, RV & popup camper sites, or primitive campsites. Air-conditioned one-and-two-bedroom cabins are available for rent, plus shelters or teepees. You can rent canoes, paddleboats, or kayaks.
Naskila Gaming, an enterprise of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, offers over 790 electronic games, rewarding game memberships, excellent dining, and a convenient shuttle service. This luckiest spot in Texas is open 24/7, 365 days a year.
The San Jacinto County Courthouse in Coldspring was completed in 1917 after the original wooden courthouse burned in 1915. Designed in the Classical Revival style, the entrances on each side had large entry stairs and Corinthian columns topped with corbelled brick capitals that reached the roof. In 1937, white Doric columns and pediments replaced the deteriorating columns.
Shifters Roadhouse, the best biker bar in Coldspring, serves as a great stop as you ride the loop around Lake Livingston. Stop for a cold beer, wine coolers, and hang out for pool, darts, and live music on the weekends.
In Livingston, Rudy’s Honey Farm sells honey and honey-based products in the piney woods of East Texas, sourced by southeast Texas wildflowers. Get a tour of the building to see the extraction and bottling room at this family-owned and operated business.
10. Play Golf Nearby
Mill Ridge Golf Club presents excellent east Texas countryside views with a winding creek creating additional water hazards. There is a pro in-house, and you can rent clubs and carts.
Livingston Municipal Golf Course boasts a nine-hole course, par 70–6,172 yards. You can visit the pro shop to get outfitted with gear, book a tee time, or learn about club membership.
Tour 18, an hour and 10 minutes south of the lake, offers carefully simulated holes from some of America’s most famous golf courses. Open to the public, Tour 18 boasts a full-service golf shop, driving range, putting green, plus Traditions Café. Hit chat and book a tee time.
11. Best Wineries Around The Lake
Tempe Creek Vineyard and Farms, part of the Sam Houston Wine Trail, offers tastings on the weekends with Blanc du Bois, my favorite malbec, moscato, and Gryphon mead.
Offering four to six wine tasting flights, Teysha Vineyard is open Friday through Sunday for tastings, along with Granny Mary’s Cajun-Asian food truck. The Gold Spur Reserve is a Texas High Plains red blend aged in a bourbon barrel for over a year, perfect with a steak.
Knox Circle Winery – Froggy Wines offers wine tastings Friday through Sunday with an added deli tray while you sip a glass of wine. They started 10 years ago, earning Certificates in Enology (the science and study of wine and winemaking) at Grayson College in Dennison, and haven’t looked back.
East Texas offers some great outdoor experiences for visitors: