11 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes to Swim in Houston

Everyone loves to cool off and relax on a hot summer day with a quick dip in the water.

But instead of the standard chlorinated pool, why not check out one of Houston’s best swimming holes and lakes to really experience the outdoors?

From tranquil waters to scenic natural and manmade destinations, get ready to make a splash at some of Texas’ top spots for swimming fun.

So grab your swimsuit, pack up the car, and don’t forget the sunscreen – it’s time for an outdoor adventure!

1. Sylvan Beach Park

For anyone looking for a cool place to swim near Houston, Sylvan Beach is the answer.

With its perfectly fine sand and milder waves than other area beaches, it’s easy to understand why this location is so popular.

Plus, with all of its extras – such as playgrounds for children, a skate park, boat ramp, fishing pier and picnic tables – how can you say no?!

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds during the summer, make sure you arrive early.

Trust us when we say that Houston locals surely know how great Sylvan Beach is!

2. Lake Houston

Ready for your nex adventure? If you need an escape from the heat, look no further than Lake Houston.

Not only is this lake known for its excellent fishing opportunities and beautiful views, but it also boasts a brewery along its banks.

So when you’re done swimming and soaking up the sun, you can cool off with a cold one.

When it comes to summer fun with friends, there is no better place to escape for a day than at Lake Houston.

3. Scotts Ridge Swim Area

It’s no secret that Houston gets hot, but thankfully the sheer beauty of Scotts Ridge Swim Area (just one hour away) is enough to cool off even the most scorching Texas days.

At this picturesque oasis, visitors can take a refreshing dip in Lake Conroe and lay out in the sand after – all for the price of $5 per vehicle.

And if lounging on the beach isn’t your style, there’s also an awesome picnic area with covered tables and grills.

14 Short Flights From Houston for a Weekend Getaway

4. Woodsy Hollow Campground

Head over to Woodsy Hollow Campground and take advantage of their day passes for swimming, and just general, fun in the sun!

It’s just $5 per person if you just want to swim, or $10 for fishing and picnic as well.

Woodsy Hollow
Photo by Woodsy Hollow Campground

5. Lake Longhorn

Looking for a place to break up your monotonous routine in Houston? Lake Longhorn is a charming 49-acre lake located 40 minutes away from Houston and is the perfect spot for your aquatic endeavors.

Whether it’s some open water swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, scuba diving, or kayaking – you name it and Lake Longhorn has got you covered.

Kids are recommended to don life jackets since the average depth at the lake is 25 feet.

For just $15 per person, shall we say…dust off your goggles and dive in?

6. Lake Raven

If you’re looking for the best place to splash around near Houston, Lake Raven should be at the top of your list.

Located just over an hour’s drive from downtown, in Huntsville State Park, the beach has a roped-off swimming area plus plenty of fish to catch.

This peaceful lake has it all; water that’s perfect for swimming and breezy enough for those wishing to relax by taking out a canoe, paddleboat or kayak.

That being said, safety first: alligator safety notices are posted around the park so make sure to read them up before jumping in.

Just remember it can get quite busy here so don’t forget to reserve your space online ahead of time.

7. Lake Livingston

Whether you’re looking for some day-time fun or a weekend of camping, Wolf Creek Park in Coldspring provides the best place to swim around Houston.

With Lake Livingston as its centerpiece and only a $5 fee for a day pass, this spot can’t be beat!

Its roped-off swimming area keeps the waters safe without sacrificing all the excitement of a good splash: it’s big enough to move, but shallow enough to keep pint-sized swimmers safe (which explains why mom and dads love it so much!).

Note: The day pass is only available Monday to Fridays (excluding holidays).

Lake Livingston Texas USA
Lake Livingston Texas USA

8. Double Lake Recreation Area

An hour away from downtown, Double Lake Recreation Area in Sam Houston National Forest is the quintessential place for those looking for a swimming spot close to Houston.

Not only will you find calm waters, there’s also plenty of opportunities for an active all-around experience.

Rent canoes, go hiking, or take on a mountain biking adventure around the lake’s edge.

Fishing enthusiasts will definitely enjoy this spot too, boasting catfish, bass and bream, there’ll be no shortage of discoveries here.

If you get hungry, you don’t have to worry either: there is a store nearby with concessions at hand.

14 Short Flights From Houston for a Weekend Getaway

9. Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe is the perfect place for a summer dip, whether you’re looking for a tranquil swim in Texas’ second-largest lake or you want to search for the legendary beast on everyone’s lips: the Texas Bigfoot.

Spanning 21,000 acres, Lake Conroe offers two public swimming areas with the additional option of renting a boat to explore the lush landscape.

Just be wary of any unwanted reptiles (like alligators), so enter the waters at your own risk!

10. Quintana Beach County Park

If you’re looking for a place to take a dip near Houston, Texas, Quintana Beach County Park is definitely worth considering.

It’s got it all; a 52-acre beachfront stretching along the upper Texas Gulf coast complete with plenty of natural attractions such as bird watching, fishing, nature viewing and…well, swimming!

But that’s not all – Quintana Beach also boasts a unique history with its connection to the Freeport Harbor Defense during WWII and Fort Bates in 1862.

So if your idea of the perfect day out involves the combination of both swimming and soaking up some culture, then this is the place for you.

And don’t worry about having to break the bank either – admission is only $5 per car on summer weekends and free during the other times.

11. Lake Somerville

If you’re willing to venture an hour and a half by car for a refreshing dip, Lake Somerville is your best bet.

With its beautiful hiking trails and campgrounds, the shallow waters are sure to meet any swimmer’s needs.

Just be aware, even though it’s perfect for the younger ones, the shallow water can get a wee bit too hot during the summer months.

So if swimming is on the menu, late spring to early summer is the best time for your visit.