Texas' biggest lake is central for boating, beach-hopping, and bass fishing.
Of all 7,000-plus lakes in the Lone Star State, Sam Rayburn Reservoir is the largest that lies entirely within Texan borders. Proving that everything really is bigger in Texas, this gigantic lake has 114,5000 acres of water to swim, sail, fish, paddle, or get your adrenaline fix with high-octane water sports; all hemmed in by three sprawling national forests at the heart of the Piney Woods. Along with endless opportunities for boating and fishing—Sam Rayburn Lake is prized for its largemouth bass—there’s a wide choice of campgrounds and cabins, many of which stay open year-round.
Enveloped in the pine woods of the Angelina National Forest, the north shore of Sam Rayburn Reservoir is dotted with lakefront parks, marinas, and picnic areas. There are boat ramps available at Harvey Creek and Bayou Boat Launch, and camping at Rayburn Park, Powell Park, and Townsend Recreation Area.
The south side of the lake is where you’ll find some of the most popular hikes of the Angelina National Forest, including the Sawmill Hiking Trail and the Boykin Lakeside Trail. Camp at the Caney Creek and Sandy Creek recreation areas, enjoy horseback riding at Ebenezer Park, or play a game of golf at Rayburn Country Resort. Further west, the Davy Crockett National Forest has miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, and self-sufficient campers can enjoy dispersed camping throughout the NF lands.
The small villages of Pineland, Brookeland, and Browndell sit along the eastern shore of Sam Rayburn, where you’ll find peaceful campgrounds and family-friendly RV resorts. Further east, the dense woodlands of the Sabine National Forest lead the way to the Toledo Bend Reservoir on the state lines of Texas and Louisiana. If you’re looking for a challenge, the 26.9-mile “Trail between the lakes” will take you from the shores of Sam Rayburn all the way to Toledo Bend.
The western shore of Sam Rayburn Reservoir is the least developed and the spot to escape the crowds. Cruise out to explore the tranquil waters where the reservoir meets the Angelina River, launch your boat from the public launch at Marion Ferry Park, or enjoy backcountry camping in the northernmost reaches of the Angelina National Forest.