The summer heat has us dreaming about lake life. Having a home on or near the lake means hours of water sports, lakeside lounging, swimming, and fishing! But if you plan to build or buy near the water, it can be challenging to figure out just which lake to choose. Did you know that DFW boasts somewhere around sixty lakes and reservoirs? So how should you go about choosing the right place for your waterfront paradise?
There are plenty of factors to consider. We recommend that you prioritize your list according to the following: location and commute, area home prices, area towns and amenities, and lake characteristics. We will run through a few of our favorite local lakes and show you how they stack up. If you have a favorite we didn’t mention, let us know! As always, contact LEAGUE to ask any questions about home ownership, on the lake or anywhere else.
Possum Kingdom Lake
Work on Possum Kingdom Lake (or P.K. for short) was begun in 1936 and completed in 1941. It may be named after a less-than-adorable rodent, but this 17,000 acre lake (technically a reservoir) has 310 miles of beautiful shoreline. Set in the foothills of the Palo Pinto Mountains, P.K. offers striking views of cliffs and rolling hills.
Location and Commute: Possum Kingdom Lake is close to three small towns: Graham, Breckenridge, and Mineral Wells. Approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes to the east of downtown Fort Worth and nearly three hours from Dallas, it may not be ideal for a daily commute. However, it’s the perfect distance for a weekend home, retirement home, or work-from-home situation.
Home Prices: As with all lakeside areas, Possum Kingdom housing prices vary widely. The average house prices are around $500,000. But houses on the water, depending on size, generally begin around seven figures. There are many choices when it comes to housing, from palatial water-front mansions to condos and townhouses. There are also gated developments and lots available.
Local Towns and Amenities: The three most popular local towns are Graham (to the north with a population of 8,700*), Breckenridge (to the west with a population of 5,200), and Mineral Wells (to the east with a population of 14,900). The lake itself has five public boat ramps as well as picnic areas and fishing piers. There are also seven marinas on P.K. Lake. as well as lovely sandy beach areas for swimming and sunbathing.
Lake Characteristics: Covering more than seventeen thousand acres, Possum Kingdom dwarfs the others on our list. P.K. is famous for its clear blue water, which makes it great for swimming. This is thanks largely to the lake’s unusual depth (up to 145 feet), this lake stays cooler and clearer than most Texas lakes and reservoirs. Fishing is plentiful with striped and largemouth bass as well as white bass, catfish, sunfish, and crappie. This lake is certainly near the top of our list.
Eagle Mountain Lake
This local favorite may be smaller than Possum Kingdom, coming in at 8,694 acres. But it’s far closer to Fort Worth, located only fifteen miles northwest of downtown. Eagle Mountain is also a manmade lake/reservoir (fun fact: Did you know a “reservoir” is just another name for a manmade lake formed by the damming of a river?). Construction began in 1930 and ended in 1932. If you are wanting to live on or near the lake but work in Fort Worth, this lake may be the perfect fit.
Location and Commute: Eagle Mountain is easily accessible by way of 199 to the south or 287 to the north. To the south is the town of Azle, a fast-growing town with plenty of grocery stores and dining options. To the northeast is Saginaw, also a bustling town with plenty of amenities to offer. The commute to downtown Fort Worth is around thirty minutes, depending on which part of the lake you choose and the time of day. Continued work on 199 should make for faster, smoother commutes in the near future.
Home Prices: The houses around the lake range widely in pricing, but average around $600,000. Smaller, neighborhood homes can be found under $500,000. But large, lakefront properties can easily run around $2,000,000. But there are plenty of opportunities to rent or purchase, from new-builds or lots to condos and older homes.
Local Towns and Amenities: This lake has it all with fishing docks, three marinas, a sandy swimming beach, and three public boat ramps. Located just outside of the 820 loop, this lake is close to everything. The town of Azle has a population of around 13,518 and is quickly growing. Saginaw, to the north, is booming at a population of over 24,011. Whether you need a coffee or a steak dinner, you’ll find everything you need close by. Or you can easily pop into Fort Worth for your favorites.
Lake Characteristics: Eagle Mountain Lake is more than 8,500 acres and has a maximum depth of forty-seven feet. This lake is a favorite for water sports. On any given weekend you’ll find plenty of people enjoying skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, sailing, and kayaking. The lake clarity is normally “clear” at the end nearest the dam and stained** in the upper portions. The lake water is not as clear as Possum Kingdom, but it’s still perfect for swimming on hot summer days
Located just north of Southlake and Grapevine, this 8,000 acre reservoir offers plenty of fun and relaxation. Begun in 1948, this lake was at last filled with water in 1952. This lake is in the center of a bustling urban area, providing both the peace of lake life and access to top area amenities.
Location and Commute: If you’re looking to be in the Grapevine-Southlake area or close to either Dallas or Fort Worth, Grapevine Lake is a great choice. Approximately thirty miles from central Dallas and thirty-five miles from downtown Fort Worth, you will find easy access to both cities, while also finding plenty of local offerings explored further down. This lake is also the closest to DFW airport for travel convenience.
Home Prices: Current prices in the area range from $150,000 to $23 million. This is obviously a very wide range, with condos and apartments at the lower end and sprawling mansions on the lakefront at the higher end. Lakefront properties are estimated to begin around $900,000. As usual, the larger the house and the closer to the lake it lies, the higher the price.
Local Towns and Amenities: This urban-area lake has plenty to offer, with several parks, three marinas, nine boat ramps, camping, and fishing. Surrounding towns (or cities) include Flower Mound, Trophy Club, and Grapevine. If you have school-aged children, the Grapevine-Colleyville school district is a great one. And there is so much to do in the area, with fantastic shopping in Grapevine and Southlake, resorts galore, golf, and even vineyards. If you want lake life near the city, this may be the place for you.
Lake Characteristics: This lake is approximately 8,000 acres, with a maximum depth of sixty-five feet. Grapevine Lake contains plenty of fish, including various bass, white crappie, and catfish. The maximum depth is sixty-five feet. The normal clarity rating is stained. You’ll find plenty of water sports, fishing, and parks available to you on Grapevine Lake.
Like many Texas reservoirs, Benbrook Lake was created in response to river flooding. This lake was originally conceived of as a grand transportation project, with plans to build a large canal reaching all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and a series of locks and dams for moving ships and cargo between DFW and the gulf. Construction of Benbrook dam started in 1947 and ended in 1952 (though the expanded project was never continued).
Location and Commute: Sandwiched by 377 and Chisholm Trail Parkway, this lake is just south of I-20 and a fantastic jumping-off-point to live and work in and around Fort Worth. Depending on which side of the lake you choose, the commute to downtown Fort Worth is approximately twenty-five to thirty minutes.
Home Prices: Perhaps the only downside to this small lake is the lack of lakefront properties. However, if you don’t mind a short walk or drive to the lake, there is so much to offer in this area at a much more reasonable price point than many of the other lakes in the area.
Local Towns and Amenities: With Fort Worth directly to the north and east and Bebrook to the north and west, there is plenty for everyone in this community. Restaurants, shopping, and easy access to downtown via Chisholm Trail Parkway, make this small suburban lake accessible and appealing. The lake itself boasts parks, boat ramps, and a marina.
Lake Characteristics: Benbrook Lake is a 3,700 acre lake. The maximum depth is seventy feet and the normal clarity is stained. There are three available boat ramps and one marina. Benbrook Lake offers plenty of fishing with large quantities of striped bass along with catfish, crappie, and other bass available. This small local reservoir could be the right place to find more affordable housing close to the city.
Just south of the town of Granbury is the beautiful Lake Granbury. This lake was formed by damming the Brazos River in 1969. A winding, narrow lake, this area favorite has 103 miles of shoreline. This reservoir offers plenty of space for water sports, fishing, and more just a quick drive from Fort Worth. Plus the town of Granbury is drenched in old-world charm.
Location and Commute: Lake Granbury is roughly forty miles southwest of downtown Fort Worth, offering a commute of around forty to fifty minutes. This is a great option for hybrid work situations, remote positions, or for an easy-access weekend home. It may be challenging for a daily commute to Fort Worth, but it’s definitely possible.
Home Prices: Area homes average around $500,000 with lakefront properties generally starting at $600,000. There are plenty of options including new-builds, lots for building, and older homes. Larger lakefront properties can run as high as $7,000,000, but there are definitely more affordable options available.
Local Towns and Amenities: While Hood County offers many residential options, the town of Granbury (population just over 11,400) is the real gem. The town was officially founded in 1866 and the square still boasts the Hood County Courthouse dating back to 1890! Whether you live in town or close by on the lake, you can enjoy a show at the Granbury Opera House, shopping at charming shops like St. Helen’s On The Square, or legendary dining experiences like Babe’s Chicken. This town has something for everyone and is always growing while still holding onto its history.
Lake Characteristics: This sparkling lake covers 8,310 acres and has a max depth of seventy-five feet. The water is clear to stained clarity and is packed with fish including largemouth, striped, and white bass, channel and flathead catfish, sunfish, and white crappie. Texas Parks and Wildlife does recommend checking the golden alga bloom status as “golden alga blooms can occur in the reservoir [that] are toxic to fish and may affect the quality of fishing” (TPWD website). This lake offers six boat docks and six lakeside parks.
In the eastern portion of Parker County lies Lake Weatherford. This small but beautiful lake helps control flooding of the Trinity River and was created between 1956 and 1957 (that’s right, it’s also a reservoir). Lying just to the east of the town of Weatherford, this lovely lake is a great place for a restful lakeside haven.
Location and Commute: Lake Weatherford is approximately twenty-five miles and roughly thirty-five minutes from downtown Fort Worth (depending on traffic, of course). Just north of Hudson Oaks and northwest of Willow Park, this lake is close to booming local communities while also not too far for a Fort Worth commute.
Home Prices: The area surrounding Lake Weatherford offers fairly affordable housing options. The average home price is around $370,000. Even lakefront properties can be found for well under seven figures. There are plenty of housing options in area towns and neighborhoods, but there are few true lakefront properties currently available, so keep a sharp eye out.
Local Towns and Amenities: Weatherford itself has a rich history. Parker County was founded in 1855 along with the town of Weatherford. The famous Weatherford Courthouse was built in 1886 after the previous two courthouses burned down! Weatherford is known as the “Peach Capital of Texas” and is home to roughly 33,700 residents. The town boasts plenty of charming shops and delicious restaurants. The towns of Willow Park (population approximately 5,194) and Hudson Oaks (population approximately 2,478) are quickly growing and offer plenty of dining, shopping, and other amenities.
Lake Characteristics: This lake is the smallest on our list at 1,158 acres of surface area and a maximum depth of thirty-nine feet. Its clarity is rated moderately clear to stained. Fishing abounds with plentiful amounts of sunfish and good quantities of largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. Lake Weaterford has a marina with a boat ramp. We encourage you to take a stroll on the Boardwalk At Lake Weatherford which is the country's longest floating boardwalk at 4,313 feet!
Whether you are looking for a lake to visit or you are dreaming and planning for a long-term move, give us a call. We are members of the Fort Worth area community and committed to providing you with the best information about the area and the process of buying or selling a home. Our promise is to be with you every step of the way. So whether you’re ready to make the leap to buying your lakefront dream property or just curious to learn more, we are always READY TO SERVE!
*Please note that many of the population statistics available are from 2021 and may not reflect the rapid growth of the past few years.
**When it comes to lake clarity, a “stained lake” can have the color of anywhere from a light tea to a dark coffee. This does not mean the lake is dangerous for swimming or fishing. It simply means there is less light penetration, usually due to dissolved tannic acid or iron from wood and rock.