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Why People Love Lake LBJ

The sandbar at Sunrise Beach on Lake LBJ is a perfect gathering spot with shallow water and plenty of people to mingle with. Photo by Tavis Wilson

The most popular of the Highland Lakes, Lake LBJ offers people the best fishing, boating, and overall fun.

Lake LBJ is a run-of-the-river lake, which means you will find water levels fairly stable except during extreme rain events. This makes boating and water skiing popular activities almost year-round.

Beginning in Kingsland, the lake covers the Colorado River footprint for 21 miles to Horseshoe Bay. With 6,449 acres of water surface, it’s perfect for boats with sails or motors as well as personal watercraft.

The long Colorado River arm, and the Llano River arm that joins it, gives adventurers plenty to explore. Cruise around Horseshoe Bay and Applehead Island to view multimillion-dollar mega-mansions belonging to local astronauts, professional athletes, Hollywood personalities, and uber-rich Texans.

Enjoy watersports like wakeboarding, skiing, tubing, kneeboarding, and more on the smooth water of Lake LBJ. Staff photo by JoAnna Kopp

Venture up the Colorado River arm of the lake for smoother — and slightly colder — water. The passage is narrow, but it’s great for watersports such as wakeboarding. Mansions, golf courses, country clubs, and more line the edges of the Colorado River.

Venture up the Llano River arm on shallower water. This wide river is perfect for pulling tubers behind the boat.

Smack dab in the middle of Lake LBJ is Sunrise Beach, a shallow sandbar where boaters cast their anchors and spend hours socializing with friends. The depth ranges from waist- to ankle-deep, and people set up volleyball nets, play Frisbee, jam to music, and enjoy the sunshine.

Up and down the lake, fishing enthusiasts will have a great time casting a line for largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, and catfish. Bass fishing tournaments are held on Lake LBJ, and a number of guides make a living taking people to fishing holes known by no one else.

Lake LBJ is the second-largest of the Highland Lakes. The water averages a cool 81 degrees in the dog days of summer, making it a welcome respite from the Texas heat. Photo by Tavis Wilson

Hungry? Float your boat to some fresh food:

  • Boaters Bistro, a lakefront restaurant where boaters can dock and take a break from lake life with fresh burgers, soft-serve ice cream, ice cold beers, and more. Boaters Bistro is located at 667 Sandy Mountain Drive in Sunrise Beach Village.
  • Hambones on the Llanorado, a homestyle food truck with a lakeside pavilion. Try the burgers, fried sandwiches, or the Frito pie with a side of jalapeño fries! Or, if you dare, try the rattlesnake eggs. You can arrive by boat or by car! Hambones on the Llanorado is located at 223 RR 1431 in Kingsland.
  • Forno’s Bar & Grill, a lakeside Italian restaurant located at the Lake LBJ Yacht Club and Marina. Here you can get your fill of calamari marinara, seafood Alfredo, chicken marsala, shrimp scampi, and more. Guide your boat around the backside of the LBJ Marina to find docking slips for hungry boaters. Forno’s Bar & Grill is located at 200 S. Wirtz Dam Road in Horseshoe Bay.
  • Horseshoe Bay Resort Yacht Club, a high-end nautical restaurant with choices from prime rib to prosciutto-wrapped cod. This restaurant considers itself to be “reminiscent of the Hamptons” with sophisticated lakeside dining and expertly made cocktails. There is a dress code here, so the strict “no shirt, no shoes, no service” rule extends to cut-offs, T-shirts, tank tops, ball caps, and sandals. Advance reservations may be required. The Horseshoe Bay Resort Yacht Club is located at 1009 Horseshoe Bay Blvd. in Horseshoe Bay.

Lake LBJ Boat Ramps:

Get stunning views of the Texas Hill Country across Lake LBJ. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Need a rental? From ski boats to kayaks to paddleboards, you can rent it all on Lake LBJ. Call ahead to check availability.

  • Lake LBJ Resort & Marina, 667 Sandy Mountain Drive in Sunrise Beach near the mouth of Sandy Creek — Rents pontoon boats, runabouts, personal watercraft, ski boats, tubes, water skis, and wakeboards. Go to or call (325) 388-9393.
  • Log Country Cove, 617 Log Country Cove in Burnet — Rents ski boats, wakeboard boats, pontoons, personal watercraft, canoes, and paddleboats. Go to or call (512) 756-9132.
  • Splash Boat Rentals, 1924 RR 1431 in Kingland — Rents ski boats with wakeboard towers. Splash Boat Rentals will deliver and launch on the lake. Go to or call (325) 388-5000.
  • Wave Chasers, 1006 RR 1431 in Kingsland — Rents pontoon boats, ski boats, and personal watercraft. Go to or call (325) 248-3865.
  • Cruze Now App, an on-demand charter service. Visit

Without renting, you want see the beauty of the lake on a tour with Worry B Gone Cruises. This company offers customized cruises on Lake LBJ on a 21-foot pontoon boat. Cruises last 2½ hours. Go to or call (830) 798-5716.

One more way to navigate the waters of Lake LBJ would be to drive straight into the lake like President Lyndon B. Johnson. A Hill Country native, President LBJ had fun with guests by driving unsuspecting friends straight into the water in his Amphicar — an automobile fit for driving on solid ground and floating in the water.

If you would like to live the high life and experience Lake LBJ in all its glory, consider a visit (or a weekend) at Horseshoe Bay Resort. This resort offers several fine dining restaurants, a full-service spa, award-winning golf courses, lake access, four luxurious swimming pools, its own private airport, and more. Whether it’s a romantic rendezvous for two or a family-friendly outing, Horseshoe Bay Resort has been to go-to place for years on Lake LBJ.

Catch a sunset reflecting off the water on Lake LBJ on a boat or a personal watercraft. Photo by Tavis Wilson

Dozens of resorts and vacation rentals line the shores of Lake LBJ. Large homes are popular vacation rentals for families during the summer months. Smaller homes and cabins are popular year-round, especially in the winter for fishermen.

Lake LBJ is the perfect lake to play for boaters, fishing enthusiasts, water sports addicts, or people looking to relax and catch some sun. Regardless of how much time you decide to spend on the lake, don’t forget the sunscreen.

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