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Lake Buchanan, Highland Lakes, Texas

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

Read on to learn about every exceptional element that makes this place destination worthy!

Formed by the construction of the behemoth two mile hydroelectric Buchanan Dam, Buchanan Lake is the first of the Texas Highland Lakes, and at 35 square miles, is also the largest. This freshwater slice of heaven is huge! Named after Texas Congressman James P. Buchanan, this level-controlled reservoir never floods. Although during periods of drought, the water level can drop. This lake is a bit of a fisherman’s haven, as the water is stocked with multiple species of bass and catfish.

One place of interest along the shoreline includes Canyon of the Eagles, a Calibre resort. A good place to spot nesting eagles October through March, this resort offers a cosmic observatory (as the remote location is conducive to providing extremely dark skies), river boat tours, natural hiking trails, fine dining and rejuvenating massages.

Quick side note; this massive swath of water acts as a bird haven. Staying close the lakes edge, you’ll be graced with sightings of more than a few bird species. From our small cottage, we regularly saw American White Pelicans, American Coots, Western Osprey, American Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Indigo Buntings, Cardinals, Hawks, and Mallards.

And a waterfall! Lake Buchanan’s Fall Creek Waterfall cascades down about 30 feet, tucked in the northern Colorado arm of the lake. Take in this great spot to go for a swim and listen to the crashing water.

For those who don’t travel with watercraft, check out Wave Chasers Boat Rentals in Kingsland, TX for reasonable rates on the newest models. Caution! Lake Buchanan is massive, which means that water conditions can change in an instant. Use extreme caution if you choose to go kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddle boarding as every year reported deaths occur from operating undersized watercrafts on the lake.

Another gem close by is Inks Lake. Inks Lake State Park is best known for its Devils Waterhole, a small body of water surrounded by rock and a favorite for swimming or kayaking. Craving Caribbean-grade blue water? Check out Blue Hole Regional Park, the San Marco River, Frio River at Garner State Park, and The Devil’s River.

Ready for a even more adrenaline? Check out Spider Mountain Bike Park! With nine trails to choose from and a 350-foot chair lift to take you and your wheels to the top, the downhill bike park is certainly unique! The park offers lodging accommodations but don’t have much in the way of food, so be sure to pack a lunch and enjoy ripping up the trails! Go online to for discounted tickets and read all about additional hiking options they offer.

Colorado Bend State Park is another great option for those who love to hike and includes a one-of-a-kind 70 foot water fall, Gorman Falls. Created from spring and river water evaporation occurring over millions of years. Fragile, alien and lush, the crystal clear pools and falls are other-worldly.

After expending all those calories playing on or near the lake, it’s time to refuel on some Texas BBQ. For the best BBQ relatively close to Lake Buchanan, make the 30-minute drive to Llano and pick up brisket from Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. Best Brisket Ever!!!

Having vacationed in the busy Fort Lauderdale area, the most pleasant element about Lake Buchanan is the sparse population. As snowbirds flock south to escape the cold northern winters, they’ll be pleased to find ample space and lodging accommodations around the lake. Several RV parks, cabin rentals and Airbnbs can be had for reasonable monthly rates.

If you decide to stay for more than just a week, Kingsland and Marble Falls have much in the way of modern comforts and necessities. For an affordable gym, grab a monthly pass to the Kingsland Family Fitness Center, get your haircut at the Highland Barbershop, and have your vehicle’s oil changed by Thomas Mustang Lube. Kingsland has a H.E.B (the local grocery chain in central Texas) but for an elevated experience, drive the extra distance to the H.E.B. in Marble Falls. This grocery store is so impressive that folks from Austin consistently make the drive to do their grocery shopping there.

For the city slickers, one is only an hour and a half from downtown Austin and two hours from San Antonio and its world-famous river walk. Four hours from Lake Buchanan, Houston plays host to the largest rodeo in the world during the entire month of March.

Still not impressed with the area? What if I told you that Texas’s biggest and baddest national park is only a day away? That’s right, Big Bend National Park is just six hours from Lake Buchanan along with Carlsbad Caverns National Park being a six-hour drive as well.


Bonus Spot! San Solomon Springs, Balmorhea State Park. This 1.75 acre spring fed swimming pool stays at a perfect 75 degrees year round. Five hours from Lake Buchanan, this relaxing and therapeutic pool is mind boggling. Enjoy swimming with the fish while you lounge on an inflatable float in the warm waters in the middle of February. Paradise found.

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