This Texas Lake With Amazingly Clear Water Is Perfect For A Fun Day Trip

There's something to be said for a sunny summer day spent in a charming American lake town – the joys of watching the waves crash in, families and young adults enjoying themselves in a carefree environment, and boaters simply cruising around. If you find yourself this summer near the Texas and Mexico border, you're going to want to take a day trip out to Lake Amistad from either nearby Del Rio (approximately 45 minutes driving) or San Antonio (closer to a three-hour drive).

Lake Amistad is on a reservoir in the south of Texas. With "Amistad" translating to "friendship" in Spanish, the lake is ideal for those who love outdoor recreation, especially on or near the water. The area is home to plenty of animal and plant life, and it is definitely a fisherman's paradise. If you're pining for a unique escape, have a passion for wildlife, or just want to take a relaxing swim, then Lake Amistad ticks all of the boxes for a fun day outside.

What to do near Lake Amistad

Hanging out near or in the water is the obvious thing to do here, but people who are obsessed with animals will especially thrive in Lake Amistad. The area is home to plenty of species of birds, and as a result, is a popular destination for birding. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for black-throated sparrows, scaled quail, curve-billed thrashers, and even cactus wren.

Birds aren't the only animals that are found near Lake Amistad. The area is home to several species of bass, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, and striped bass, as well as plenty of catfish. Because of this, fishing is one of the most popular activities at Lake Amistad. The area even hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year, and a public schedule for upcoming fishing tournaments can be found online.

Texas is probably not the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of scuba diving, but at Lake Amistad, diving is indeed a popular activity thanks to the uber-clear waters. Some popular dive sites include Castle Canyon and Brite Ranch House. Make sure to fuel up at one of the restaurants in the nearby town of Del Rio, as well. We recommend getting Mexican food at Lorena's Cantina since you're so close to the border, but you also can't go wrong with some good ol' Texan steak from Cripple Creek Steakhouse and Saloon or Manuel's Steakhouse.

Note changing water levels at Lake Amistad

As exciting as Lake Amistad is, it should be noted that the waters are drying up at a rather rapid rate, largely attributed to climate change. While some people choose to travel less due to climate change, you can still visit Lake Amistad. But it's important that you are aware and take a few precautions. Mainly, if you plan to rent a boat or drive your own, it's advised to be extra vigilant when it comes to checking for boat damages that can be caused from decreased water levels. This warning is even more important if you plan to swim, where low water levels can surface underwater hazards. Lake Amistad's record low was recently recorded on July 2nd, 2024, at a harrowing 1,047.17 feet above sea level. For context, the reservoir is currently only 24% full, when the same time last year, it was 38.7% full at 1,068 feet (per Water Data for Texas). This dramatically rapid decrease is largely due to the area experiencing a severe drought. 

The water at Lake Amistad fluctuates, so while it is currently low, the levels can change throughout the year. It's highly recommended that if you do choose to come here, you should check conditions prior to visiting to best know what to expect. This is especially helpful when visiting with a boat, since several boat ramps have been reported as closed due to the low water levels.