Photo Courtesy of a TripAdvisor Traveler/IrinaK

Families will love:

  • Paddling the lake's beautiful waterways
  • Spotting alligators on boat tours
  • Catfish dinners enjoyed lakeside

For nature-loving families looking for an affordable, authentic and rustic escape, Caddo Lake in East Texas may well be one of the south's best kept secrets. About an hour's drive north of Shreveport, Louisiana and three hours east of Dallas, the lake has the distinction of being the second largest freshwater lake in the south and the only natural lake in all of ... more
For nature-loving families looking for an affordable, authentic and rustic escape, Caddo Lake in East Texas may well be one of the south's best kept secrets. About an hour's drive north of Shreveport, Louisiana and three hours east of Dallas, the lake has the distinction of being the second largest freshwater lake in the south and the only natural lake in all of Texas. One of the world's largest cypress forests lines the lake's swampy shores at its western edge in the area called Big Cypress Bayou, the launching point for exciting and educational nature tours.

Caddo Lake's atmosphere borders on the mystical. Trees draped with Spanish moss line the waterfront, where you'll find fish camp-style lodgings and a state park around the curiously named town of Uncertain. Alternatively, you can base your family about 30 minutes west of the lake in the historic burg of Jefferson and make day trips from here to the lake to take advantage of all there is to do. There is also lodging and dining in the town of Marshall, also about 30 minutes from Caddo Lake.

With over 70 species of fish in its waters, Caddo Lake lures anglers looking to hook bream, goggle eye and more. And kids relish the chance to toss out a line and try their luck, too, with several of the lodgings offering fishing piers or the canoes and kayaks for getting out on the water. Boat tours -- by pontoon, kayak, canoe, or go-devil boats -- are a fun way to explore the swampy surrounds, too, while scoping the waters for alligators and wading birds.

Contrary to intuition, Caddo Lake and the relatively populated area around Uncertain isn't really a place to swim, since the bottom is quite muddy and there are alligators. Think of an adventure here as akin to visiting the Everglades, in a way, and you'll have an idea for what's in store.

Written by Terry Ward less

Caddo Lake, TX Planning & Tips
Traveling Family with Baby

Your personal family vacation planning starts now

Get expert advice, handpicked recommendations, and tips for your family all year round!