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Lake Houston is located about 20 miles northeast of Houston and serves as the city's primary water supply. The lake's proximity to the big-city attractions of Houston and the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, as well as quaint suburban towns and nature parks, has made the lake a pleasant compromise between city and country. Lake Houston is located on the border of the Piney Woods and Gulf Coast tourism regions.
Lake Houston was created by the city of Houston to replace Sheldon Lake as the city's main water supply. Construction on the Lake Houston Dam was completed in 1954, with the earth-filled dam spanning 8,656 feet across the San Jacinto River and measuring 62 feet high. Since its completion, Lake Houston has enticed Houston residents with its convenient location and cool waters. Several lakeside communities and golf courses have sprung up around the lake, allowing residents to take advantage of the lake's thirst-quenching views.
The city of Houston made the lake even more attractive to anglers through stocking of largemouth bass, palmetto bass, striped bass, and catfish. In addition, the lake is home to white crappie, bluegill, carp, and tilapia. Fishing tournaments are held frequently, especially in the summer. But you don't have to be an angler to enjoy your day on the lake--boating, water skiing, and swimming are all acceptable ways of appreciating what Lake Houston has to offer.
For nature lovers, Lake Houston Park offers an unexpected oasis. The park stretches across nearly 5,000 acres north of Houston. Although the park does not directly access Lake Houston, visitors can canoe and kayak the creeks and tributaries surrounding the lake. The park offers 12 miles of hiking trail and 8 miles of trail for equestrians. The heavily wooded park provides a perfect opportunity for bird watching, and visitors may even catch a glimpse of the deer that inhabit the surrounding woods. Overnight camping is available at the park, and there are even a few lodges for rent that contain kitchens and air conditioning, for those who prefer not to "rough it." Be sure not to leave the park without visiting the Lake Houston Park Nature Center, where guests can learn more about both forest and wetland habitats, as well as many of the park's resident creatures.
For those who want to enjoy nature and be closer to the city, Duessen Park is an ideal destination. Located at the southern tip of Lake Houston, Duessen Park offers public boat ramps as well as piers for fishing, or just for people watching. The park contains many family-friendly amenities, including playgrounds, picnic shelters, and ball fields.
An overview of Lake Houston wouldn't be complete without a brief mention of the many activities available in nearby Houston. There are of course large-city amenities such as fine dining and shopping. But history buffs might enjoy a visit to the nearby San Jacinto Battleground and a tour of the Battleship Texas. There is also the Johnson Space Center, where visitors can see actual spacecraft used in NASA missions, as well as spacewalk simulators. Museums, professional athletic games, theater--these are just a few of the myriad of activities available just minutes from the shores of Lake Houston.
Lake Houston has a little something for everyone--nature lovers and city slickers alike. Whether you want to hike a pristine forest trail or dine in a five-star restaurant, a visit to Lake Houston truly offers the best of both worlds.
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