Explore America's Campgrounds
When you long to sit at the water's edge and let the waves lap at your toes, you won't have to make a four-hour drive from Dallas to the Gulf Coast. The Dallas metropolitan area is populated with reservoirs, spring-fed lakes and man-made water features where you can feel the sand between your toes or relax on a lush grass beach.
Go Barefoot in the Park
In the southwest part of the city, Bahama Beach Water Park provides two zero-depth entry beaches along a lazy river. Spread your blanket on the sand or relax in a lounge chair in the shade of a beach umbrella. Five roomy cabanas accommodate your group of up to six people, and larger pavilions provide room for small or large groups consisting of up to 500 people. Join the kids zipping down water slides or exploring an interactive water fortress.
Go Jump in the Lake
Head west to Fort Worth to enjoy swimming in the sparkling waters of spring-fed Burger's Lake. The one-acre lake is flanked by two sandy beaches with tree-shaded areas for those wishing to keep out of the sun. The lake is staffed by lifeguards and includes splash features like a slide, trapeze and diving boards. The water is chemically maintained, filtered and monitored for quality. The 30-acre park surrounding the lake has 300 picnic tables, 180 grills and both grass and sand volleyball courts. Inner tubes can be rented on site.
Go Jump in the Pool
Enjoy public beaches along the shore of Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie on Dallas' west end. Along its northwest shore, Lynn Creek Park rolls out a sandy beach flanked by grassy areas where you can picnic under covered ramadas. In the same area, Loyd Park boasts a large, grassy beach that runs to water's edge. The park has 6 miles of trail that run through natural areas suitable for hiking, biking or horseback riding. The beach areas in both parks provide volleyball courts, concessions, restrooms and playgrounds.
Get Out of Town
Two lakes just north of the metro area provide sandy beaches where you can soak up the sun or swim. Lake Grapevine is 30 miles northwest of downtown with a roped-off swim area and playground for children at Children's Beach. Camp, rent a kayak or enjoy nature trails in the park. Lake Park on the shore of Lake Lewisville, 40 miles north of downtown, has sandy beaches, a golf course, campground and picnic areas. The park's natural areas are ideal places to view hundreds of species of birds, ranging from waterbirds to songbirds and raptors.
Indulging her passion for wide open spaces and outdoor fitness through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, author Jodi Thornton-O'Connell takes the mystery out of outdoor skills and guides readers to discover fun ways to physically connect to natural surroundings.