In northern Texas, construction of the Grapevine Lake and Dam was completed in 1952 by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A recreational lake, with a surface area of over 7,000 acres and 60 miles of shoreline, is the result of this Corps of Engineers flood control project. One of the numerous attractions of this picturesque lake is its location: around 30 miles southwest of Dallas and 30 miles northeast of Fort Worth.
Plenty of activities dazzle visitors to this COE lake. All different types of boats are welcome, and fishing and hiking are encouraged. Water lovers can check out the lake's beaches and other non-designated swimming areas. Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds are limited here and only provides tent camping. There are some private campgrounds around the lake, and Lewisville Lake is a nearby COE campground option for RVs.
Whether you enjoy the serenity of a lakeside vacation or the excitement of a nearby city, Grapevine Lake is the perfect destination on your next road trip. It's convenient, scenic, and full of recreation opportunities. It's no wonder it receives over two million visitors every year.
Vacationers traveling to Grapevine Lake are most likely coming from Dallas, Fort Worth or DFW International Airport. In any case, the drive is short and relatively simple. Roads are large, paved, and free from obstructions for travelers in large rigs.
Since the lake is sandwiched between the major cities of Dallas and Fort Worth and only ten miles from the airport, the roads are busy. Try to time your driving outside of the standard rush hour. If this isn't possible, allow extra time to reach the lake just in case.
Grapevine Lake has 20 different recreation areas around the lake. They are spread out and only reachable by vehicle or a long bike ride. Pick your favorite one and plan to spend the day there to avoid unnecessary travel.
All the popular recreation areas have parking for vehicles and large rigs. To make sure you get a suitable spot, get to the park as early as you can.
Another COE campground that accepts reservations and has sites for RVs is around ten miles away at Lewisville Lake. Open year-round, Hickory Creek Campground offers 118 sites with some sites accommodating rigs up to 102 feet. Each site offers campers their own fire pit and private picnic table.
Hickory Creek is pet-friendly, and each RV site boasts both water and electric hookups. Trees provide shade from the hot summer sun, and a dip in the cool, 30,000-acre lake is only steps away. Kids can make use of the playground, and anglers can easily get on the water using the campground's boat ramp.
Some additional facilities provided at this COE campground include hot showers, restrooms, and a dump station. offers campers their own fire pit and private picnic table.
The only Army Corps of Engineers campground at Grapevine Lake is at Murrell Park. Camping is available at one of the 22 tent-only sites. Unfortunately, you'll need to park your RV or trailer and walk in with your tent and other gear. The sites are primitive with neither water nor electric hookups, but most are lakefront with excellent views.
Campers are free to use all the facilities at the Murrell Park Day Use Area, including the two boat ramps - one high water, one low water. Access to Grapevine Lake is convenient for boating, fishing, and swimming. The campgrounds have pit toilets, but no showers. There are water fountains available, although they get shut off during the winter. Off-season campers should bring their own drinking water.
Murrell Park Campground is open year-round and welcomes both you and your pets. Each campsite has a picnic table for scenic outdoor dining and a fire pit.
Grapevine Lake has designated swimming beaches at some of the recreation areas. The beach at Meadowmere is open to the general public, and the swimming area is roped off. There are picnic tables and restrooms nearby.
For visitors who prefer a more natural swimming experience, there are a couple of non-designated swimming spots worth checking out. In the Rockledge Recreation Area, people swim below the cliffs and the shallow cove at Katie's Woods is also popular.
Boats are a common sight around Grapevine Lake. You'll see everything from sailboats to kayaks to speedboats. Three different marinas offer the services you need to enjoy time on the water, as well as the opportunity to rent a boat. The marinas are at Murrell Park, Silverlake Park, and Oak Grove Park.
Many of the recreation areas at this COE lake have boat launches. The most used ones are at Meadowmere, Murrell, and Silverlake near the dam.
When wandering around the grounds of Grapevine Lake or when hiking on one of the designated trails, you're bound to encounter wildlife. You are most likely to see creatures like raccoons, skunks, opossum, and the Texas-native nine-banded armadillo. Your chances of seeing a white-tailed deer or two are good too.
Rarer finds at this COE park include the elusive bobcat and coyote and the grey fox, which are more active at night.
Most visitors to Grapevine Lake will hit at least one of the trails in the extensive system. Hiking is permitted on all trails within the COE park unless stated otherwise. Hikers won't want to miss the lake views and shaded forest of the North Shore Trail. It runs 9.5 miles and starts on the north side of the lake at Rockledge Park. Cycling is also allowed on this well-used trail.
The Meadowmere Trail is another one worth considering for beginners. It's a soft surface one-mile trail suitable for beginners. It's also less frequented than the North Shore Trail, so hikers can focus more on nature.
If you want a map of many of Grapevine Lake's trails, head to the project office in Grapevine to obtain one.
Equestrians will delight in the three different trails accessible to them at Grapevine Lake. The Walnut Grove Trail is a 6.6-mile out-and-back option for horses. Cyclists are not permitted on this trail and the trailhead is picked up at the Walnut Grove Recreation Area on the southwest side of the lake.
Equestrians can also trot along the Rocky Point Trail and the Crosstimbers Trail within the park. Always check conditions before exploring the trails as they are closed to equestrians if they are wet and muddy.
Game fish at Grapevine Lake are abundant, whether you fish from a boat, a pier, or the shoreline. The species of fish you can expect to catch include catfish, crappie, and bass.
Smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass hang out near the rocky shorelines and submerged boulders. White bass is more prevalent near the dam's water intake. If blue crappie is more your thing, you'll find them throughout the lake's clear waters.
Check Texas regulations for catch limits, size, and other rules before pulling any fish out of the lake.