Located on the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana, the Toledo Bend Reservoir is the largest man-made body of water in the state of Texas. Covering over 185,000 acres, this lake is a popular spot for families to gather. Whether you like spending your entire summer on the water, or you enjoy learning about new places, the Toledo Lake area offers plenty of activities for all ages. If you are interested in a vacation rental near Toledo Bend, this guide will help you plan your stay.

1. Fishing

If you are familiar with Toledo Bend Lake then you probably know that fishing is by far the most popular activity. There are amateur fishing tournaments held every week at the Alpine Marina, or you can opt for one of the larger competitions that draw in anglers from across the region. While the bass is the most sought-after fish in the waters, the Lake also holds other species like crappie, catfish, and bream. Bring your children and their poles and fish from the banks. There are even cleaning stations at some of the local parks so you don’t have to mess up your vacation rental kitchen.

2. Birdwatching

Officially noted as part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, Toledo Bend Lake is a great place to bring the kids and learn about the birds of the state. In the summer you can find a variety of duck species. There are also sparrows, warblers, vireo, thrush, and Orioles. If you travel further inland along the nature trails, you’ll probably spot woodpeckers and even a white Ibis. You might even catch a glimpse of a few rare species when you step out on the deck of your vacation rental.

3. Horseback Riding

If you brought your equine friend along with you to your vacation rental, there are several places to ride along the Toledo Bend Lake. Horse trailers are allowed at most state parks. The Ksatchie National Forest has over 10 miles of developed horseback riding trails, or the Sabine National Forest is available if you prefer exploring the wilderness with your family.

4. Enjoy the Flowers

If you love flowers, there are several botanical gardens that feature a multitude of flowers from the region. Hodges Garden State Park boasts over 700 acres of plants and flowers. Kids enjoy seeing the geyser and fountains, and there are also several waterfalls to hike to. The park is located within walking distance of several cabin vacation rentals if you like exploring on foot.

5. Take in a Local Festival

Toledo Bend hosts a gamut of festivals throughout the year. Depending on when you book your vacation rental, you can watch a colorful Indian Pow Wow at the Sabine Freestate Festival the first week in November and get your child their own headdress. Sample the spicy flavors at the Zwolle Tamale Festival the second weekend in October and let your family experience true Spanish culture. There are spectacular fireworks held every Fourth of July, or you can enjoy a civil war re-enactment at the Pleasant Hill Camp and Battleground.

6. Play a Game of Golf

For a challenging game of golf, Toledo Bend Lake is the perfect place to go. Challenge your swing at one of the 18-hole courses located right along the water edge. Play holes across hidden coves and bayous, or simply enjoy the water views from every hole. For children, the Toledo Bend State Park has a miniature golf course that is perfect for families renting a vacation property in the area.

7. Water Sports

The expansive lake offers plenty of room for recreational activities. Let the sun and water splash your face while riding a jet ski, or float lazily on an inner tube. Rent a boat and go skiing or tubing, or rent a kayak and paddle around the water edge. If you prefer to avoid the crowds with your kids, there are plenty of coves to explore. There’s also swimming and or you can rent a couple of paddle boats for excellent exercise. If you have a large group at your vacation rental, you may want to rent a pontoon boat from one of the local marinas and spend the entire day cooking out and enjoying the views.

8. NOLA Motorsports Park

If you are ready to escape the water for a day, the NOLO Motorsports Park is a car lover’s dream come true. This 700-acre park includes a go-kart track for anyone 52-inches or taller. Parents must sign a waiver for anyone under the age of 18. On Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekends the park has live music, concessions, and a variety of other events. If you brought your four-wheel drive with you to your vacation rental you can go mud bogging, or licensed drivers can sign up for a defensive driving class.

9. Space Shuttle Museum

If you don’t mind the short drive, the Columbia Space Museum is less than 30 minutes away from Toledo Bend Lake vacation rentals. A great way to get out of the heat in the summer and learn about the history of the NASA Columbia Space Shuttle, this museum has a variety of artifacts from the 2003 crash. You will find a theater, community rooms, and even a gift shop. The museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday year-round, and you can even inquire about having a birthday party on-site.

10. Watch Ice Cream Being Made

If fruits and vegetables are your forte, there are several local green markets near the Toledo Bend Lake. Purchase fresh local produce to take back to your vacation rental, or enjoy an ice cream cone from the local creamery. Children can even watch how ice cream is made or enjoy milking one of the cows.