Boerne Lake – the best lake to paddle near San Antonio?

Looking for a lake with swimming, picnic areas, plenty of parking, kayaking and more? What if you wanted to stay within a short 20-30 minute drive north of The Rim or La Cantera mall in north San Antonio?

You’re probably looking for Boerne Lake at Boerne City Lake Park. And you’d be happy if you found it, too – it’s my standard “go-to” for a close place to get on the water, and my favorite “close-to-home” option in the off-season.

Here’s why:

Waterfront and Beach: 4 out of 5 stars

There’s a wide, well-kept boat ramp to put in whatever you’re going to paddle, as well as a great dock for fishing or enjoying the frequent and fantastic sunsets. There’s 2 or 3 good but smaller beaches along the lakefront of the park that comfortably accommodate a few groups each.

The best beaches are highlighted in Green.
The boat ramp and fishing pier area is in Yellow.

Clean, Calm Water: 4 out of 5 stars

Why not a 5? Isn’t is a common place for open-water swimmers training for triathlons?

I reserve the ‘5 stars’ for that crystal clear water you’ll find few places such as the San Marco’s river – but Boerne Lake is calm (no motor boats allowed there) and a clean place to swim without wondering about weird bacteria or algae… looking at you, Austin and Galveston.

Boerne Lake can get windy, especially in the fall and winter, and I’ve seen more than one kayaker have to get more of a workout then they bargained for. When I stand-up paddle board there, I prefer to go on days when it’s not windy.

Photo Credit: Isabell Marie Deal Photography

Parking: 5 stars out of 5

You can unload or launch at the lake edge, or park alongside any of the day-use areas. I love how you can park along the road as well as the different parking lots along the way. On busy holidays or weekends when everyone wants to be at the lake at the same time, the parking can spill back into their overflow, but I’ve never heard of it running out of parking.

After you come through the gate you can go left to the boat-ramp side + 70% of the beach area, or go right and hit the rest of the park.

Picnic and day-use area: 4 out of 5

This is a hard one – I  bounce between 3.5 and 4 stars.

Sometimes I wish more of the day-use areas has better “playable beach” access. But the truth is the picnic and play areas are really well laid out and maintained as the city balances keeping all the natural old oak trees for shade.

I love how much shade this park has on the lake-side of the road, I love how close the parking is, and I love how they have good picnic tables, some pavilions and basic amenities. It’s a great park that serves the city of Boerne well.

Its success is also its biggest problem – Boerne City Lake Park is in a small town (population 20,000-ish) just 20 miles north of San Antonio (population 1-million-too-many). So to prevent the fun, medium-size park from being overrun on those wonderful April and September weekends, they do have a toll-booth operating during certain months or weekends of the year. I think it’s worth it to pay $15 and enjoy my time, but that’s not realistic for everyone’s budget or may not feel worth if it if you just want to swing by for an hour. On occasion then will have a person from the city parks dept (Leslie Knope?) make sure boaters have life jackets and not using motors and such.

Check their website for current hours and if there is a fee (generally on the weekends between Memorial day and Labor day)

Official city park page for updates on hours, potential entrance fee’s, etc

Boerne Lake Facebook Page for updates on weather, crowd level, etc.

MOMUMENTAL PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT – I am a terrible fisherman but even I have caught a fish from the pier here.

Overall – 4 out of 5

If you want to kayak, paddle board, do some kayak fishing or pier fishing, it’s a wonderful place. It’s you want to spend the day with friends and family, kids or adults, it’s also a great place for that, too!

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