Texas provides 188 lakes covering 5,000 acres or much more, and 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers that flow for over 191,000 miles. Plus, Texas claims 7,000 lakes, some of which are so small that only wildlife enjoys them. On top of that, Texas has 367 miles of ocean coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. Texas has ten eco regions designated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

There are great lakes and rivers to live on in Texas. This Texas Outside writer would choose Possum Kingdom Lake as the best Texas lake to live on and many sections of the Brazos River as the best places to live on the water in Texas. Texas has eons of water and enormous amounts of it to live on through the ages. 

It is true that the western and southwestern regions of Texas are void of water bodies, but they are not void of rivers, streams, and aquifers. Most of the lakes created by damming up rivers in the U.S. are officially reservoirs. The terms for water bodies can be a bit confusing. 

We need to base the terms of our research on https://a-z-animals.com/ because their researchers get it down with no pain in describing environmental and animal behaviors in easily understood definitions. No one has to read them all, but Texas has every last one of these water bodies. So we go here to define water bodies:

  • Bayou: a swampy portion of a river or lake with water that moves slowly; a common term for creeks and lakes in the southern United States.
  • Bight: a wide bay that barely cuts inland.
  • Bog: a wetland with freshwater that has saturated peat moss and other decaying plant matter.
  • Bourn: a small stream, brook, or seasonal stream; called a burn in Scotland.
  • Brook: a small creek or stream.
  • Canal: a manmade waterway that connects to oceans, lakes, and rivers.
  • Channel: the area in which a river, stream, or strait flows, complete with the banks and bed.
  • Cove:  a sheltered bay with a small entrance.
  • Creek: a stream of water that is smaller than a river and usually a tributary to a river.
  • Delta: a flat, low-lying area where a river ends, often splitting into several branches before it reaches another river, the ocean, or another body of water.
  • Draw: a stream or creek that only fills after heavy rain but remains dry the rest of the time; an arroyo or wadi.
  • Estuary: a partially closed-off coastal body of water where rivers meet the ocean.
  • Fjord: a narrow, deep inlet of the sea that is bordered by steep slopes or cliffs.
  • Glacier: a large body of dense ice that slowly moves in a given area.
  • Gulf: a body of water that is bordered on three sides by land and much larger than a bay.
  • Harbor: a sheltered waterbody that is often used to dock ships and boats due to a low or absent current.
  • Impoundment: a body of water that is purposefully contained in an artificial enclosure; a reservoir that is created by a dam.
  • Inlet: a recess in a shoreline at the sea, river, or lakes; a small, narrow arm of a sea.
  • Kettle Lake: a small, shallow body of water formed when retreating glaciers lose chunks of ice, and the ice became trapped in sediment; such a waterbody is formed by floodwaters draining.
  • Lagoon: a shallow body of water, typically seawater, that is separated from the rest of the sea by sand, rocks, and vegetation.
  • Lake: a freshwater body of water that is bound by land, larger than a pond, and usually freshwater; may be artificial such as a reservoir, or naturally occurring.
  • Lick: a small, temporarily flowing stream.
  • Loch: a Scottish term that most often refers to lakes but may also refer to inlets, bays, and estuaries.
  • Mangrove Swamp: a coastal waterbody with high salinity and mangrove trees.
  • Marsh: a perpetually waterlogged area of low-lying land that floods as a result of rain or tidal shifts, and usually features large herbaceous plants, reeds, rushes, and grasses.
  • Mere: a lake that is exceptionally broad compared to its depth.
  • Moat: a manmade trench, sometimes filled with water, used to protect another area.
  • Ocean: the significant waterbody that covers the majority of the planet’s surface, often broken down into several smaller bodies for the sake of identification.
  • Oxbow Lake: a lake with a U-shape that forms from a river after the water follows a new path from its original meander; called a billabong in Australia.
  • Pool: any number of small bodies of water, either artificial or natural
  • Pond: water that is smaller than a lake but has similar properties to one and can be natural or artificial.
  • Puddle: a small buildup of water on the ground’s surface.
  • Resacas: (Texas only) are ancient abandoned distributaries of the Rio Grande River.
  • Reservoir: an area that is used to store water, especially in reference to dammed rivers and the artificial lakes they create.
  • Rill: a small, shallow channel of water that may be natural or artificial.
  • River: a naturally occurring moving body of water with boundaries that drains into another water, typically other rivers or oceans.
  • Sea: a large area of an ocean that is partially enclosed or nearly completely surrounded by land or a defined body of water such as the Sargasso Sea; the ocean.
  • Seep: an exceptionally small body of water that is formed by a spring.
  • Source: a place from which a body of water receives its water; a headwaters.
  • Shoal: an accumulation of sediment covering a submerged ridge; a place where the water in a sea or river is particularly shallow.
  • Sound: an ocean inlet that is wider than fjord, and bigger than a bay.
  • Spring: a place where groundwater naturally flows up; hot springs are warmed by geothermal energy.
  • Strait: a narrow channel that connects two large bodies of water.
  • Stream: a small body of water that possesses a current, banks, and a bed but remains smaller than a river.
  • Swamp: a wetland that is perpetually covered with water and possessing woody vegetation with some land rising above the water.
  • Tide Pool: a rocky pool of seawater that forms next to the ocean.
  • Tributary: a body of water, usually freshwater, that feeds into a larger body of water without flowing into the ocean.
  • Wash: also called an arroyo in parts of the United States.

Texas has all them waterways! No doubt about it, Texas is water diversity come alive! You can live on the water pretty much anywhere in Texas with no problem but property taxation. It is amazing that Texas has all these water ways, water bodies, rivers, and even little tiny streams that support Texas’ wildlife and humans too. 

Texas Outside is pretty sure that no one ever wanted to know that much about water that does not come from a tap. These terms are extremely important if you want to buy a house on the water. These terms will come in your contracts if you buy a house on the water. 

Can You Live on a Lake in Texas?

When looking for a lake home property, it depends on who the governing entity that manages the property and where your property meets the shoreline on any given lake in Texas. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recognize flood zone watersheds on lakes and rivers in Texas. It depends on who the lake management entity is and where you can live on a lake anywhere in the U.S., not just Texas.  

Yes, you can live on a lake in Texas, if you can buy the land and pay the property taxes. Depending on the ownership and management of the lake, those conditions vary at all realty opportunities at Texas lakes. 

Can You Own Lakefront Property in Texas?

It depends on the lake and what government entity manages the lake, and that stands for every lake in every country across the globe, not just Texas. On some lakes in Texas, you can own lakefront property, and on others you cannot because government entities own the land surrounding the lake. 

Kendall Davis
Author: Kendall Davis

Kendall currently lives on the shores of Lake Texoma in Texas. She traveled across two-thirds the U.S. for many years camping at lakes, rivers, and three oceans before motels and hotels if at all possible. Writing for Texas Outside allows her to share outdoors life in real life time! https://kdavis1836.wixsite.com/luminiwrites

Join the Texas Outside newsletter