Recreation Opportunities Abound in the Heart of Texas

The Heart of Texas offers so many recreational activities to enjoy time with friends and family, the difficulty is picking where to start! For families and folks of all ages, active recreation is available throughout the region, and offers unparalleled opportunities across a myriad of endeavors. But as a region with plenty of excellent weather to enjoy the activities, the good news is that there is plenty of time to make those choices!

Urban recreation

Waco is filled with many urban recreational pursuits. One new development is an excellent example. The Cottonwood Creek Market is a mixed commercial development in Waco currently under construction. The property will encompass 143 acres, and with planned retail, multifamily, hospitality and office space, is billed as a family entertainment center. TopGolf and Cinemark have both committed to the development and a family bowling retailer is expected to soon. The nearby Cottonwood Creek Golf Course is an 18-hole, Par 72 course offering quality golf through rolling plains that is affordable for all.


Water Recreation

Water recreation can be found throughout the region, with the Brazos and Bosque rivers, and a number of lakes and reservoirs offer opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking and other water sports. The Brazos River & Paddling Trails are a popular destination through the city of Waco.

Public swimming pools in Limestone, Freestone, and Hill Counties offer cool recreation during much of the year, and a water park and splash pads in Mclennan County are open to the public.

kids swimming in a pool


A number of beautiful, spacious parks are sprinkled throughout the region and are as different as the region's communities. More information about the specific amenities like hiking trails, disc golf courses, basketball courts, tennis courts and playscapes at each can be found on the community pages on this website.

disc golf at the part

Located in Waco, Cameron Park is one of the nicest municipal parks in Texas at 416 acres of trails, disc golf, waterfront beauty, playscapes, and other activity areas. It is also home to the 52-acre Cameron Park Zoo. Waco also has two championship disc golf courses that sit along the Brazos River in Cameron Park and Brazos Park East.

Lake Whitney State Park, in Hill County, is 35 square miles and 225 miles of shoreline perfect for fishing, swimming, boating and water skiing. In addition, the park is a popular destination for hiking, camping, geocaching and stargazing. Located just 90 minutes from Dallas and Fort Worth, the popular area has been declared the official "Getaway Capital of Texas."

The Richland Chambers Reservoir covers nearly 65 square miles on the northern edge of Freestone County and is the third-largest inland reservoir in Texas, offering 330 miles of shoreline known for lakeshore homes.

Fifty miles northwest of Waco is Meridian State Park, a 72-acre lake with fishing, swimming, canoeing, hiking and other activities. The park, buildings and dam for the lake were constructed in the mid-1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps

Residents and visitors of Waco are thankful to have access to Lake Waco. The reservoir on the Brazos River has 79,000 acre feet of water and offers a plethora of recreation activities on the western border of the city. An interesting side story is the presence of the Lake Waco Wetlands, created to mitigate habitat loss when Lake Waco was raised by seven feet in 2001. The Wetlands are home to a variety of plants, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles and are used by Baylor University for research purposes.

While Marlin is known as the Hot Mineral Water City of Texas, it has another wonderful treasure in the Falls on the Brazos Park. The park is a historical point of frontier and steamboat travel and is now a recreational draw for camping, picnics at covered pavilions, fishing, hiking, canoeing and other activities.

Situated on the eastern side of Freestone County is Fairfield Lake State Park. It includes the 2,400-acre Fairfield Lake that is a state draw for bass fishing tournaments. Other popular water activities include swimming, paddling, water skiing and jet skiing.

lakeside campsite


Our perfect weather is ideal for golfers too. Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, a laid-back 18-hole course is a top-ranked municipal course off I-35. Those who want to play on a regular basis, may enjoy joining Lake Waco Golf Club or Bear Ridge Golf Club. Lake Waco Golf Club is on the north side of Lake Waco and features an 18-hole regulation golf course and the only executive 18-hole par 3 golf course between Dallas and Austin. Club members have the added benefit of being able to fish on the lake, enjoy the pool and restaurant.

Nearby, Ridgewood Country Club offers high-end amenities and is known as being the foremost family country club in Central Texas. They offer golf, dining, fitness, tennis, swimming, a clubhouse and marina for those living in Waco and the Heart of Texas region. Their 18-hole championship course, tennis courts, fitness center and resort-style complex makes it ideal for executives and families looking for a recreation community.

Freestone County is home to another golfing treasure - the Tri-County Golf Club at the Vineyards. The beautiful 18-hole course has four sets of tees for different skill levels, making it ideal for families who play together.

The Bosque Valley Golf Club in Bosque County is a well-maintained 9-hole course nestled along the Bosque River.