June 29 and we still have plenty of wildflowers. I appreciate this weekend’s guests who were kind enough to pick a few for everyone to enjoy.
Only three of our cabins here at Lake Whitney have ovens so it takes a little creativity to manage several days’ meals. We have a tips and tricks on our Lake Whitney Pinterest Board, but here are the basics.
- Bring paper and plasticware. You want to spend your vacation washing dishes after every meal? User paper goods for meals that aren’t wet or drippy, then bring along a set of sturdy plastic plates or bowls for cereal or for heavier meals like steak. Nobody really wants to eat a big juicy steak off of a flimsy paper plate, right?
- If you have an electric skillet or griddle bring that to expand your cooking options.
- Don’t limit your grilling to just meat. Grilled corn, squash, onions, tomatoes, pineapple, and even orange slices are creative additions to any meal. Use cast iron skillets to scramble eggs or even bake brownies.
- Think combos. Dump things together for simpler cooking and serving.
- Spread the chores. If there are several in your group that cook, divide up the meals. Assign each cook a meal to plan, shop for, and prepare. Be clear about cleanup expectations. Assign those chores in advance as well.
- Relax a little. Vacation is for experiencing new things or indulging in the things you would never eat at home.
- Bring snacks. Whether your weekend activity of choice is flopped in bed watching a movie or busy time on and in the water, snacks are appropriate and might limit the actual cooking to one or two meals instead of three.
- Make a plan. Before you go to the store. Download our easy weekend escape meal planner.
Lake Whitney boat rentals are really not that complicated, but there are a few key points that are important regarding your rental choices.
- Where are you staying while at the lake? If you aren’t spending the night, what is your base of operations? This is important information to know before you make your rental choice. That’s because Lake Whitney is a BIG lake. In theory, you could choose a lodging facility that is at the far north end of the lake, and think that any boat rental company will work out for you. It might, as long as you don’t mind a bit of driving AND don’t have plans to take the boat on water all the way to the northern part of the lake, say to have lunch at your cabin or pick up the late sleepers. The goal should be to rent as close to your lodging or gathering spot as possible for the least hassle and the least amount of travel time either on the water or by land. The easiest choices is to stay at one of the full service resorts on the lake and trust their advice for the nearest boat rentals.
We also get calls from people who think that just because there is a dock in the cove near where they are staying they can use it for loading people on and off a rental boat. Other than public docks in the public parks, docks are private property and unless you have specific permission to use one, don’t do it. The point of this is that staying at a private rental house probably doesn’t include any kind of dock, so be prepared to rent from a company that offers a dock or public launch. That is the only place you should load or unload people and gear.
- What will you do on the boat? This is the number one question I ask people who want to know how much the fuel will cost. We have people who drive out to the middle of the lake and park the boat for fishing or swimming and then we have renters who drive at full speed the entire rental time frame. The fuel costs are very different for those two scenarios.
- Check the weather. It’s always best to have at least a general idea about the weather before you attempt to rent a boat. We never send our boats out in unsafe conditions, but cool temperatures or light precipitation without wind or lightening are still viable conditions. You will be responsible for your reserved time under those circumstances.
- Come prepared. It’s always best if you arrive for your boat rental with everything you need: fishing licenses and bait, sunscreen, towels, snacks, and plenty of drinks.
So you’re thinking about a trip to the lake. Maybe you’re looking for a spot to camp or maybe you want to rent a boat. Maybe you’re a “lake person,” maybe not. Maybe you just need a break from the craziness of the life you live. Whatever the reason is that brought you to the ah-ha moment when you said to yourself, “Let’s go to the lake this weekend,” you need information to get the ball rolling.
So here are the absolute most important things you have to know about Lake Whitney BEFORE you make your travel plan:
- Lake Whitney is a flood control lake, originally built in the 50’s to keep Waco from flooding. It’s really good at that, but it’s also one of the least crowded lakes you will find in Texas that lies within 100 miles of a major metropolitan area. There are lakes with smaller crowds, but those tend to fall into 2 categories: either they have more mud than water, or are two+ hours from civilized society. The lake at normal level is over 100 feet deep, plus it has a 40′ flood pool. Without getting all hydro-technical, what that means is that the water level on Lake Whitney rises and falls pretty dramatically, so nothing sits at the edge of the lake. Don’t picture cabins sitting at the water’s edge here. What Lake Whitney lacks in edgewater property, it more than makes up for in scenic beauty and wildlife habitat in that zone where the water is allowed to rise and fall.
- Lake Whitney has 9 resort lodging facilities and 1 B&B on the lake. Eight of the resorts are “Mom & Pop” type operations; one is a golf development. These resorts are ideal for either weekend or vacation stays at the lake. They all offer direct access to the lake, services like boat rentals, supplies, and ice. Most have swimming pools and other on-site attractions to keep you entertained without even leaving the property. There are no chain hotels within 18 miles of the lake. There are a handful of lodging choices near (not on) the lake, and an assortment of privately owned houses that are rented out. They may or may not have lake access. The private homes are unregulated by either county government. (The fact that the lake lies along the boundary between Hill and Bosque Counties is a bonus tidbit that you may not have known.)
- Lake Whitney has 1 state park and 13 parks operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The interesting thing here is that even the Lake Whitney State Park sits on Corps land that the state leases. These parks are scattered along the entire length of the lake. The parks offer everything from hiking trails to campsites to areas for picnicking and swimming. There are a few primitive “screen shelters” in some parks, but no cabins or lodging with plumbing or air conditioning.
- There are 3 official marinas. These are located on land leased from the Corps of Engineers. They offer long-term boat slips; occasionally you can find availability of slips that can be rented by the night. All three offer fuel, but not 24/7 twelve months out of the year, so plan accordingly. Two of the marinas are counted among the resort lodging facilities. All three offer camping. All three marinas have supplies; none have restaurants. Now here is where things get really interesting. In addition to the marinas, five of the resort facilities have docks where you can rent overnight boat slips. A few of these even have fuel, but only for their own guests. These are not officially considered to be marinas by the Corps of Engineers.
- There are 2 full service grocery stores in the town of Whitney. What that means is that you don’t have to load up half a dozen ice chests and haul your food with you.
- Lake Whitney is not currently a source of drinking water for any municipality. It actually could be, but it’s a bit salty and nobody has yet to come up with a good enough plan to desalinate it and transport it to their community. YEAH! Why you care about this is that we get to keep more water in the lake. Unlike drinking water lakes that often struggle to keep enough water for recreation, Whitney has one less thing to worry about. That does not mean that our water doesn’t get sold by the Brazos River Authority for other purposes, but at least there aren’t yet cities fighting to drain our lake .
- Lake Whitney is officially designated as the Getaway Capital of the state because it’s central location and all of the previous six things make it the perfect place for your getaway. So what are you waiting for?
2. Visit the Waco Zoo
3. Visit Fossil Rim Wildlife Park
4. Rent a pontoon boat and tour the lake.
5. Hike the shore. Spring is the perfect time for comfortable hiking. You can hike right here at Arrowhead, or at two nearby parks.
6. Game night with the kids! Use your Spring Break time to relax and spend time playing with the kids.Share