If you are the kind of person that loves nothing more than to spend your time on or near water, then Choke Canyon State Park is your kind of place.
Championed for being a great place for boating, fishing and swimming, the park is one of the newer ones in the Texas state park system, having first opened in 1986. However, it has quickly established itself as being one of its most popular.
Away from the water, the park is renowned for being a great place to watch the sunrise over the South Texas flatlands. It’s also home to a diverse range of birds and wildlife and offers up some excellent overnight camping options too.
For those looking for a place to escape into the bosom of nature, there’s no better destination to put on your ‘must visit’ list.
Visitors to the park can engage in several outdoor recreational activities during their time at Choke Canyon.
Here are some more details about what you can do whilst you are there.
Boating at Choke Canyon State Park
As you could well imagine, Choke Canyon Reservoir’s wide surface area acts as a haven for boaters.
This is particularly true at the South Shore Day Use Area. Which allows you to go full throttle, once you get past the dam and 30-foot no-wake zone, for as far as you want to.
Aside from motor boats, the likes of kayaking, canoeing, SUP, jet skiing and water skiing are all popular activities here too.
Swimming at Choke Canyon State Park
Swimmers are spoilt for choice at the park as the entire reservoir is open for this activity.
Its stunning blue waters are the perfect way to cool down on a very hot day. However you will need to exercise caution when you swim as the area is not lifeguarded.
For this reason, you should probably steer clear of the South Shore Day Use Area, on account of all the powerboats. Although you can go for a dip at the dam or no-wake area where boats are prohibited.
Alternatively, the east side of the Calliham Unit is a decent spot for swimmers as the boat launch is located on the west side.
Fishing at Choke Canyon State Park
Fishing is another hugely popular activity at the park with anglers from all over Texas, as well as the surrounding states, coming to it to cast a line.
Most of the fishing in boats takes place at the Calliham Area, which is teaming with catfish or bass. Don’t be surprised if you catch double-digit numbers of them on any given session.
If you are lucky, you might also be able to hook crappie and sunfish too.
While at the Calliham Area, you can make use of a rock jetty and fish cleaning shelters. And like with all state parks in Texas, you do not need a license to fish from shore.
Bird and Wildlife Viewing
Choke Canyon State Park is a terrific place to observe a unique range of birds and wildlife.
This section of the park is the northernmost habitat in Texas for numerous breeds of Mexican birds, including the impressive Mexican Eagle. Who come to the park for its plentiful water supply.
Other species of birds you can see in the park include green jay, Harris’s hawk, Audubon’s oriole, mottled duck, least grebe, great kiskadee and olive sparrow.
As well as birds, the park is home to several types of wildlife including coyotes, raccoons and Rio Grande turkeys.
This area is renowned for being the westernmost habitat for alligators too. Which along with the other animals tend to reside in the mesquite thickets which are scattered around the landscape.
Be sure to bring your binoculars to the park to improve your chances of spotting any of these fascinating creatures.
Pets at Choke Canyon State Park
You are welcome to bring pets to the park, although at all times they must be kept on a leash.
Some other restrictions for dogs may also apply, so it is a good idea to contact the park’s main office to clarify what they are.
Camping at Choke Canyon State Park
For visitors who want to stay for a few nights at the park there are several camping options available to them.
This includes 40 sites that come with 50-amp hookups for electricity as well as water, of which 5 are ADA accessible.
All of these sites come with individual picnic tables as well as fire rings and barbecue grills. They are also situated near comfort stations with flush toilets and hot showers.
If you would prefer to stay in a cabin there are 20 available within the park (5 of which are ADA accessible) that can accommodate up to 8 people per site.
These cabins do not come with bathrooms. But they do have air conditioning, as well as 20-amp electricity, picnic tables, a fire ring with a grill and a water spigot outside. Again these are located near restrooms with toilets and showers too.
For those looking for tent sites there are 9 available about a 50 meter walk from the parking lot. They also come with water, as well as picnic tables, outdoor grills and a fire ring.
There is also a group youth camp situated on the south side of the lake that can accommodate up to 50 people.
Choke Canyon State Park
358 Recreational Rd 8
Calliham, TX 78007
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Choke Canyon State Park: