The Bird & Butterfly Inn

The Bird & Butterfly Inn

The Bird & Butterfly Inn

Visiting Sam Rayburn Reservoir Texas

Natural beauty abounds in this part of east Texas, with rolling hills and sprawling national forests, it’s easy to see why it’s called “the piney woods.”  Add to that the expansive, gorgeous clear water of Sam Rayburn Reservoir (formerly called the McGee Bend Reservoir and now more commonly called Lake Sam Rayburn) and you’ve really got something. A marvel of engineering created the reservoir; originally it was 14 sites that were excavated between 1956 and 1962, and ultimately took a full decade to complete, including the construction of a dam on the Angelina River, and resulted in a body of water that’s just under 180 square miles and nearly 3 million acre-feet of water.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir shore with a beautiful clear sky filled with clouds and a view of land from afar.

Exploring Sam Rayburn Reservoir – swimming, boating, and day trip ideas

Our East Texas bed and breakfast is a great option for visitors to the area that are looking for a Sam Rayburn Reservoir hotels. Whether you’re looking to spend a day fishing, want to rent a boat for the afternoon, are planning a dip in the warm water, or just want to enjoy the magnificent views, we know you’ll love the lake scenery and recreation as much as we do.

There are endless opportunities for fun on the water, from lounging on the sand, spending a relaxing afternoon of swimming, or renting a boat and exploring the miles of coastline along the lake’s boundaries, with inlets, bays, and hidden beaches in all directions. Just 2 ½ miles from our driveway is Ebenezer Park, a charming place to picnic, swim during the warmer months, drop a fishing line any time of year, and enjoy the views of the water and the nearby dam spillway. By mid-May, the lake’s water temperature climbs into the 70s and in June and July reaches the mid-80s, making for excellent swimming, waterskiing, and wakeboarding. But even during the less-crowded winter months, boating is widespread, with rentals available.

Drive just a few miles east on Sam Rayburn Parkway, where you’ll pass Overlook Park (an *excellent* place to catch a truly stunning sunset over the lake, particularly in late summer) along the way to Twin Dikes and Sam Rayburn Marina Resort. If you have a boat in tow, you’ll find several boat ramps in this area where you can put in the water. Check the state reservoir website for updated info on which beaches and boat ramps are open, as some lake access points are only open seasonally.

For an adventurous day trip, head to the other side of the lake for an afternoon and rent a boat at Powell Park, which is family-owned and has everything from kayaks and casual paddle boats to high-horsepower rigs that can accommodate over ten people. On the drive back, after enjoying the scenic riverside route, stop for a meal at the local favorite, Hamburger Depot. Their family-friendly menu is comfort food at its best, featuring over twenty burgers and southern classics like fried pickles, okra, and Texas toast.

A fishing mecca for experts and newbies alike

A big bass held by a man wearing a red shirt and gray jacket while on a boat.

It’d be silly to talk about Sam Rayburn Reservoir without mentioning fishing, as the two go hand in hand. Rated the nation’s #1 bass fishing lake by Bassmaster Magazine, the deep and fish-filled waters are rewarding for both new and experienced anglers. Just a quick look at the historical records for the lake reveal the variety of fish you can catch here as well as their impressive size (seriously, 16 lb large-mouth bass to catfish and carp weighing over 80 lbs – hope you’ve done your workout!!). There are countless spots to fish from shore, making it beginner-friendly. Start at Needmore Tackle, just down the road from us and family-owned since 1990, and your one-stop shop for tackle, bait, and advice on where the fish are biting best. And if venturing out isn’t for you, you can fish the Angelina River right off of our floating dock. Beware, we follow Mikelyn’s father’s fishing rules – “you catch it, you clean it.”

Even if you’re not into fishing, take a detour to the East Texas State Fish Hatchery, just off Sam Rayburn Parkway (Highway 255). They offer tours on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, where you can learn about their incredible 200-acre facility that breeds millions of fish to stock the state’s many reservoirs. And if you do catch a bass or catfish at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, it likely began its life here!

Book your stay with us, and the waters of east Texas will literally be at your doorstep!

Yellow butterfly cutout

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view of the entrance of the 1901 Cabin
Hats and pictures on the wall of the 1901 cabin
Pullman room bathroom with two sinks, lots of antique mirrors and a make up table
1901 Cabin - decoration details