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Home > Blog > To Lake Ray Hubbard and Back: The Perfect Day Trip from Mesquite

To Lake Ray Hubbard and Back: The Perfect Day Trip from Mesquite

Mesquite is set halfway between downtown Dallas and one of the biggest draws in north Texas—Lake Ray Hubbard. The 22,000-acre lake is one of the largest in the state, with plenty of room to play. On the water, boaters hit the throttle for water skiers along 13 miles of waves. Anglers cast for abundant sport fish, including channel and blue catfish, and white, hybrid stripped, and largemouth bass. Picturesque marinas offer plenty of people and boat watching and grassy lawns along the shore call for sunbathing and picnicking. And you can get out on the water faster by starting your day in Mesquite.

Getting to Know Lake Ray Hubbard

It doesn’t take long to realize that Lake Ray Hubbard is big—and there’s a lot to do there. Most people start their adventure by traveling to one of the parks surrounding the lake. Some of your best options include:

Lakeside Park South : This park in Rowlett is filled with picnic tables and barbecue grills. There are hiking trails, a volleyball court, and paddleboat rentals as well. There is plenty of space to play with the dog and a pier for fishing.

Windsurf Bay Park : As the name suggests, this is a popular destination for windsurfers. You’ll also find lots of open space for a football game or Frisbee, but swimming is not permitted here, and there is no boat ramp.

Pecan Grove Park : This park is located next to the Rowlett Community Centre and the Wet Zone, which includes a massive water park for summertime fun. The park features a 1-mile walking trail, a Kids Kingdom play structure, and picnic tables.

Terry Park: In the city of Heath, Terry Park has two nice boat ramps, making it an excellent spot to put your boat in the lake. There are newly built restrooms, a pavilion, picnic tables, and a milelong walking trail as well.

John Paul Jones Park : This small park in the city of Garland on the west shore of the lake isn’t huge, but it does have a good fishing pier and a walking trail along the lake. There’s a boat ramp, restrooms, and picnic facilities—plus it’s across the street from a Bass Pro Shop if you need supplies.

Don’t have a boat of your own? No problem, there are plenty of rental options on the lake. At Chandlers Landing Marina, Suntex Watersports can help you with a sport boat, pontoon boat, or Waverunner to explore the lake. If you want to get a group together out on the lake for a good time, Party Boat Dallas rents 12-person, double-decker boats that come with a grill and plenty of deck space to entertain. It rents Waveriders as well.

Looking for something a little more subdued? Take to the lake in a kayak. At Kayak Instruction Inc., you can rent boats as well as take classes and clinics to learn how to use them better. If you’re interested in trying a stand-up paddleboard, check out Lakeside Paddlesports, which has a big fleet of rentals.

Lake Ray Hubbard is also one of the area’s best spots for fishing, with white and hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, channel and blue catfish, and white crappie all prevalent in the lake. While you really can’t go wrong anywhere on the lake, the area around the heated discharge on the west side of I-30 is known as a good spot for sport fishing.

Back in Mesquite

Mesquite also has its own share of outdoor adventures available nearby. Samuell Farm is a 609-acre park with a lake for fishing, plus a walking trail, playground, volleyball courts, and picnic areas. Bring a lunch and enjoy an afternoon there. In the spring, the farm holds an annual 10k and 6k Bluebonnet Walk, to help people enjoy the colorful wildflowers.

The John Bunker Wetlands Center in Seagoville is an opportunity to explore a beautiful nature preserve. Walk the boardwalks over the wetlands and see all kid of birds and wildlife. Inside the center, you can learn more about water conservation, wetland systems, and wildlife management in the area. Kids will love the hands-on projects in the area. This facility hosts a number of classes and workshops for grades 4 through 12. For families that live in the area, this is an outstanding resource for outdoor education.

With more than 20 hotels in town, Mesquite has a lodging option for every traveler’s needs. Attached to the Mesquite Convention Center & Exhibit Hall, the Hampton Inn & Suites is the perfect place to stay if you’re also attending a concert at the Mesquite Arena. Across the street, book into the TownePlace Suites. Built in 2018, the pet and family-friendly hotel has in-room kitchenettes. Also nearby, the Holiday Inn Express has all the amenities travelers look for, from complimentary hot breakfast to a heated indoor pool.

To explore more of the town of Mesquite, the Courtyard by Marriott is located by Celebration Station (home to family fun) and Mesquite’s Restaurant Row. If you’d rather stay in, the hotel also has an in-house bistro with a nightly happy hour. Fairfield Inn & Suites is also within walking distance of Restaurant Row and Celebration Station, which features paintball, bumper boats, miniature golf, an arcade, and many other options for kids activities.

Where to Eat

Mesquite is filled with excellent options both before and after your time exploring the outdoors. If you’re missing your grandma’s country cooking, Donna’s Kitchen is for you. This homey place serves breakfast classics include chicken fried steak with a choice of grits or biscuits and cream gravy on the side. This is Texas after all, so there are Tex-Mex breakfast options on the menu, too, like the crowd-pleasing breakfast quesadillas. Mini-jukeboxes on the tables and vintage décor give the restaurant a nostalgic bent and cozy feel. Scrambles is a classic neighborhood diner, and the breakfast menu overflows with omelets and buttermilk pancakes (yes, you do want to add the strawberries). Specials include a classic breakfast sandwich on thick Texas toast and the California Style Breakfast with crispy hash browns, grilled onions, sausage, and green peppers.

Mesquite has more than 150 dining options on the menu, from Greek eateries to Caribbean, and from downhome joints to Zagat-rated restaurants. For real Texas flavor, head to Café Del Rio, where the sizzling flavors match the colorful atmosphere. Here classic enchiladas come smothered with your choice of piping hot queso, hearty Tex-Mex style chili, or smooth sour cream sauce. The restaurant has Gulf Coast roots, so you may be tempted by the Shrimp Brochette, a Jumbo shrimp stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and a sliver of spicy jalapeño, wrapped in bacon, and fried to crispy perfection. If you’re back in town in time, belly up to the horseshoe-shaped bar for happy hour from 4 pm to 7 pm Monday through Friday.

For chile and spice of a different variety, head to The Curry Leaf, the home of authentic Indian cuisine. Wednesday through Friday, opt for the masala dosa, a crispy, savory Indian pancake stuffed with spice-laden potatoes. Sunday buffets offer samplings of authentic dishes from Northern to Southern India.

Saltgrass Steakhouse wraps Texas history and tried-and-true flavors into every bite. The restaurant borrows its name from the legendary Salt Grass Trail, along which cowboys drove cattle to the Texas Gulf Coast to graze on coastal salt grass. These cattle were thought to create the best beef in the Lone Star State. Saltgrass Steakhouse lives up to that laudable history serving Certified Angus Beef steaks, often topped with garlic butter and its own signature blend Saltgrass-7 Steak Spice. Not up for a steak? No worries. The menu also includes barbecue baby back ribs, burgers, and homemade beer bread served with warm honey butter.

Porch Swing, one of the newest places in town, serves classic Southern flavors in modern surrounds. At this restaurant, you have to come in with a game plan because you’re going to want to leave room for pie—like the banana cream or pecan, with ever-so-flaky crust. This restaurant doesn’t cut any corners. It slow smokes meats and pairs them with house-made rolls slathered with sweet or spicy honey. You may go for the food, but on Friday and Saturday nights you’ll stay for the live music grooving to everything from roots rock to bluegrass.

Written by Ashley M. Biggers for Matcha in partnership with Mesquite CVB.

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