Lake Athens Information

Lake Athens’ eastern border is just five miles east of Athens, Texas, in Henderson County. Athens is a charming town with a southern cultural atmosphere 72 miles southeast of downtown Dallas. Lake Athens covers 1,799 acres with a maximum depth of 50 feet. Lake Athens has one big island, Goat Island.

Lake Athens was built in 1961. Athens Municipal Water Authority owns and operates Lake Athens for municipal water supply, flood regulation, and recreation. Athens, Texas, has a Walmart but Dallas serves the Lake Athens region as the closest metro area with shopping and entertainment. 

History of Lake Athens

Flat creek in the Neches River Basin feeds Lake Athens. You can think of Lake Athens as a suburb of Athens because of the beautiful homes that surround the lake. Matthew Cartwright donated 160 acres for the county seat that eventually became Athens, Texas. The first time the district court met in 1850, it met under an oak tree in the soon to be city square. 

Athens’ first jailhouse cost more than its first log courthouse at $500, and the courthouse cost $65. Before Athens really began to gather steam in becoming the Henderson County seat, Levi S. Cogburn, from a family of potters from Georgia, spurred on the modern pottery movement in Henderson County when he began producing cups, saucers, and plates in 1857 in Athens. 

The Lake Athens region was home to prehistoric Caddoan Indians who made fine pottery from the rich clay deposits abundant in the area. Levi made pottery in his plant until his death in 1866. Levi’s plant operated for a short while after his death. Athens’ pottery industry was reborn in 1885 by a potter called McKendree (M. K.) Miller along with his sons. 

Henderson County is part of the Wilcox Eocene formation of the Gulf Coastal Plain which contains a complex mass of sands, clays, lignites, marls, etc. between Porter Creek clays below and Tallahatta buhrstone of Claiborne group above it. M. K. was born in Illinois, and worked for a Louisiana, Missouri, pottery company before he moved to Texas.

In 1884, M. K. traveled by train to Dallas, and then walked to Athens for the large sources of clay deposits. He established Athens Pottery, which sold products throughout the southwest by railroad until 1930 when the company bought its own trucks. Athens Pottery eventually manufactured syrup jugs, churns, jars, vases, cups, and mugs and acquired seven Texas potteries. It was selling $3 million worth of pottery by 1925 and employed 200 workers, which was 75% of Athens’ population.

As Athens pottery was passed down through the Miller family lineage, it failed during the Great Depression. Great grandson M. K. Miller Jr. bought the plant in Athens and renamed it Athens Tile and Pottery in 1934. It quit manufacturing flowerpots by 1968, and produced domestic ware pottery. M. K. Jr. passed away in 1985, the one hundred year anniversary of the Miller pottery legacy. 

Today in Athens, there is a historical marker recognizing Levi Cogburn and McKendree Miller’s contributions to modern pottery making. Athens, Texas, is the namesake of Athens, Greece. Dulcinia A. Holland suggested the name Athens back in 1850 when the town was first chartered. Today Athens boasts as being the center of Henderson County’s rich cultural heritage. 

Lake Athens Cabins and Vacation Homes

Lake Athens is a small community lake with few vacation homes and cabin rental options. It is best to search for them, check availability, and book early. 

Find the perfect vacation home on our Lake Athens Cabins page. 

Camping at Lake Athens

The Lake Athens Marina and RV Park is the only campground at Lake Athens. Pets are welcome, and it comes packed with amenities. Fifty amp RV sites and Wi-Fi internet service are available. There is no tent camping. This marina provides the only public access to Lake Athens. Lake Athens is not a party lake and its seclusion ensures a peaceful retreat for everyone. Visit our Lake Athens Campgrounds page for details.

Fishing Lake Athens

Lake Athens is well known for largemouth bass weighing between three and eight pounds. The record largemouth bass is 14.19 lbs in 1988. Ten-inch sunfish are common. Other species include white bass, bowfin, smallmouth buffalo, channel and flathead catfish, black and white crappie, freshwater drum, spotted gar, and bluegill, redbreast, and redear sunfish. 

Aquatic Vegetation includes shoreline beds of coontail, pondweed, lilies, and alligator weed located mostly above the 2505 bridge. There is standing timber in the middle of Lake Athens, flooded timber scattered around the shoreline, riprap at the dam, and submerged structure surrounding Goat Island. 

You can take the kids to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to learn all about Texas fish species and fish with commercially prepared baits in their original containers or natural baits such as crickets, chicken livers, worms or corn, providing those baits have been inspected and approved by staff at the Anglers Pavilion. TFFC provides bait at no charge to visitors, and approved fish food is available in coin-operated dispensers.

Even though Lake Athens is small, several fishing guide services operate on Lake Athens. There are plenty of places to fish around Lake Athens, which is usually uncrowded with little boat activity. There is only one two-lane public boat ramp at the Lake Athens Marina on the northwestern side of the lake.

Find experienced local guides on our Lake Athens Fishing Guides page. 

Boating Lake Athens

Lake Athens is not crowded with boat traffic and provides easily found calm waters for skiing and water sports. There are a few places to drop anchor and swim. The only boat ramp is located at the Lake Athens Marina on the northwestern side of the lake on the east side of Lake Athens’ northwestern arm with two lanes and kayak and paddle board rentals. Lake Athens offers great views of amazing lake homes with private access to the lake. Lake Athens is small, but has a maximum depth of 50 feet. 

Find or sell a boat on our Lake Athens Boats for Sale page. 

Lake Athens Marinas

The Lake Athens Marina and RV Park is the only marina serving Lake Athens boaters. It is not a public park and fees apply. Its amenities include full hookups, pull thru available, Wi-Fi, convenience store, pets welcome, laundry, 50 amp hookups, diner/snack bar, gas, and propane. Check out our Lake Athens Marinas page for more information.

Lake Athens Real Estate

Lake Athens real estate is a limited supply market in Texas for lake homes and lake lots. The average list price for Lake Athens homes is $1,377,000. There are typically ten lake homes for sale on Lake Athens, and ten lake lots and parcels at any given time.

The closest Walmart is in Athens, Texas, and the Athens ISD is the only school district. Athens is home to numerous restaurants and a few places that serve alcohol. The nearest metro shopping and entertainment area is in Dallas about 72 miles northwest of Lake Athens. 

To find your dream lake home, explore our Lake Athens Homes For Sale page. 

Lake Athens Hiking Trails

The East Texas Arboretum welcomes you to two miles of trail with common sightings of camouflaged frogs, insects, and deer along winding, spring-fed streams connected by a 115-foot suspension bridge. It is located at 1601 Patterson Rd. Athens, TX 75751 (Hwy 175 inside Loop 7). 

Things to Do At Lake Athens

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) provides one of the most unique Texas aquatic educational opportunities. The TFFC offers group tours which allow visitors to fish at their casting ponds, attend a native fish feeding program, view their outdoor hatchery on a tram tour, and walking its Wetland Trail. It has 300,000 gallons of fish aquaria and its Interpretive Wetlands Trail is ADA accessible.

There is not much of a nightlife on or near Lake Athens and the Athens Boathouse Bar & Grill at the Lake Athens Marina and RV Park is the only restaurant on Lake Athens. Athens, Texas, only five miles west of Lake Athens’ eastern side, offers interesting attractions with small town charm. 

The East Texas Arboretum in Athens, Texas features a discovery barn, a dream garden created by certified Master Gardeners, a replica of a historical Little Red School House, and the Wofford House. The Wofford House is the oldest house in Henderson County, was built in 1850, features culinary and medicinal gardens, and is fully restored with period furniture and household wares. 

The Athens Scuba Park, a world-class dive site, attracts scuba divers from all over the U.S., and features a 35-foot deep, 8-acre spring-fed clay pit. The park is on the grounds of the old Harbson-Walker brick factory, one of the first industries in Henderson County. The clay pit has underwater wrecks of buses, airplanes, and boats with caves and other locales for recreational diving and new diver training.

Plan your next adventure on our What To Do At Lake Athens page.

Lake Athens Weather & Climate

Lake Athens sees an average of 44 inches of rain, 230 sunny days, and one inch of snow per year. The January low is 35 degrees, the July high is 93 degrees, and April, May, and October are the most pleasant months of the year. 

Stay up to date on our Lake Athens Weather Forecast page.

Lake Athens Zip Codes

Henderson County: 75124, 75148, 75156, 75163, 75751, 75752, 75756, 75758, 75763, 75770, 75778, 75782. 

Flora and Fauna

Wildlife viewing opportunities on Lake Athens include sightings of alligators, doves, ducks, geese, javelina hogs, quail, rabbits and hares, rails, gallinules, and moorhens, squirrels, teals, white-tailed deer, Wilson's snipe (common snipe or jacksnipe), and woodcock.

Wildflower season at Lake Athens begins in the early months of the year and lasts until the first frost of the fall or winter. Master Gardener Wayne Stafford reported two hundred varieties of flowers in the Lake Athens region. Lake Athens is located in the Texas Post Oak Savannah wildlife district. Trees include stands of elms, oak, pecans, eastern red cedars, and walnuts. 

Lake Athens Email Updates


Lake Athens Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Athens Weather Forecast


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 92

Saturday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 73


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 94

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 74


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 95

Monday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 75



Hi: 96

Tuesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 75

Lake Athens Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 7/13: 440.27 (+0.27)