Take a minute to look through the information below and get information on the layout of Lake Amistad and the marinas located on the lake.
Lake Amistad, stretching across the border of two nations, is a glorious spot for anyone who loves water sports, houseboating, and ancient culture. The pictographs of the Panther and Parida Caves are just as much a draw as the smooth waters and the abundant fish. Paddling a kayak is a popular pastime on Lake Amistad, and everything from the large houseboats to the slimmer jet ski can be rented from the marinas.
Although there are other launch ramps scattered throughout the shores of Lake Amistad, the main launch ramps (and the most reliable) are at Lake Amistad Marina (at Diablo East), Rough Canyon Marina, and Southwinds (LAFB) Marina, as well as Box Canyon.
Lake Amistad Marina and Rough Canyon Marina, operated by Forever Resorts, rent boats as well as launch them, and also sell bait, snacks, beverages, ice, and fuel . . . even groceries. Southwinds Marina only serves military personnel (active and retired).
Exploring the Lake
Lake Amistad is large, stretching across the border of Mexico and the United States, and houseboats are an efficient way to explore it. Boats from 50' to 59' can be rented from the marinas. Waterskiing and motor-boating are also popular. (You can boat on the Mexican side of the lake, but you'll need to acquire a Mexican permit first.)
Fishing can be done from almost anywhere along the shore (save harbors and beaches) as well as from a boat. Lake Amistad's "big fish" are the Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Striped bass, Channel catfish, and the Black crappie.
If you prefer to take to the water on a kayak or canoe, you'll find a number of excellent routes within canyons and caves. Some of the sites especially explorable by canoe (although also by boat) are kayak are the vertical walls of Box Canyon, the waterfalls of Indian Springs, and the rock art of Parida and Panther Cave.
Panther Cave is the more famous of the two sites. Its rear wall is occupied by an 80 foot panel of ancient motifs, the largest being that 10 foot panther. Parida Cave was heavily looted and graffitied before it could be preserved, but the current site is beautifully cleaned up and still full of significant pictographs. Both can only be reached by boat.
Hikers will have trails, though, such as the Sunrise Trail, but they're also welcome to hike the shoreline and, really, anywhere within the U.S. park they can reach. Birding is another popular activity here. Swing by Spur 454 and 406 to catch Interior least terns in the summer, and watch out, generally, for Black-capped vireo, Golden-cheeked warbler, and Colima warbler, as well as waterfowl and shorebirds.
If you're not a birder and not a boater, swimming is just fine. The summer temperature of the water is about 84 degrees and you can swim absolutely everywhere, save the coves with boat ramps. There are plenty of cliffs, but cliff-diving is really not recommended.
Other Things to Know
Especially if you're hiking or paddling, be sure to bring plenty of water, especially in the summer. Do be aware that Park Rangers can't come get you if you get stranded on the Mexican side of the park.