Set sail for summer fun

Set sail for summer fun

By Sydni Ellis

If I could bottle up a bit of June’s dreamy, luminescent sunshine, I would spritz it all year long to prolong that magical early summer feeling. It’s practically impossible to feel sad this time of year when the outdoors beckons you every day. This is your chance to spend hours in the sun, take life easy, and soak up every moment. The best way to enjoy those good summer vibes is by cruising on the cool water of a nearby lake. We don’t need exotic beaches and surfing to have fun; going on a harbor cruise in North Texas feels just as wonderful. 

Take a ride on a gondola, catamaran, pontoon, or party boat on one of the many lakes in Rockwall, Irving, Dallas, and more this month. There are so many options to fit every preference, from romantic trips to booze cruises to simple summer fun. All you need is sunscreen and your favorite swimsuit for this adventure. Welcome aboard! 

Start your voyage at Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall, my hometown lake! Many companies offer boat rentals, but one of the best for themed cruises is Sail with Scott, captained by the award-winning Scott Self. Date night looks like a ride on a hand-built Spanish cedar catamaran, complete with open space at the bow for pictures a laTitanic-style. You can choose from an intimate, 90-minute sunset cruise, where guests are welcome to bring their own bottle of wine or dessert to indulge in while they watch the sky changing colors at sunset, or an hour-long moonlight cruise, which sets out at 9 p.m. and offers stunning views of the moon. Families and friends can also book a one-hour daytime cruise, which sets out at 5:30 p.m. and includes BYOB drinks and plenty of picture-worthy moments. Tickets start at $25. Reserve your spot at 

Take a ride on Harbor Lights or Sapphire Moon, part of the fleet offered by DFW Boat Ride on Lake Ray Hubbard. The former is a 57-foot double deck party boat ride with an enclosed main deck and a large upper deck perfect for stargazing, while the latter is a 52-foot double deck open air boat with premium VIP lounge seating on the lower deck and a generous upper deck. Book a sunset cruise, starlight cruise, holiday cruise, family cruise, or private charter cruise. BYOB and picnics are welcome on these festive trips, perfect for family reunions, girls’ nights, date nights, office parties, baby showers, birthdays, and more. Tickets start at $25 for public cruises and $1,540 and up for private charters. 

If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, an outing on Fastrac Charters on Lake Texoma in Pottsboro is a fantastic choice. 

Their fleet offers sunset and dinner cruises, themed parties, private charters, lake history tours, day trips, team building events, special occasions, and more for groups from two to 86 people. Some of the options include a romantic cruise on the 55-foot yacht, Last Call; a wedding or company get-together on the 86-passenger party boat, Island Girl; and a sunset cruise on Sight-Sear-Er II, complete with dinner and BYOB. For the wannabe Sherlocks, book a 1.5-hour murder mystery cruise, where guests will try to find clues, interrogate suspects, and solve puzzles to figure out the boat murderer. Or book a four-hour lake day cruise, with a stop on a private beach to hang out or ride kayaks. Basically, Fastrac Charters is focused on creating the right experience for you — the only thing stopping you from having a good time is your imagination! Learn more at

Next stop is the Collin Park Marina in Wylie, where Woody’s on the Lake offers premier boat rentals on Lake Lavon. Most of these options allow you to be your own captain, including the fishing pontoon for up to six adults ($89/hour), a standard pontoon for 8-10 people ($109/hour), and a premium pontoon for 8-10 people ($129/hour). This is a fun way to feel the wind on your hair while steering your vessel around the lake (Note: you must be at least 25 years old to book). You can also rent single person tubes to pull behind the boat or lily pads to play with on the water. For a more luxurious option, go with a Captained Cabin Cruiser for up to six people (starting at $525), and a party parge for up to 25 passengers (starting at $750) are also available. Book your rental at

The Spirit of Dallas on White Rock Lake offers free boating to all citizens of Dallas on The Spirit of Dallas custom catamaran. Lay back and relish the simple bliss of hanging out on the water, letting the wind blow the sails as you make you way across the lake. You can choose a beautiful sunset sail to see the sky painted in oranges and pinks, a nature sail complete with wildlife views, or a history sail to learn about White Rock Lake’s unique history. Feel free to bring a picnic onboard (just no alcohol), to really enjoy the moment. Reserve your spot at

Finally, experience some Italian-style summer fun with Gondola Adventures on Mandalay Canal or Lake Carolyn in Irving. A gondola is one of the most romantic boats, where guests can dress up and imagine they’re gliding through the canals in Venice. Everyone is encouraged to greet passersby in Italian, and couples must follow tradition by kissing under every bridge. A classic cruise is either one hour or 90 minutes, where up to 10 passengers can be introduced to gondolas with a beautiful ride and gourmet chocolates, sparkling cider, or hot cocoa (you can also bring your own wine or champagne). Or choose a breakfast, lunch, or dinner cruise for a dreamy date over the water. This can be everything from a casual picnic lunch to a more decadent three-course dinner. Prices range from $155 to $425. 

Embark on a water adventure this month by booking one of these laidback cruises. Even though you aren’t leaving Texas, the wine, relaxing atmosphere, and gorgeous views are sure to put you in a vacation state of mind. Whether you go with a sweetheart, a group of friends, your family, or just yourself and a really good book, a summer boat ride is the closest chance you have to feel a little magic in the midst of this chaotic year. Leave all your worries out on the water and come back feeling refreshed. Bon voyage!

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