An oasis in the desert, Amistad National Recreation Area is located on the US portion of the International Amistad Reservoir. Amistad, whose name comes from the Spanish word meaning friendship is best known for excellent water-based recreation, camping, hiking, rock art viewing and its rich cultural history. Amistad is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life above and below the water.
There is a richness and beauty that exists at Amistad National Recreation Area. World-class fishing and boating draw visitors from across the continent to its clear waters, while ancient rock art sites attract visitors from around the world.
Pro anglers have recently discovered that Amistad Reservoir is a hidden gem with top-quality year round fishing, especially for largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass. Some fishermen also try for channel and blue catfish, crappie, sunfish, and alligator gar. To maintain the high-quality fishery, “catch and release” practices are encouraged. A valid Texas fishing license is required when fishing on the United States side of Amistad Reservoir. A Mexican fishing license is required when fishing on the Mexico side.
With approximately 60,000 surface acres of water and good weather most of the year, Amistad is a boater’s paradise. Houseboats, ski boats, sail boats, and personal watercraft are commonly seen on the lake. If needed, houseboats and other craft can be rented from Forever Resorts. A Lake Use Permit is required.
The recreation area offers five campgrounds. All are primitive without RV hookups. Campsites are on a first-come-first-served basis and cannot be reserved. RV parks and campgrounds with full facilities are located nearby. Camping is permitted by boat on undeveloped shorelines and group campsites are available and may be reserved up to 180 days in advance.
The Amistad NRA area is home to dramatic 4,000 year-old rock art. These mysterious paintings adorn rock shelter walls in numerous sites throughout the Amistad region. Panther and Parida Caves are accessible by boat (depending on lake level), and hikers can go on a guided tour at nearby Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site.