Mastering the Magic of Lakefront and Recreation Master Planning

May 8, 2024

A soft breeze. Crisp, glimmering waters. Birds serenading you among fresh green grass and trees.

Lakefront developments — the perfect place to melt your stress away — serve our communities and improve lives in many ways. They provide entertainment, recreation, rest and relaxation outside the bustle of the city.

The Allure of Lakefront Tourism and Recreation

The allure of lakefront development captures millions of visits each year. Camping, park and lakefront recreation has seen a significant participation surge in recent years, especially during the onset of COVID, as people desire more outdoor experiences.

Lakefront development quote from the Urban Land Institute

Below are several statistics and trends in outdoor camping, tourism and recreation:

Visits to lakefronts extend far beyond camping or relaxing on the beach. Master plans are incorporating a wide range of activities that are in high demand, including:

    • Water sports (such as kayaking, paddleboarding and boating)
    • Scenic hiking and biking trails
    • Fishing
    • Glamping
    • Adventure activities (such as zip-lining)
    • Bicycle pump tracks


Project Portfolio: How Halff Turns Vision into Reality

From concept to campground, Halff has substantial portfolio of planning and landscape architecture project experience related to lakefront development. Take a look at a handful of our projects below.

Lake Pflugerville, TX rendering of project lakefront beach

Lake Pflugerville | Pflugerville, TX

Already classified as “The Central Park” of Pflugerville, this lakefront park is in high demand for recreational use. Halff completed the first phase of the park design in 2014, which consists of beach expansion, large playground, shade structures, improved restroom facilities and expanded parking.

Lake Pflugerville is subdivided into four distinct activity areas: an active beach, a preserved natural wetland, a heritage farm and a passive recreation area that includes fishing piers.


Rendering of the Walter E. Long Metro Park Master Plan at sunset by the lake

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park Master Plan | Austin, TX

Key elements of this award-winning visionary plan included a 12+ mile trail loop, high activity-producing park amenities and eco-tourism related facilities. Halff’s vision plan included regional trail connections to surrounding urban areas and careful selection of land to preserve as much of the existing natural resources as possible, while enhancing and developing other areas of the park. Flexibility for vendors and concessionaire partners was also a key strategy of the plan. This project was awarded the 2020 Texas ASLA Merit Award.


Rendering of Lewisville Lake hotel at a bird's eye view

Lewisville Lake Park Master Plan | Lewisville, TX

Halff was responsible for the master planning of a 662-acre lake park. The master planning services included day use park and activities master planning, flood prone road and trails relocation, RV/overnight camping evaluation, athletic complex evaluation, market and economic analysis, public engagement and USACE coordination. The master plan included the Gatehouse complex, camping sites (RVs, yurts, tent and cabins), playgrounds, spray parks, swim beaches, fishing piers, boat launches, play fields, hike and bike trails, and more. The project required a public charrette with stakeholders from the various communities surrounding Lewisville Lake.


Cheroke Nation Park Master Plan rendering as the sun goes down

Cherokee Nation Park Master Plan | Sallisaw, OK

Halff worked with Cherokee Nation Businesses to develop a master plan for a 100-acre park and recreation area on the north shore of Robert S. Kerr Reservoir in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. The vision of the master plan was to create a regional tourism destination where visitors have access to lodging, dining, recreational and cultural amenities without leaving the park. Proposed improvements include a reconfigured entry drive, a welcome/cultural center, a variety of premier cabins, camping sites (RV and primitive), camp general store, playgrounds, resort pool, zip line course, fishing piers, horse stables, amphitheater, and hiking and equestrian trails.


The Key to Success

Public engagement with Halff and the citizens for multiple projects collage
The end user is our focus, as Halff works to engage with both clients and stakeholders.

Collaboration and early public and stakeholder involvement are key to creating sustainable, cost-effective lakefront developments that respect natural resources and promote a welcoming atmosphere.

Halff’s talented professionals provide limitless creativity, accentuating the details and forecasting long-term impacts of each unique project. Our approach to parks, lakefront and recreation tourism master planning is collaborative, innovative and tailored to each community.

Our true reward comes when successful projects open to the public, allowing users to enjoy the lakes, campgrounds, parks, trails and open spaces they envisioned in their dreams.

Extraordinary results start with the inspiration of others. As that vision is turned into reality, Halff partners with clients and communities every step of the way

Let’s Turn Ideas into Reality! Our landscape architecture professionals bring years of expertise in comprehensive master planning, urban design, park, trail and recreational development, and more.

Take the first step toward partnering with Halff by contacting Leader of Sports Entertainment and Tourism David McCaskill (

Contact Halff's SET Leader David McCaskill today for Lakefront and Recreation Development Master Planning projects