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Lasting Memories Made at Lake McQueeney

Mary-Ellen Abshire
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Kristen and Eric Campbell (pictured, far right) and friends traveled for their annual couples trip in 1999.

For the past 53 years, the Campbell family, Watkins family, and Grant family have met at the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge at Lake McQueeney.

From learning how to waterski to playing sand volleyball to having karaoke night with the jukebox, the three families have enjoyed every aspect of their annual July trip. Although the families were unable to go last year due to Covid, they knew this year would be better than ever.


Eric and Collin Campbell splashed around in the pool at the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge in 2002.

“The thing our kids (Collin, 23, and Jack Riley, 19) liked about it is it’s one of those magical places where you can run around and be a kid and don’t have your parents worrying about you,” Bellaire resident Kristen Campbell said.  

After graduating from UT Health School of Dentistry in Houston in 1963, Dr. Richard Campbell and some of his fellow classmates were looking for a way to keep in touch after they moved to different cities. Elena Watkins, who previously lived in Bellaire and now lives in Cypress, suggested that her husband and his friends from UT take a yearly couples trip to connect and keep in touch with their friends. As the years went on, the families have grown and have made countless memories together.

Mary Frances Campbell recounts a time when the kids, including her son Eric, decided to make the trip more exciting with an unforgettable adventure.


Making the most out of a rainy day, family members painted pictures of flowers together. 

“All of the kids [young adults at the time] got up in the middle of the night and swam across the lake without the parents knowing,” Mary Frances said. Hearing them come in the door, Mary Frances woke to see her kids and their friends laughing and walking through the door, completely drenched. 

One year, something that at first seemed like a snag in their vacation plans actually turned the trip into one of their favorites so far. After the families discovered the forecast called for rain the entire week, they decided to make the best of the situation by pulling out board games and other indoor activities. Elena Kent, a professional artist, brought all of her art supplies and taught everyone how to paint. 

Another favorite memory for the families is learning how to water ski. “I remember learning how to stand up for the first time. The ski instructor helped pull me up, and now I still can waterski to this day,” Eron Watkins said, remembering her fond memories of Lake McQueeney. 


The Campbell family recently gathered with friends at Lake Breeze Ski Lodge for the annual Lake McQueeney trip.

This trip has brought these families together for many years, and they can’t wait for so many more years and memories to come.

“I would love to continue this tradition. Even if we don’t meet at the lake, it’s really more about the people who come that matter,” Collin said.

Editor’s note: Find more memories of Lake McQueeney, plus other Texas gems, in this Travel Buzz column.  

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