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Top 10 Lakes Every Boater Should Visit in the U.S.

From New England to the Pacific Coast, these bodies of scenic water are worth exploring by boat throughout the nation

Cooler, camera, compass: Check! First-aid kit, fishing license, flotation devices: Double check! Everything in between: Triple check! Once the boat is fully packed up, it is time to ship out - and not for the usual lake trip with the family. 


Create lifelong memories on your boat by exploring various notable lakes across the nation throughout the boating season. Sounds like a daunting task with so many scenic selection for natural travel? To help you get started, cross-country adventurers should add these 10 rest-and-relaxation lake to the boating bucket list. 

  • sun setting behind silhouette of mountain

    Great Sacandaga Lake, NY

    The Adirondacks Regions of Upstate New York includes more than 100 communities, lakes, mountains, valley and cliffs, and is home to the largest protected natural area in the lower 48. One of its largest lakes is 29-mile-long Great Sacandaga, which is nestled in the region’s foothills and bordered by massive pine trees, quaint towns and nature’s beauty.

    ๐Ÿด Lanzi's on the Lake and Timeless Tavern

    ๐Ÿ  Inn at the Bridge and Cabins in Hope

    โš“ Boating, Jet Skiing, Fishing, Water Skiing, Paddling, and Whitewater Rafting

  • multicolored trees on top of a hill overlooking lake

    Torch Lake, MI

    Dubbed the third most beautiful lake in the world by National Geographic, 19-mile-long Torch Lake features pristine turquoise water. Reminiscent of Caribbean waterways, this national gem is surrounded by small towns in Northern Michigan and breathtaking topography. It is also Michigan’s longest and deepest inland lake. 

    ๐Ÿด Dockside

    ๐Ÿ  The Inn at Torch Lake and Paradise Properties USA

    โš“ Swimming, Fishing, Water Skiing, Sailing, Windsurfing, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Kayaking, Rafting, Tubing, Wakeboarding, and Paddle Boarding

  • curving lake with lush green trees on the shore

    Lake of the Ozarks, MO

    Considered the “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation” by USA Today, Lake of the Ozarks stretches 92 miles from end to end. The large man-made lake sits in the heart of Missouri and is ringed by rolling hills, a vibrant forest life and charming small towns. The lake’s national legion of lake lovers journey to the site for its array of watersports, golf, camping, fine dining and shopping opportunities.

    ๐Ÿด Dog Days Bar & Grill and Wobbly Boots Roadhouse

    ๐Ÿ  Holiday Shores Resort and Bass & Baskets Bed and Breakfast

    โš“ Fishing, Swimming, Paddle Boarding, Tubing, Water Skiing, Wave Running, Wake Boarding, and Kayaking

  • clay sand on the shore with large mountain in the background

    Dale Hollow Lake, TN

    Dale Hollow Lake located in Pickett County attracts millions of visitors annually and is considered one of the cleanest lakes in the nation. It also ranked No. 1 as the “Top 10 Best Houseboating Lakes in North America” by marine and yacht club directory Pick A Slip and serves as home to six of the 10 world record smallmouth bass, according to bass fisherman magazine Bassmaster. Surrounded by rolling hills, scenic trails and a world-class golf course, Dale is a deal of an adventurous boater’s lifetime.

    ๐Ÿด Pier 42 Restaurant and Mitchell Creek Marina

    ๐Ÿ  Dale Hollow Overlook and Eagles Haven at Dale Hollow

    โš“ Fishing, Floating, Water Skiing, Kayaking, Tubing, and Scuba Diving

  • misty lake with multi colored trees on the shore

    Lake Norman, NC

    North Carolina’s largest man-made lake is just 15 miles from Uptown Charlotte. It includes 520 miles of shoreline and spans 34 miles long. If you’re a boater of urban legends, it is said a sea monster named Normie lives in Lake Norman. What is for sure: The site serves as home to a common collection of yellow perch, largemouth bass, channel catfish, white bass, bluegill and striped bass.

    ๐Ÿด Lake Norman Cottage and North Harbor Club

    ๐Ÿ  Harborside Vacation Rentals and The Cedars

    โš“ Water Skiing, Wake Boarding, Rowing, Fishing, Sailing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddling, Jet Skiing, and Swimming

  • multicolored trees on the shore with a large grassy hill in the background

    Lake Oconee, GA

    A visit to Georgia’s Lake Oconee guarantees Southern charm and culture. The state’s second-largest lake sits on 35 wooded acres in Greensboro and features antebellum architecture and fishing at its finest. Just 75 miles east of Atlanta, the 19,000-acre lake includes more than 300 miles of shoreline and is designated one of the best largemouth bass fishing destinations in Georgia.

    ๐Ÿด The Waterside Restaurant and Bone Island Grillhouse

    ๐Ÿ  The Lodge on Lake Oconee and The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

    โš“ Water Skiing, Wake Boarding, Jet Skiing, Fishing, Kayaking, Swimming, and Canoeing

  • small white lighthouse on the shore

    Lake Martin, AL

    This boating oasis in Alexander City, Alabama, features more than 42,000 acres of pristine waters; 750 miles of shoreline; and cabin, condos and coves galore. At one time, Lake Martin served as the largest man-made lake in the world. Today, it offers guests some of nature’s most lavish landscape views while cruising the popular inland sea.

    ๐Ÿด Harbor Docks Restaurant and Kowaliga Restaurant

    ๐Ÿ  The Creekside Lodge at Lake Martin and Burke Cove on Lake Martin

    โš“ Fishing, Canoeing, Swimming, Sailing, Water Skiing, Jet Skiing, Wake Boarding, and Inner Tubing

  • flat open lake with grass and reeds

    Lake Okeechobee, FL

    Meaning “Big Water,” Lake Okeechobee lives up to its moniker in “America’s Sweetest Town” of Clewiston, Florida, (where sugarcane crop is concentrated). The largest lake in the state and second-largest freshwater lake in the United States, its surface area extends 730 square miles. However, the lake is shallow, averaging only 9 feet. Nevertheless, it remains a natural habitat for fish and other wildlife, and attracts boating enthusiasts from around the globe.

    ๐Ÿด Beef 'O' Brady's and The Tiki Bar

    ๐Ÿ  Clewiston Inn and Roland & Mary Ann Martins Marina & Resort

    โš“ Fishing, Canoeing, Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, Water Skiing, and Wake Boarding

  • grassy hill dropping dramatically into the lake

    Lake Travis, TX

    Located 20 miles northwest of Austin, Texas, Lake Travis merges a modish urban atmosphere with outdoor aquatic adventures. The 63-mile-long jewel lives on the Colorado River and holds rank as the longest lake in Texas’ Highland Lakes system, taking up almost 19,000 acres in area. This picturesque reservoir has transformed into a premier paradise to experience both lake leisure and luxury.

    ๐Ÿด The Oasis and Ernie's on the Lake

    ๐Ÿ  The Cove and Robin's Nest Bed & Breakfast

    โš“ Fishing, Parasailing, Sailing, Wake Boarding, swiming, Water Skiing, Scuba Diving, Jet Skiing, and Wind Surfing

  • very clear blue turquoise lake with pine trees and mountain in the background

    Lake Tahoe, NV/CA

    Lake Tahoe reigns as the largest alpine lake in North America and is where Nevada and California meet. It is divided into North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe, stretching 22 miles long and covering a surface area of 122,200 acres. The celebrity body of water also has been featured on USA Today, The New York Times and Good Morning America for its timeless splendor and Great Outdoors majestic vistas. Famous film scenes shot on the lake: “The Godfather II,” “The Bodyguard,” “Bonanza” and “City of Angels.”

    ๐Ÿด Freshies and Waterman's Landing

    ๐Ÿ  Tahoe Mountain Lodging and Beach Retreat & Lodge

    โš“ Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, Fishing, Jet Skiing, River Rafting, Canoeing, Parasailing, Swimming, Water Skiing, Wake Boarding, and Windsurfing

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