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Top 15 Beautiful Lakes in New Jersey For Boating and Fishing

New Jersey is the place you should really consider visiting to spend time with nature. The state offers a variety of options which are amazing and waiting to be explored. 

The lakes in the north are near New York city while the lakes in the south are nestled in forests surrounded by beautiful and serene campsites.

The best lakes to visit for boating and fishing in New Jersey are given below:-

Lake Hopatcong

Location: 40 miles from New York City

Known for: Lake Hopatcong is the largest freshwater body in the state of New Jersey.

Activities: The Lake Hopatcong State Park is open year-round offering activities like fishing, boating, and swimming.

Best for: People looking to get away from the city heat. The popular summer destination is resorts for visitors.

Lake Atsion

Location: Wharton State Forest Area, Batsto Village.

Known for: Sandy beaches, historic village of Batsto, founded in 1766 as industrial centre for bore iron and glass making. You can still find shops, and galleries.

Activities: Swimming is permitted only under lifeguards’ watch.

Best for: People looking to campsite on sandy beaches with a variety of lakes, rivers and ponds to explore.

Round Valley Reservoir

Location: Clinton township

Formed in 1960, this is the largest reservoir in the state of New Jersey. 

Known for: The crystal-clear blue water. Interestingly, the reservoir is called the Bermuda Triangle of New Jersey as 26 people have drowned there since 1971, of which six have never been found.

Activities: Camping, swimming, scuba diving, boat ramp, hiking, biking, fishing.

Best For: Fishing enthusiasts. The reservoir offers extraordinary fishing experience which includes pickerel, bass, catfish, perch, eel, and types of trout. 

Farrington lake

Location: Brunswick township

Known for: Shallow depth of only 6-ft. This is a man-made lake and is created by a dam. During rains, the water cascades down the steps of the dam. It is a treat to watch the stunning visual effect.

Activities: Fishing

Best for: Rainy days

Monksville Reservoir

Location: Defunct town of Monksville.

Known for: Historical area was known for its ironworks during the 18 th century.

Activities: Fishing and Boating

Best For: Kayaking, paddle-boarding, boating. The reservoir has two boat launches, on the north side and the south side, this makes the reservoir easy to access for boats of all sizes.

Manasquan Reservoir

Location: Howell Township

Known for: One of the New Jersey’s busiest lakes. It has an environmental centre, multi-use recreational area, and five different hiking trails.

Activities: fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, running, biking, and horse-riding.

Best for: People looking for the bustle and adventure, in a carnival feel. It is said this place could keep you entertained for months.

Lake Carnegie

Location: Princeton

Known For: It is a man-made lake constructed solely for the Princeton University rowing team.

Activities: Rowing, picknick, fishing, ice-skating.

Best for: People looking for a nice low-key quiet family outing.

Location: New York City

Known for: History of being constructed when inlet to Atlantic Ocean was purposefully blocked to create lakes and ponds in the area.

Activities: Sightseeing

Mercer lake

Location: West Windsor

Known for: Cleanest lakes in New Jersey. It has held multiple Olympic trials for many years. Created in 1975 during dam construction to control flooding.

Activities: Crew racing

Best for: Picknick

Merrill Creek Reservoir

Location: Warren County

Known for: Deepest man-made reservoir in New Jersey. variety of wildlife including deer, turkey, and bald eagles.

Activities: Birdwatching

Best for:  Birdwatching and fishing enthusiasts

Location: Rockaway Township

Known for: It hae an underground spring. 2003 The Station Agent movie was shot near the Green Pond.

Ramapo Lake

Location: Ramapo Mountain State Forest area

Known for: Trails with best view of New York’s skyline

Activities: Camping, hiking, hunting, canoeing, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

Best for: People looking to explore and spend lost time.

Sunfish Pond

Location: Kittatinny Ridge

Known for:  Appalachian trails

Activities: Camping, hiking

Best for: People looking for a quiet place to take a hike.

Lake Mohawk

Location: Sparta county in northern New Jersey. 

Known for: Long history of summer cottages. 

Activities: Boating, fishing. 

Best for: Hiking and sunset enthusiasts 

Westons Mill Pond

Location: Outside of New York city 

Known for: Man-made pond with a dam located at the southern end.

Activities: Fishing, Boating (gasoline motors are prohibited).

Best for: People looking for a weekend getaway from New York.

Check out this great resource to find out where to rent charter boats, pontoon boats, and sailing charter boats in NJ.


15 Best Lakes in Pennsylvania

Written by Anietra Hamper Updated May 3, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Anietra Hamper is an outdoor enthusiast and has explored some of the best lakes in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has beautiful natural landscapes, from the Allegheny and Pocono mountains to the Dutch countryside, and the lakes are an important part of that memorable scenery. More than 2,500 lakes throughout Pennsylvania mean the state is primed for boating, swimming, fishing, kayaking, and relaxing shoreside to take in the abundant beauty.

Kinzua Lake, also known as the Allegheny Reservoir in Pennsylvania

Lake Erie is the largest lake in Pennsylvania by size, but as part of the Great Lakes, it is not located entirely within the state. While most of the lakes in the state are man-made, there are 50 that were created by glaciers.

You will find most lakes are located within the Pennsylvania State Park system , which makes them easy to find, but there are a few top lakes located out of the way for those who are looking for a more primitive experience.

Plan your adventures by the water with our list of the best lakes in Pennsylvania.

1. Lake Erie

2. lake wallenpaupack, 3. raystown lake, 4. lake harmony, 5. conneaut lake, 6. canadohta lake, 7. edinboro lake, 8. lake nockamixon, 9. kinzua lake, 10. gouldsboro lake, 11. pymatuning lake, 12. fairview lake, 13. antietam lake reservoir, 14. beltzville lake, 15. blue marsh lake, map of lakes in pennsylvania.

Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie

The Lake Erie shoreline in Pennsylvania looks more like an ocean beach than a freshwater basin which is why it is one of the best vacation lakes to visit in the state. The easiest access to Lake Erie is from Erie , Pennsylvania on the northwest tip of the state.

Relax on some of the 11 miles of sandy beaches at Presque Isle State Park and take a dip in some of the warmest waters you'll find among the five Great Lakes. The state park is a popular vacation spot for people who live in the state, so it is no wonder a visit here is one of the top things to do in Pennsylvania for out-of-towners looking for the best experiences.

Lake Erie has some of the best swimming opportunities , which is one of the top reasons people hit this waterway, but you will find plenty of other water recreation availability for kayaking, fishing, boating, and canoeing. It is easy to find water sports rental locations in Erie or hire a guide for a water excursion.

You can also take a sightseeing cruise to catch a great Lake Erie sunset, or hire a fishing charter to target walleye, perch, and steelhead in what is one of the top angling spots in the state .

Lake Wallenpaupack

The second largest inland, man-made lake in Pennsylvania is Lake Wallenpaupack, located in the Pocono Mountains in northeast Pennsylvania near the town of Hawley . The expansive 5,700-acre lake has 52 miles of shoreline, so there is plenty of space for boating activities or shore-based recreation.

It is one of the best lake communities in the state, so there is always something festive happening, from festivals to fireworks. Lake Wallenpaupack has four boat launches around the lake, and boat rentals are available.

Swimming is a popular pastime at the lake, and your best beach access is at the Palmyra Township public beach in Hawley . It is open to the public in the summer months (Memorial Day through Labor Day) and is a great beach spot for families. The beach area has restrooms, snacks available, picnic tables, and lifeguards on duty in season.

Water sports and fishing are popular things to do on the lake, with several rental companies in the area. If you want to try fishing at the lake, stop by the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center, where you can borrow fishing rods, reels, and a tackle box for the day through their fishing tackle loaner program. Just don't forget to buy a valid Pennsylvania fishing license.

You can also hike on the many trails surrounding the lake or stop into the town of Hawley for indoor activities like museums, small boutique shops, and restaurants.

Raystown Lake

One of the best lakes in Pennsylvania, and the largest inland lake , is Raystown Lake because with more than 8,300 acres of water, you can actually reside in a houseboat for your entire stay. Raystown Lake is in Hesston in south-central Pennsylvania.

The lake has 12 public access spots for boaters, swimmers, and those who just come for a picnic and the scenery. The man-made Raystown Lake has a number of public beaches and a popular campground (Susquehannock Campground).

It is easy to rent a houseboat for the week, or a vacation home in nearby communities like Martinsburg and Huntingdon . The entire Raystown Lake region is known for its outdoor activities, so you will have no problem filling several days with activities like hiking, biking, and fishing at the lake.

Lake Harmony

The beautiful Lake Harmony in the Pocono Mountains is one of the pristine and cleanest natural glacial lakes in the state. The clear water coming from the mountains is one of its main draws.

The lake is located near the resort community of Lake Harmony , where you will see many cottages and waterfront homes. It is a popular lake for boating and jet skiing . The fishing is prime, too, due to the natural waters, so you will see many anglers reeling in bass, trout, and perch.

Lake Harmony is 2.5 miles long, and it is privately owned, but you can access it if you plan to stay in one of the vacation rentals or at Split Rock Resort . The lake has a beach for swimming and a marina and boat launch area. There are other activities nearby in the area, like Hickory Run State Park, which is popular for hiking, golf courses, the Pocono Raceway, and an indoor water park.

Conneaut Lake

Northwest Pennsylvania is home to Conneaut Lake, the state's largest natural lake in the state. It is located in the town of Conneaut Lake , which is a cottage region and popular for vacation homes.

The 929-acre lake is popular for vacationers who want to enjoy boating, water skiing, swimming, and fishing. It is also a nice lakefront location for those who do not want to be on the water but prefer to relax next to it.

One of the big draws to Conneaut Lake is the Conneaut Lake amusement park . It is a vintage throwback to simple summer vacations reminiscent of family fun. The midway has a nice collection of preserved old-school amusement rides, including a working carousel built in 1910. The park has scaled back to limited opening times, so you will want to check before you plan to visit.

The park's waterfront location on Conneaut Lake adds an extra flare and nostalgia to a vacation. There is newly expanded public beach access and a great boardwalk overlooking the water.

Canadohta Lake

The second-largest natural lake in Pennsylvania next to Conneaut Lake is the 168-acre Canadohta Lake, which is located in the northwestern part of the state in the town of the same name.

Canadohta Lake is known as a family-friendly lake and a popular spot for summer vacations. It is a nice lake for boating and fishing, and there are even boat rentals available. There is a popular annual ice fishing tournament in the winter.

While the main draw to Canadohta Lake is its spring-fed waters and the water sports activities, there is much to do in the area. From golf and miniature golf to hiking, biking, and roller skating, the region around the lake is nice, too. Cottages, cabins, and campsites are available for rent around the lake.

Sunrise over Edinboro Lake

Edinboro Lake in Erie County in northwestern Pennsylvania is a smaller lake compared to others in the state but it is a great lake to visit, especially for fishing and swimming in a more intimate waterway.

The lake is just 245 acres but has two beaches and diverse fish populations of bass, musky, crappie, and panfish, which is why anglers like it. Boating and kayaking are also common activities on Edinboro Lake.

If you are looking for other activities in the area while staying at Edinboro Lake, you are just a short drive from the Erie Zoo; the Hurry Hill Farm Maple Museum; and Presque Isle State Park, where you can spend a full day swimming or hiking. There are many cottages, vacation homes, and cabin rentals near Edinboro Lake that you can rent for vacation.

Sailboat on Lake Nockamixon

One of the most enjoyable lakes in Pennsylvania is Lake Nockamixon, located in the scenic hills of Buck County on the eastern side of the state near Quakertown . The 1,450-acre lake is the jewel of Nockamixon State Park.

On a summer day, you will see many pontoon boats, windsurfers, people canoeing and fishing, and lots of leisure lake-goers enjoying a waterside picnic beneath one of the shady spots along the shore. Swimming is not allowed in the lake, but there is a public pool within the state park.

There are five public boat ramps around Lake Nockamixon, where you can launch for the day or spend the night in designated boat anchor areas. The water releases from the dam that occur in the spring and fall turn a stretch of the lake into one of the most thrilling whitewater experiences in the state . If you have a thirst for excitement on the rapids, you may want to plan your trip around those scheduled releases.

Surrounding the lake are many miles of trails in the state park , which are great for hiking and biking . The park sits along a migratory path for waterfowl, so bird-watching is a common activity around the lake. After you spend a day at the lake be sure to drive past the nearby Knecht's Covered Bridge that is has been a mainstay in the area since 1873 and is a nice place to catch the sunset.

Fall colors at Kinzau Lake

Kinzua Lake, also known as the Allegheny Reservoir, is a top spot for water recreation and one of the most scenic destinations in the entire state. The man-made reservoir is surrounded by 513,000 acres of the Allegheny National Forest in northern Pennsylvania near Warren on the border with New York .

There are six boat launches around the lake and a marina for provisions and boat rentals. Popular water activities on Kinzua Lake are boating, fishing, and swimming.

There are two public beaches within the park and a number of picnic areas with stunning scenic views of the forest and lake. Off the water there are recreational opportunities like hiking with 600 miles of trails available, biking, ATVing, horseback riding, bird-watching, and backwoods camping.

Gouldsboro Lake

The man-made Gouldsboro Lake in northeastern Pennsylvania is a nice lake for swimming and boating. The 250-acre lake also attracts anglers throughout the year, as it is open for ice fishing in the winter months.

The lake is located inside Gouldsboro State Park , so the surrounding parkland has many hiking and mountain biking trails and picnic areas. The public beach at Gouldsboro is open during the summer and has restroom facilities.

Since the lake and state park are part of the Pocono Plateau, you will find plants and wildlife unique to this area. Stop by the park office to find out more about the plants and animals found in the area.

Sunset at Pymatuning Lake

The Pymatuning Lake is large, spanning nearly 17,000 acres and shares part of its waterway with Ohio. The lake is located in Jamestown and inside Pymatuning State Park . It is one of the most frequented state parks in Pennsylvania, so the lake is often quite popular for swimmers, boaters, and anglers.

There is also a great campground available if you want to make a full outdoor weekend out of your trip. Pymatuning Lake has three public beaches that are open during the summer season. Boating is easy on the lake, with three marinas available and several concession areas.

There is a great water trail for kayakers and canoers. The Shenango River Water Trail covers nine miles, starting just below the dam, and goes to Greenville . The state park covers more than 21,000 acres of land, so you can supplement your water recreation with some land-based activities, like hiking on some of the seven miles of trails.

Fairview Lake in the fall

The shallow waters of Fairview Lake in eastern Pennsylvania in Palmyra Township is what makes it one of the top fishing lakes in the entire state. It has several unique natural elements that make it a prime habitat for a variety of fish species.

It is a natural lake that is only 169 acres. Its maximum depth is 48 feet, but it has a unique geological feature of a ridge that runs through it, where the depth shrinks to only about three feet. Fairview Lake has a bit of fishing fame tied to it as well, which is why bass anglers come here for a little fishing luck.

The locals claim that Bassmaster Classic Champion Mike Iaconelli caught his first bass in Fairview Lake as a little boy. Aside from the angling legends and fish in Fairview Lake, it is a family-oriented lake, with many vacation homes available and boating opportunities.

Antietam Lake Reservoir

One of the most beautiful lakes in Reading, Pennsylvania , is Antietam Lake Reservoir. The lake and park are on approximately 650 acres of dedicated green space that is a naturally scenic backdrop for picnics and hiking.

You can walk on the interconnecting trails at the park that cover 12 miles. The park represents an effort to protect the state's natural resources, so there are environmental programs offered year-round at the Angora Fruit Farm, which makes up 22 acres in the center of the park.

The most picturesque spot on the lake is the restored stone house and wooden bridge, which date back to the mid-1800s and add a historic ambience. If you walk around the park, you can see the original caretaker's home that still stands on the property and dates back to 1880.

Address: 230 Angora Road Reading, Pennsylvania

Beltzville Lake

The scenic Beltzville Lake is a nice 949-acre lake near Beltzville State Park in Lehighton , Pennsylvania. The park and lake sit in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains and are popular with both visitors and locals.

The lake has a 525-foot beach open for public use from May through mid-September. There is a bathhouse for changing, and concessions. There are 15 miles of trails to hike around the lake, including the Sawmill Loop Trail, which offers a historical view into the region's past as it passes by what was once the gristmill raceway, a quarry from the 1700s, and some wetlands.

Beltzville Lake is a great lake to visit for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing, especially for birds. The lake sits on the migration path for waterfowl and warblers, so springtime is one of the best times of year to look for them.

Address: 2950 Pohopoco Drive, Lehighton, Pennsylvania

Blue Marsh Lake

Blue Marsh Lake is located in Leesport and is a good option if you are looking for an all-around recreational lake with nearby amenities and multiple options for activities. The lake has a small beach and a boat launch for those who want to spend time on the water.

There are more than 5,000 acres of land surrounding the lake, so you can enjoy biking, horseback riding, or hiking on sections of the 36 miles of trails that stretch through the area. There are picnic shelters and tables available and some with grills for cookouts.

Blue Marsh Lake has a visitor center that might be a good first stop if you are unfamiliar with the area and looking for things to do. There are also concessions and restrooms available, so you can easily make a full day of your visit to the lake.

Address: 1268 Palisades Drive, Leesport, Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania Outdoor Adventures : To round out your Pennsylvania itinerary , you may want to plan a day just to visit some of the national and state parks , like the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area or Ohiopyle State Park, some of which have fantastic white water rafting , hiking , and fly fishing opportunities. There are many lodging options in Pennsylvania that range from rustic campsites in the state parks to top resorts that can wrap up your day with a spa treatment.

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Boating Destinations

Results are limited to a 25-mile radius

  Cowanesque Lake, PA Cowanesque Lake

  Ford City, PA Crooked Creek Lake

  Bradford, PA Willow Bay Camp/Cabins & Boat Launch

  Hawley, PA Lake Wallenpaupack

  Hazleton, PA Hazleton

  Canadensis, PA Spruce Lake Retreat

  Waterville, PA Happy Acres Resort

  Cooksburg, PA Cook Forest Top Hill Cabins

  Cooksburg, PA Cook Forest State Park

  Quakertown, PA Nockamixon State Park

  Laporte, PA Lake Mokoma

  Wellsboro, PA Hills Creek State Park

  Saxton, PA Heritage Cove Resort

  Clymer Township, PA Beechwood Lake

  Sandy Lake, PA Maurice K. Goddard State Park

  Macungie, PA Bear Creek Mountain Resort

  Waymart, PA Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort

  Sigel, PA Al And Brenda's Country Cottages

  Tionesta, PA Tionesta Lake

  Lehighton, PA Beltzville State Park

  Wellsboro, PA Grand Canyon Of Pennsylvania

  Jonestown, PA Lickdale Campground & General Store

  Clarendon, PA Chapman State Park

  Tionesta, PA Tionesta Recreation Area Campground

  Langhorne, PA Core Creek Park

  Curwensville, PA Curwensville Lake Recreation Area

  Cooksburg, PA Cook Riverside Cabins

  Rome, PA Pine Cradle Lake Family Campground

  Confluence, PA Youghiogheny River Lake Recreation Area

  Portersville, PA McConnell's Mill State Park

  Woodland, PA Woodland Campground

  Barnesville, PA Tuscarora State Park

  Erwinna, PA Tinicum Park

  Waterville, PA Cottage At Rocky Pine

  Hollidaysburg, PA Canoe Creek State Park

  Jamestown, PA Espyville Marina

  Bensalem, PA Neshaminy State Park

  Derry, PA Keystone State Park

  Roulette, PA Allegheny River Campground

  Patton, PA Glendale Lake

  Portersville, PA Bear Run Campground

  Tionesta, PA Tionesta

  Wilcox, PA East Branch Clarion River Lake

  Ohiopyle, PA Ohiopyle State Park

  Berwick, PA Briar Creek Lake And Park

  Mount Pleasant, PA Jacob's Creek Park

  Weedville, PA Bennetts Branch Lodge

  Tionesta, PA Lighthouse Island

  Gamble Township, PA Rose Valley Lake

  Benezette, PA Wapiti Woods - Guest Cabins

  Erie, PA Presque Isle Boat Rental / Presque Isle Canoe & Boat Livery

  Holtwood, PA Holtwood Environmental Preserve

  Wellsboro, PA A-List Cottage Rentals

  Pocono Lake, PA Pocono Lake

  Tionesta, PA Allegheny River Island Wilderness Area

  Curwensville, PA Curwensville

  Lancaster, PA Chickies Rock County Park

  White Haven, PA Lehigh Gorge State Park

  Shenango River Lake

  Patton, PA Prince Gallitzin State Park

  Tionesta, PA Little Hickory Cabin

  Warren, PA Allegheny Reservoir And Kinzua Dam

  Waterville, PA Tiadaghton State Forest

  Upper Black Eddy, PA Dogwood Haven Family Campground

  Wellsboro, PA Hills Creek Lake


  Tioga, PA Tioga-Hammond And Cowanesque Lakes

  Lake Harmony, PA Villages On Big Boulder Lake

  Scotrun, PA Outdoor World - Scotrun Resort

  Big Run, PA Cloe Reservoir

  Green Lane, PA Upper Perkiomen Park And Green Lane Reservoir

  Warren, PA Wilderness Camp

  Emlenton, PA Emlenton

  Ottsville, PA Beaver Valley Campground

  Cooksburg, PA Gateway Lodge, Cabins & Restaurant

  Downingtown, PA Marsh Creek State Park

  Clarendon, PA Chapman Lake

  Milford, PA Kittatinny River Trips, Ziplines and Camping

  Renovo, PA Kettle Creek State Park

  Foxburg, PA Foxburg

  Saltsburg, PA Loyalhanna Lake

  Hesston, PA Raystown Lake Recreation Area

  Millrift, PA Couples Cottage

  Philipsburg, PA Black Moshannon State Park

  Erie, PA Presque Isle Boat Tours/ The Lady Kate

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Best Lakes For Boating In The Adirondacks

What is the best boating location in the Adirondacks? Well, that is subject to interpretation, and everyone has their own opinion. While there may not be a consensus, there certainly is a majority opinion when it comes to the best boating spots in the Adirondacks. We asked our Adirondack Facebook fans for their input, and below we have compiled a list of their favorite ponds and lakes :

  • 4th Lake - "Great for motor boats but not so good sometimes for kayaks!"
  • 6th Lake - Great for canoes, kayaks, and sailboats
  • 7th Lake - Great for canoes, kayaks, and sailboats
  • Black Pond - Recommended for canoeing
  • Blue Mountain Lake - "Blue Mountain Lake is a nice paddle"
  • Cranberry Lake - "Cranberry Lake to the Oswegatchie River"
  • Great Sacandaga Lake - "The best place in the world!"
  • Hinckley Lake (Reservoir) - Great for motorboats and fishing
  • Lake Champlain - "Tops them all!" Check out the Broad Lake segment
  • Lake George - "North end of LG" "In the Narrows"
  • Loon Lake - "Loon Lake in Chestertown is nice"
  • Lower St. Regis Lake - "Hands down, St. Regis Canoe Area"
  • Meacham Lake - "I like Meacham. Not busy at all. Very shallow launch though."
  • Moose Pond - "Moose Pond! Remote, beautiful, and no motor craft allowed."
  • Nicks Lake - "Nicks Lake, Old Forge. The Best!" "My favorite lake...no motors in it"
  • Paradox Lake - "No motors!"

Check out our slideshow of some of the most popular boating locations in the Adirondacks! Below the slideshow, we've included even more lakes and ponds that were recommended.

  • Schroon Lake

Schroon Lake

Photo by: Mark Piper, Schroon Lake B&B

Lake George

Lake George

  • Lake Placid

Lake Placid

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain

Great Sacandaga Lake

Great Sacandaga Lake

  • Raquette Lake

Raquette Lake

Upper / Lower Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake

Fourth Lake

Fourth Lake

Seventh Lake

seventh lake

Blue Mountain Lake

Blue Mountain Lake

Cranberry Lake

cranberry lake

  • Limekiln Lake

Limekiln Lake

Here are some other recommended lakes and ponds:

  • Brown Tract Pond
  • Caroga Lake
  • Fish Creek Pond
  • Follensby Clear Pond
  • Horseshoe Pond
  • Indian Lake
  • Lake Abanakee
  • Lake Harris
  • Lake Flower
  • Lake Kushaqua
  • Lake Pleasant
  • Peck's Lake
  • Piseco Lake
  • Polliwog Pond
  • Rollins Pond

Visit our guide for more information on boating in the Adirondacks!


10 Lakes in Poconos that allow Motor Boats

The Poconos, nestled in the northeastern region of Pennsylvania, is a hub for nature lovers who seek adventure and fun. In addition to hiking trails, skiing slopes, and water sports, the Pocono Mountains region is home to several pristine lakes that provide ample opportunities for motorboating enthusiasts.

So, if you’re looking to rev up your engines, grab your life jackets, and explore the top 10 lakes in Poconos that allow motor boats, we bring you a comprehensive guide to motor boating in the Poconos!

Best Motor Boating Lakes in the Poconos!

Lake Wallenpaupack – With 52 miles of shoreline, Lake Wallenpaupack is the largest lake in the Poconos and a popular spot for boating enthusiasts. The lake offers a variety of recreational activities, including water skiing, fishing, and tubing.

Lake Harmony – Located in the heart of the Poconos, Lake Harmony is a small but beautiful lake that is perfect for boating. The lake has a speed limit of 25 mph, making it a safe place for beginners.

Beltzville Lake – This 949-acre lake is located in the Beltzville State Park and is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts. The lake offers excellent fishing opportunities and is home to various species of fish, including bass, walleye, and catfish.

Lake Naomi – With crystal-clear

waters and a serene environment, Lake Naomi is a popular spot for boating enthusiasts who seek peace and tranquility. The lake offers a variety of recreational activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding , and sailing.

Lake Henry – Spread over 250 acres, Lake Henry is a hidden gem in the Poconos that is perfect for boating enthusiasts. The lake offers excellent fishing opportunities and is home to various species of fish, including bass, trout, and catfish.

Tobyhanna Lake – Located in the Tobyhanna State Park, Tobyhanna Lake is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts. The lake offers a variety of recreational activities, including fishing, swimming, and water skiing.

Pecks Pond – Nestled in the heart of the Delaware State Forest, Pecks Pond is a small but beautiful lake that is perfect for boating enthusiasts. The lake is home to various species of fish, including bass, trout, and pickerel.

Lake Minsi – Spread over 1,200 acres, Lake Minsi is a popular spot for boating enthusiasts who seek adventure and fun. The lake offers a variety of recreational activities, including fishing, water skiing, and tubing.

Shohola Lake – Located in the Shohola Township, Shohola Lake is a hidden gem in the Poconos that is perfect for boating enthusiasts. The lake offers excellent fishing opportunities and is home to various species of fish, including bass, walleye, and catfish.

Lake Greeley – With crystal clear waters and a serene environment, Lake Greeley is a popular spot for boating enthusiasts who seek peace and tranquility. The lake offers a variety of recreational activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing.

So, there you have it – the top 10 lakes in Poconos that allow motor boats. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or a beginner, these lakes offer something for everyone. So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreens, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in the Pocono Mountains!

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Wisconsin's Only Quiet Lakes - Hayward, Wisconsin - Unhurried Pace, Uncrowded Space!


Fishing report.

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Escape to the beauty and peace of Wisconsin’s only Quiet Lakes!

Lost land lake, teal lake, and ghost lake.

Escape to the beauty of Northern Wisconsin’s Quiet Lakes near Hayward, WI – three sparkling gems set deep in the unspoiled wilderness of the Chequamegon National Forest and blessed with a 10 mph speed limit (no motor size limit) prohibiting waterskiing and jet skiing, making these lakes unique to the Midwest and Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

We Warmly offer you a variety of fine Lodging , Dining , Taverns , Recreation , Shopping .

10 MPH Speed Limit

Angler's Delight!

“It is hard to sleep when the fishing is this good!” John Ward

relaxing on our Quiet Lakes and have a great time fishing some of Hayward’s best waters, savor fine dining including some of the Area’s best fish fries. Bike or hike our scenic north wood’s paradise, and enjoy the warm and friendly service in one of our stores and bait shops.

the Great Divide National Scenic Byway to the heart of the Chequamegon National Forest 15 miles northeast of Hayward and escape to tranquility!

Fishing report 13 July 2024

Good morning from the Quiet Lakes, right around 50% chances of rain today and Monday, however the rain Monday looks to bring a cold front and we will see temps drop from the mid to upper 80s into the low to mid 70s after that.  It looks like we will end the week with pretty…

“Of all the places we have been I can think of none more beautiful and peaceful. The fishing was excellent and the wildlife was spectacular: from the eagles soaring overhead, the otters frolicking in the bay, the beavers busy at their lodge, the deer, to the sweetest chipmunk under our steps.”

“As always we thoroughly enjoyed our Teal Lake visit. It’s so much fun to introduce our children to the Northwoods – they felt very much at home and were ready to stay for the rest of the summer! (We all were!)”

“The Quiet Lakes are my water therapy.”

“My life dream was to catch a legal musky and I had to come here from Hawaii to fulfill it.”

“Your chances of catching a legal musky are greatest on the Quiet Lakes.”

“I didn’t mind being awakened in the middle of the night by the haunting bugle of an elk!”

“We can never get enough of this north woods paradise.  The loons provided a concert of varied calls like nothing we had ever heard before.”

“It is dangerous to introduce paradise to our hectic city minds, yet the peace and quiet beauty was a tranquilizer much needed.”

“Why can’t we see stars like this at home?”

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Why Quiet Lakes?

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Best lakes in florida for boating

Best Boating Lakes in Florida

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Table of Contents

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

With a choice of over 30,000 lakes, Florida is the place to be if you want to find one perfect for boating. Pair that with a climate suitable for boating, year-round and any lake in Florida is a winner.

Many of the lakes in Florida are less than an acre in size; however, the larger ones span miles and have hundreds of acres of water. Therefore, when considering a lake that is best for boating , they need to consider what they want.

Do you want a day of fishing, cruising, or is a fun-filled day of skiing or wakeboarding more your speed? With so many lakes in Florida , finding one that has what you’re looking for should seem effortless. However, with so many options, the best way to see them all may be by visiting them one at a time and then checking them off your list with a Boatsetter boat rental. 

The following are the best boating lakes in Florida, where boaters pursue fishing, skiing, sailing, or whatever watersport they enjoy. So take a look and find the best boating lakes in Florida for you and your crew .

Can you ski in Florida lakes?

Yes, you can see in some of them, but beware muddy, murky lakes if your intent is swimming, or skiing, although they may be great for fishing. However, alligators and snakes can be in any lake in Florida. The clearer the water, the safer it is, especially if you are in it splashing around.

Lake Eloise

The home of Florida’s first tourist attraction, Cypress Gardens, opened on the shores of Lake Eloise in 1936 and closed in 2009. Lake Eloise was used for entertainment, too, and performances of aquatic ballet while skiing were quite a feat. Over the years, hundreds of thousands have visited Cypress Gardens to see the acrobatic stunts of the water skiers.

Legoland now stands where Cypress Gardens once was and adds a new adventure to Lake Eloise for the kids and the young at heart. The lake, however, is still an excellent place for skiing or boating. Lake Eloise has less than two square miles of surface area and is one of the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. However, like many Florida lakes, it has access to other lakes in its chain via canals, which offer scenic views.

From Lake Eloise, you can go to Lake Winterset, Lake Lulu, and Lake Roy, which expands the waterways you can explore in one outing. So whether you fill your time boating, fishing, or waterskiing on any of Florida’s lakes, doing it in a Boatsetter boat will give you access to all Lake Eloise and its sister lakes have to offer.

Lake Cannon

Almost a mile in diameter, Lake Cannon is about as round as a ball. One of the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes and located in Polk County, Lake Cannon connects via canal to Lake Mirror, Spring Lake, Lake Idylwild, Lake Hartridge, and Lake Jessie.

When first named, it was Lake Canon, with one n’ and a larger lake that combined Cannon, Mirror, and Spring Lakes into one large body of water. However, the work done on the lakes of Florida in the early to mid-1900s broke the larger Lake Canon into the three smaller bodies of water it is today.

Access from one lake to the other is via sea-walled canals. The result is connecting lakes that give power boaters, sailors, and anglers free run of large expanses of water.

Lake Hartridge

Lake Hartridge boat rentals

One of the larger lakes in the Winter Haven Lake chain, Lake Hartridge, has 433 acres. North of Winter Haven, the Winter Haven airport lies on its northeastern shore, while the northern shore is primarily wooded. Lakefront homes surround the remainder of the lake.

With an average depth of 5.3 feet, Lake Hartridge is a shallow muddy lake. However, depths drop to over 20 feet, and anglers have caught striped bass, largemouth bass, and bowfin in Lake Hartridge. Although it is one of the muddy lakes, there have been no sightings of alligators in Lake Hartridge for years. Snakes, however, are a different story.

The point is that Lake Hartridge is fine for boating pursuits that include fishing, waterskiing, and sailing. A boat from Boatsetter can get you on the waters of Lake Hartridge and all of the interconnecting lakes if you have the time.

Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee boat rentals

The largest Lake in Florida, Lake Okeechobee , covers a massive 730 square miles. It is almost 29 miles wide and 36 miles wide. The lake has an average depth that is shallow enough to wade but is not suggested due to a prolific alligator population. The deepest spot in Lake Okeechobee is about 12 feet, making it a very shallow lake.

Often referred to as  Florida’s inland sea , geologists believe that Lake Okeechobee was formed about 6000 years ago when the oceans receded. As it drained, the water remained in the shallow depression that is Lake Okeechobee . It is the third-largest freshwater lake in the country. Lake Michigan is the largest, and Iliamna Lake, Alaska is the second largest.

Lake Okeechobee offers fishing for anglers (rent one of these options: bass boat, pontoon , or tritoon ), airboat rides, and hundreds of square miles of water to speed or sail across. The Cross Florida barge canal enters the lake from the east and west. It is not unusual to see sailboats on Lake Okeechobee. The route cuts off many miles for boaters who want to get from the Gulf to the Atlantic without taking the long way around Florida.

Lake Maitland

lake maitland boat rentals

One of the Winter Park Chain of lakes,  Lake Maitland, is the most interesting  and the largest of the five lakes it connects to. South of Lake Maitland is Lake Osceola, Lake Virginia, and Lake Mead, which connect to Lake Maitland via canals.

To the north of Lake Maitland are Lake Nina and Lake Minnehaha, and the combined surface area of the lakes combined is right at 1000 acres. Each lake has its own features; however, Lake Maitland has the picturesque “Isle of Sicily.” Here homeowners built magnificent mansions on the shores of the lake that can be viewed from the water as you cruise the lake.

Dog Island sits in the middle of Lake Maitland and offers a place to stop for a break. First, however, keep an eye out for native occupants of the isle because snakes, gators, and insects abound in Florida.

Lake Tohopekaliga

Lake Tohopekaliga boat rentals

Affectionately referred to as Lake Toho by the locals,  Lake Tohopekaliga  is a stone’s throw from downtown Kissimmee, Florida. Surrounded by fields and a few homes, Lake Toho is a quiet, peaceful place that will let you unwind while boating in its waters.

Lake Tohopekaliga is the largest Lake in Osceola County and has a water area of almost 23000 acres. There are many things to do on and around the water when visiting Lake Toho. Due to Orlando ‘s proximity and attractions, Osceola County and the State of Florida have put a lot into Lake Tohopekaliga while maintaining its beauty.

Wildlife is abundant on the shores and in the waters of Lake Toho, and they post that alligators live here and to beware of their presence. The bass fishing on the lake is excellent, and anglers can expect to catch bluegill, crappie, gar, pickerel, sunfish, catfish, or course. If you’re looking for a guided fishing trip on Lake Toho, go with AJ’s Bass Guides .

Lake Dora boat rentals

With one of the oldest Florida settlements on your shores, Mount Dora, you cannot help but be one of the best lakes in Florida. Lake Dora is home to the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival, where antique boat owners bring their boats every spring to show off to the crowd and motor across the lake.

The Harris Chain of Lakes includes Lake Harris, Lake Eustis, Lake Dora, Lake Yale, and Lake Griffin. The connecting lakes offer boaters hundreds of acres of water and miles of shoreline to explore. The fish in Lake Dora include bass, bluegill, sunfish, and catfish, and boaters of all types enjoy it here.

If you get tired of the sunshine and water,  take a flight on a Seaplane  and see the lakes of Osceola County from the sky. From a few thousand feet, you can see more than Lake Dora and its neighboring lakes. Florida is covered with lakes, and a flight above them will give you a new perspective on the waterways here.

Where is the clearest water in Florida?

The clearest water in Florida is found in small, shallow sandy-bottomed lakes fed by springs instead of runoff water. They are usually located on private land; however, several springheads form lakes, which become rivers as their waters make their way across the land.

Wakulla Springs  is such a place and has the clearest water in Florida. The spring pools into a lake over an acre in size that flows from the ground in Northern Florida. Wakulla springs are worth a visit if you are in or coming to Florida. About 15 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida, it is part of the Wakulla State Forest.

A note about Florida Lakes

Most Florida lakes that are open to the public allow boating. However, many lakes will not allow powerboats that use gas or diesel. Therefore, the only types of motor that can be used on these lakes are electric, sail, or people-powered.

Three Florida lakes have sailing clubs and are committed to the pursuit of the sport. Lake Eustis sailing club, Lake Weir, and Lake Beresford yacht clubs have all made sailing a part of life on the lakes where they have made their homes.

So many Best Boating Lakes in Florida – So little time

In Lake County alone, one could spend a year or more visiting the land of 1000 lakes. The above are the best boating lakes because they offer a lot of bang for your buck. In addition, the Chain lake system that Florida built for recreation gives boaters the ability to move from one lake to the next and opens new opportunities for exploration when boating.

Your favorite lake may not be on this list. Keep in mind that Florida is one of the top states with 70 degrees year-round in the US , and there are tons of great lakes to go boating. Boatsetter has boat owners across Florida that are ready to rent you their motorboat, pontoon boat, fishing boat, their sailboat, houseboat, or yacht. They may be in a city near you or one you plan to visit. So, if you are in Florida, get outside, get on the water and get some sun!

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Top 5 Pennsylvania Lakes for Pontoon Boating

It's finally the perfect time of year for boating in Pennsylvania. It's time to get your pontoon boat out of hibernation and take it to the open waters once again. Whether you like to spend the summer months exploring the best fishing spots throughout the state or you're more of a water-sports fan, knowing where to go for the best Pennsylvania boating is the key to a great season on the water. Here are five of our favorite lakes in Pennsylvania for pontoon boats.

1. Lake Wallenpaupack

As the third-largest lake in Pennsylvania, this freshwater lake features an 84-kilometer shoreline located within the gorgeous Pocono Mountains and has been a popular vacation destination for decades. Boating enthusiasts will love Wallenpaupack for its excellent fishing opportunities, as well as sailing, swimming, and hiking.

2. Lake Nockamixon

As the largest lake in Bucks County , this lake is the centerpiece of Nockamixon State Park. In the warm months, the lake is perfect for fishing with varieties including bass, walleye, pickerel, and carp available frequently. In addition to time spent on your pontoon boat, the area around the lake provides plenty of opportunity for hunting, mountain biking, and hiking.

3. Beltzville Lake

Located within Beltzville State Park, this 949-acre lake at the foothills of the Poconos is fed by the trout-filled Pohopoco Creek and is ideal for fishing, swimming, and boating. Anglers will enjoy fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, catfish and many other species. Beltzville State park has activities for all ages, so the whole family can enjoy a full day on the lake on your next lake excursion with your pontoon boat. The sandy shoreline along the lake is perfect for beachgoers and swimmers.

4. Marsh Creek Lake

Located within Marsh Creek State Park, Marsh Creek Lake is a man-made lake that is surrounded by trees and other relaxing scenery. Fishing is the most popular sport on the lake with black crappie, largemouth bass, channel fish, and panfish found in abundance here. Visitors also use the lake for windsurfing, kayaking, and sailing.

5. Canonsburg Lake

This picturesque lake is dedicated to fishing and boating, sitting within the Washington County limits. In fact, the Fish and Boat Commission goes above and beyond to make fishing here enjoyable. They stock the lake with trout and other fish species throughout the year and even make sure that the water is handicapped accessible from the pier.

Prepare for Summer Boating in PA

Ready to get out on the water this year? Make sure to prep your pontoon for summer after the lon winter months. Don’t hit the water without looking at our wide variety of luxury, customizable pontoon boats. Visit your local Bennington dealer today to learn more.

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Freshwater America: 9 Must-See Lakes For Boaters

In 2018, we profiled some of the best boating lakes in the u.s. here are 9 more of the most compelling freshwater lakes around the country and a must-see for boaters..


Along the American coastline, boaters can play in either salt- or freshwater, depending on their setup. For inland boaters, freshwater is generally the only option, and that's just fine with them. It's no secret that saltwater, with its high salt and mineral content, is more punishing to a boat's hull and running gear. But when it comes to lifestyle choices, many boaters also prefer freshwater for its different fish species to chase, or that lakes are less prone to monster storms, maintain a consistent tide, and generally deliver greater tranquility. Simply put, freshwater is kinder and gentler — and is easy on the eyes when you dive off the swim platform!

Did you know there is no recognized standard for what distinguishes a pond from a lake in North America? The general consensus is that anything bigger than 20 acres of surface area is a lake. Beyond that, the distinction is somewhat arbitrary and imprecise. Still, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (DEP) tallies 123,439 lakes in the continental United States.

With so many lakes, there's no way to rank "the best" in the U.S., but some are so exceptional, they warrant a road trip, whether it be trailering a boat, or a flying in for a rental or charter. In no particular order, here are nine more lakes that our editors and Members love.

Freshwater lakes in the United States map


Scenic views of Emerald Bay

Scenic view of Emerald Bay. (Photo: Rachid Dahnoun)

  • Location: straddles the California-Nevada border, 110 miles northeast of Sacramento
  • Size: 122,240 acres
  • Depth: 1,000-foot average, 1,645 feet maximum
  • Amenities: 13 marinas, 2 yacht clubs, 17 launch ramps
  • Fish: lake trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, largemouth bass
  • BoatUS Services available: Member discounts | TowBoatUS port | Life jacket loaner sites nearby

Shaped by the Ice Age, this spectacular alpine lake sits 6,225 feet high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It's renowned for its cobalt water so clear you see 75 feet down with the naked eye. Of the water's mirrorlike qualities, American author Mark Twain wrote, "I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth afford." You've seen the stunning aerial photos, but Lake Tahoe should most definitely be seen by boat.

The state lines of California and Nevada split the lake west and east, but Tahoe is really about the tale of two lakes — North and South. The South Shore community (which is still rebounding from the Caldor Fire, but open to visitors) is where the action is. The long, clean, sandy beaches host year-round outdoor activities. Here's where you rent what you need for boating, wave-jumping, fishing, hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. If the seasons cooperate, you can both snow ski and waterski the same day at Tahoe.

North Lake Tahoe is well known for its quieter, more laid-back atmosphere, with smaller towns and fewer boats. North Lake Tahoe is also famous for its striking rocky granite boulder shoreline.

For wooden boat lovers, the annual Concours d'Elegance boat show in August, held on lake's western shore, is one of the most acclaimed and prestigious wooden boat shows in North America.

Lake Tahoe delivers some excellent fishing. "Tahoe has trophy mackinaw, lahontan cutthroat trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon — and they are plentiful," says BoatUS Member Tak Watanabe. After a day of angling, boaters can head to MacDuff's Public House, where they'll cook your fish any way you like. "Nowhere else can you find such clear turquoise water, breathtaking views and all the tourist things you want to do," adds Watanabe. "Get on the lake before sunrise and stay for the sunset and evening dining." TahoeSouth.com

— Fiona McGlynn

Lake George

Boating on Lake George

Lake George is a boater's paradise in Upstate New York. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "Lake George is, without comparison, the most beautiful ­water I ever saw." (Photo: Warren County Tourism)

  • Location: An hour north of Albany
  • Size : 29,440 acres
  • Depth: 70 feet average, 196 feet maximum
  • Amenities: 16 marinas, 4 yacht clubs, 7 launch ramps (Some marinas also provide public launch for a fee)
  • Fish: Landlocked salmon (stocked annually), lake trout, brook trout, bass, yellow perch black crappie
  • BoatUS Services available: TowBoatUS port | Life jacket loaner sites nearby

There are crystal clear lakes ... and then there's Lake George. New York state rates its quality as "Class AA-Special," the same as drinking water, and many of the shoreline homes draw drinking water from the lake. "The waters are the clearest I've ever seen, and it has a great boating history and culture," says BoatUS Member and local boater, Albert Gray.

Credit the steep surrounding Adirondack Mountains for that. The towering forest-green scenery envelopes the lake, creating tucked-away bays that access quiet hiking trails. Locals boast of its nickname, the Queen of American Lakes. At the hub is the small town of Lake George (pop. 3,500), historic for its battles (French & Indian War) and its early 20th century recreational resort town roots, including Million Dollar Beach, the lake's largest and most popular beach. The Lake George Steamboat Company runs three cruise ships, including Minne-Ha-Ha, one of the last steam paddlewheel ships in America.

What strikes visiting boaters the most is "The Narrows," a mile-wide passage dotted with more than a dozen islands, big and small. Lake George, approximately 32 by 3 miles, is home to more than 170 islands — and camping permits are available for most of them. Watersports fans may head to the open water of Northwest Bay, while the more adventurous can set a waypoint for Calves Pen, a set of cliffs on the east side of Lake George and a beacon for swimmers bold enough to scale them and leap more than 20 feet into the deep water. For families, there's Log Bay, a sandy-bottomed curve in the shoreline that draws many boats to the knee-deep shallows throughout the summer.

Look for the mansions of Millionaires' Row, the nickname for a stretch of palatial estates on the west side of the lake, one-time summer homes to industry titans and Hollywood stars. There is an abundance of boat rentals, charters, cruises, and even nearby whitewater rafting. VisitLakeGeorge.com

— Rich Armstrong

Inland Waterway

Boaters transiting between Burt and Mullett lakes pass

Boaters transiting between Burt and Mullett lakes pass through downtown Indian River. (Photo: Travel Michigan)

  • Location: Northern lower peninsula near Cheboygan
  • Size: 35,000 acres (Burt & Mullett lakes)
  • Depth: 110 feet (average maximum depth)
  • Amenities: 11 marinas (7 full service), 11 boat launches
  • Fish: Bluegill, brown trout, largemouth bass, northern pike, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, steelhead, walleye, and yellow perch
  • BoatUS Services available: Life jacket loaner sites nearby

The Inland Waterway cuts 40 miles across northern Michigan, connecting Crooked Lake (a few miles from Lake Michigan) to the west, and Lake Huron's South Channel to the east. In between are a series of lakes and rivers. In the middle are the two largest lakes, Burt and Mullett, connected by the Indian River and divided by Interstate 75.

"Mullet Lake is probably the most popular as there are several bays and points with good fishing, and lake's surface area of 17,360 acres is perfect for watersports and leisure cruising," says Otie McKinley, communications manager for Travel Michigan. "Burt Lake is also popular for these activities, being relatively the same size, but its maximum depth [73 feet] is only half of Mullett's [148 feet]." The 4-mile Indian River connects these kidney-shaped lakes, so most boating amenities (food, fuel, service, sales, parts, rentals, and boat slips) can be found near the river's source in southeast Lake Burt and its mouth at the southwest shore of Lake Mullett.

This is a rural tourist area, and the local population triples in season. Still, compared to the nation's most famous lakes, boat traffic is relatively modest, especially on weekdays. Instead of rows of multistory condos, the vista is of sandy beaches, summer cottages, state parks, and lots of forestry (think fireflies at night). Recreational boats rule the waters, but crews need to keep an eye out for paddlers, who are abundant throughout the waterway.

Burt Lake is ranked among Michigan's top 50 fishing lakes (there are 11,000 in the state). Mullett Lake is home to the state record for lake sturgeon (193 pounds!) as well and numerous other fish species. One (hardly) secret fishing area is a small sunken island in the southern portion of Mullett. Michigan.org

Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan sunrise from Stehekin, Washington

Lake Chelan sunrise from Stehekin, Washington. The lake, which was formed by glaciers, is the third deepest lake in the U.S. (Photo: Getty Images/jmacarthur)

  • Location: 190 miles northeast of Seattle
  • Size: 32,663 acres
  • Depth: 474-foot average, 1,486-foot maximum
  • Amenities: 5 marinas, 1 yacht club, 5 launch ramps
  • Fish: kokanee salmon, cutthroat trout, lake trout, chinook salmon, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout

At just a mile or two wide, the 50-mile-long Lake Chelan weaves its way through the North Pacific Cascades. The name comes from "Tsi-Laan," a Salish American word for "deep water," an apt description because Lucerne Basin is one of the three deepest gorges in the U.S. When the lake is at full pool, the gorge is 386 feet below sea level, making it a must-visit for technical divers.

Surrounded by the Lake Chelan National Recreational Area, the Wenatchee National Forest, and two state parks, more than 90% of the lake's watershed is forested. Much of the lake is boat access only. Local sites include an old copper mining village, the remote community of Stehekin (pop. 75), a 312-foot waterfall, and more than a dozen boat-in campsites.

Did You Know: Lake Superior is the largest lake in the U.S. and holds 10% of the world’s surface freshwater. The Great Lakes, or “Inland Seas,” are so massive and diverse.

This is a lake for play, with wakeboarding, waterskiing, windsurfing, and paddling enthusiasts a constant presence. Sailors tend to head to the north end, near Stehekin, where the most consistent winds can be found. Anglers can chase a wide variety of species in the lake's blue waters. State records have been broken several times on Lake Chelan, most recently in 2013 with 36-pound trout.

After a day on the lake, the sun-drenched town of Chelan on the south shore has plenty to offer the weary, water-logged boater. The semi-desert climate receives an average of 300 annual days of sunshine and is central to one of Washington's wine regions, with more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms. LakeChelan.com

Fontana Lake

North carolina.

Early morning fisherman cast their lines on Fontana Lake

Early morning fisherman cast their lines on Fontana Lake. Record size muskie and walleye have been pulled from its depths. (Photo: Swain County Chamber of Commerce)

  • Location: About 90 minutes south of Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Size: 10,230 acres
  • Depth: 135 feet average, 440 feet maximum
  • Amenities: 4 marinas, 7 launch ramps (some marinas provide public launch for a fee)
  • Fish: brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, small- and largemouth bass, Kentucky spotted bass, walleye, muskie, catfish, yellow perch, crappie, bluegill

The overused metaphor "hidden gem" is honestly not an overstatement when it comes to Fontana Lake. Tucked into the western corner of North Carolina, this man-made lake is the deepest in the state, it's emerald green waters sparkling in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. Despite being surrounded by rolling mountains of seemingly endless forest, the lake is accessible via state Route 28. "It is remote in many ways, but its beauty is stunning," says lake-hopping BoatUS Member Bobby Williams. "In my opinion, there are few mountain lakes in the east that rival the beauty of Fontana."

The hydropower-generating Fontana Dam (which the Appalachian Trail crosses) created the reservoir in the 1940s to harness the Little Tennessee River. Today, visitors find a winding watery playground for boating, swimming, and fishing, with plenty of hidden cove hideaways and numerous islands formed from what were once mountain peaks — especially near the eastern end.

At summer lake levels, a boat provides the best access to remote trailheads such as Hazel Creek. Hike up to the observation tower on Clingmans Dome for a heavenly view of the lake below. Fontana Lake is a unique fishery because the cold mountain water makes it chilly for a southern lake (topping out in the 60s). Because of that, Fontana is home to several species of fish typically associated with the north, such as walleye, white bass, and steelhead. Several 50-pound catfish are caught each year. Muskie also thrive.

The price of the ticket to this boating paradise is a paucity of amenities. There are only four marinas on the 16-square-mile lake, all offering fuel but minimal repair services, and there are no dockside restaurants to grab a slip. For out-of-towners who don't trailer, renting a boat is a great option. GreatSmokies.com

Flathead Lake

Barn on west shore of Flathead Lake

Commercial boating developed on Flathead Lake beginning in the late 1800s to transport merchandise, agricultural products, lumber, livestock, and passengers. (Photo: FCVB/Kerrick James)

  • Location: 70 miles north of Missoula
  • Size: 126,080 acres
  • Depth: 165-foot average, 371 feet maximum
  • Amenities: 9 marinas, 1 yacht club, 22 launch ramps
  • Fish: lake trout, bull trout, rainbow trout, lake whitefish
  • BoatUS Services available: Life jacket loaner sites

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Bordered to the east by the Mission Mountains and to the west by the Salish Mountains, stunning views abound. The town of Polson sits on the south shore and the artsy community of Bigfork on the northeast side of the lake. This 28-mile-long and up to 15-mile-wide body of water is what remains of an ancient glacial dammed lake. In 1930, the Kerr Dam harnessed the Flathead River and raised the lake level by 10 feet.

With 185 miles of shoreline, there's plenty of room for boats of all types. Enjoy camping, picnicking, and exploring several islands. A range of boat rentals and guided tours are available, with something to suit everyone's pace, from a rafting class III–IV rapids on Flathead River to a laid-back sunset cruise through Polson Bay. Flathead Lake is one of the top fishing lakes in Montana. Both trout and whitefish are abundant. The vastness of Flathead means you'll never feel crowded out there.

Be sure to make a stop at Wild Horse Island, only accessible by boat, and walk the beautiful old growth Ponderosa Pine forest. With any luck, you might see the five resident wild horses along with bighorn sheep, mule deer, and various birdlife.

The mild, lake-influenced climate; pure water; and fertile soil make for "world-famous" Flathead cherries. "We usually say mid-July to early August for ripe cherries, and some people plan their trip around that," says Carol Edgar of the Flathead Convention and Visitor Bureau. Roadside stands offer a variety of locally grown cherries, apples, plums, and other produce — perfect fare for a waterside picnic. FCVB.org

Honey Creek Area at Grand Lake State Park

Honey Creek Area at Grand Lake State Park provides visitors with a place to launch boats. Park an RV, camp overnight, or dock and enjoy a picnic lunch. (Photo: Oklahoma Tourism/Lori Duckworth)

  • Location: 190 miles northeast of Oklahoma City
  • Size: 46,500 acres
  • Depth: 36-foot average, 133-foot maximum
  • Amenities: 18 marinas, 2 yacht clubs, 18 launch ramps
  • Fish: largemouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, white bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, white crappie, paddlefish, bluegill sunfish

Grand Lake O' the Cherokees (its official name) sparkles like a gem in the forested foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range. Its 1,300-mile shoreline meanders through state parks, bustling lakeside communities, waterfront resorts, and secluded coves. The lake is the centerpiece of a tourism destination with museums, golf, casinos, fishing, shopping, accommodations, restaurants, and services all nearby. There are marinas all around the lake catering to a variety of choices, including boat rentals, bait shops, and fishing guides.

"This water destination is a boater's dream," says Keli Clark, Oklahoma State Parks program officer. "Fishermen flock to the coves for great bass action; families take the kids out to the coves and unroll their gigantic floating mats; pontoons are popular to gather family, friends, and food; personal watercraft fly through the air hopping the wakes. It's fun to watch!"

The reservoir was completed in 1940 when the Pensacola Dam was completed on the Grand River (lower Neosho River). Henry Holderman, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is credited with first envisioning the Grand River as a source of hydropower for the Cherokee Nation.

Today, you can explore the wide channels and deep waters in just about any type or size boat. Predictable winds make it particularly attractive to sailors. The reservoir is home to several fishing tournaments and is ranked among the top bass-fishing lakes in the U.S.

Five state parks line the shore, offering access to hiking, camping, and exploring flora and fauna. In the winter months, Clark suggests eagle watching. "You can see these great creatures flying through the air, perching in a tree, or floating above the dam and diving to catch fish. It's really a breathtaking sight." GrandLakeFun.com , TravelOK.com

Lake Powell


Houseboat overnights tucked among the red rocks of Glen Canyon

A ubiquitous houseboat overnights tucked among the red rocks of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. (Photo: Gary Ladd)

  • Location: 200 miles north of Flagstaff
  • Size: 161,390 acres
  • Depth: 132-foot average, 583-foot maximum
  • Amenities: 5 marinas, 5 launch ramps
  • Fish: largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass, walleye, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill

For the surreal experience of boating in the middle of the desert, look no further than Lake Powell , where spectacular sandstone canyon walls reach up from deep blue waters. Situated in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the lake boasts 2,000 miles of shoreline and 96 major canyons.

The reservoir was created in 1963 by damming the Colorado River, but it took 17 years for Lake Powell to fill the canyon. Today, Lake Powell is America's second largest man-made lake.

Did You Know: "Planet of the Apes" (1968) is among more than 30 films and TV shows filmed on Lake Powell's shores.

When you think of Powell, most think of houseboats, as it's considered one of the country's top houseboating destinations (rental options abound). But all stripe of boater is drawn, including adrenaline-seeking wakeboarders, weekend anglers, and paddlers who explore the protected bays or kayak through slot canyons. While it's possible to sail in Lake Powell, the canyon walls tend to deflect and channel wind. The clear waters are stocked with nearly a dozen different species, so it's teeming with fish, and the fishing really is great all year round. Even novices can hire one of several local fishing guides. You can also rent runabouts, ski boats, pontoons, and personal watercraft.

A disclaimer is required for Lake Powell: After two years of intense drought and two decades of long-term drought in the American Southwest, government water managers have struggled to maintain Lake Powell's water levels, which sit at 25% capacity at press time. There was some relief and officials reopened the primary boat ramp, Stateline Auxiliary Boat Ramp, last September. Unfortunately, a La Niña winter weather pattern is forecast, which portends a warmer, drying winter for the Southeast, so be sure to check launch ramp conditions before you go. LakePowell.com

Lake Murray

South carolina.

Lake Murray has the largest purple martin roost in North America

Lake Murray has the largest purple martin roost in North America. Sunset boat cruises to see these migratory songbirds are popular. (Photo: Bill Barley)

  • Location: 30 miles west of downtown Columbia
  • Size: 50,000 acres
  • Depth: 41 feet average, 190 feet deepest
  • Amenities: 7 launch ramps, 14 marinas
  • Fish:  largemouth and striped bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, catfish
  • BoatUS Services available: Member discounts | TowBoatUS port

Created in the late 1920s when engineers dammed the Saluda River to provide hydroelectric power (which it still does), Lake Murray has become a beloved oasis for recreational boaters and anglers, hosting local and national tournaments and numerous water sporting events throughout the year. The hot spot is Dreher Island State Park, accessible by car or boat, which offers a sandy beach, boat ramps, hiking trails, camping and picnic areas, cabin and villa rentals, a marina, and tackle shop. There are also many rental cottages and Airbnbs — most with their own boat ramps and docks — along with marinas and landings located around the entire lake, offering ample access, gas, and marine services. Numerous restaurants offer fine or casual waterfront dining at several of the larger marinas.

Locals favor quiet weekday boating because the crowds converge on weekends and the water can get choppy. If you're looking for a quiet spot, head in any direction away from the dam on the eastern shore, toward one of the many secluded coves found as the reservoir splinters out to the west. Wide open spaces attract a diversity of boaters — sailors, skiers, pontooners, and plenty of powerboats.

Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes on Lake Murray. The lake is also known for special events, summer music concerts, and an annual July fireworks celebration, or enjoy the Christmas Light Boat parade in December at the dam. A natural phenomenon occurs annually with the return of the purple martins on Bomb Island from June to August, with large waves of birds filling the sky. Be sure to wear a hat as you witness close to a million of the largest North American swallows perform prior to sunset. LakeMurrayCountry.com

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Senior Editor and Contributing Editor, BoatUS Magazine

BoatUS Magazine Senior Editor Rich Armstrong has worked in TV news, and at several newspapers, then spent 18 years as a top editor at other boating publications. He’s built a stellar reputation in the marine industry as one of the most thorough reporters in our business. At BoatUS Magazine, Rich handles everything from boat and product innovation and late-breaking news, to compelling feature stories, boat reviews, and features on people and places. The New Jersey shore and lakes of lower New York defined Rich's childhood. But when he bought a 21-foot Four Winns deck boat and introduced his young family to the Connecticut River, his love for the world of boats flourished from there. BoatUS Magazine contributing editor Fiona McGlynn and her husband sailed their 35-footer trans-Pacific for two years. Now living north of 59, she’s part of their local search and rescue team and edits WaterborneMag.com, a millennial boating website.

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Best boating destinations in Upstate NY: 8 most scenic spots to take the boat out

  • Updated: Sep. 25, 2023, 3:21 p.m.
  • | Published: Apr. 30, 2015, 3:13 p.m.

Boaters and sailors flock to the water throughout Upstate New York as soon as winter’s ice retreats and shimmering waves return. Lakes, canals and rivers are found throughout the Upstate area, making time on the water a favorite recreational activity in warm weather. Below are a few of the most scenic boating locations in New York.

no motorboat lakes near me

Boats fill in spaces at the Skaneateles dock. David Lassman / The Post-Standard

1.  Skaneateles Lake

If sailing and vintage and antique vessels float your boat, spend the day on Skaneateles Lake. A yearly festival in honor of boatcraft is held here. The Finger Lakes are flush with scenic beauty, and this lake is just one spot among the bevy of boating locations in the region. The water here is so clean and fresh that the towns surrounding it use the lake as an unfiltered drinking source.

2.  Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor

Take a leisurely sail through history on the Erie Canal -- no mule needed. Connecting 500 miles of canals, rivers and lakes, the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor  traverses New York State and features a lock system that captures a moment in our state's history for today's adventurers. Rowing, kayaks, motorboating and cruises are available from May 1 to November 15 annually, with entry points throughout the state.

Before heading out, check the  Canal Corporation webpage  for boating alerts, such as closures of canal sections because of high water.

3.  Saranac Lake

To call it one lake is a misnomer: Saranac Lake  is actually a series of interconnected lakes that stretches for 24 miles in one of the most scenic spots in the Adirondacks . Several launch sites on the various lakes allow for quick access to the water, while a multitude of sandy beaches, small islands and vagrant rope swings call you away from your boat to enjoy the water in other ways. In September, take part in or witness the Adirondack Canoe Classic 90-Miler Race , a three day competition for paddlers.

4.  Otesgo Lake

Formally, it is called Otsego Lake , but those who know and love it call it  Glimmerglass .  A fitting name, considering the reflective qualities of the deep, blue water and surrounding rolling hills. Cooperstown  isn't just baseball, beer, and museum-hopping: It's also located on this picturesque lake. Municipal boat launches and private marinas are available for all boaters.

5.  Chautauqua Lake

If the open water of the Great Lakes seems too vast for you, venture just a bit east of Lake Erie and try Chautauqua Lake. Boaters of all varieties, along with kayakers and paddleboarders, take refuge on the 17 miles of water in Western New York. Many marinas offer rentals and tours, so you can take part in the fun without the commitment of owning or transporting a boat.

6.  Lake George

Names such as, " Million Dollar Beach ," have given Lake George  the reputation for being one of the most scenic bodies of water anyway in the Northeast. Hobnob on the water with other boating enthusiasts as visitors discover the beauty that leads to such monikers -- even Thomas Jefferson would agree .

no motorboat lakes near me

Boating during a sunset in the Thousand Islands.

7.  Thousand Islands

Pleasure boating at its finest, the Thousand Islands  waterway runs from the eastern edge of Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River. Historic castles, lighthouses, and quaint cottages dot the islands , while commercial boats pass through by in stunning grandeur.

8.  Great Sacandaga Lake

If boating for you includes looking for wildlife along the water’s shore, look no further than Great Sacandaga Lake. On the fringes of Adirondack Park are the 29 miles of Great Sacandaga Lake, one of of the largest lakes in the Adirondacks. Don’t be surprised if eagles soar above you while you take in the view.

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11 Best Recreational Lakes near Milwaukee, WI

  • By Dan Wild
  • Published: October 25, 2022

ItIsWild.com: Best Lakes near Milwaukee WI

Lake Michigan  is a common choice for water sports in Milwaukee, but the surrounding area has plenty of alternatives. 

Smaller lakes around the city offer a lot of activities for their size. Many have swimming beaches that fill up in summer. Some have excellent parks with campgrounds and hiking trails.

Summer activities include fishing, kayaking, and water skiing. And in winter, most options offer ice fishing, ice sailing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Check out what Milwaukee has to offer! 

Lakes near Milwaukee:

  • Big Muskego Lake
  • Little Muskego Lake
  • Pewaukee Lake
  • Nagawicka Lake
  • Ottawa Lake
  • Little Cedar Lake
  • Okauchee Lake
  • Lac La Belle
  • Geneva Lake
  • Lake Michigan

Lakes near Milwaukee Wisconsin Comparison Table

1. Big Muskego Lake

A lake with clouds and grass in Wisconsin

  • Website:  Big Muskego Lake
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  20 miles (25 min)
  • Activities:  Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Hiking, Picnics

Located approximately 20 miles  southwest of downtown Milwaukee, Big Muskego Lake is a relatively large and shallow body of water in Waukesha County. 

Although a small embayment of the lake known as Bass Bay has a depth of over 20 feet, most of this 2,194-acre lake is less than five feet deep. 

Environmental authorities rehabilitated the lake in the mid-1990s, creating the  Big Muskego Lake Wildlife Area  to protect the water and surrounding land in 1999. 

The marshlands in this wildlife area sustain a variety of birds, including terns, ospreys, and great blue herons. In addition to birding, popular recreation activities include kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in winter. 

Launch sites along Boxhorn Drive on the lake’s east side and Durham Drive in the northwest lake corner offer lake access.

Game fishing has improved in recent years after attempts to reduce the carp population. Common fish in this lake include largemouth bass, northern pike, and panfish.

2. Little Muskego Lake

Water skiing team making pyramid

  • Website:  Little Muskego Lake
  • Activities:  Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Picnics, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Less than four miles  northwest of its larger sibling, Little Muskego Lake receives water from Jewel Creek at its northern end. 

This 506-acre lake was first impounded when laborers built a simple outlet dam in 1838. The damming of the lake has doubled its surface area and raised the lake level by nearly eight feet. 

A trolley line first connected the Muskego Lake area to Milwaukee in 1904. Recreation near this lake remained popular long after the trolley service ended in 1939, including an amusement park that began as a lake house in 1861 and operated until 1977. 

The  Little Muskego Lake Association  is an advocacy group for the body of water’s long-term preservation. A governmental body that advocates for the watershed’s protection and restoration is the Little Muskego Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District.

Today, popular activities include fishing, sailing, boating, ice fishing, and skiing. Although residential developments surround much of the lakefront, four public boat landings and  Idle Isle Park with a beach  offer direct lake access. 

Known for its panfish and largemouth bass populations, Little Muskego also sustains walleye, catfish, and northern pike. 

3. Pewaukee Lake

Pewaukee Lake Beach

  • Website:  Pewaukee Lake
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  22 miles (25 min)

Pewaukee Lake  occupies 2,437 acres approximately 20 miles west of downtown Milwaukee. The lake sits in a valley deepened by a glacier during the last Ice Age. 

Known as Snail Lake in the early 1800s, an impoundment that occurred during the Wisconsin Territorial period expanded the lake and raised the water level by approximately six feet during the mid-1800s. 

Three landings and other smaller lake access points allow public access to Pewaukee Lake. These include the  City of Pewaukee’s public beach  and  Laimon Family Lakeside Park  on the lake’s northeastern corner, as well as the Naga-Waukee Park launch near Maple Avenue on the lake’s southwestern corner.

Although these launch sites may limit access during colder months, Pewaukee Lake is open for fishing throughout the year. Commonly caught fish include northern pike, muskellunge, panfish, and bass. 

4. Nagawicka Lake

  • Website:  Nagawicka Lake
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  26 miles (30 min)
  • Activities:  Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Picnics, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Nagawicka Lake  is 25 miles west of downtown and a little more than a mile west of Pewaukee Lake. The best location to access this 981-acre lake is  Naga-Waukee Park , located along the southeastern shore of the lake. 

While Naga-Waukee Park offers a small launch site on a separate tract of land at Pewaukee Lake, the bulk of the park sits alongside Nagawicka Lake. 

Naga-Waukee Park provides a place to enjoy year-round lake access. Boardwalks, trails, and a beach allow access to the shoreline, as well as escapes into oak-hickory forests. 

Visitors will enjoy seeing wildlife, including migratory birds and the occasional great-horned owl. The campground offers a place for overnight stays between April and October. During colder months, snow and ice create a new landscape for winter recreation.

Those who fish in Nagawicka Lake will see panfish and largemouth bass, along with the smallmouth bass, walleye, and northern pike that regularly swim in these waters. 

The state record for a live-release rock bass caught in Wisconsin occurred here in 2019. 

5. Ottawa Lake

ottawa lake wisconsin

  • Website:  Ottawa Lake
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  39 miles (45 min)
  • Activities:  Fishing, Swimming, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Picnics

A little more than 38 miles  west-southwest of downtown, Ottawa Lake has a reputation for its clear water enhanced by the presence of bubbling and seepage streams in a smaller lake section approximately 200 feet to the north. 

This 17-acre body of water is a remnant lake found in a glacial basin from the previous Ice Age. Marshlands in this lake sustain a variety of wildlife and offer a location where smaller animals, wading birds, and waterfowl can congregate.

The Ottawa Lake Recreation Area is a unit within the state’s Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit. The fens around the lake have been a Wisconsin State Natural Area since 1976. 

The  campground at Ottawa Lake  is the only one in the Southern Unit that remains open throughout the year. 

Ottawa Lake has an ADA-accessible pier for fishing. Common catches include panfish, walleye, northern pike, and largemouth bass. 

6. Little Cedar Lake

Fall color on a lake in wisconsin

  • Website:  Little Cedar Lake
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  37 miles (40 min)
  • Activities:  Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Hiking, Picnics, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

A drive of approximately 35 miles  northwest of downtown, Little Cedar Lake is a popular destination throughout the year. 

The park is located in an area of Wisconsin that experienced the creation of kettle lakes during the last Ice Age. The weight of glaciers and remnants of ice under the gravel provided sufficient weight to create depressions such as Little Cedar Lake, which became freshwater reservoirs as the Ice Age ended.

Located on the southeastern lakeshore, Ackerman’s Grove County Park provides direct access to this 260-acre lake. This 68-acre Washington County Park has a trailer boat launch, grass recreation fields, a trail through a forested zone, a seasonal beach, and picnic areas. 

Winter freeze leads to ice up to almost three feet in depth. During this time, snowmobiling and ice fishing are popular. 

Anglers will find abundant populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, in addition to walleye, in deeper portions of the lake. Other fish in this lake include northern pike, rock bass, carp, bluegills, bulleads, carp, and northern pike.

7. Okauchee Lake

  • Website:  Okauchee Lake
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  31 miles (35 min)
  • Activities:  Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

A little more than 30 miles  west-northwest of downtown Milwaukee, Okauchee Lake sits in the center of a region with many kettle lakes that trace their origin to the last Ice Age. 

Other nearby lakes include Pine Lake to the east, North Lake to the northeast, Oconomowoc Lake to the southwest, and Lac La Belle to the west. This 1,210-acre lake reaches a maximum depth of nearly 90 feet.

Formed in 1975, the  Okauchee Lake Management District  is a body that seeks to protect, maintain, and improve this lake’s quality, as well as the lake’s watershed, which includes both residential and commercial areas. 

Whether from a boat launched into the lake or along the shoreline, those who cast a line into Okauchee Lake will find abundant supplies of fish most of the year. 

Top species include muskellunge, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, and panfish. 

8. Lac La Belle

Lac La Belle in Wisconsin

  • Website:  Lac La Belle
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  35 miles (40 min)

A little more than two miles  west of Okauchee Lake, the 1,154-acre Lac La Belle lives up to the translation of its name from French, “Lake, the Beautiful” or “the Beautiful Lake.” 

Site of an early trading post in the late 1820s, Lac La Belle and the 97-acre  Fowler Lake  immediately to its east became a late-19th-century vacation destination for wealthy landowners who built seasonal homes. 

Part of the Oconomowoc River watershed, Lac La Belle has more than eleven miles of shoreline shared by the Village of Lac La Belle, the Town of Oconomowoc, and the City of Oconomowoc. 

The  Lac La Belle Management District  has worked to advocate for the improved quality of the lake since it was established in 1982. A popular access point for the lake is  Bender Beach . 

Fishing throughout the year at Lac La Belle remains a popular pastime for residents and tourists alike. Species commonly found here include largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish, walleye, and northern pike.

9. Pike Lake

Kettle Moraine Forest Pike Lake State Park Beach

  • Website:  Pike Lake

Over thirty miles  northwest of the heart of Milwaukee, Pike Lake is a popular destination with recreational facilities. Those wishing to visit this lake should travel to the  Pike Lake Unit  of the Kettle Moraine State Forest on the lake’s eastern shore. 

Open since June 1961, this 446-acre recreation retreat has a seasonal beach and campground, biking and hiking trails, an observation tower, and lake access. 

Similar to a few other notable lakes in this region, Pike Lake has a non-profit group named the  Friends of Pike Lake  that seeks to promote lake access and support environmental initiatives in the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Pike Lake Unit. 

Fish found in this lake include walleye, bass, northern pike, and panfish.

10. Geneva Lake

geneva lake wisconsin beach

  • Website:  Geneva Lake
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  58 miles (1 hr)

Geneva Lake,  55 miles southwest of downtown Milwaukee, is a picturesque body of water that has gained a reputation as the world’s only current location for the practice of “mail jumping.” 

This method of delivering mail happens as a postal worker jumps on and off the boat onto docks to dispense and retrieve mail to mailboxes in a way that has occurred for more than a century. 

Public beaches and boat landings offer access to this 5,401-acre lake. Sailboats and unique, antique vessels often fill the lake during the summer months, a popular time to walk along the  26-mile shore path  that circles Lake Geneva.

Anglers will enjoy fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass, panfish, trout, walleye, and northern pike. The state record for an inland brown trout caught by hook and line happened here in 1984, when a fish weighing 18 lbs. 6 oz. took the bait. 

11. Lake Michigan

Milwaukee Marina and parks

  • Website:  Lake Michigan
  • Distance from Milwaukee:  0 miles (0 min)

Lake Michigan  shaped the history and development of Milwaukee. It is an integral part of the city, and without it, this list just won’t be complete.

A variety of parks and beaches sit just minutes from downtown and offer breathtaking views of the lake, as well as a chance to cool off in summer or get on the water.

Veterans Park  is one of the nearest, and  Lake Park  is rich in history and has fun winding paths. The latter was designed by Frederick Olmsted, the architect who created Central Park in New York. A popular  Bradford Beach  is two miles from downtown.

Cold-water fish like salmon and trout thrive in this lake and grow to record sizes. As of 2022, Lake Michigan holds  thirteen state fish records  in Wisconsin and  five state records  in Michigan. 

More Lakes in Wisconsin:

  • Wisconsin Dells

State Parks in Wisconsin:

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Adirondack Mountain Land Homepage

No Motor? No Worries! Activities for Waterways with Boat Restrictions

If you’re interested in lakefront property for sale , don’t let the idea of purchasing Adirondack waterfront land with boat restrictions scare you off. There are many benefits to living on a motor-free lake and it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day on the water! There are tons of non-motorboat options to choose from:

If you’re looking for a way to get out and enjoy the water, kayaking is a great activity that can be done alone or with friends and family! You don’t need any prior experience to try this fun hobby, but it can also be a challenge if you’re looking for something more athletic.

For those who are new to kayaking, there are several options available to get started. You can take lessons from an experienced instructor or simply rent equipment at your local recreational center – in either case, it’s an easy way to learn the ropes without investing in expensive gear just yet! If you’d prefer not to take lessons (or if they aren’t offered) then just try it on your own – it’s easier than you might think! Kayaks are very stable boats that can handle rough waters well. You’ll quickly gain confidence as soon as you get out into open water so don’t worry too much; instead, focus on enjoying yourself!

The best part about kayaking is that anyone can do it: kids as young as eight years old have been known to paddle alongside adults without difficulties and seniors often use them because they are a low-impact sport that doesn’t strain joints as other activities would. There’s no age limit when you’re having fun on the water!

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the most popular water sports in the world, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a great workout for your core and balance, and unlike motorboats, SUPs don’t disturb any animals or humans in the water with noise pollution. You can even do yoga or fish while standing up on your board!

Paddling can be done almost anywhere: Adirondack lakes are common places for recreational SUP enthusiasts and whitewater paddlers alike, but rivers, oceans, and even swamps are also functional when searching for new adventures. The main thing to consider when choosing a location is whether there will be enough water depth once you walk out from shore or wade in from the shallows.

Depending on your level of experience and commitment, there are different types of boards that may be better suited for your needs:

  • Inflatable: As its name suggests, an inflatable SUP can be pumped full of air so that it’s ready for use right away when you get out on the lake or ocean. This type is typically more expensive than traditional boards, but is more convenient and can easily deflate and be taken from place to place!
  • Hardshell: A hardshell board is usually made from fiberglass or plastic foam; these materials provide good stability but also make them more difficult to transport if you want to go paddling somewhere besides your local lake. They’re less expensive than inflatables but require more maintenance than other types due to their construction materials getting easily damaged by sunlight and saltwater exposure over time.
  • Surfboard: Truthfully, you could surf on any SUP, but these are specifically designed to perform well on waves. These boards look like regular surfboards except they don’t have fins attached underneath them—instead, they’re just smooth so they can slide across any surface without being caught up in anything else floating around nearby (like seaweed). 

Give it a try! Many tourist shops now offer paddleboard rentals for those who want to try them before making an investment. Many places also offer classes where seasoned instructors will teach you how to SUP safely while having fun out on the water.

Canoes make for a fun day trip or overnight adventure, it’s no wonder they’re the most popular boat in the Adirondack Park! If you’re unsure of where to begin with canoeing, sign up for one of the many guided trips offered by local outfitters and guides. You’ll have an easy time finding a place that rents canoes near you—they are available at businesses all over Upstate New York!

Many people like canoes because they allow you to get closer to nature than motorized boats do as they move more slowly and quietly through the water (though speed demons will most likely prefer sailboats). Canoes can easily hold one or two people so you can decide if you want to paddle alone or with a partner.

Plus, it’s much easier to get out on the lake since canoes don’t require gas or filling stations as motorboats do; usually, all that’s needed is an oar and a life jacket!

Sailing is a popular water sport and for good reason. It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy the breeze on your face as you sail through the water. Since a sailboat is propelled by the wind, it is a great way to enjoy a lake that doesn’t allow motorboats. Sailing is relatively easy once you have some experience and get used to it, so if you haven’t tried it yet and are looking for something new to do on your lake this summer, consider giving sailing a go!

If you don’t know how to sail and want to learn, it’s helpful to take lessons from an instructor who can help teach and guide you through the process. Because there are so many different little things that go into sailing, having an experienced person help show you what exactly goes into doing it will make learning much easier. 

Rowboats are the perfect option for folks looking to enjoy a slower pace on the lake, and one of the most versatile. Not only can they be used for exploration and birdwatching , but they’re also an excellent way to get some exercise while you’re out there. Take advantage of their flat bottoms to pull up on a beach or a rock and have yourself a picnic—many lakeside parks will provide picnic areas complete with tables, grills, and other amenities.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to enjoy the water, try a pedal boat—it’s a fun and easy experience that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. You can usually reserve them at any given marina, or if you have access to your own boat dock, there are plenty of rental companies out there that will deliver them to you!

A pedal boat is essentially an enclosed paddleboat powered by pedals instead of paddles. The use of pedals means that the entire family can participate in propelling the boat through the water. It’s a great way to get everyone involved! So gather up your crew, put on some sunscreen, and hop aboard; from there, it’s smooth sailing all day long.

Buying Adirondack Land with Boating Restrictions

Though lake restrictions can sometimes seem onerous, motor-free lakes are great for the local community, property value, and above all else, the natural environment, helping with Adirondack land and habitat preservation. 

Enjoy endless recreation opportunities with our lakefront property for sale . Our buildable lots are perfect for nature enthusiasts looking to enjoy the serenity of nature and get out on calm waters. Contact us today to get started.

no motorboat lakes near me

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Paddling: The Myth of Motor-free Adirondack Waters

Shannon Photo

Of the 200 largest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park, from Lake Champlain, with 262,864 acres, to Round Pond in Indian Lake, covering 134.9 acres, the overwhelming majority of big lakes and ponds provide abundant opportunities for motorized watercraft—but scant opportunity for quiet, motor-free waters.

Protect the Adirondacks has just released a new report entitled The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park . This report analyzed the public uses on the 200 largest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park. What we found is that there are relatively few opportunities for motor-free experiences on the biggest, most accessible lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks.

Protect the Adirondacks believes that the largest lakes in the Adirondack Park provide the most accessible opportunities for public water-based recreation. But the supply of motor-free experiences on these waterbodies is low when compared to the abundance of opportunities for motorized watercraft. There needs to be greater equity for motor-free waters recreation so that the Adirondack Park can better meet the public’s demand for a wide spectrum of outdoor recreational opportunities. There is a great demand for recreational experiences on accessible, motor-free lakes and ponds. The demand is high, but the supply is low.

Two lakes in the Adirondack Park’s Top 200 are soon to be classified by the Adirondack Park Agency: Third Lake (Number 94, 340 acres) and Boreas Pond (Number 95, 338 acres). The APA’s Forest Preserve classification review, which is ultimately made official by approval of the governor, will determine the types of public uses allowable on these lakes. Protect the Adirondacks supports Wilderness classification for these two remote lakes. This would help to correct the imbalance of waters available for all types of motorized watercraft and motor-free waters.

Low Supply, High Demand

Across the Adirondack Park there are few genuine opportunities for motor-free boating on a big lake or pond. In the top 100 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park, just five lakes stand out as lakes without motorboats, jetskis, and floatplanes; Lows Lake, Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, Lake Lila, and St. Regis Pond. These lakes are all managed as motor-free waterbodies as parts of the Forest Preserve. Three other lakes, Cedar Lake in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area, Newcomb Lake in the High Peaks Wilderness, and Pharaoh Lake in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, are also motor-free, but they are largely inaccessible for boating by the general public. They are great lakes to hike to, and extraordinarily beautiful places, but they are difficult to reach with a boat.

Of the 100 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park, 77 are open for all manner of motorized boating and floatplanes. 13 lakes are privately owned and provide no public access, and just 8 are motor-free. Two lakes in the top 100 are currently in process of being purchased by the State of New York for addition to the Forest Preserve, after which the type of allowable public use will be determined through a public review process. The reality, therefore, is that more than 75% of the Park’s grandest lakes are open for motorized activity while only 8% offer the motor-free option, and just 5% are easily accessible for a motor-free experience.

For those who desire greater motor-free opportunities, the numbers improve slightly in an analysis of the 200 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park. 115 (57%) of the Park’s 200 biggest lakes are open for motorized uses, 54 (27.5%) are privately-owned and thus closed, and 29 (14.5%) are open and motorless. However, of these 29 motor-free lakes, just 17 (9%) are easily accessible without long carries.

When one compares the acreage of waters open for motor-free and motorized opportunities, the differences are stark. Fully 96% of the total surface water area of the 100 biggest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park is dedicated to motorized boating; just 2% is open for public motor-free recreation. If we subtract Lake Champlain, which at 262,864 acres is vast and located partly in Vermont, and look only at waterbodies completely within the Blue Line, the amount of water area dedicated to motorized water uses is 90%. Just 5% is open for public motor-free opportunities.

If we expand our data to look at the surface areas of the 200 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park, 93% are dedicated to motorized uses. If Lake Champlain is excluded, the figure drops to 84% open for motorized uses. Only 7% of the acreage in these 200 biggest waters is devoted to motor-free use, and this figure includes the acreage for motor-free waterbodies that are difficult to reach with a boat.

The PROTECT report provides a table listing the 200 largest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park from Lake Champlain (262,864 acres), to Round Pond (135 acres in the Town of Indian Lake). The table provides the locations of these waterbodies, waterbody acreage and allowable uses.

In addition to the fact that there is a low supply of motor-free waters for the big lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park, there are also many other reasons why it’s critical to create more motor-free opportunities for the public. The following details the importance of motor-free waters for natural resource protection and public recreational use.

Natural Resource Stewardship

Of all the reasons to expand the number of motor-free waters among the large lakes in the Adirondack Park, natural resource stewardship is vital. Here are some particulars:

  • The threat of aquatic invasive species infestations is vastly less for motor-free waterbodies than waters open to motorboating. Evidence is overwhelming that motorboats are the key vectors of spreading aquatic invasive species from lake to lake. The chances of infestation are significantly less for spreading invasives with the “cartop” fleet of boats. It’s far easier to see any vegetation or debris hanging on a canoe or kayak and they are easier to clean. There are no boat trailers where water can pool or debris or plants can become suspended. It’s much more difficult to transport standing water on a canoe or kayak.
  • Motor-free waters provide better habitat for nesting waterfowl and wildlife. Motorboats disturb nesting waterfowl. It’s been documented that species, like loons, will nest on a quiet lake, and travel to forage on larger lakes. Motorboats have the impact of forcing nesting birds off their nests and some nests are even swamped by waves.
  • Waves and erosion have a major impact along shorelines. Impacts are far greater on waters with heavy motorboating, than on motor-free waters. Lakes and ponds that experience high levels of motor boat use also experience instances of shoreline erosion due to incessant wave action on busy days.  

Quiet and Solitude

Several dozen canoes and kayaks can be in simultaneous use on a motor-free lake or pond, such as Lake Lila or Round Lake, and the experience remains one of tranquility. Put several dozen motorboats on one such lake and the experience is dominated by the buzz of engines, surge of boat waves, and smell of gasoline.

It is even more critical in our fast-paced life for us to escape the noise, speed and smell of roaring engines. It is good for all of us to have places for refuge and silence, places where we can observe native species and intact ecosystems and enjoy an overnight camping experience. Such wild places grow fewer each year.

It’s important that people have accessible wilderness areas. The Adirondack Park offers great opportunities for hiking in wild places, where the longer one hikes the more remote the country one can access, but opportunities to do this by boat are limited. For many, canoe or kayak access is how they get to wild places and enjoy Wilderness. Greater opportunities are needed for this type of experience in the Adirondack Park.

Older People and People with Limited Physical Mobility Deserve Easily Accessible Motor-free Waters

Often the criticism of a motor-free lake is that it discriminates against people with limited mobility. But there are many older people and people with limited mobility who desire to have wild experiences on a motor-free water body. They cannot hike great distance, but they can paddle or ride in a canoe. The vast majority of motor-free opportunities are on small, remote lakes and ponds, which are challenging to reach for older people or people with limited mobility. Easily accessible motor-free waters should be available for these people.  Motor-free waters provide a wide range of opportunities for elderly and disabled individuals and groups.

Forever Wild and the State Constitution

In 1894, the framers of the “Forever Wild” clause in the State Constitution recognized the need for public opportunities for a close connection to nature. A big part of the leading testimony in support of the “Forever Wild” clause was to provide lands and waters where, in their language, “peace and quiet” would reign forever and the sounds, smells and life of nature would be an unbroken chain from that time onward. Nothing is more faithful for the spirit of “Forever Wild” than a motor-free lake or pond.

Opportunities for New Motor-free Waters in APA Forest Preserve Classification Review

In the spring of 2013, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) started its formal classification review for the new Forest Preserve lands around the Essex Chain Lakes. The Department of Environmental Conservation made its formal submission to the APA. The APA will conduct a formal public hearing process during the summer-fall of 2013. Part of the Essex Chain Lakes and one of the 200 largest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park is Third Lake (Minerva, Essex County).

Public use will be determined during the APA’s classification hearings. PROTECT supports a Wilderness classification for the Essex Chain Lakes. This provides an opportunity to increase the number of motor-free lakes among the biggest 100 lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park from 8 to 9. Boreas Pond is scheduled to be purchased by the state within the next five years. This waterbody is another ideal candidate for motor-free management through a Wilderness classification. If Boreas Pond is classified as Wilderness and managed as a motor-free waterbody it would bring the number of motor-free lakes among the biggest 100 lakes in the Adirondacks to 10 lakes.

In the Adirondack Park’s Forest Preserve, lands designated Wild Forest include over 100,000 more acres than lands designated Wilderness. Wilderness lands should be equal to Wild Forest. For all the reasons detailed in this report there needs to be many more opportunities for easily accessible motor-free waters in the Adirondack Park for the public to enjoy.

Today, just five of the biggest 100 lakes in the Adirondacks are relatively easy to access and motor-free. Just 17 of the biggest 200 lakes are easily accessible and motor-free. The demand is high for motor-free experiences, but the supply is low.  This needs to change.

The public deserves greater opportunities for motor-free waters across the Adirondack Park.

Photo: Loon Lake, one of many Adirondack lakes dominated by motorboat and jet ski traffic (courtesy Shannon Houlihan).

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Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks . He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He was the co-founder of the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) in 1998, which has collected long-term water quality data on more than 75 Adirondack lakes and ponds. He has testified before the State Legislature, successfully advocated to pass legislation and budget items, authored numerous articles, op-eds, and reports such as "20% in 2023: An Assessment of the New York State 30 by 30 Act" (2023), "The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010" (2019), "The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park" (2013), and "Rutted and Ruined: ATV Damage on the Adirondack Forest Preserve" (2003) and "Growth in the Adirondack Park: Analysis of Rates and Patterns of Development" (2001). He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine . He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife, has two grown children out in the world, and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Threads .

37 Responses

no motorboat lakes near me

“Lows Lake, Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, Lake Lila, and St. Regis Pond”

What about Little Clear Pond (drive to), Green Pond (drive to), Long Pond (very short carry)…..

Your argument here seems to be centered on a lack of “large” ponds or lakes is that correct?

All the smaller ponds (and some pretty large) that are not accessible by anyone except paddlers are by default motor-less waters, no?

Would you also envision waters that are ONLY for motorized use as well as part of this balance?

no motorboat lakes near me

^^^ TROLL ^^^

no motorboat lakes near me

Troll alert says, ^^^TROLL^^^Couldn’t agree more.

no motorboat lakes near me

I would scratch Lows lake from the truly motorless list. During my first experience there in July a couple years back I saw a pontoon boat docked up at the boy scout camp/landing and a fishing boat with trolling motor in that same area. Add to that the drone of a generator from the camp (which was much worse than motors when you have to listen to it all night), and you have a wilderness experience let down. I did return with a better experience, but that couldn’t have been an isolated experience.

no motorboat lakes near me

But are the larger water bodies good for cartop boats? Realistically, a lake the size Piseco Lake or Lake Placid is going to be choppy and rough and most days, for a small car-top boat.

Those lakes are best reserved primarily for bigger boats, but if people want to take cartop boats out on them, then they should stay close to the shore, and in smaller bays.

Also, most of the large lakes are highly developed along the shore, and have one or more major highways along them. Banning motor boats would have a minimal effect compared the noise pollution along the shorelines.

Also, many of the larger lakes. The Saranac chain, Cranberry, Rainbow etc. have many acres of water that is only accessible by paddlers since much of these dammed up waterways are too shallow for most motor boats. I have had lots of quiet paddling in the coves and bays of many of the larger lakes.

no motorboat lakes near me

I’ve paddled both Piseco and Lake Placid several dozen times, in a 10 foot 14lb canoe, and have never encountered conditions that were too choppy or rough. In fact, the only time I’ve felt unsafe in a small boat on lakes like that is when a motor boats wake hit me.

It is a good point, however, that some of these larger lakes are developed to the point where quiet paddling is hard to come by regardless of the motors on the lake. Not all of them however. Lake Placid for example is a lake that can offer lots of quiet solitude when the motor boats are not going at it, even with the shoreline development.

According to the study 3 of 8 of the top 100, and 12 of 29 of the top 200 motor-less lakes are dubbed “remote and non accessible”. Peter, two things. First why not advocate to make them more accessible and second doesn’t your group normally advocate for things like Wilderness designations and road closures that make things remote and inaccessible? Seems like you want to have it both ways. Make many places inaccessible and then restrict the accessible ones to your groups preferred activity?

On the demand side you say this: “There is a great demand for recreational experiences on accessible, motor-free lakes and ponds. The demand is high, but the supply is low.”

I saw no data to support anything on the demand side in your report. I don’t see places like the St. Regis Canoe area especially crowded at most times? I do see boat launches like the Second Pond launch for Lower Saranac jammed and overflowing onto the highway all summer long.

I think it is probably a good idea to increase some motor-less opportunities but I don’t see any big “myths” involved. I would also add that the campaign to “clarify” navigation rights on streams and rivers as somewhat of an invitation to motorized use of some water bodies that have historically been pretty quiet places to paddle.

no motorboat lakes near me

Paul, the ponds you mention are accessible and motor-free but they are not among the largest lakes in the Park.

That is true. I guess Peter is referring to the St. Regis Lakes rather than St. Regis Pond in his comments. I was thinking that Little Clear and Long Pond as examples are pretty large bodies of water for paddling. It took me a while to row the length of Little Clear the other day and St. Regis was windy and about as large as a “lake” I would have wanted to be on in a guide boat that day.

This is a topic where I think some groups have backed themselves into a bit of a corner. First there is what I have mentioned above about wanting to have the access issue both ways and then there is another issue. Phil in something you wrote the other day on the Finch property classification there was this idea that a new canoe area in there could help relieve some of the pressure on the St. Regis Canoe area? All along some have been arguing that these things will increase tourism business for the local communities. Now we see the argument that one area will draw “business” away from other areas. I don’t think this is what many local politicians had in mind when they approved these deals. So if the demand is really there and motor-less will be more of a draw than something else than fine but a better case must be made.

What are the stats? How many motor boats versus motor-less crafts? Is there a numbers case to be made for more of a “balance”.

Paul, I don’t have the stats. But I see a lot more cars in the Park carrying canoes and kayaks than pulling motorboats.

I see a lot of canoes and kayaks also. It would be interesting to see what the data is and what the majority of paddlers really want. I seem to see lots of paddlers that don’t seem to have any issue with using waterways that are a mix of boat types. The theoretical question is would a launch like Second Pond have more paddlers there if it were not totally jammed with trailers all summer. I am just not sure there is really an issue here. A lake like upper St. Regis is great for paddling even with the motor boats that are there.

Here is a simple economic question that would not be hard to get at. What is the economic impact of the marinas in the Adirondacks verses the outfitters. You could start around the trilakes. I know that one Ski Nautique sold is the equivalent of about 50 one thousand dollar canoes as far as sales tax revenue goes. How many boats does St. Regis sell in an entire season? We need to have both kinds of activities but does the latter justify some type of balance as far as the water ways they need exclusive use of?

Need a better research method I think. Even if you took a couple days a year diligently counting boats on a road or launch does not capture the whole picture. Seeing more canoes and kayaks does not account for the motor boats docked long term or sitting in trailers in driveways. They are less mobile and many people keep their motor boats on a lake longer-term. If reducing motorboats is the goal, then the best way to do it is not through just access regulations, but increased ownership costs. Use research to support environmental impact and cost to compensate/clean up the damage by motor boats and come up with additional boat registration fees.Add in a pump surcharge at marinas and that would definitely cut down on the motor boat numbers. Also, a bit off point but related, What about a blue line permit for added accountability for all water craft to cut down on invasives to start a war chest to combat them?

Matt, I don’t think there is any goal to reduce the number of motorboats? If you did want to do it then you could just close the public launches. The development of the four cycle engine and very strict emissions standards has really changed the way motorboats impact the environment. I suspect that electric boats (I should say more types since there are some already) will also continue that trend. Would this thing be legal on a “motor-less” lake?


no motorboat lakes near me

Over the past few years I’ve wanted to take my kids summer camping on a motorless lake with clean water and wild, as opposed to recently logged shores or shores heavily impacted by dam releases. Lake Lila fits the bill, but each time we’ve gone in, after driving a great distance, the parking lot has been completely full – even on weekdays. So off we usually end up at the Saranacs. In spite of trying, my kids have never canoe camped on a quiet lake, and we go almost every year.

I have been camping and canoeing in the Adirondacks for over 50 years, and I can tell you it is a fact that there is huge demand for quality, quiet water here in the greatest park in the East. For those who see dollar signs, if we capitalize on paddlesports, the Adirondacks could one day regain its rightful place as the greatest watersports park in the nation. It’s a good dream.

Dan, Why not try the St. Regis Canoe area. There are many different places where you can set off and you won’t find any dams or logged shorelines. It sounds like the Essex Chain lakes will also be open soon. Hopefully it will not be too difficult to access.

no motorboat lakes near me

This does not really bother me. Many of the largest lakes aren’t great for paddling anyways. The best paddling spots will always be in the small, secluded and hard to reach areas where solitude can be found.

If I am putting in on Lake George for example, I know that I will likely deal with higher winds and choppier waters in addition to boat traffic. And just because a lake allows motorboats does not mean that the lake is overrun with them. I have always enjoyed paddling Blue Mountain Lake. There is motorboat traffic, but not much of it, and the scenery is great. Nothing but great experiences there.

Also, many of the large lakes will have areas of low boat traffic (EX – Northwest Bay, Lake George).

no motorboat lakes near me

Generally, I see three or four canoes, kayaks and row boats to one motor boat. Of the camps on the lakes, most have one motor boat but often two or three cnaoes or kayaks. This is anecdotal though, with the numbers picked up over about 30 years of paddling/hiking through the ADK’s.

Racquette Lake is a good example of mixed traffic on the water. Sometimes, I have to stick closer to shore as the larger waves roll off my boat. Othertimes I can paddle anywhere. Crossing Lake Champlain with a small 12′ canoyak is an experience. You wonder sometimes if the motor boats are even watching. Yes, both types can coexist on the water. But smaller water is, perhaps, exclusivly “owned” by small, human powered boats.

To have 5% of the largest lakes reserved for human powered boats is reasonable in my estimation. There are many, many canoers, kayakes and rowers out there that would love a pleasent day on the water without worrying about a motor boat suddenly racing by. Yes, it’s slower, like the pace of life in these areas. 5% is a drop in the bucket to paddle a pristine lake, a price I would easily pay.

Even though a beer and tooling along in front of a motor can be enjoyable at times, you simply do not see too many animals with the engine running. How many times have you seen a couple deer amble down for a drink and walk back? Not in a motor boat. By the same token, getting from point A to point B is easier done with a motor.

I agree with the sentiments expressed in the article. I believe that there are a LOT of people that would slow down, smell the roses (avoiding the bee) and simply kick back and watch the sunset on a larger lake, IF they had a chance to paddle out on one. At least night navigation would not be an exercise in risk taking, but a serene moon light paddle on glass smooth water.

no motorboat lakes near me

This conversation and Peter’s reasonable proposition reminds me of the time an intrepid person suggested that hikers should have to pay for a permit to climb the high peaks, indeed any peak in the ADKs — the person was lucky to get out of the room intact. I am a paddler (also own a guideboat) and have experienced too many instances of thoughtless owners of motorboats leaving wakes that endangered me and my cohort, even close to shore. I support Mr. Bauer’s position that the region needs more “motorless” bodies of water that are easily accessible. For those who argue motorboaters bring more $$$ to the local economy, take in the annual Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Annual get together at Paul Smith’s College in June. Paddlers are not noticed as much ‘cuz they make a lot less noise !!

Don’t get me started on this…

I paddle and row and have a motorboat. This thing about “thoughtlessness” goes both ways. It is almost a several a day experience on the Sarnac Chain in a motorboat to have many canoes and kayaks paddling on the wrong side of the navigation channel (going the wrong way) or across the navigation channel for no reason completely clueless to where they should be. And this in places where they could be far outside the channel enjoying a much more quiet part of the lake or river. It makes almost no sense.

BB, I agree there should probably be some more “motor-less” opportunities but the smaller more remote waterways seem much more suitable for paddlers. Don’t forget all the rivers and streams that are pretty much only “open” for paddlers as well. It just isn’t a”myth” that there are many places out there like Peter claims.

no motorboat lakes near me

Navigation channels are for motor boats not canoes. Your attitude reflects the typical “I drive, therefore I rule the road” attitude of car drivers, in this case transferred to the water.

Get rid of the motorized boats, no need for navigation channels…problem solved!

Didn’t say the motor boats rule the “road”. Some of them are just as clueless at times.

no motorboat lakes near me

Roads are built primarily for motor vehicles. Bikes can use them as well but they must follow the rules of the road. Cars and bikes must share the road. Isn’t it the same in Navigation channels? Are most water bodies that have a navigation channel also considered public highways? Isn’t the right of navigation a common law right?

no motorboat lakes near me

Roads were built for motor vehicles and lakes were built by glaciers. Navigation channels were laid out to delineate a safe passage for motor boats to not damage their props. I know of no statute that requires non-motorized boats (or motorized for that matter) to follow a navigation channel. I also know of no navigation channel with a center stripe, white shoulder lines, crosswalks (crosspaddles?), or non-motorized shoulders that would imply a designated area for certain craft to stay in. Are you saying that I should get a ticket for encroaching in the ‘wrong’ part of a navigation channel with a canoe?

No. I think maybe we are suggesting that there are common sense “rules” that apply to traveling on any kind of road, path, hiking trail,river, or lake, whatever. And some folks are certainly free to not use their common sense. There is no shortage of that one some waterways.

no motorboat lakes near me

I like motor-free lakes because as a paddler, they are quieter, safer, and for me, more in harmony with my idea of experiencing nature.

My canoe does not disturb the motor boat. The motor boat disturbs my canoe.

While I support more motor-free waters, it must be said that there are wilderness areas in the Park today that are loaded with motorless lakes and ponds, which are used by virtually no one.

In terms of policy, we could approach the issue of motor vs. no motor cooperatively:

How about one motor free day per week on some lakes?

One all-electric day?

This is not just about boating.

My family loves to swim long distances, and we choose to do this only in motor-free lakes.

I prefer to read next to a motor-free lake.

no motorboat lakes near me

Follensby Clear Pond is among the bodies of water that ought to be motor-free. Anyone with a motorized water craft has easy access to Upper Saranac Lake a stone’s throw away. They don’t need Follensby Clear. I would certainly consider camping there if it were motor-free. I also agree with Bauer’s point that there are older folks who like to paddle in a serene setting but are not able to portage. They deserve easy access to some quiet water paddling.

Tom, Isn’t Follensby Clear Pond already a “motor-free” pond?

“I also agree with Bauer’s point that there are older folks who like to paddle in a serene setting but are not able to portage. They deserve easy access to some quiet water paddling.”

Then you should ask his group to support policies that will keep more waterways easily accessible. There are a number of motor-less waters that, if made more accessible, could solve this dilemma.

Follensby Clear is not motor free. Neither are a lot of the little bodies of water around there. One of which, I own property on and can attest to this.

We already have hundreds of lakes and ponds with direct accessibility. No need to support opening access to others if you want motor free paddling. Seems easier to more fairly distribute motor usage on those hundreds of lakes and ponds that are already accessible.

Dave, thanks for the info on Follensby Clear.

“We already have hundreds of lakes and ponds with direct accessibility. No need to support opening access to others if you want motor free paddling.”

According to Peter’s post here that is a myth???

I don’t see where Peter suggests that is a myth at all.

There are hundreds of lakes that are easily accessible in the Adirondacks, the overwhelming majority of them just happen to allow motors.

What I am saying is that if we want people to have motor free usage of accessible lakes and ponds, there is no reason to build roads or ease access to MORE lakes and ponds, all we need to do is declare some of the ones already accessible as motor free.

You could do it that way but don’t you think it would be fairer for both constituents to just make some of the hundreds of motor free waters that you are describing more accessible rather than kicking motors off waters that are already open for that use?

There are many examples where you simply need to remove a gate. For example removing the gate and eliminating the carry down the road to Lake Lila would make exactly the type of lake that Peter describes more accessible for motor free use for the type of users he is concerned cannot gain access?

no motorboat lakes near me

This is an interesting site and soon my wife and I will spend a week in the Adirondacks for the first time ( we’re native New Englanders).

It would be great to have a greater number of waters that are motor free but I am afraid it is too late. As a child I grew up on a large freshwater lake in Massachusetts and it was great but that changed over the years. Boats got bigger and more powerful. Technically the speedlimit was 45 but one police officer in town had a boat that could reach 83mph. I think that statement pretty much sums it all up.

The lake I grew up on was the scene of canoes, rowboats and nothing bigger than 10 or 20 horsepower. That changed because the town saw money from visiting water skiers as well as recently the site of some bass tournaments with boats that have 200 plus horsepower.

Sadly rules should have been in place twenty years ago. There are some but few restricted lakes in New England I am not sure if it will happen in the future because the almighty dollar still rules. I am not sure about New York state and the towns in the Adirondacks but I suspect they welcome the boats because these see a trail of money.

Again, I believe it may be too late. It should have been done thirty or more years ago.I could be worng.

no motorboat lakes near me

For what it’s worth, I have seen very little mention or consideration extended in Peter’s original piece to the many property Adirondack property owners who happen to have camps on many of these larger non-motorless lakes

Believe it or not, there are still many camps that require use motorized acess. And on many of the lakes, the owners also own and use sailboats, guideboats and yes, even canoes.

It is about time we recognize that motorless advocates are not exclusively paddlers. Should the non-motorized community have more rights than the camp and property owners, who contribute to the local economy via land and school taxes. employmentl for locals, and a thousand other ways,

Is it fair for paddlers to claim exclusive rights to traditional waters where sportsmen and anglers have traditionally used motors to access remote areas to hunt and fish, and dare I mention ‘check their traps’.

In terms of simple economics, it would be interesting to compare the contributions of each user group, as well as in terms of environmental protection. I’m sure that property owners are much more contientious when it comes to matters of invasives, noise pollution, and common courtesy for other users.

I paddle and row, and also use a motor on occassion. And as previously mentioned , I have also encountered inconsiderate packs of paddlers on the channel between the Saranac Lakes. Likewise, I have been swamped more than once by inconsiderate motor boaters while pulling on the oars of a guideboat along the same route.

Unfortunately, it remains impossible for the state to legislate, zone or designate the use of common sense or common courtesy. In the effort to exclude one type of access over another, someone is going to be discriminated against. Who has the right to make this call? I see both sides of the coin, as I frequently haul a pack canoe down Cranberry Lake a motorboat to enjoy the motorless waters of the Five Ponds Wilderness. It is often too dangerous to make the long trip across the big lake with just the canoe. All users must learn to share, and calling for exclusivity is not good manners in the sandbox or on the water.

no motorboat lakes near me

Having paddled in the Adirondacks for years, I can tell you that many of the larger bodies of waters are not safe to paddlers. Only Sat, I was at the Otis Reservoir in Otis , MA it was a DISASTER. Jerk-offs on Jet ski’s , PWC, large boats all speeding up and down a 1,200 acres body of water ? Huge wakes- YES even along the shore. No consideration at all. Loud, huge wakes As long as the boaters have their fun , F everybody else is the rule.


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Lakes with "no motors" restrictions?

no motorboat lakes near me

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CO SB (or other qualified officer )... Where can one find a localized list of said waters or is it state wide you CAN use an electric trolling motor ( NOT gas) on said bodies of water??? Thanks! Robert :fish2:  

no motorboat lakes near me

Is this what you are looking for ??? http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10366_37141_37701---,00.html  

malainse said: Is this what you are looking for ??? http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10366_37141_37701---,00.html Click to expand...

no motorboat lakes near me

Been on somewhat of a vaca the last week or so visiting with inlaws from out of state. Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire  

no motorboat lakes near me

That's some good info!  

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Teen safely stops runaway boat speeding in circles on New Hampshire’s largest lake

An empty runaway boat speeding in circles on New Hampshire’s largest lake was brought safely to a stop by a teenager who jumped aboard from a personal watercraft. (AP produced by Javier Arciga)


In a still frame from video provided by Rich Bono, an empty runaway boat speeds in circles, Wednesday, July 3, 2024, on Lake Winnipesaukee’s Smith Cove, off Gilford, N.H. The empty runaway boat was brought safely to a stop by a teenager who jumped aboard from a personal watercraft. (Rich Bono via AP)

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GILFORD, N.H. (AP) — An empty runaway boat speeding in circles on New Hampshire’s largest lake was brought safely to a stop by a teenager who jumped aboard from a personal watercraft.

Rich Bono, who captured the events on video, said he was on the dock Wednesday in Lake Winnipesaukee’s Smith Cove when he heard some commotion in what is usually a quiet, no-wake zone.

“I can hear an engine revving, and I looked down the end of the dock toward the noise and saw a boat circling, circling, circling, and no one was in it,” he said. “Obviously, that’s not good.”

Bono later learned that the boat’s operator, a sailing instructor, had reached into the water to pick up a tennis ball used for teaching when one of the students’ sailboats tipped over. The sailboat’s mast hit the motor boat’s throttle, sending the instructor overboard and the boat into a spiral.

Brady Procon, 17, hopped on the back of his neighbor’s personal watercraft. They pulled alongside the runaway boat, and Procon jumped onto it and cut the engine.

“Brady was a hero,” Bono said in an interview Monday.

Though there were multiple children in sailboats and other vessels docked nearby, no one was injured, nor was any property damaged, Bono said.

“That boat was under power, throttled up,” he said. “Motors on boats are like meat grinders, they’re not very forgiving if someone gets hit.”

Procon, who is joining the U.S. Navy in the fall, told WMUR-TV the experience was both scary and fun.

“I’d do it again,” he said.

no motorboat lakes near me


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