The United States has thousands of lakes distributed throughout all 50 states, including 12,000 lakes in Minnesota alone, so there are lake vacations for all types of travelers.
From Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, bordering three states and one Canadian province, to North America’s largest alpine lake, beautiful Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border, to the cleanest lake in our country, Crater Lake in Oregon, America is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and record-setting lakes.
However, not all lakes are made alike, and some genuinely stand out from the crowd. These are the lakes that are worth traveling to or flying to for a vacation. Check out our list of the top lakes in the United States, which includes everything from the cleanest to the most beautiful, natural to man-made.
1. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Lake Tahoe is one of the most gorgeous lakes in the United States, located on the border of California and Nevada and surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At 1,645 feet, it is the second deepest lake in the United States and the biggest alpine lake in North America.
It’s also incredibly clear, with visibility of more than 70 feet in certain places and a stunning fusion of blue colors that fluctuate depending on the weather and the area of the lake.
Lake Tahoe draws sunbathers in the summer, despite the fact that the water remains relatively chilly all year. Skiing in the mountains is available in the winter, with panoramic lake views from the routes. Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, on the Nevada side of the lake, has hiking paths and Sand Harbor Beach.
2. Lake Michigan, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana
The US and Canada have the world’s biggest collection of linked freshwater lakes by total area and the second-largest by total value. This collection of five lakes, known as the Great Lakes of North America, holds 21% of the world’s freshwater by surface area. All of the lakes are located on or near the Canadian border and link to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence River.
Lake Michigan is the third-biggest of the Great Lakes, with a shoreline that stretches over four states and is the only one that does not touch Canada. Chicago is one of Lake Michigan’s biggest cities. The majority of visitors, however, come to play on the section of the lake located on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Top attractions include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which features 450-foot-high sand dunes.
3. Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona
Almost every tourist has been taken aback by Lake Powell’s incredible, deep blue waters. Furthermore, this is a man-made lake, and it is completely unexpected that the lake came out so lovely.
Of course, there were a lot of uproars when Glen Canyon was dammed and filled with Colorado River water, but it was all worth it in the end.
Through the clean, sapphire-colored river water, visitors can glimpse the red sandstone river banks. The river is flanked by beautiful beaches, and during the peak summer season, people throng to the region.
For those who are interested, the lake also provides sport fishing and water activities. If you’re in Arizona, you should take a short journey to this man-made beauty.
4. , Oregon
Oregon calls America’s deepest lake home. Crater Lake, with a depth of 1,943 feet, is the product of a volcanic explosion some 8,000 years ago that produced a crater that would fill with rain and snowfall over millennia.
Crater Lake is the cleanest lake in the United States and the world, according to experts, because it is not fed by any streams or rivers. It’s also the clearest, with visibility of up to 100 feet and sunlight reaching down to 400 feet. As a result, scuba divers flock to Crater Lake to investigate the lava structures and underwater moss fields.
Fishing is also a popular sport on Crater Lake; however, fishermen, divers, and visitors who wish to see the lake from the coastline must descend 700 vertical feet via the Cleetwood Cove Trail. The only other way to get there is to take a boat excursion from Wizard Island, one of Crater Lake’s two islands.
5. Lake Kabetogama, Minnesota
Beautiful Lake Kabetogama in Minnesota’s North Woods Lake District is one of the state’s 12,000 lakes and is well worth seeing on a wild vacation. Canoeing or kayaking is a popular way to explore this lake.
One of the most beautiful lakes in the United States, it is part of the rivers that comprise Voyageurs National Park; therefore, it is protected and, as such, one of the cleanest lakes in the country.
Plan a multi-night vacation that involves sleeping at one of the two dozen wilderness campsites accessible only by boat. Make a point of visiting Lost Bay and the region surrounding the Chief Wooden Frog Islands.
There is also an abundance of wildlife in the region, and you may see moose, wolves, and bears when walking along the coastlines. Lake Kabetogama is also home to otters and bald eagles. This lake also has excellent fishing.
6. Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming
Yellowstone Lake is the biggest high-elevation lake in North America, located at an elevation of 7,733 feet in Yellowstone National Park in the northwest corner of Wyoming. It’s incredibly clear, very deep, and very cold, and it’s frozen for roughly six months out of the year.
Yellowstone Lake may grow congested in the summer due to its placement in one of America’s most visited national parks. Nonetheless, it’s a stunning setting, surrounded by mountains and close to spouting geysers, which makes a visit well worth the throng.
You can spend the night at the national park. There are a variety of hotel and camping alternatives available. The Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Cottages are situated directly on the lake’s beaches. The historic home, which is housed in a Colonial-Revival-style structure, underwent extensive restorations less than ten years ago.
7. Flathead Lake, Montana
If you’re looking for superb fishing, you won’t be able to beat a visit to Montana’s gorgeous Flathead Lake, whose renowned clear waters are less than an hour from the gates of Glacier National Park.
The lake is teeming with perch, whitefish, and three types of trout that may weigh up to 50 pounds, making it the ideal location for anybody whose dream summer vacation includes a fishing rod and line. There’s also plenty for the rest of the family to enjoy, such as whitewater rafting and floating across the water so pure that it seems like you’re flying.
Have you ever visited any of these lakes? Tell us all about your experience in the comments section!
If you are planning to visit the Great Lakes on your next trip, we think that one of the best things you can have with you is a guide and a map. One of the best maps we have found is this one, made by National Geographic: United States, Great Lakes Map (National Geographic Adventure Map)
If you are a nature lover, you probably want to live in or visit a green city that will make you feel closer to nature. But are there any cities like these in the United States? We can tell you that, for sure, you can find the comfort of nature even in big cities, and because of this, we recommend you read: 10 Best US “Green” Cities For the Nature Lover.