Pennsylvania is known for its beautiful mountains, rolling hills, winding rivers, and autumn foliage. But did you know that the state also has some great lakes? From the serene and quiet waters of Lake Wallenpaupack to the larger and more popular Lake Erie, there’s a lake for everyone in this great state. In this blog post, I’ve compiled a list of the 14 best lakes in Pennsylvania that are sure to please. So pack your bag and get ready to explore.
Best Lakes in Pennsylvania to Visit
1. Lake Erie
This beautiful Lake is the 4th largest Lake of the five Great Lakes in North America. In addition, it is the 13th largest Lake globally in terms of surface area. But it is truly unique because it is relatively shallow for a larger-sized body of water, with an average depth of 62 feet.
Lake Erie has over 11 miles of shoreline where you can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, or just relaxing on its sandy beach. You can scuba dive to view shipwrecks in Lake Erie’s crystal clear waters. There are several islands in Lake Erie that are accessible by boat tours or kayak. This gives you a chance to explore and get a glimpse of nature at its finest setting.
What attracts people most about this freshwater lake is its beauty and mystique. The natural scenery is simply stunning, with gentle waves caressing lush green hills. Its serenity is both relaxing and rejuvenating, making it one of the best lakes in Pennsylvania to visit.
2. Raystown Lake
If you are looking for a first-class lake experience in Pennsylvania, look no further than Raystown Lake. It has a surface area of over 8300 acres, making it the largest inland Lake in Pennsylvania.
This Lake is popular with swimmers, boaters, and those who come for picnics or admire the beautiful scenery. There are also several boat launches around the shores, offering easy access to this scenic wonderland. Plus, there are marinas where you can rent boats or buy supplies.
What I liked most about this Lake is that you can rent a houseboat and just cruise around the Lake for even a week. It is so relaxing to be out in the middle of nature and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells that come with it. The surrounding areas also offer campgrounds, RV parks, and cabins for rent. In addition, there are several towns surrounding the Lake where you can spend time shopping or dining out.
Generally, most people come here simply to unwind from the stress of work since there is very little distraction here. Truly, the primary purpose of this Lake is to offer a peaceful getaway for family and friends who want to reconnect with nature.
3. Kinzua Lake
Located in Warren County, Kinzua Lake covers 21,180 acres and is surrounded by the Allegheny National Forest. And since this Lake was created by damming the Allegheny River, it is also called Allegheny Reservoir. It is one of the most visited lakes in Pennsylvania because of its beauty and plentiful recreational activities.
From boating to camping to taking in some history, there are many ways to enjoy this amazing Lake. There are two public beaches on the Lake for you to explore or take a swim in its cool waters. And if you’re into boating activities, then this is one of your best bets as well because it has six boat launches and marinas around the Lake.
Nature lovers will be glad to know that there are plenty of trails and campgrounds for them to enjoy this destination’s scenic beauty. There is also a wonderful visitor’s center in the area where you can learn about all the history surrounding Kinzua Lake.
4. Crooked Creek Lake
Another great lake that is worth visiting in Pennsylvania is Crooked Creek Lake. The Lake was constructed for flood control, water supply, and recreation purposes.
Fishing is a very popular activity here. Anglers can catch bass, muskellunge (muskie), trout, sunfish and crappie. And if you’re just getting started with fishing or want to learn more about it as a sport or hobby, there are several fishing guides in the area that will take you out onto Crooked Creek Lake to teach you how to fish.
A few undeveloped beaches for swimming dot the shoreline of the Lake as well. While there aren’t public bathhouses, it’s one of those lakes that offers secluded areas perfect for swimming. The Lake is also surrounded by wooded hills. So if you’re looking for the best trails in the area to explore nature, this might be a good place to bring your hiking boots.
Overall, if you want peaceful time away from work or city life, then come and spend the day here relaxing in nature. It’s one of the best lakes in Pennsylvania for fishing and boating alike.
5. Lake Wallenpaupack
Lake Wallenpaupack is a man-made lake located in northeast Pennsylvania near the Poconos. The Lake has an area of 5,700 acres with over 52 miles of shoreline.
The best thing about this Lake is that it has so many recreational activities available. If you want to fish, there are several public areas where you can drop your line. You can also find various types of boats perfect for rowing, such as paddleboards, kayaks, and small dinghies. The Lake also has public beaches where you can spend some time swimming and sunbathing or even try water-skiing.
What I liked most about this Lake was its natural beauty and serene site. This makes sense why thousands of nature lovers come here each year to escape from hectic city life. And with its serene atmosphere and abundance of family-friendly activities, it’s no wonder that many people consider it as one of the top-rated lakes in Pennsylvania for vacation.
6. Blue Marsh Lake
Blue Marsh Lake is a man-made reservoir created to prevent flooding in the Schuylkill River Valley in Berks County.
The Lake is popular for fishing and boating, with access areas where you can launch your boat, kayak, or canoe into the waters. The area also has a boat rental service that offers various sizes of boats to accommodate your needs.
If you’re up for some hiking around this amazing natural attraction, there are 36 miles of trails surrounding it with varying levels of difficulty. You can choose from easy walks to rugged trails through wooded areas and grasslands, all with spectacular views of the Lake.
I really enjoyed my visit to Blue Marsh Lake because of its calm atmosphere. It is very quiet and serene, with just a few people walking along the trail or canoeing in the Lake. I guess this is one of its charms. It offers that peaceful relaxation that’s hard to come by these days. No wonder many people consider it among the best lakes in Pennsylvania for vacations or weekend getaways.
7. Pymatuning Lake
Pymatuning Lake is large inland Lake in Pennsylvania and one of the best lakes for recreation because of its size and natural beauty. The 17,000-acre Lake is a great option for those looking to escape to nature and spend some peaceful time alone or with family and friends.
This Lake is quite popular with boaters, swimmers, and anglers. There are three public beaches on the Lake where swimming is allowed. And boat rentals are available at the three scattered marinas around the Lake. And if you’d rather stay dry, then head out on one of their nature trails for hiking and biking activities instead.
Since Pymatuning Lake covers such a large area, there are many locations to choose from as far as accommodations go. There’s everything from secluded cabins or cottages that you can rent. And if you’re into camping, this would be perfect too as there are several campsites available around the Lake.
8. Dutch Springs
Next on my list of the best lakes in Pennsylvania is Dutch Springs. It’s one of the most popular diving spots in the US because it provides divers with a unique experience to see what lies beneath its surface.
Dutch Springs is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and it’s only about an hour from Philadelphia and half an hour from Allentown. The Lake was once a limestone quarry before it was flooded with fresh water to create this man-made spring-fed Lake. And today, people come here to scuba dive, swim, snorkel, and even boat.
Dutch Springs features many submerged vehicles and structures. This includes a school bus, tractor, trailer truck, helicopter blade and propeller, big rig tanker truck cab, and dump truck, placed there for art purposes. Therefore, with unique sights like this, it’s no wonder why Dutch Springs appeals to both young and old divers alike.
9. Beltzville Lake
Located in the Poconos Mountains, Beltzville Lake is a great family-friendly destination for fun and relaxation. This Lake not only provides a great outdoor experience, but also has plenty of recreational activities that you will enjoy.
What impressed me most about this place was how well it was maintained. Another plus to going here is that you’re surrounded by lush forests and untouched mountains while enjoying the serene beauty. The shorelines are clean, and there were a lot of people fishing from the docks.
The best part? The shores are covered in sand, thus creating a beach-like atmosphere. It’s a great place to spend a day in summer here. So if you’re a fan of the outdoors and want to enjoy a laid-back weekend, this is the place.
Overall, this Lake is great for all types of people, especially those who just want to relax and enjoy nature. The relaxing atmosphere with lush forests surrounding the lakeshore makes it one of the most popular lakes in Pennsylvania for vacation.
10. Lake Harmony
Lake Harmony is a privately owned, natural lake located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Today, it is one of the most popular lakes in Pennsylvania because of its easy access and variety of recreational activities all year round.
One thing I love about this Lake is its abundance of activities. There are marinas around the Lake where you can rent boats, kayaks, canoes, among many other water sports equipment. Then there are also public beaches where you can swim in the clear waters, lay out on sandy beaches, etc.
And if that’s not enough, the Lake is surrounded by state parks. So there are plenty of opportunities for swimming, hiking, biking, sightseeing, and fishing. There are also many restaurants around this area if you want to have dinner after an exciting day.
11. Canonsburg Lake
Another wonderful place to enjoy nature is Canonsburg Lake, located in Washington County. The Lake is dedicated as part of a recreational area for county residents. Today, there are picnic pavilions, playground equipment, hiking trails, and fishing spots.
There are several boat launches along the Lake where you can launch your boat or rent one from local businesses. You can fish on the Lake or take part in other water sports like kayaking and sailing. There are also picnic areas and grills at every park so you can barbeque while enjoying the view.
If you like to shop, Canonsburg Lake is close to downtown Canonsburg where you can find great deals at local shops and boutiques. There are also several restaurants near the Lake where you can get a bite or a drink.
Overall, Canonsburg Lake is one of the best lakes in Pennsylvania because it is very popular with residents and tourists. Everyone comes here to enjoy the wonderful nature that this Lake has to offer, whether it’s fishing, kayaking, or just a simple picnic.
12. Lake Nockamixon
Another popular destination in Pennsylvania is Lake Nockamixon, which is located in Bucks County. The word “Nockamixon” means roughly “beautiful pond.” And while it’s more than just a pretty lake, there are so many things to do here.
From boating to fishing to picnicking, Nockamixon State Park has all kinds of family-fun activities. People often come here for the water sports like kayaking and canoeing. However, some also love walking on the trails that surround most of this freshwater lake. There are also four launch ramps around the Lake should you decide to bring your own boat.
Overall, Lake Nockamixon is a great place to visit if you want an escape from the city. In fact, I think it’s one of the best lakes in Pennsylvania for this purpose. It has a peaceful and serene atmosphere that will help you relax and enjoy some time away from home.
13. Gouldsboro Lake
As the largest of Pennsylvania’s inland, man-made lakes, Gouldsboro Lake is a boater’s paradise. The Lake is located near Mount Pocono and has about 250-acre water body.
This Lake has a lot to offer anyone looking for fun activities such as swimming, boating, and hiking. It also has several areas to pitch a tent or park your RV if you plan camping around. And if you’re into hiking, there are dozens of hiking trails from easy to strenuous along the Lake. If fishing is your thing, there are bass and trout always lurking beneath the surface.
So if you’re planning to visit a lake in Pennsylvania for a vacation, Gouldsboro Lake is one of my recommended destinations. This is because it’s truly an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
14. Edinboro Lake
The lovely Edinboro Lake is located near the town of Edinboro, which was actually built around this Lake. It’s not the biggest or deepest Lake in the state, but it does offer many recreational activities that everyone can enjoy.
The main attraction here would be its fishing opportunities because there are diverse fish populations on the Lake. But if you’re not into catching fish, you can always visit one of the many boat rental companies in the area for tours around the Lake instead. There are also two public beaches where you can take a swim or just dip your feet into the water during hot days.
Finally, you can also enjoy a variety of annual events at Edinboro Lake. From fishing tournaments to boat races, there is always something fun going on this Lake.
These are some of the best lakes in Pennsylvania worth visiting. Each of these lakes has its unique features that set it apart from others. Some have more activities while some have scenic views. Some are good for adventure seekers, while some are tranquil. These lakes will give you a great experience to take home with you, no matter what your interests may be.