Who doesn’t love lakes?
Lakes are always a great place to go for a day on the water, fishing, swimming, boating, and sunning. They offer plenty of room for relaxation and entertainment. There’s nothing quite like lakeside living with scenic views all around you. But lakes in New York aren’t just good for vacations – they’re also great places to live! So what lake should you visit?
New York lakes offer a little bit of something for everyone. We’ve put together a massive list of lakes for you to choose from when planning your next New York lake vacation including:
- The best lakes for boating in New York. Find a lake with a boat launch or one that allows boat and jet ski rentals to enjoy a weekend of water sports.
- The best fishing holes around. From the shore or on the water, we’ll help you find a lake that’s perfect for helping you find your next trophy catch.
- A family friendly getaway at the best New York lakes for swimming. We’ll help you find a sandy beach so you and your family can enjoy the local picnic area while soaking up some summertime sunshine.
- A winter weekend getaway. Lakes can be all kinds of fun in the winter time as well. Perfect for a romantic getaway, many of New York’s most beautiful lakes are surrounded by resorts, vacation rentals, or luxurious bed and breakfasts. Alternately, a weekend with the family spent ice skating or skiing is also a fabulous option, and a favorite of many travelers in the Northeast part of the United States.
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Many people don’t realize that New York also borders two of the Great Lakes, and you definitely want to spend some time there. Check out some of our favorite lakes in New York – in no particular order.
The best lakes to visit in New York
Lake Placid’s lakeside village is home to several lakeside resorts and upscale private residences that coexist with a college, Olympic Training Center, golf courses, ski slopes, hiking trails, and other hotspots for outdoor activities year-round. This popular lakeside destination has been featured prominently in pop culture thanks to movies like “Weekend at Bernie’s” and “War Games” plus TV shows like “The Office.”
Lake Ontario is the westernmost lake in New York. It borders New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. The shallow waters around the shores are rich with natural resources that contribute significantly to the local biodiversity. Lake Ontario also has some human-made infrastructure including nuclear power plants along both sides of its southern shore plus several towns and villages on its shores. These features make Lake Ontario an important tourist destination for visitors from all over North America who want to experience lakeside living with tourism destinations that offer world-class amenities near each other.
Chautauqua Lake is located near the Pennsylvania border, about six hours east of New York City. It’s drawn many celebrities over the years including Amelia Earhart, who was drawn to it for its beauty and tranquility. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, skiing, hiking, hunting, picnicking, and other recreational activities on this lakeside destination.
Lake Erie is called the “smallest” of the Great Lakes in New York because it’s the smallest by surface area; however, Lake Ontario is actually smaller in volume. It borders Pennsylvania, Canada (Ontario), and New York with Ohio on its southern shore. Lake Erie has the distinction of being the only lake that drains into another Great Lake – it flows westward into Lake Huron via the Detroit River. A unique feature of this lake is that it’s not really a deep sea like other lakes but rather it’s mostly shallow within large sand spits on its eastern side that makes it excellent for recreation like fishing, swimming, water sports, biking, trail running, etc. The people who live there have many options of places to visit in New York lakes.
Lake Champlain is located between New York and Vermont. It’s sometimes called the “sixth” Great Lake in New York because it’s not actually a lake but rather it’s an estuary surrounded by low mountains that drain into the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. It has many islands including Valcour Island, Isle La Motte, Lion’s Head, and Chimney Point which have been declared state-owned wild areas where human activity is prohibited for ecological protection. This lake borders two states plus Canada with a short border on Quebec province so the nearby sites are popular tourist destinations that include Burlington, Plattsburgh, Montreal, Ogdensburg, and Fort Ticonderoga. A unique feature of this lake is the Battle Island which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2011. Visitors enjoy boating, cycling, camping, hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, and other recreational activities on this popular lakeside destination.
Lake George is located between New York and Vermont with its southern shore along the Adirondack Park Preserve. Its name originated from French explorer Samuel de Champlain who named it “Lac du Saint Sacrement” for being used by Iroquois Indians to baptize their children because of its pure water. It has many islands including the Narrows near its southern tip where there’s a bridge connecting two shores together. There are also many towns around Lake George both towards its western and eastern sides like Bolton, Pottersville, Hague, Ticonderoga, Schroon River, North Hudson, and Whitehall. People come here for lakeside living with lakeshore homes on the mountain slopes that are popular weekend havens for New York lifestylers who enjoy boating on its lake surface as well as hiking on its shorelines.
There are lakes of all shapes and sizes in New York. From the smallest to the largest, there is a lake for everyone looking for some time away from home. If you’re on vacation or if you live nearby and want to find more places to explore near your lakeside property, our listings will help get you started!