Pittsburgh Lakes

Lakes Close to Pittsburgh

Sometimes you should spend some time by the water. Fortunately, when you come to Pittsburgh there are quite a few options when it comes to spending time on the lake.

There are numerous great arguments for making a trip to a lake in Pittsburgh this summer – the water is refreshing on hot days, enjoyable summer activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, or swimming. Some of the lakes in Pittsburgh have beaches you can enjoy while building sandcastles with the family. Has there ever been a better time? Pack up the car with sunscreen and a picnic basket then hit the road on your next vacation and discover a brand new number one spot on a lake!

Lakes Close to Pittsburgh

A Day at the Lake: An Itinerary

When you visit a lake near Pittsburgh there are many things to do for families and couples. You could go for an exciting day trip or take a longer vacation to a hotel or AirBnB to enjoy yourself more fully.

A day, weekend, or a week on or in the water offers you a full range of activities from thrilling to chilling.

Have a picnic. The lakes near Pittsburgh offer many top-notch picnic areas where you can enjoy portable delicacies, or you could just do some cheese and crackers as you enjoy the view. For a romantic evening, good food and a view is hard to beat.

Go for a swim. The swimming lakes near Pittsburgh offer tons of fun and excitement for the kids, or plenty of exercise for those looking to be active in between working on their tan. If you want to spend time swimming and on the beach you’ll want to be sure your lake has a sandy beach and a designated swimming area before you make the trip! Admit it, even the nicest swimming pool doesn’t hold a candle to a glorious public beach!

Fishing. For those that love to fish, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a good fishing spot to help you have a relaxing day with a line in the water whether you’re drifting behind a trolling motor or tossing a line in from the dock.

Preparing for a Day on the Lake

Every day at the lake will have its own requirements depending on which lake you go to, what time of year it is, and what you want to do for entertainment. For your benefit, we took the time to make a list for some ideas for your lake getaway so you have everything you need!

Common lake items

If you’re going to be on, in, or near the water for the vast majority of the weekend, the list below is a good place to start for essentials that you’ll be happy to have on hand.

  • Sweatpants and sweatshirt
  • Snacks
  • Portable phone charger
  • Trash bags (one for trash, one for wet items)
  • A fully stocked cooler
  • Radio or speaker
  • Swimsuits
  • A blanket or sheet
  • Bug spray
  • UV protection

Specialty lake stuff

Take into consideration the itinerary at the lake and who will be in your entourage, the items below could make your day more enjoyable and adding to your checklist prior to departure.

  • Life jackets
  • Swimming goggles
  • Toys for the beach
  • Rafts for the kids
  • Fishing gear
  • Bait
  • Licenses and registration for boating and fishing
  • Paper towels and sanitizer
  • Tackle box and lures
  • Diapers (if a baby’s on board)

Lake Safety

While a day at your favorite body of water can provide lots of fun, safety should remain top of mind at all times. A day on the lake means safety first so here are some important safety tips.

  • Use sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy outside
  • Make sure children have swimmies or other approved flotation devices
  • Be aware of your surroundings and know where you are in relation to land
  • Always wear a life jacket when boating, kayaking or paddle boarding
  • Avoid swimming near rocks or shallow water areas that may not be deep enough to dive underneath and escape from waves
  • Don’t swim alone
  • Avoid alcohol consumption before swimming, as it can impair judgment and result in drowning

More Ideas for Lake Fun

Not everyone has had a chance to make their way to the lakes near Pittsburgh and likely have a few questions on ways to maximize their fun. Of course, every lake will possess unique qualities and trappings, but you should keep in mind a handful of items to look into when planning which could help put together a trip your whole family will remember.

  1. Find a marina. If you’re near the water you’ll often find local marinas that offer boat rentals. Boats are expensive to own, but a rental will still allow you to enjoy fishing with family and friends or taking the kids out for some wakeboarding or tubing. Using a search engine can typically allow you to find options for renting the perfect boat.
  2. Maximize the best local resources. When there’s time for a lengthier trip, find local state parks and recreation areas that offer the option to stay in a spot that is right on top of the water without breaking the bank.
  3. Do homework on the beaches. Early, mid, or late season, occasionally the beaches near Pittsburgh can get extremely crowded. To find more space to yourself, research a variety of lakes and beaches to learn about how busy they are if you want a more relaxing vibe. If you want to be where the party’s at, search out the biggest, most popular beach!