The lakes in Washington state are among the best in the country for an unforgettable vacation. Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or a longer stay, there is no better place to visit than one of the many lakes in Washington. The variety of activities available at any given lake is astounding and it doesn’t matter what your interests are – there’s something for everyone!
The best thing about visiting one of these amazing lakes? You can enjoy all this beauty without ever having to leave the country. All you need is a car and some time off from work or school – then BAM! You’ve got yourself an incredible vacation destination that will make anyone jealous.
The Pacific Northwest is one of the most popular destinations in the United States and for good reason. While the ocean and the mountains are a draw, we can help you find some amazing spots for Washington lake vacations. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of lakes in the state that includes:
- The most scenic lakes in Washington
- The best Washington lakes for swimming
- The best lakes for boating in Washington
- The ultimate spot for a freshwater fishing trip
- The clearest lakes in Washington
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There are many reasons to visit Washington and you can definitely make a lake one of your destinations on your trip while you visit the state’s most iconic tourist destinations like Olympic National Park or the Columbia River. Check out some of our favorite spots to learn more about your options for jet skiing, water skiing, fishing, or just taking a relaxing trip on a kayak or paddle board.
The best lakes to visit in Washington
Lake Washington is a perfect place for those who want to explore by boat or kayak. You can enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach, play with your kids in the sand, and best of all – take a refreshing dip in the water! Lake Washington has an average depth of about 108 feet, providing plenty of room for swimming, boating and fishing. The best part? It’s only about 9 miles from Seattle! So, if you want some fresh water instead of the ocean, Lake Washington is where it’s at.
Lake Union is another popular lake destination that offers similar features to Lake Washington but also boasts some incredible views from Gas Works Park. This park provides stunning views of downtown Seattle as well as wildlife viewing opportunities from its wetlands area. If you’re looking for something a little more quaint than bustling city life, this little lake is perfect for you.
Lake Chelan is a long, narrow lake that stretches about 50 miles across with its best swimming areas along the many beaches and parks surrounding the lake. This spot provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, and you can even catch some rays on a sunny day! If you decide to stay at the popular Lake Chelan State Park campground, you’ll have access to all kinds of amenities including beaches, fishing, boating, playgrounds, and much more!
Lake Quinault is best known for its incredible rainforest activities. This majestic lake is located in Western Washington’s temperate rainforest and has so much to offer visitors. If hiking, camping, and fishing are your thing then this might be the best lake in Washington state to visit – just remember to get your fishing license before your trip as you can catch salmon, steelhead, and trout! Swimming in Lake Quinault might be an acquired taste, but it’s certainly allowed. We say acquired taste because the water is on the cold side. This lake has some very deep spots, with some areas up to 240 feet deep, so it’s best suited for more experienced swimmers or people capable of diving.
Diablo Lake is a popular spot for people wanting to do some serious fishing! Created by the Diablo Dam in the North Cascade Mountains, this lake is best known as one of Washington’s most popular lakes for catching rainbow trout. If you want to take a swim one of the best spots is on a southern point of the lake near Thunderknob Trailhead. Check it out on Google Maps if you’re interested in adding it as a stop on your trip!
If hiking is more up your alley, Packwood Lake is located a little more than three hours southeast of Seattle which makes it an excellent weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. This calm lake resides within the bounds of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and offers breathtaking views of the snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range.
If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or long vacation, you could do a LOT worse than the many beautiful, scenic lakes of Washington state. With opportunities to swim, hike, boat, and fish there’s a little something for almost any visitor. The other great thing is that a trip to most of these locations won’t break the bank. You can easily plan to avoid an expensive trip; all you need is a car and some time off from work or school.