The scenic beauty of the lakes in New York, the verdant lakeshores, and boat rides are some of the most amusing things, one can get to enjoy in the Big Apple. New York has 7,600 freshwater lakes, waterways, and basins, including the picturesque Finger Lake and portions of two of the Great Lakes, like Lake Erie to the west and Lake Ontario to the Northwest. New York has diverse landscapes with waterbody and lakes, where people can visit to view its breathtaking beauty.
Lakes are the topographic jewels that ornament every landscape. Witnessing the sheer magnificence of the most enchanting lakes in New York is one of the top things to do in NYC. The lakes in New York bordering the skyscrapers add a unique and multidimensional view to the ever-famous New York skyline. It’s obviously not possible to visit every lake in New York, but you can check our list and visit amongst these 17 lakes in New York, and surely you will find at least one or a number of lakes that will leave you awestruck.
1. Lake George (Rating: 4.5) :
Lake George, situated in Adirondack State Park, is known as the Queen of American Lakes, running for 32 miles. Interestingly, lake George falls under lakes close to New York City for travel.
It attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year as it changes tourist attractions for every season. During the summer, you can enjoy hiking trips to get a bird’s eye view of the lake from the peak of the Adirondack mountain. To get lost in the lake’s blue waters, you wouldn’t want to miss out on rafting, boating, parasailing, or scuba diving. When visiting in winter, try out their snowmobiling activity. Furthermore, the Lake George winter carnival is sure to attract your kids while you can enjoy a drink at the ice bar getting lost in the magic of New York City at night.
2. Lake Erie (Rating: 4.6) :
Lake Erie is one of the most renowned lakes in New York as it is the 11th largest lake in the world. Interestingly, situated on the International Boundary, it has Canada’s Ontario on one side and similarly on the other side are USA’s New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
The variety of things to do at Lake Erie is quite different from any other lakes in New York. Take your children to the Erie zoo to introduce them to exotic animals. You can explore the Erie Maritime Museum to admire eye-catching boats. Give a great end to your trip by watching the sunset beside the Erie Lighthouse. All in all, Lake Erie is one of the best lakes in New York for vacation.
3. Lake Placid (Rating: 4.5) :
Lake Placid runs along with the towns of St. Armand and North Alba, two of the best small towns in New York. Moreover, it is one of the lakes, that is close to NYC.
The deep turquoise waters of the lake, the shades of green across every tree and the Adirondack mountain at the back offer a jaw-dropping view. From hiking trips, bicycling to boat rides and picnic spots, a trip to Lake Placid will totally be worth your time and money. Hence, if you have watched the movie Lake Placid, wouldn’t you want to see if you can spot any crocs with your own eyes? Lake Placid tour is an adventure, you don’t want to miss. Level up your travel game by planning a trip to lake Placid as soon as you can.
4. Belmont Lake State Park (Rating: 4.6) :
Belmont Lake State Park was founded in 1926. It embraces a broad wetland area and the 26-acre Belmont Lake. The park offers a variety of fantastic picnic places and 7.6 miles of paths for hiking, horse riding, and cycling.
This spring-fed lake is a fishing place for fishermen to enjoy and it brings the possibility to fish for trout in the spring and bass in the summer. In the months of summer, pedal boats, boats, and kayaks can be rented at a small cost, while the kayaks and canoes can be launched from the boatyard.
5. Lake Champlain (Rating: 4.6) :
This Lake is one of the best lakes in New York. Lake Champlain runs along the Champlain Valley with the Adirondack Mountain of New York on one side and the Green Mountains of Vermont on the other, offering a stunning view.
Moreover, it is the sixth-largest lake of the States and sits on the USA as well as Canada border from New York to Quebec. Moreover, the vast lake is adorned with the islands: Isle La Motte, Grand Isle, North Hero. The number of activities you can do in Lake Champlain is almost endless. It is one of the renowned good fishing lakes in New York. Apart from that you can enjoy swimming, paddling and go hiking through various trails. Even their dining options offer a wide range of dishes made from organic products, which are bought from local farms. A trip to Lake Champlain always creates a good impression.
6. Lake Avalanche (Rating: 4.9) :
Lake Avalanche is one of the most lucrative mountain lakes in New York for vacation. Situated in the Adirondack High Peaks, it has a breathtaking view as it flows between Avalanche Mountain and Mount Colden.
When visiting lake Avalanche, a hike through Avalanche Pass is an opportunity you wouldn’t want to let go of. The Avalanche Pass takes you to the cliff where you can stand on the bridge to treat your eyes to an astounding view of the whole area. Boat rides through the lake are incomparably relaxing. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are mainstream activities there in the winter. So, visit one of the most majestic lakes to visit in New York for an unforgettable experience.
7. Lake Chautauqua (Rating: 4.7) :
Lake Chautauqua is the most sought-after vacation destination for people of the States as well as tourists from outside the borders. This is because it is ranked as one of the best boating lakes in New York.
Every weekend, over a hundred boats crowd the waters of the lake, filled with those who love boating trips. The Chautauqua Institution is also a significant tourist attraction as it has a vast number of stores and restaurants that are resonated with live music entertainment every now and then. Moreover, you can watch the Independence Day fireworks reflecting on the waters of the lake if you visit on the 4th of July. During the summer, you can board the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry, a nine-car cable guided ferry, for a remarkable experience. Hence, that wasn’t enough fun for you, end your trip by trying your luck at the Village Casino.
8. Lake Oneida (Rating: 4.8) :
Having a surface area of 207 square kilometers, Lake Oneida is the largest lake in New York. In a diversified and verdant environment, the surroundings of lake Oneida is a nice lake in New York to spend a relax time.
It has a wide range of homes in its surrounding area that offers a captivating view of the lake. If you are going for visiting purposes only, the number of activities you can do there is endless. You can rent a boat for a day and go fishing or go kayaking just to enjoy yourself. Verona Beach State Park is an ideal place for camping within the premises of the lake if you are on a family trip. Also, the Sylvan Beach Amusement Park can be a great place for fun activities for your kids.
9. Allegheny Reservoir (Rating: 4.8) :
Allegheny State Park is located on two lakes, the Allegheny Reservoir and the Kinozua Dam, which stretch the border between Pennsylvania and New York.
The lakes are encircled by numerous hiking trails, and many of them allow you to explore the beautiful caves of the area. The sandy beach is suitable for swimming. Kudos to the Friend’s Boat Launch, boaters can access the fishing reservoir and two fishing piers facilitate in fishing from the shore. For anyone wishing to spend the night in that place, there are 230 cabins and 189 campsites; 30 of these cabins are suitable for winter use.
10. Lake Cayuga (Rating: 4.7) :
Lake Cayuga is the longest of the 11 finger lakes of New York. It is 64 kilometers long and around 435ft deep. Cayuga lake is famous for all the activities it offers.
The surrounding area has 4 parks like, Stewart Park, Myers Park, Taughannock Falls State Park, and Allan H. Treman State Marine Park. The Stewart Park and Allan H. Treman State Marine Park are best for fishing with rental boats. The Myers Park and Taughannock Falls State Park are best suited for swimming.
Moreover, you can avail of paddling rentals for hours or for the whole day if you like. There is, indeed, a wide range of boating and cruising packages for you to choose from. Cayuga lake restaurants offer the platters, combo and delicious grills, that are scrumptious.
11. Lake Skaneateles (Rating: 4.8) :
Skaneateles lake is also one of the finger lakes of New York. It is also known as the ‘The Roof Garden of the Lakes”. This is because it is higher in altitude(863.27ft) than the other finger lakes.
It is also famous for being known as the cleanest lake in the entire United States. Situated in the Village of Skaneateles, the lake area is home to many historic landmarks and beautiful places worth visiting. The Carpenter waterfall is a treat to the traveler’s eye. Just near the falls is the Bahar nature preserve which is home to various species of plants and animals.
If you wish to have a picnic, then you should definitely go to Ten Mile Point. Moreover, the old town of Glen Haven has visitor accommodations for those who are planning to stay there. Even, there are yacht renting facilities for you to go on a ride in the cerulean waters with your friends and family.
12. Lake Keuka (Rating: 4.8) :
Lake Keuka also falls under the finger lakes of New York and is the 3rd largest of them all. It is unique for having a Y shape and is sometimes referred to as ‘The Lady of The Lakes.’ Keuka Lake is mostly visited for all the splendid vineyards it has, offering a variety of high-quality wine.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars is the most famous of them all. The Keuka lake state park features boating, camping, and hiking facilities. You should drop by the Glen H. Curtis Museum to know more about one of the first airplane builders of North America. It is shallower compared to the other lakes, so it is safe for swimming during the summer season.
13. Lake Seneca (Rating: 4.8) :
Lake Seneca is the largest in volume of the finger lakes that are in New York as well as the deepest lake in the entire United States. Seneca lake is also famous for wine as it is home to about 50 wineries.
The Watkins Glen State Park is unmissable in the area if you want to witness the sheer beauty of the Rainbow bridge and falls surrounded by black sedimentary rocks of the Devonian Age. Treat yourself with a bit of lavishness by spending a night at the Belhurst Castle. Moreover, you can go bicycling around Lakeshore Park or go hiking through Watkins Glen State Park.
You can also rent boats for fishing or go on a cruise in the weekends to relieve some stress. To top it off, visit the Finger Lakes National Forest, which features horse trails, hiking trails, camping spots along with snowmobiling and cross-country skiing during the winter.
14. Owasco Lake (Rating: 4.6) :
Owasco Lake is the sixth biggest amongst the finger lakes of New York. The lake has shallow waters that stay relatively warmer than waters of other lakes; hence it is perfect for swimming.
Available activities at Owasco park are endless. Emerson Park, situated just around the corner of the lake, has playgrounds, dog parks, disk golf, the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and historic pavilions. It is the ideal lake for fishing during the summer as well as ice fishing during the winter season. The Fillmore Glen State Park, also situated near the lake, has five unique waterfalls, historic geological formations, and verdant hiking trails.
15. Canadice Lake (Rating: 4.7) :
Canadice Lake is the smallest one among all the finger lakes of New York. It flows along with the city of Rochester and is used as the city’s main water source.
There are no residential areas near the lake to protect the quality and cleanliness of its waters. However, it is perfect for nature lovers who are looking for a serene place to enjoy their vacation. You can spot water birds such as bald eagles along the shores of the lake. Only boats with a length of 17 feet and an engine of 10 horsepower allowed, making it the perfect lake for not only fishing but also canoeing and kayaking.
16. Great Sacandaga Lake (Rating: 4.8) :
The Great Sacandaga Lake, situated in the Adirondack Park, is large and deep. The deep blue waters touching the shores that lead to the majestic Adirondack Mountain provide a spectacular view.
Whether you are a nature lover, boating enthusiast, or sports fanatic, there are a variety of things you can do in the Great Sacandaga Lake that are enthralling for all. Grandview Mini Golf is the perfect destination for trying your hand at golf, whether you are an expert at golf or just a beginner. The diverse range of animals you will encounter in Adirondack Animal Land, that will leave you awestruck.
If you are visiting there in the summer, you would not want to miss going to New Hampton Beach and go for a stroll around the New Hampton Beach State Park. Additionally, Lapland Lake Cross Country Ski Center near the lake is your go-to place for winter. Just like every other lake, you can also go fishing and cruising through the deep waters of the Great Sacandaga Lake.
17. Canandaigua Lake (Rating: 4.8) :
Canandaigua Lake is the fourth largest one among all the finger lakes in New York. To witness the colorful orange hues of trees surrounding the lake, you should visit during the fall season.
Cruising on the Canandaigua Lady, a double-decker paddle boat is an unforgettable experience. Moreover, the Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park & Sonnenberg Gardens, and Mansion State Historic Park are great parks for adults and children alike.
The Lakes in New York are a perfect place for vacation for people of all ages, cultures and interests. With varying lengths, depths and the number of activities you can do there, it is needless to say that, one lake is unique from another. To end with, visit the lakes in New York for a trip worth remembering for many years to come.