Boating in Florida is a popular activity that has been pulling residents, tourists, and recreational boaters to its shores for years. With over 11,000 lakes and 150 rivers to choose from, there is a perfect spot for any boater looking to spend a day on the water. While all of Florida’s waterways are great for different reasons, we have put together a list of the best lakes for boating in the state.
1. Lake Eustis
This is a spring-fed lake located west of Eustis in Central Florida. It is a part of the Harris Chain of Lakes, and is connected to Lake Harris via the Dead River. The lake is a popular destination for fishing anglers who are targeting catches like largemouth bass, bowfin, bluegill, black crappie, and hybrid striped bass. Boaters will find easy access to open water fishing spots via the numerous boat ramps. If you are looking to sail, Lake Eustis is a great place to learn, as it is home to a sailing club that often holds annual regattas, provides sailing lessons, and even has camping facilities. For those wanting water activities, Lake Eustis is good for waterskiing, tubing, and swimming. The views from Lake Eustis are also stunning, so it’s definitely worth bringing your camera along to capture the beauty of the lake.
2. Blue Cypress Lake
This large, captivating lake is located in Northwest Indian River County, feeding into the St. Johns River. This watery wonderland can be traveled by canoe, kayak, or motorboat, and is home to an abundant collection of Florida’s most beautiful species thanks to the marshland, swamps, and cypress forests that surround the lake. Alligators watch quietly from the long grasses, turtles are found among the lily pads, and many species of birds fly overhead. Boaters looking to fish in the azure water will find bluegill, largemouth bass, black crappie, catfish, and redear sunfish. If you need to stock up on gear, the only available camp is Middleton’s Fish Camp.
3. Crescent Lake
This is a serene, freshwater lake, located in North Central Florida. Crescent Lake is a well-known spot for fishing enthusiasts, as it offers good catches of largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, catfish, black bass, and more. Boaters will find easy access to the open waters, as the shoreline of the lake has fishing camps and boat ramps. The calm waters make Crescent Lake an excellent place for paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing – perfect for those who want to take in the natural beauty of this Florida oasis.
4. Lake Okeechobee
This is the largest freshwater lake in the State of Florida, spanning an impressive 700 square miles (448,000 acres) across five counties. The sheer expanse of the lake makes it a fantastic spot for boaters who want to find good fishing spots away from others. It is frequently used as a tournament site for the world’s top bass tournaments because of its large population of largemouth bass, but elite anglers can also catch bluegills and sunnies as well. The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) travels around the lake’s perimeter and connects several natural reserves, parks, and picnic areas. It’s a fantastic location for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and birdwatching.
5. Lake Tohopekaliga
Also known as Lake Toho for short, this Central Florida lake is the largest within Osceola County, stretching 22,700 acres. This is an excellent lake for boaters who are looking to fish up the legendary Florida bucket mouth (a type of largemouth bass), bluegill, black crappie, catfish, redear sunfish, walleye, or perch. The lake is home to many bird species, including warblers, snowy egrets, bald eagles, purple martins, ospreys, and more. You may also catch a glimpse of the turtles and alligators that call this lake home. Lake Toho is great for families as well, with there being many hiking trails, swimming locations, playgrounds, and a lighthouse.
6. Lake Kissimmee
Lake Kissimmee spans nearly 25,000 acres and is a prime spot for anglers, boaters, and wildlife sightseers. There are numerous public access points for launching your boat, and ample campgrounds, playgrounds, and hiking trails with direct access to the lake if you need to take a break from the water. Lake Kissimmee is perfect for those who want to leisurely take in the sights, as it is known for its phenomenal bird and wildlife watching. It is home to white-tailed deer, ospreys, bobcats, alligators, and the lake is teeming with catfish, pickerel, largemouth bass, and crappie.
7. Lake Dora
Lake Dora is considered one of the prettiest freshwater lakes in Central Florida. A part of the Harris Chain of lakes, Lake Dora can be accessed through a small inlet at the bottom of Lake Beauclair. Dora spans nearly 4,500 acres, is less than an hour from Orlando, and the popular towns of Tavares and Mount Dora offer boat launches, shops, rentals, and restaurants. Lake Dora is popular for bass fishing, bird-watching, and wildlife watching, and is excellent for those looking to canoe, kayak, or paddleboard.
Interested In More?
Honorable mentions include Lake Istokpoga, Lake Talquin, Lake George, Lochloosa Lake, Lake Harris, Lake Seminole, and Lake June in Winter.
Florida is home to some of the best lakes and beaches in America. Above are 7 of them you should visit this summer! Lake Eustis, Lake Okeechobee, and Lake Dora are just a few that made our list. We hope you enjoy exploring these natural wonders as much as we do! What’s your favorite lake? Let your friends know – share this article on your favorite social media listed below.