Far in the Northeast of the US is Vermont. From the majestic mountains, and forests, to shadow-filled valleys, you have every reason to savor Vermont's charming beauty, making it one of the best places to visit for nature lovers. It also has many lakes with plenty of water-related activities like kayaking, boat rides, fishing, or simply relaxing on the shores. If you're looking for a stunning place to vacation during summer or any other season, these 15 best lakes to visit in Vermont can help you narrow your choice.
15. Lake Elmore- Lamoille County (Best for picturesque beauty in Vermont)
Dubbed "The Beauty Spot of Vermont," Lake Elmore is one of the most visited lakes in the region. Elmore Mountains engulf the scenery with colorful trees at its northern end. Also, you have the Elmore State Park facing the lake's north to take advantage of. It's a great hub for picnicking, camping, bird-watching, and other nature-related adventures. Another selling point of Lake Elmore is the fire tower which you can use to get a clear view of the panoramic features. The activities you can get involved in while on this lake include kayaking, boating, water surfing, swimming, windsurfing, and fishing. Inside the waters are fish species like panfish, northern pike, bullhead, and small mount bass.
14. Maidstone Lake-Maidstone, Essex County (Best for hunting fishes)
If a lake in a remote and subtle location is your idea of the ultimate adventure, you should visit the pristine Maidstone Lake. According to Flavor Vase, this lake is in Vermont's Essex County. Near the lake is the Maidstone State Park with a beautiful beach, offering a perfect opportunity for kids and adults to play, go camping, and install picnic tents. Around Maidstone Lake is a boreal forest, perfect for hunting adventures. If you aren't into hunting, the forest is an excellent place for bird-watching and other nature-related activities. So, if you are into birds like loons, this is the opportunity you've been waiting for. The lake is also home to a wide variety of fishes like the Atlantic salmon, perch, lake trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout. However, you might want to check with the local marina officials first to equip you with the right fishing gear. You can engage in hiking, camping, boating, swimming, ice fishing, and kayaking if fishing isn't your thing.
13. Lake Bomoseen- Castleton and Hubbardton, Rutland County (Best for water adventure)
According to New England With Love, The Green Mountain State is home to Lake Bomoseen, an excellent spot for nature lovers. Tracing this lake means you drive near the New York border in the western part. Hubbardston and Castleton are the best spots, allowing you to savor the lake's beauty. Near the lake is the Bomoseen State Park, with many trails for hiking and camping. You can start with Half Moon Pond State Park if you're into camping and picnicking. If the two activities don't match your vibe, you can also flex your muscles by swimming, boating, water skiing, or kayaking.
12. Caspian Lake- Greensboro (Best for water recreation)
Caspian Lake is another beauty spot that Vermont's Northeast Kingdom boasts, besides the Green Mountains. The waterbody is a great attraction for vacationers and locals who are passionate about water recreation. Among the activities lined up are sailing, water skiing, tubing, and sailing, provided you don't surpass its 40-mile-per-hour speed limit. One thing that makes Caspian Lake stand out from the crowd is ice fishing, which is common during winter. Also, it's in Greensboro, a perfect excuse to visit the local breweries and cheesemakers who source their ingredients from the locals. There are homes, cabins, and small camps where you can relax as the sun sets. Also, get ready to watch loons gracing their presence in the lake each passing day.
11. Lake Saint Catherine- Wells & Poultney towns, Rutland County (Best for public boating adventure)
Lake Saint Catherine is another beautiful waterbody to explore if you're near Wells and Poultney. The lake connects to Lily Pond and Little Pond waterways, home to many locals. The lake has attracted several vacation home investors to make your stay comfortable if you're planning a lengthier stay while savoring the lake's beauty. The homes are large, perfect for families or vacation groups with like-minded interests. Like other lakes on this list, Lake Saint Catherine is the place to go if you enjoy camping, swimming, jet-skiing, biking, and seeing the wildlife glide across it. To get started, reach out to the marina's officials, and they will book one of the two public boats to help you navigate the waters easily.
10. Lake Seymour- Morgan town, Orleans County (Best for clean lakes)
If you are a kayaking, canoeing, fishing, or water recreating hobbyist, Lake Seymore in Morgan town is the best lake to tour. It covers up to 1,769 acres, making it the second-largest lake in Vermont. Also, it was named after the first grantee, Israel Seymour. The lake boasts sandy shores and public boating, offering seasonal and all-year-round adventures. Besides local campgrounds, there are many hotels and ski resorts offering dining options from nearby towns if you feel hungry after having fun at the campsite. Its proximity to many golf courses should also be a perfect excuse to go there.
9. Crystal Lake- Barton town, Orleans County (Best for fishing)
According to The Crazy Tourist, Orleans County is home to a 309 glacial Crystal Lake. Located in Barton village to the south, this lake is one of the most visited attractions in the northeast section of Vermont. Locals know of it as being the branch of the Barton River that tourists use for recreation. One of the most significant selling points of this river is the cold-water fishery. You can find the likes of smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, rainbow trout, rock bass, etc. All you need to do is to access the Crystal Lake State Park and other trails along its shoreline. The park around the lake also boasts various adventures like kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and many others. You have around 80 picnic tables, play areas, a cottage, and charcoal grills to get you started. The cottage is designed to accommodate at least six people.
8. Lake Memphremagog- North of Newport (Best for a home to 21 islands)
Have you ever wanted to be in a comfortable accommodation facility with a beautiful lakefront view? If so, you need to visit Lake Memphremagog to choose which one to board. The lake occupies the largest part of Quebec, despite three-quarters of it being in Vermont. As Vermont's third-largest lake, it houses around 21 islands. Five islands are within the state. There's a beach called Prouty Beach, which has more than 70 campsites, changing facilities, and a beachside pavilion. Get ready to enjoy activities like hiking, shuffleboard, swimming, fishing, and hiking. There are dozens of accommodation facilities if you wish to stay longer.
7. Lake Carmi-Franklin County (Best for a vast of campsites)
Imagine camping near a lake with the best cabins in the world. That's the perk you get for visiting Lake Carmi in Franklin County. Though it's rated one of the smallest and shallowest lakes in Vermont, it's an excellent hub for fishing, particularly walleye and northern pike. The lake only occupies 556 hectares of the Canadian and the US border, making it a safer place for hydrophobic adventurers. While there, you can enjoy boating, cycling, picnicking, fishing, and swimming. Plus, did you know there are around 140 campsites with cabins and motorhomes to look forward to? Other nature lovers have been there, so what's keeping you from doing the same?
6. Silver Lake- Barnard town, Windsor County (Best for families)
Among the attractions Windsor County boasts, Silver Lake tops the list. It is the best place to be, regardless of whether it's summer or winter. Both seasons attract various fishing adventures while on the lake. However, you need to visit the lake in summer to take advantage of the water recreational activities it offers. The other attraction that this lake boasts is the Silver Lake State Park occupying its north shoreline. There's a sandy beach, camping grounds, and picnic spots. Immerse in different activities such as kayaking, boating, fishing, and canoeing. If you're tagging your kids along, there's a playground and food concession designated for them.
5. Somerset Reservoir- Stratton town, Windham County (Best for quiet getaways)
According to The Crazy Tourist, the Somerset Reservoir is in Windham County, home to the Green Mountains. The only thing missing around the lake is an accommodation structure. That means you can offer your undivided attention to the natural scenery around it. One thing you'll notice about this reservoir is the dam because it is 700 meters above sea level. You can only access it by driving the south end towards it. Alternatively, you can hike or cycle around 15 kilometers along the trail to reach it.
4. Griffith Lake- Peru & Mount Tabor towns (Best for nearby wildlife)
One of the lakes to visit while touring the Green Mountain National Forest is Griffith Lake. It covers part of Bennington and Rutland Counties in Vermont. Just so you know, the Green Mountain Club manages the national forest, encouraging campers and sight-seers to take advantage of the Appalachian and Long Trails. To access the lake, you need to walk or shoe in the snow. Start by parking at the Griffith Lake Trailhead and walk for around 12 kilometers. Activities in the store include picnicking, camping, and swimming. Animal lovers also get to see wildlife lounging and hovering around the area.
3. Harvey Lake- Barnet town, Caledonia County (Best for Vermont's rich history)
Did you know that the original Barnet town settlers were the reason Harvey Lake came into the limelight? The lake sits in the northeast of Vermont, and historians pay tribute to it as a lake that early settlers like SCUBA investors used to hone their skills. Anyone around this lake can attest that Jacques Cousteau first practiced his underwater breathing capabilities on this lake in the 1920s. Everything you want to enjoy in this lake is at your disposal from the beach, picnic spots, and camping grounds. If your vacation falls between June and August, the Harvey Lake Beach welcomes you for barbecue grills and beach volleyball.
2. Lake Dunmore- Salisbury & Leicester towns, Addison County (Best for natural glacier adventures)
According to Flavor Verse, Lake Dunmore boast glaciations that have given rise to a dam, despite it being a natural freshwater lake. Experts claim it's on private property. However, it still boasts public utilities like the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area and the Branbury State Park on its eastern shoreline. If you're into fishing, Lake Dunmore offers many types of fish, including catfish, northern pike, lake trout, perch, salmon, and bass. Other activities to look forward to at Lake Dunmore than fishing include camping, sandy beaches, and hiking. The Lana Falls also offers an excellent spot for sightseeing and other waterbody-related adventures.
1. Lake Willoughby- Westmore town, Orleans County (Best Overall)
According to Only in Your State, Lake Willoughby carries the "Too beautiful to be real" badge in Vermont. It's every water recreation enthusiast's dream to catch a glimpse of one of the world's clearest lakes. Located on the northeastern side of Westmore town, the lake boasts a breathtaking natural wonder that seems surreal. You have to be there to clear your doubts. The lake's crystalline waters are so clear that you can see the reflection of the skies. Its blue water is an epitome of an oasis of natural beauty. It is five miles long and 320 feet deep, making it the second deepest lake in the state of Green Mountain. While there, immerse yourself in water recreation like fishing, boating, swimming, and bird-watching.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn