Where better to spend a warm day than on one of Maryland’s spectacular lakes? The state boasts a huge array of natural and manmade lakes and reservoirs, all of which promise endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Whether you want to hike their shorelines, picnic on their beaches, fish their depths, or paddle their perimeters, you’re guaranteed a ton of fun. To help you decide which lake demands a visit, we’ve rounded up the 10 best lakes in Maryland. Here they are.
10. Liberty Lake
Liberty Lake, or Liberty Resovoir as it’s sometimes referred to, is located in the Patapsco region of Maryland. As it serves as a source of water for Baltimore’s suburbs, gas-powered boats are banned, but you can still enjoy the crystal clear waters on a rowing, paddle, or battery-powered boat. The lake is well-stocked with a good variety of fish, including largemouth bass, bluegill, smallmouth bass, crappie, and white perch, making it an excellent destination for hikers. Wildlife lovers are equally well catered to thanks to the huge variety of species that live in the surrounding area – keep your eyes peeled for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, and songbirds.
9. Herrington Manor State Park
The focal point of Herrington Manor State Park is the 53-acre lake that sits at its center. Swimming is permitted, and a lifeguard patrols the area from Memorial Day through to Labour Day. Gas-powered boats are off-limits, but kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and electric-powered boats can make use of the lake and its accompanying boat ramp. Other activities to enjoy include exploring the 12 miles of hiking trails that run through the surrounding forest or playing tennis and volleyball on the sports courts. There are also numerous shaded areas to enjoy some alfresco dining.
8. Youghiogheny River Lake
Youghiogheny River Lake is a vast, man-made lake that crosses the Mason-Dixie line between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Surrounded by mountains and valleys, it’s a stunning spot, with endless opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure. Boating, fishing, camping, hunting, and hiking are all popular lake-side pastimes. There are also some excellent kayaking and canoeing opportunities, along with plenty of scenic picnic spots dotted around the shoreline.
7. Little Seneca Lake
If you’re in the vicinity of Boyds in Montgomery County, make time for Little Seneca Lake, a lake that onlyinyourstate.com describes as one of the most gorgeous lakes in Maryland. Covering one-third of Black Hill Regional Park, the lake serves as an emergency source of water for Metropolitan Washington, D.C. It also offers a myriad of recreational opportunities, including fishing (largemouth bass, tiger muskie, bluegill, and channel catfish are the most common catches to expect), kayaking, and birdwatching. The surrounding park also offers some splendid trails that can either be hiked or enjoyed by horseback.
6. Cascade Lake
As Tripping.com notes, Cascade Lake is the perfect destination for a short, family trip. Located in Hampstead, the spring-fed, sandy-bottomed lake is small but sublime, boasting a fishing area stocked with fish, paddle boats that can be rented, waterslides, and diving platforms. There’s also a waterpark playground for the kids to enjoy. While you’re in the area, it’s also worth making time for Hampstead’s other popular reservoir at the scenic Prettyboy Reservoir Park.
5. Lake Habeeb
Tucked away in the Rocky Gap State Park is the 98 hectare Lake Habeeb. It’s well-stocked with largemouth bass, panfish, bluegill, rainbow trout and channel catfish. Even better, fishing is permitted 24 hours a day, Boats using electric motors are allowed, as are kayaks and canoes, all of which can make use of the public boat ramp. The area surrounding the lake is sublime, with a mile-long gorge, sheer cliffs, a hemlock forest, and abundant displays of mountain laurel and rhododendron. If you want to extend your visit over a couple of days, you’ll find plenty of camping spots scattered around the park.
4. Centennial Lake
If you like fishing, you’re going to love Centennial Lake, a 54-acre man-made reservoir set in the gorgeously scenic 325-acre Centennial Park on the outskirts of Columbia. The lake is stocked with a huge variety of fish, including largemouth bass, redear sunfish, and bluegill sunfish, giving keen angles hours of fun on the water. Just be sure to avoid the wildlife sanctuary on the west end of the lake, which is out of bounds for fishing. If you bring a boat, you can make use of the boat ramp between Mach and November. The lake is ringed by an incredibly scenic paved path suitable for hikers of all ages and fitness levels.
3. Greenbrier State Park
Tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains is Greenbrier State Park, a delightful area of natural beauty that centers around a 42-acre man-made lake. Swimming is permitted (as are battery-operated boats and paddle boats), and a lifeguard patrols the area from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Fishers can look forward to catching largemouth bass, trout, and bluegill. For hikers, there are endless opportunities to explore the park’s many trails and enjoy some wildlife spotting at the same time.
2. Deep Creek Lake
Named by The Crazy Tourist as one of the best lakes in Maryland, Deep Creek Lake has the distinction of being Maryland’s largest inland body of water, occupying 3,900-acres and boasting 69 miles of shoreline. The lake is perfect for water sports enthusiasts, offering a myriad of ways to enjoy the water, from tubing and water-skiing to wakeboarding and jet skiing. Anglers can expect excellent fishing conditions, with plenty of bass, walleye, trout, yellow perch, and other species to test their wits against. Visitors who prefer to keep their feet on dry land are well served by a lovely little beach, plenty of shaded picnic spots, and some fine hiking trails.
1. Big Pool Lake
Located in Fort Frederick State Park on the borders of the Potomac River, Big Pool Lake is a vast, natural reservoir that’s perfect for a day of outdoor adventure. Largemouth bass, carp, bluegill, catfish, and various other species populate the lake, offering anglers some top-notch fishing opportunities. Boaters are welcome providing they don’t use gas, and there’s a boat ramp for boats, kayaks, and canoes. Hikers are well served by the network of hiking trails that ring the lake and extend into the park – each is enjoyable, but the 3 mile Beaver Pond Trail comes particularly highly recommended. While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for birds, turtles, deer, and other wildlife.