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Top Ten Best Boating Lakes (Inland Lakes)


Top Ten Best Boating Lakes & Why!!!

Interested in finding a great, well-known boating lake to spend your free time? Look no further! Pick A Slip has located the top 10 best lakes in North America for boating and we'll give you clear cut reasons as to why you should visit one of these lakes. We'll also include some links to recommended marinas on these various bodies of water as well as a map of exactly where each is located. We have excluded all of the Great Lakes from this top ten list because of their size. It's simply not fair! They're like an ocean compared to other inland lakes in North America.

Over 5,000 boaters in North America have cast their vote for the BEST boating lake on the continent. Below is the breakdown of the top 10!

here we go... 

10. Lewisville Lake, Texas

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 29,592 acres
Maximum Depth: 67 feet
GPS Coordinates: 33°04′09″N 96°57′52″W

Lewisville Lake or Lake Lewisville is a great lake for boaters of all types! Well-known for its fishing and boating. Some of the marinas on this lake offer boat rentals for those of you who are maybe out of town or simply looking to take advantage of the lake for a long weekend. Lake Lewisville, like many reservoirs, are great for watersports of all types. Their coves offer calm water that skiiers die for! There are parts of the lake that are more well-known for partying than others as well. Your best bet is to ask the marina staff about where you can go about finding a good spot to put down a few drinks and have a good time.

If you happen to be looking for a marina on the lake, we highly recommend Pier 121 Marina. They have over 1000 covered wet slips and approximately 800 dry rack! They have boat slips to fit vessels of any size. You can reach them at 972 625 2233.

9. Wheeler Lake, Alabama

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 67,100 sq acres
Maximum Depth: 57 feet
GPS Coordinates: 34°48′30″N 087°23′00″W

Wheeler Lake is located in Northern Alabama and is a great boating/fishing reservoir.

Bass fishing is the most popular fishery in Wheeler Reservoir. Largemouth bass are the primary species, but smallmouth bass are common from Decatur to the west end, especially from Elk River down. The northern subspecies of spotted bass are also common, and spots are found primarily near the main channel.

This reservoir is home to quality fishing for a variety of fish. Catfishfishing is excellent. William McKinley caught the previous world record blue catfish from Wheeler Reservoir weighing an astounding 111 pounds in 1996.

8. Lake Marion, South Carolina

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 110,000 acres
Maximum Depth: 77 feet
GPS Coordinates: 33°27′14″N 80°09′50″W

Lake Marion is one of the top 25 largest lakes in the United States and often times referred to as 'South Carolina's inland sea'. 

Lake Marion is known for its big fish and abundant wildlife. The state fishing record for Largemouth Bass (16.2 Ibs) was set at this lake. Some other fish that abound are Striped bassWhite PerchWhite bassCrappieChannel catfishArkansas Blue CatfishShellcrackersBream and Chain. Some land animals you're likely to see on Lake Marion include deerfoxsquirrelturtledoveturkeyalligator and various species of duckhawkeagleegret and osprey

The lake does offer some small coves that are perfect for watersports, however, the lake is more known for it's fishing and sailing. 

7. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 54,000 acres
Maximum Depth: 130 feet
GPS Coordinates: 38°12′N 92°38′W

Lake of the Ozarks is home to marinas all up and down its' curvy, snake-like coast. The lake is known for great fishing and boating. From houseboats to speedboats to ski boats to jetskis, Lake of the Ozarks has it all! With over 54,000 acres of water traveling in every which way, you're sure to find what you're looking for. The lake has several "party coves" where boaters meet up and enjoy eachothers company and music. You're better off asking the marina that you stay at about where the lake's points of interest are, since there are so many! Just like most reservoirs, this lake is perfect for watersports since there is always a calm bay to cut up.

The fishing is great for Big Mouth Bass and Crappie but make sure to plan to go fishing in the early AM or later evening since the traffic on this lake is so high! It is a very busy lake with boaters traveling in all directions.

Lake Champlain, New York/ Vermont/ Quebec

Lake Type: natural/ freshwater
Surface Area: 490 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 400 feet
GPS Coordinates: 44°32′N 73°20′W

A great deal of Lake Champlain's coast is undeveloped land. It's very scenic and offers great fishing. This lake has more history attached to it than any of the other lakes that made our top ten list. Lake Champlain played a big role in Colonial America and the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Lake Champlain, also known as the Battle of Plattsburgh, fought on September 11, 1814, ended the final British invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812.

Lake Champlain is also known to have a lake monster named 'Champ'! There have been several reports about this lake monster but no photographic evidence (imagine that!). If you can't catch it, you might have better luck going after one of the eighty-one species of fish that have been identified in Lake Champlain. About twenty of these species are actively sought by anglers, including large and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, channel catfish, yellow perch, lake trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, steelhead trout, brown trout, and rainbow smelt. The New York DEC and VT Fish and Wildlife Department stock rainbow, lake, and brown trout to Basin waters. The US Fish and Wildlife Service stocks young Alantic salmon. 


5. Lake Sidney Lanier (Lake Lanier), Georgia

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 37,000 acres
Maximum Depth: 156 feet
GPS Coordinates: 34°14′14″N 83°56′10″W

Lake Lanier (formerly Lake Sidney Lanier) is another great reservoir on our list! This is a highly sought after boating location due to its' close proximity to Atlanta. The lake is popular with boatershouseboatsjetskiers and others, particularly around the summer holidays. Over 7.5 million people per year visit the lake, including its marinas and the Lake Lanier Islands waterpark. The rowing and sprint canoeing events during the 1996 Summer Olympics were held at the lake. It also hosted the canoe sprint World Championships in 2003 at the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club.

If you're looking for a marina to keep your vessel this year, we highly recommend Bald Ridge Marina located in the Southwest corner of the lake. They have very competitive rates as well as availability (great combination no matter where you are)! They have a wonderful facility that has consistent, positive boater reviews.


4. Norris Lake, Tennessee

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 34,200 acres
Maximum Depth: 196 feet
GPS Coordinates: 36°17′25″N 83°55′02″W

Norris Lake is a beautiful reservoir located in Eastern Tennessee. While it's not as well-known as some of the other lakes in Tennessee, such as Dale Hollow Lake or Kentucky Lake, it made number 4 on our top 10 list! This lake has it all! Several marinas offer rentals such as 80' widebody houseboats, floating cabins, runabout/ speedboats, pontoons, jetskis, and fishing boats.

The lake is somewhat shaped like a horseshoe which makes it important to understand where the points of interest on the lake are if you're going to be renting a boat! While fishing at Norris Lake is great  no matter where you are on the lake, there are points of interest scattered all throughout the long, curvy lake. It is for this reason that we highly recommend renting a speedboat/ runabout if you are renting a houseboat. This will save lots of gas as well as make your return trip a breeze.

There are two marinas on Norris Lake that we highly recommend renting from! Sequoyah Marina and Flat Hollow Marina. Sequoyah Marina has high-quality boat rentals (excluding houseboats) and is highly sought after for boat slips. To our knowledge, they are currently at capacity. Flat Hollow Marina has enormous, top-quality houseboats for rent as well as floating cabins! If you're interested in a houseboat rental on Norris Lake, take our advice and rent your houseboat through Flat Hollow Marina then get a speedboat rental through Sequoyah Marina. You'll be able to travel the entire lake and see popular landmarks like caves (with freshwater pools inside), the Norris Dam, rope swings, and cliffs to jump from!


3. Higgins Lake, Michigan

Lake Type: natural/ freshwater
Surface Area: 15.47 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 135 feet
GPS Coordinates: 44°29′1″N 84°46′47″W

If you are ever traveling through Northern Michigan make this a priority to see! Higgins Lake has been named the 6th most beautiful lake in the world and has clarity over 50 feet underwater! 

Higgins Lake is known for it's crystal clear waters and beautiful sandy shoreline. Boating on the lake is much more common than fishing, although the lake is stocked annually with a wide variety of fish. If you're looking to cast your line, make sure you do so early in the morning or late evening to avoid the boat traffic. During the summer months the lake is very busy with boaters traveling in all directions since there are all sorts of famous points of interest on the lake. Some of them include: a sunken boat just Northwest of Treasure Island, Flag Point, and the North & South State Parks. The South State Park on Higgins Lake is probably the most well-known spot on the lake since it has a very popular state-run camping ground along the shoreline. Boats line up all down the 2-4 foot deep sandy shoreline during the weekends. Higgins Lake has a great deal of boater traffic and sand bars, making it dangerous for inexperienced boaters. The lake is home to one municipal marina towards the Southwest corner that has an average 3 year waiting list for a boat slip. 

2. Shasta Lake, California

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 10.929 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 518 feet
GPS Coordinates: 40°40′41″N 122°22′12″W

Shasta Lake is located in Northern California and is world famous and highly sought after by boaters from all over! The lake is situated just north of Redding in the Shasta National Forest and the Trinity National Forest. This lake is very remote and offers an adundance of wildlife. It is common to see bald eagles, black bears, cougars, etc. in this portion of the state. If you're an outdoor enthusiast, you will fall in love with Shasta Lake.

Habitat for coldwater fish species within the lake is considered good; however, habitat for warmwater fish species is limited by the lack of cover, steep-sided banks, and water level fluctuations. Fish species within the lake are varied and abundant. Species known to inhabit the lake include: rainbow trout, brown trout, chinook salmon, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, carp, Sacramento sucker, Sacramento squawfish, riffle sculpin, black fish, hardhead minnow, white sturgeon, channel squawfish, threadfin shad, white catfish, brown bullhead, golden shiner and green sunfish. The most commonly caught fish in this lake are Bass and Trout.

If you're interested in a marina to keep you vessel or interested in a houseboat rental, we highly recommend world-famous Jones Valley Resort! We have yet to come across a marina in North America that has a more prestigious line of houseboats to choose from. They have houseboats that can comfortably sleep up to 22 people! Houseboating on Shasta Lake is unlike anything you've done before. 

1. Lake Powell, Arizona/ Utah

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 254 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 560 feet
GPS Coordinates: 36°56′10″N 111°29′03″W

Aaaaaand here it is!!! Beautiful Lake Powell in Northern Arizona/ Southern Utah within the Colorado plateau. Boaters travel near and far from all over the country to get to Lake Powell. This lake offers everything a boater could possibly be looking for on a lake. It has great fishing, unmatched views, houseboating, calm coves, and several marinas to choose from. Pick A Slip founders and staff highly recommend visiting Wahweap Marina in the Southwest region of the lake. We get boater inquiries from all over the country for rentals and boat slips on this world-famous lake. There are 9 total marinas on the lake with 3 only being accessible by boat. Waheap Marina is in the city of Page and is easily accessible.

History of Lake Powell:

Construction on Glen Canyon Dam began with a demolition blast keyed by the push of a button by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at his desk in the Oval Office on October 1, 1956. The first blast started clearing tunnels for water diversion. On February 11, 1959, water was diverted through the tunnels so dam construction could begin. Later that year, the bridge was completed, allowing trucks to deliver equipment and materials for the dam, and also for the new town of Page, Arizona.

Concrete placement started around the clock on June 17, 1960. The last bucket of concrete was poured on September 13, 1963. Over 5 million cubic yards (4,000,000 m³) of concrete make up Glen Canyon Dam. The Dam is 710 feet (216 m) high, with the surface elevation of the water at full pool being approximately 3700 feet (1100 m). Construction of the Dam cost $155 million, and 18 lives were lost in the process. From 1970 to 1980, turbines and generators were installed for hydroelectricity. On September 22, 1966, Glen Canyon Dam was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson.

Upon completion of Glen Canyon Dam on September 13, 1969, the Colorado River began to back up, no longer being diverted through the tunnels. The newly flooded Glen Canyon formed Lake Powell. It took 11 years for the lake to rise to the high water mark, on June 22, 1980. Since then the lake level has fluctuated considerably depending on the seasonal snow runoff from the mountains.

This information was taken from Wikipedia.

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