Beautiful Lakes: Ranking the Top 20 in the US


While the beach may get all the attention during the summer, America also boasts fantastic lakes. Here are the top 20 beautiful lakes in America, from well-known spots like Lake Tahoe, which spans the California-Nevada border, to undiscovered treasures like Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller. 

1. Santeetlah Lake, North Carolina

Santeetlah Lake, according to one TripAdvisor user, is “possibly the most beautiful lake in North America.” The criticism is not unwarranted, given that this artificial lake has 200 miles of hiking paths and 76 miles of beachfront.

Santeetlah Lake also shares a boundary with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. 

2. Crater Lake, Oregon

The world’s deepest lake is Crater Lake in southern Oregon, measuring 1,943 feet, and it is the ninth-deepest lake and the deepest in the United States. A volcano formed 7,700 years ago. This lake is so beautiful in person that several TripAdvisor customers have described it in just one word, ranging from “stunning” to “wow.” 

Black bears and yellow-bellied marmots are just two examples of the diverse fauna at Crater Lake National Park. 

3. Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona

Lake Powell is 1,932 miles long and extends from southern Utah to northern Arizona. The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area encircles it. More than three million people visit Lake Powell yearly because of its otherworldly beauty and beautiful water that rushes through orange-coloured canyons. 

In addition to hiking and water activities, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the most giant natural bridges in the world, is another reason that Lake Powell is well-known.

4. Mono Lake, California

The tufa towers, spires, and knobs of Mono Lake, which are more than a million years old, consist of calcium carbonate. This strange lake covers 65 square miles and is famous by photographers and bird watchers. The lake is particularly buoyant because of its high salt content, which makes its water denser than the ocean’s.

Users on TripAdvisor describe Mono Lake as “mystical” and “alien,” yet they all concur that it is a breathtaking natural location.

5. Maroon Lake, Colorado

It’s breathtaking to see the lake at the foot of Colorado’s Maroon Bells, two 14,000-foot peaks in the Elk Mountains. Photographers and tourists may observe the rock formations from a unique perspective because of their gleaming surface.

6. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Along the Nevada-California border, in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe, the biggest alpine lake in North America, sits in a fault basin. You can see far down into its depths with an average clarity of 75 feet. However, the lake’s most excellent depth is 1,640 feet.

According to TripAdvisor users, California’s Emerald Bay State Park is one of the most picturesque locations to see Lake Tahoe; excellent viewing sites abound along Highway 89. 

7. Lake George, New York

Lake George, the “Queen of American Lakes,” is the biggest lake in the Adirondacks. It covers 45 square miles and is famous for its crystal-clear seas and the more than 170 islands on its surface. 

Users on TripAdvisor laud the lakefront eating and retail options in Lake George, as well as the mountain vistas.

8. Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

The Devil’s Fork State Park in South Carolina is where Lake Jocassee sits. The 9,000-acre body of water is colder than other lakes because of the mountain streams and waterfalls that feed it, making it the perfect place for trout fishing. Hikers may take advantage of the paths encircle the lake to observe the uncommon Oconee bell wildflowers in the spring.

A TripAdvisor user called Lake Jocassee “one of the most beautiful lakes anywhere,” while another refers to it as “a wonder of the Carolinas.”  

9. Lake Willoughby, Vermont

The nickname “Lucerne of America” refers to Lake Willoughby, the second-deepest lake in Vermont after Lake Champlain because of its fjord-like appearance. It is famous for having cool temperatures all year round. More than 20 hiking and recreational routes are possibly seen in a state park near the lake’s southern edge.

10. Flathead Lake, Montana

West of the Mississippi, the largest freshwater lake with a surface area of 188 square miles is Flathead Lake. The lake sits around a national wildlife refuge and six state parks. People may find populations of wild horses and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep on Wild Horse Island, one of the parks, which covers 21 acres.

11. Lake Tenkiller, Oklahoma

Lake Tenkiller, located in the Ozark Mountains’ foothills, is a picturesque getaway with approximately 13,000 acres of water and more than 130 miles of shoreline. The dogwood woodlands around this artificial lake are alive with colour from April through October. 

Users of TripAdvisor laud this “hidden gem,” where you may scuba dive.

12. Jenny Lake, Wyoming

In Grand Teton National Park, Jenny Lake provides boating, hiking, and camping options against a breathtaking mountain backdrop.

Jenny Lake is “wonderfully attractive,” according to one TripAdvisor customer, and it’s difficult to disagree. 

13. Lake Lanier, Georgia

The largest lake in Georgia is Lake Lanier, which has over 700 miles of shoreline and receives water from the Blue Ridge Mountains. It formed in 1956 when the Buford Dam joined the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers. 

If you haven’t been to this lake south of Atlanta, one TripAdvisor user exclaims, “You should put it high on your priority list.” 

14. Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho

Part of Sandpoint, Idaho, which Country Living rated the most fantastic tiny lake town in America, is where Lake Pend Oreille sits. The lake, the biggest in the state, offers stunning views of the Cabinet and Selkirk Mountains from there.

15. Lake Chelan, Washington

The 50.5-mile-long Lake Chelan is well-liked for boating and other water activities. In addition to being close to the region’s vineyards, its closeness to the North Cascades makes it a desirable location for hikers.

16. Geneva Lake, Wisconsin

Geneva Lake receives water from nearby natural springs since it is a headwater lake. The public route circuits the shores for 23 miles. While tourists may engage in water activities in the summer, a winter wonderland grows around the lake and in the town that bears their name during the coldest months of the year.

TripAdvisor customers laud the lovely restaurants and businesses along the lakeside and the lake’s natural beauty.

17. Lake Martin, Louisiana

The swampy 9,500-acre Cypress Island Preserve in Lake Martin, Louisiana, is famous for its flora and fauna. This swamp, bordered by cypress and tupelo trees, is home to alligators and bird species, including great egrets and roseate spoonbills. 

Visitors to this “ecological gem” on TripAdvisor advise taking a boat excursion. 

18. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

At the base of the White Mountains, Lake Winnipesaukee, the biggest lake in New Hampshire, stretches over 20 miles. Over 275 islands sit there.

According to a TripAdvisor user, Lake Winnipesaukee is the “most beautiful lake in New Hampshire,” other users have praised it as an excellent location for kayaking, boating, and swimming. 

19. Lake Ouachita, Arkansas

The giant man-made lake in Arkansas, Lake Ouachita (pronounced Wash-ah-taw), has 40,000 acres of clean water and is a well-liked spot for boating, fishing, and scuba diving. A tree-lined refuge with a geo-float path, the first water-based interpretive route in the National Trails System, and one of the most prominent crystal veins in the world remain along the lake’s 600 miles of coastline since development is prevented there.

20. Lake Eklutna, Alaska

Lake Eklutna, a hidden gem less than an hour outside Anchorage, is accessible by hiking, bicycling, and even an ATV. Kayaking is also very famous. It sits inside the 495,000 acres of untamed Alaskan nature that comprise Chugach State Park.


In conclusion, the United States boasts a rich tapestry of breathtaking lakes that beckon travellers to explore their natural wonders. From the tranquil shores of Santeetlah Lake in North Carolina to the deep blue expanse of Oregon’s Crater Lake, these water bodies showcase the nation’s diverse beauty.

Lake Powell, with its mesmerizing canyons and Lake Tahoe’s crystal-clear depths, exemplify the splendour of the American West. Lake George’s Adirondack charm and the hidden gem of Lake Jocassee in South Carolina offer unique escapes. Vermont’s Lake Willoughby, reminiscent of European fjords, and Montana’s Flathead Lake, with its rugged wilderness, highlight the nation’s geographic diversity.

Framed by the Ozark Mountains, Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller promises vibrant woodlands and underwater adventures, while Wyoming’s Jenny Lake, set beneath the Teton peaks, invites exploration. Georgia’s Lake Lanier and Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille offer serene beauty and captivating mountain views.

Lake Chelan in Washington boasts boating and wine country access, while Wisconsin’s Geneva Lake is a year-round wonderland. Louisiana’s Lake Martin thrives as an ecological treasure, and New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee provides endless water activities.

Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita is a pristine oasis, while Alaska’s Lake Eklutna offers outdoor enthusiasts a taste of untamed wilderness.

These 20 lakes, each with a unique character, reflect the nation’s diverse landscapes and the natural wonders that await those willing to explore. Whether you seek serenity, adventure, or the marvel of nature’s beauty, these lakes remind you of the United States’ rich tapestry of natural treasures.


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