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18 of the Best Lakes in Massachusetts

By | Last Updated: 2nd January 2023

Massachusetts, the Bay State, has many charming ponds and lakes to spend a relaxing summer vacation or a day’s outdoor trip. Its clean and clear water is a paradise for water enthusiasts to enjoy swimming and various watersports like windsurfing and water skiing. With quaint picnic areas and scenic hiking trails surrounding it, you will have ample opportunities to explore the place’s natural beauty. In addition, the nearby attractions, like state forests and historical sites, provide options for spending an eventful day by the lake area. 

Lakes in Massachusetts

Lakes in Northern Massachusetts

1. Lake Wyola

Lake Wyola in Northern Massachusetts

Wyola’ is a Native American term for quiet water and an apt name for the lake. The calm and quaint body of water lies within Lake Wyola State Park in Shutesbury. There’s a picnic area with many tables and grills, which makes it a perfect place for a family gathering. You could enjoy barbecuing here while soaking in the surrounding views. Hiking enthusiasts can hike along the 1.5-mile Pond Loop Trail that traverses through a dense forest. You could also spend an overnight at the campsite to be at a close proximity with nature.

Fishing: The lake is well-stocked with chain pickerel, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, waterskiing, camping, hiking, picnicking

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2. Lake Attiash

Lake Attiash in Northern Massachusetts

Lake Attitash flows between the town of Merrimac and Amesbury. Though the shoreline is lined with modern houses, it offers excellent recreational activities to attract visitors. The shallow waters ensure safe swimming for kids and novice swimmers. Whether you like water skiing or a relaxing kayak ride, the water is ideal for all types of water activities and has a boat ramp that is easy to access. After spending time here, you can visit the nearby Merrimac Town Forest if you have enough time. Several trails like Red Oak Hill Trail and Cobbler’s Brook Trail offer beautiful landscape views.

Fishing: Lake Attiash has plenty of largemouth bass, chain pickerel, northern pike, and striped bass.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking  

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3. Lake Quannapowitt

Lake Quannapowitt in Northern Massachusetts

Lake Quannapowitt is a big but shallow lake in Wakefield. Visitors mainly enjoy walking along the sidewalks around the lake. The encompassing open spaces are ideal for a picnic. Your four-legged companions, too, can tag along with you. The historical Colonel James Hartshorne House on its shoreline is also worth visiting. However, if you’re planning to enjoy a swim, you will have to look elsewhere as swimming in the lake is not permissible.

Fishing: Lake Quannapowitt is ideal for fishing largemouth bass, yellow perch, and common carp.

Other Activities: Boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking  

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4. Lake Monomonac

Lake Monomonac in Northern Massachusetts

A beautiful artificial lake, Lake Monomonac, sits at the state’s northern edge. The combination of small quaint towns and scenic and serene shorelines in a countryside setting make it a go-to vacation spot among many. Watersport lovers can make use of its large size by indulging in wakeboarding, tubing, or waterskiing. On land, there’s to explore. The surrounding forests, including Ashburnham State Forest, feature several hiking trails that you can enjoy hiking. Also, while you’re at the lake, be sure to check out the Santa Maria, a unique structure having the bow of a ship. 

Fishing: The lake has many largemouth bass, black crappie, chain pickerel, and yellow perch.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, water skiing, sailing, tubing, wakeboarding, camping, hiking  

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5. Mystic Lakes

Mystic Lakes in Northern Massachusetts

The Upper Lakes and Lower Lakes form the tranquil Mystic Lakes. It’s a hidden gem located just about a 10-minute drive from downtown Boston. There is a small Shannon Beach at the Upper Mystic Lake where visitors enjoy swimming. You’ll also find a small boat ramp here. While non-powered boats can access the Upper Mystic Lakes, the powered boats will have to move to Lower Mystic Lakes. However, do keep in mind that these lakes are no-wake zones. If you don’t feel like engaging yourself in any heart-racing activity, you could stay on land and have a barbecue while enjoying the sights of ducks and geese swimming in the water.

Fishing: Anglers mainly catch largemouth bass, black crappie, and yellow perch from the lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, sailing, camping, hiking  

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Lakes in Southern Massachusetts

1. Lake Chaubunagungamaug

Lake Chaubunagungamaug in Southern Massachusetts

Also called Webster Lake, Lake Chaubunagungamaug is the state’s second-largest body of water. It’s a favorite spot for many as the lake offers several recreational activities. You can have fun wakeboarding or water skiing while your children enjoy themselves in the large playground. The lake also provides immense opportunities to see several wildlife species, including bald eagles, herons, turtles, and hawks.

Fishing: Anglers visiting the lake usually target largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, perch, black crappie, bluegill, and bullhead. You can also expect to catch trout in the spring and fall seasons.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, camping, hiking  

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Lakes in Eastern Massachusetts

1. Lake Cochituate

Lake Cochituate in Eastern Massachusetts

This lake in Cochituate State Park is about a half an hour’s drive from Boston. It comprises three segments, namely North Pond, Middle Pond, and South Pond. You could rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from the Natick Boathouse and hop into any three sections for a relaxing time. However, do remember that only the South Pond hosts activities like waterskiing and wakeboarding. If preferring to stay on land, you could head to the nearby short and scenic Snake Brook Trail for a pleasant walk.

Fishing: Lake Cochituate has plentiful trout, bass, crappie, perch, sunfish, and muskie.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, stand up paddleboarding, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, camping, hiking, picnicking

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2. Lake Crystal

Lake Crystal in Eastern Massachusetts

Lake Crystal is a pretty little glacier lake that features a small beach area, a public bathhouse, and two parks. It’s located in Newton and easily accessible from Boston, making it ideal for a day’s trip. You could take a stroll along the walkways on the three sides of the lake or have a quiet time relaxing on the grassy spots. It’s also a pleasant spot to spend an overnight gazing at the stars in a peaceful setting.

Fishing: Fish species commonly found in the lake are chain pickerel, largemouth bass, and bluegill.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking  

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3. Lake Chebacco

Lake Chebacco in Eastern Massachusetts

Lake Chebacco is ideal for visiting any time of the year. The warm water is perfect for swimming in the summer, while its frozen state and surrounding in winter attract many visitors to enjoy snowshoeing and ice skating. Admiring the splendid scenery and various birds flying overhead are sought-after activities in spring and autumn. Also, there is a paved boat ramp that allows boaters to easily get into the water.

Fishing: Fish species like largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead, black crappie, and pumpkinseed are abundant in the lake. Anglers also enjoy ice fishing here. 

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, camping, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, birdwatching

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4. Lake Massapoag

Lake Massapoag in Eastern Massachusetts

Located in the town of Sharon, this natural and tranquil lake contains some of the cleanest waters in the state, attracting visitors to enjoy cooling off in summer or boating to admire the scenery. Its shoreline, lined with trees, is a perfect place to sit or walk along while you enjoy the views of sailboats and numerous waterfowls in the water. However, do remember that dogs are not permissible in the beach area from mid-April to mid-October.

Fishing: You can enjoy fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, black crappie, perch, bluegill, and pumpkinseed.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, camping, hiking  

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5. Walden Pond

Walden Pond in Eastern Massachusetts

Famed as the former home of the famous environmentalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond is the deepest natural pond in the state. A favorite summer getaway spot among locals, the lake is surrounded by old and new growth trees through which many hiking trails meander. At the parking lot, you could pause to see the replica of Thoreau’s cabin. If you wish to see the real one, there’s a path that would lead you to it. Do keep in mind that there’s a parking fee of $ 8 per vehicle for Massachusetts residents and $ 30 per vehicle for non-residents.

Fishing: Anglers can enjoy shore fishing to catch fish species like smallmouth and largemouth bass, chain pickerel, pumpkinseed, and brown bullhead.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking, paddle boarding,

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6. Lake Boon

Lake Boon in Eastern Massachusetts

Lake Boon is a lovely little body of water that is named after the original settlers of the area. Though the sandy beach is small, it is never too crowded. Several amenities, including picnic tables with grills, a public bathroom, and a playground, add to the enjoyment. While it’s busier in the summertime, visiting it in the winter allows you to enjoy cross country skiing and ice skating. After spending your time on the lake, you could check out the nearby Assabet National Wildlife to appreciate the natural beauty.

Fishing: The lake offers plenty of opportunities to fish for largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and black crappie. 

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing, tubing, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing

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Lakes in Western Massachusetts

1.  Lake Onota

Lake Onota in Western Massachusetts

Lake Onota sits on the western side of Pittsburg. The lake’s clean and clear water attracts many visitors to swim in it. The swimming area also has lifeguards on duty during July and August. With the surrounding mountains and wilderness, you could have an excellent time boating in the water. The nearby Onota Boat Livery offers boat rentals while there is a boat launch at Burbank Park on the eastern shoreline. Just opposite the park is the Pittsfield State Forest, which is ideal for exploring the picturesque landscape once you have had your fill in the lake. Do take note that pets are not permissible in the beach area.

 Fishing: Numerous fishing species reside in the lake, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, rainbow trout, yellow perch, and bluegill.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, sailing, canoeing, waterskiing, hiking  

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2. Lake Ashmere

Lake Ashmere in Western Massachusetts

Lake Ashmere is a charming little lake sitting In Berkshire County. The mountainous backdrop and forested surrounding are perfect for those who wish to have a getaway in nature’s abode. Besides the various fun-filled recreational activities, the lake is mainly known for being home to the two summer camps, Camp Dambee and Camp Taconic.

Fishing: The most caught fish species include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, perch, crappie, pumpkinseed, and brown bullhead.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking, picnicking,

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Lakes in Central Massachusetts

1. Quabbin Reservoir

Quabbin Reservoir in Central Massachusetts

Quabbin Reservoir is an artificial lake that is the largest in the state. The untouched shoreline, stretching about 181 miles, offers a picturesque setting. As it supplies drinking water to most people of the state, recreational activities are limited. However, if you prefer staying away from the crowd, this place is undoubtedly for you. The hiking trails and picnic areas provide stunning views of the scenic surroundings. You’ll also get a chance to spot nesting bald eagles in the vicinity.

Fishing: The reservoir supports both coldwater and warm water species, including trout, salmon, bass, perch, pickerel, and bullhead.

Other Activities: Hiking, picnicking, birdwatching  

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2. Lake Quinsigamond

Lake Quinsigamond in Central Massachusetts

Encompassed by Quinsigamond State Park, Lake Quinsigamond is quite a vast lake in central Massachusetts. Walking along the paths circling the lake is ideal for the lovely views. Families could head to either section of the state park, the Regatta Point segment, or the Lake Park area to enjoy a picnic. If you wish to indulge in water activities, you could rent a sailboat or a paddleboat. The boat ramps provide an easy access to the water with your boats. It’s also home to a 2000-meter racecourse where you can witness many championship regattas.

Fishing: The lake contains both warm water fish like largemouth bass, chain pickerel, perch, bluegills, and pumpkinseeds and cold water fish like stocked trout and salmon.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, sailing, jet skiing, camping, hiking, picnicking, paddleboarding

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3. Lake Lashaway

Lake Lashaway in Central Massachusetts

Lake Lashaway is actually a charming pond in East Brookfield. It’s a lesser-visited spot ensuring visitors a quiet and private time. Kids can enjoy playing and running around at the small playground while adults spend time barbecuing by the lakeshore. Swimming is another popular activity as visitors enjoy jumping off the dock into the clean water.

Fishing: You could expect catching plenty of chain pickerel and largemouth bass. Other fish species found are yellow perch, white perch, and bullheads.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking, picnicking

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4. Indian Lake

Indian Lake in Central Massachusetts

Earlier known as Great Pond, Indian Lake lies in the northern part of Worcester. At the lake’s north end, you’ll find the Shore Park, which houses a public beach, a bathhouse, and a quaint picnic area. To launch your boats, you could head to Morgan Landing, situated at the western shoreline. The boat ramp here is suitable for accessing motor and non-motorized boats into the water. On land, you could enjoy walking along a short path to take in the landscape or play a tennis match on the tennis court here.

Fishing: The lake is home to many fish species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, perch, bluegill, and pumpkinseed.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, camping, hiking, ice fishing, skating, and snowmobiling

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Best Lakes for Fishing: Quabbin Reservoir, Mystic Lakes, Lake Cochituate

Best Swimming Lakes: Mystic Lakes, Walden Pond, Onota Lake

Best Lakes to Live On: Lake Cochituate, Lake Ashmere, Lake Attiash

Best Camping Lakes: Lake Wyola, Lake Quinsigamond, Lake Cochituate

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