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17 Best Lakes in Rhode Island for an Enjoyable Vacation

By | Last Updated : 20th January 2022

You wouldn’t want to miss visiting Rhode Island if you’re a water lover. The Ocean State features plenty of lakes including, natural lakes, artificial reservoirs, and coastal lagoons. They are home to sandy beaches that offer ample recreational activities, from swimming to kayaking to keep yourself engaged all day. In addition, exploring the surrounding marshy areas and woodlands would reward you with the sight of several species of birds all around. You can consider ending the eventful day by staying overnight at one of the campsites to experience the calm waters at night.

Lakes in Rhode Island

1. Wallum Lake

Wallum Lake in Rhode Island

Wallum Lake shares its pristine waters with two states. While the southern part lies in Rhode Island, its northern half flows into the neighboring state of Massachusetts. The lake’s clean waters make it a favorite swimming spot for many. You can also launch your boats easily from the public ramps to enjoy a joyous ride. Don’t miss paddling along the western shoreline to soak in the picturesque views of the lush forest-covered hills protected by the Douglas State Forest.

Hiking enthusiasts, too, have excellent opportunities to explore the adjoining trails through scenic woodlands. You can head to the nearby marshy area to witness various birds all around.

Fishing: Anglers commonly catch largemouth bass, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and bluegills. Other species like pumpkinseed, chain pickerel, landlocked salmon, and brown trout are also available here.

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

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2. Worden Pond

Worden Pond in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s largest natural lake, Worden Pond, sits between Chipuxet River and Pawcatuck River in the state’s southeastern part. Though vast, it is pretty shallow, due to which the waters warm up quickly in the summer months. This attracts many visitors to enjoy swimming or wading in it. Also, the breeze blowing over it makes it an ideal spot for windsurfing and sailing.

 If preferring to stay on land, you can keep yourself busy by treading along the trails at the lake’s northern part in Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area. It is a nature lover’s paradise, abundant with wetlands, forests, and swamps inhabiting wildlife species like white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, squirrels, foxes, and coyotes. You can also spot plenty of bird species, especially during the migrating season in spring and fall.

Fishing: The lake’s shallow waters provide an ideal habitat for fish species like bass. Other species to catch here include northern pike, perch, bluegill, chain pickerel, and sunfish. Anglers also enjoy ice fishing for largemouth bass in winter.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking

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3. Scituate Reservoir

Scituate Reservoir in Rhode Island

You might definitely want to check out Scituate Reservoir in Providence County if you wish to spend time in peace and tranquility. The surrounding forests make it an enchanting spot to admire.

Recreational activities are limited in this artificial lake as it supplies about 60% of the state’s drinking water. However, you can explore the marshy areas and tree-lined shores of the adjoining Pawtuxet River by launching your boats at the neighboring Hope Dam.

Fishing: Fishing is not permissible in Scituate Reservoir.

Other Activities: Nature-gazing, hiking

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4. Miscoe Lake

Miscoe Lake in Rhode Island

Although a significant part of Miscoe Lake lies in northwestern Rhode Island, some of its waters also flow into Massachusetts. As the lake is mainly surrounded by private property, only residents or tourists who have rented a lakeside property can access it. You can enjoy spotting some wildlife species like beavers, turtles, swans, and herons residing here. If seeking a suitable hiking place to explore further, you can walk to the nearby Diamond Hill Park, which features several hiking trails. In addition, wandering along the loop trail through Mercy Woods at the lake’s southern tip is ideal for beginners to enjoy scenic vistas. The old Grant Mill also sits at its southern part on Miscoe Lake Dam, offering some historical insight.

Fishing: Fish species populating the lake include largemouth bass, chain pickerel, perch, and bluegill.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, hiking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching

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5. Boone Lake

Boone Lake in Rhode Island

Boone Lake in Exeter is an artificial lake holding one of the state’s cleanest waters. Though it is mainly accessible to the residents within the surrounding private property, you can rent a lakeside cottage to spend some time here.

If staying here, you can also enjoy boating to admire the surrounding natural views. However, if you choose motor boating, do keep in mind not to exceed the speed limit of 45 hp. You can also visit the nearby Arcadia State Forest and Beach Pond Management Area to hike on the trails.

Fishing: Residents can catch various fish species such as largemouth bass, chain pickerel, smallmouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, sail boating, hiking, wildlife viewing

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6. Spring Lake

Spring Lake in Rhode Island

pring Lake in Burrillville is a well-known vacation spot featuring a beach of the same name. The plethora of recreational activities and amenities available here attract several visitors, especially the state residents. From boat rentals to various beach sports equipments, you will find them all here. With a playground and swimming spots having lifeguards on duty, children too can have a great time in and out of the waters. There’s also a concession stand and several picnic tables to enjoy your meals after a tiring day of activity. Do remember that you’ll have to pay an admission fee of $4 per person if you’re a Burrillville resident and $7 if you’re a non-resident.

You can also visit the arcade at Spring Lake Beach to check out some of the oldest games they sell. Some cost just a penny and are sure to bring back your childhood memories.

Fishing: Fish species like largemouth bass, yellow perch, and chain pickerel populate the lake. 

Other Activities: Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, picnicking

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7. Olney Pond

Olney Pond in Rhode Island

Driving a few miles away from downtown Providence will bring you to the scenic Olney Pond, located within Lincoln Woods State Park. With numerous picnic tables and a beach area under the supervision of vigilant lifeguards, it is an ideal spot for a family outing. You’ll also find many launching points, one being a boat ramp on the eastern side. However, there is a speed limit of 10 H.P. on motorboats here. If you want to explore the area on foot, you’ll find many hiking trails run within the state park.

Fishing: This lake inhabits plenty of rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and chain pickerel.

Other Activities: Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, biking

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8. Diamond Hill Reservoir

Diamond Hill Reservoir in Rhode Island

Many visitors are drawn to this artificial lake in Cumberland for its picturesque scenery despite limited recreational opportunities. The best time to come here is in the fall season, when you can experience the spectacular fall foliage. It’s also ideal for spotting many bird species like bald eagles, hawks, falcons, and many waterfowl. Swimming and boating are not permissible as it is used to supply drinking water to the localities. However, the beauty of the place is enough to keep you glued here for the entire day.

Fishing: Anglers can expect to catch fish species like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and chain pickerel in this lake.

Other Activities: Nature gazing, birdwatching, wildlife viewing

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9. Bowdish Lake

Bowdish Lake is a human-made reservoir in Chepachet, mainly known for its campgrounds that offer an excellent outdoor experience. While Bowdish Lake Campground sits on the northeast shoreline, you will find a serene George Washington Campground on its southeast shoreline. The lake is best for enjoying a ride on small boats, though keep in mind not to exceed 10 H.P. if on a motorboat. You will find a boat ramp on its eastern shoreline.

 Fishing: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and chain pickerel are some of the common catches in this lake.

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

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10. Echo Lake

Echo Lake in Rhode Island

Also known as Pascoag Reservoir, Echo Lake is a freshwater lake located in Pascoag in the state’s northwest corner. Its clear waters lure many tourists and locals into having a refreshing dip in it. Though lakefront house owners benefit from owning their private docks to launch their boats, non-residents can also access the waters via a public ramp. For an overnight camping experience, you can consider staying in the Echo Lake Campground, which also serves as the lake’s entry point.

Fishing: Plenty of fish species, including bass, perch, pike, and sunfish inhabit the lake.

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

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11. Point Judith Pond

Point Judith Pond in Rhode Island

Point Judith Pond, located southwest of Newport, is an estuary where the freshwaters of the Saugatuckett River blend into the salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Apart from the numerous waterfowl species, you can also catch glimpses of many birds flying overhead, especially from the marshy area on its eastern edge. Moreover, the extensive shoals and narrow channels make it ideal for exploring them by boat. The secluded coves also invite visitors to spend a relaxing time swimming or fishing in its warm waters.

Fishing: Point Judith Pond offers fishing opportunity for striped bass and summer flounder.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, birdwatching

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12. Ninigret Pond

Ninigret Pond in Rhode Island

Ninigret Pond is one of the state’s largest coastal ponds, lying within Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in Charlestown. With three marinas, you can get all the essential supplies for your boats. You can spend time navigating the pond’s maze of narrow channels and shallow bars. Nature lovers can also explore the nature trails within the refuge to admire the surroundings and witness several wildlife habitats. 

Fishing: This lake is popular for catching largemouth bass, striped bass, and black seabass.

Other Activities: Boating, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, wind surfing, wildlife viewing

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13. Quicksand Pond

Quicksand Pond in Rhode Island

Quicksand Pond is a part of Goosewing Beach Preserve in the state’s southeast corner. It is one of the most scenic places in Rhode Island, with half of its shoreline being undeveloped. If you’re a bird enthusiast, you will enjoy watching several shorebirds like terns, sanderlings, egrets, and dunlin on and around the shoreline. The view of waterfowl like Canada geese, American black ducks, and scaups is also a treat to the eye. On the lake’s southern end lies Goosewing Beach, where you can have a fun time with your family.

The entry to the preserve area and the pond is through South Shore Beach, which charges a parking fee of around $15 per day on weekdays and $20 per day on weekdays.

Fishing: This lake has winter flounder and perch are found in this lake.

Other Activities: Nature gazing, birdwatching

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14. Winnapaug Pond

Winnapaug Pond in Rhode Island

Though small and shallow, this salty lagoon in Westerly features a developed shoreline. Visitors can entertain themselves all day at the nearby amusement park, golf course, restaurants, and hotels. You will also find many beaches like the Misquamicut Beach or Atlantic Beach at the other side of the sandbar that separates the pond from the Atlantic Ocean. Its shallow waters also make it an ideal place to enjoy kayaking.

Fishing: Common fish species inhabiting the lake include striped bass, largemouth bass, and summer flounder.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, golfing, picnicking, birdwatching

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15. Trustom Pond

Trustom Pond in Rhode Island

Trustom Pond within Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent spot for nature lovers. With limited recreational opportunities to protect the pristine waters for the inhabitants, you will be able to spend hours in peace appreciating the surrounding scenic beauty. The nature trails here allow visitors to see the various wildlife species who call this place their home.

Fishing: Fishing is not permissible here.

Other Activities: Nature gazing, hiking, wildlife watching, hunting

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16. Lake Aldersgate

Lake Aldersgate in Rhode Island

This pretty little lake flows in the town of Burrillville in Providence County. The perfect way to enjoy your time here is by being a part of the adjoining Aldersgate Camp. Besides allowing you to access the entire lake, they offer many family-friendly programs and fun activities to keep your kids entertained.

Fishing: Visitors also enjoy catching various fish species on their visit to Lake Aldersgate.

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

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17. Lake Washington

Lake Washington in Rhode Island

Lake Washington is a beautiful lake found in Glocester in Providence County. With only non-motorized permissible here, it offers a peaceful surrounding. You can enjoy a kayak ride to soak in the picturesque landscape. Paddleboarding is also a sought-after activity here in the summer evenings. After spending an entire day in the water, you can sign off for the night in the nearby George Washington Campground.

Fishing: You can catch fish species like largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and yellow perch.

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

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TOP PICKS

Best Lakes for Fishing: Olney Pond, Ninigret Lake, Echo Lake

Best Swimming Lakes: Wallum Lake, Ninigret Lake, Olney Pond,

Best Lakes to Live On: Boone Lake, Bowdish Lake, Echo Lake

Best Camping Lakes: Bowdish Lake, Echo Lake, Washington Lake

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