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15 Lakes in Vermont for a Fun-Filled Vacation

By | Last Updated: 13th January 2024

Vermont, one of the U.S’ most picturesque states, is renowned for its natural beauty because of the lovely towns, scenic farms, and the plush beauty of the hills engulfing it. The 880 wonderful lakes, both natural and human-made, mainly concentrating the state’s northern part, further enhance its charm. The state and national parks housing most of them provide for swimming, fishing, picnicking, camping, hiking, and a lot more recreational activities.

Lakes in Vermont

Lakes in Northern Vermont

1. Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain in Northern Vermont

Stretching 120 miles southward from Missisquoi Bay, Lake Champlain borders Vermont, New York, and Quebec. Apart from being the state’s largest lake, it is also the sixth-largest freshwater body in the United States.

The 587 miles long shoreline houses several parks and historical sites. You can take pleasure in the lake’s beauty by cycling along the shoreline.

Another interesting fact is that more than 300 shipwrecks happened here during the 1700s, the remains of which are still present under the lake’s waters.

You can take a shipwreck tour offered by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to get into the depth of history.

Fishing: You can catch various fishes here like smallmouth and largemouth bass, yellow perch, white perch, bluegill sunfish, crappie, and northern pike.

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

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2. Lake Willoughby

Surrounded by the Willoughby State Forest at its southern end, Lake Willoughby offers a charismatic view of the neighboring scenery. The spectacle sight of Mount Pisgah and Mount Ho on its northern shoreline is sure to take your breath away.

Unlike other lakes, this glacial lake, with an elevation of 357 meters above sea level, does not freeze as early as January February because of its immense depth.

However, since snow accumulates a little later here, it may remain frozen up to April. A visit to the place then would give you the privilege of looking at the pebbled ice glistening when the sun’s rays fall on it.

This is also one of Vermont’s clearest lakes and has many beaches and boat docks along its shoreline. Another spectacular view you ought not to miss is the sunset here, especially as the sun goes down the mountains.

Fishing: Atlantic salmon, rock bass, yellow perch, lake trout, and brown trout are some of the fishes you will find here.

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

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3. Lake Elmore

Lake Elmore in Northern Vermont

Also nicknamed “The Beauty Spot of Vermont,” Lake Elmore offers picturesque scenery with the Elmore Mountains towering at its northern end.

The Elmore State Park sits to the north of the lake, featuring numerous campgrounds, picnic areas, and a playground. For some adventure and to enjoy a magnificent view of the lake and its surroundings, hike the nearby trails to Elmore Mountains.

You can go right up to its peak to get a panoramic view of the entire place from the fire tower there.

Fishing: Lake Elmore supports excellent fishing for northern pike, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, bullhead, and pan fish.

Other Activities: Swimming, water skiing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing

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4. Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake in Northern Vermont

Located just south of Barton village, this one is a glacial lake formed by the Crystal Lake Dam on the Barton River.

Its sparkling clear water, along with sand beaches and scenic beauty, makes it a favorite vacation spot especially during summer.

In addition, the Crystal Lake State Park, a popular recreational spot, includes several picnic tables, free-standing charcoal grills, play areas, and a rented cottage with accommodation for six people.

You can also spot bald eagles and ospreys flying around the lake.

Fishing: Crystal Lake is home to smallmouth bass, lake trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, rock bass, and chain pickerel.

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

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5. Lake Memphremagog

Lake Memphremagog in Northern Vermont

This gorgeous freshwater glacial lake shares its waters with Vermont and Quebec. Covering an expanse of 11,000 hectares and perched at an elevation of 208 meters above sea level, it is Vermont’s third-largest.

Along with many islands, the lake is surrounded by hills and mountains, adding to its scenic appeal. You can avail recreational opportunities here all through the year.

The Prouty Beach at the southeast corner offers 75 campsites, alongside changing facilities and a beachside pavilion.

Do not worry about the staying places as you will find many along the lake’s shoreline offering great bread and breakfast accommodation.

Fishing: You will find many fishes dwelling here like yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bullhead catfish, rock bass.

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

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6. Caspian Lake

Caspian Lake in Northern Vermont

One of Vermont’s cleanest lakes, its calm waters make it a perfect spot for several water sports like swimming, sailing, and water-skiing. It also has a town beach and a public boat launch.

In addition, you can check out the wildlife, including deer, moose, turkeys, kingfishers, local loons, and many mammals and migratory birds frequenting the place occasionally.

For a bonus, spend some time relaxing and enjoying the beautiful sunset here or listening to the classical music concerts from Landon Lake House every Sunday evening. You will find many summer cottages for your accommodation along the shoreline.

Fishing: Brown trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, landlocked salmon are some of the fishes found here.

Other Activities: Swimming, skiing, snorkeling, scuba-diving, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife watching

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7. Lake Carmi

Lake Carmi in Northern Vermont

One of Vermont’s jewels and surrounded by mountains, Lake Carmi is less than an hour’s drive from Burlington. With a surface area of 1375 acres, it is the fourth-largest natural lake in Vermont.

Lake Carmi State Park in the southeastern stretch offers camping facilities with over 140 campsites, alongside a boat launch, a day-use picnic area, beach, and hiking trails.

If bringing kids along, do take them to the nature center within the bounds of the state park where they could be a part of the interpretive programs offered by the authorities.

Fishing: This shallow lake is ideal for northern pike and walleye. Other fishes found include panfish, bass, pike, bullhead, and yellow perch.

Other Activities: Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, hiking, and picnicking

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8. Maidstone Lake

Maidstone Lake in Northern Vermont

This pristine glacial lake is tucked away in a remote and tranquil location in the Essex County of Vermont.

The Maidstone State park occupying its eastern shoreline has a beautiful beach, a picnic ground, a campground, and a play area.

The boreal forest adjacent to the lake offers some beautiful and secluded trails and also offers hunting opportunities.

If bird watching fascinates you immensely, you could take out time and see the loons that frequent this place.

Fishing: You could find stocks of lake trout, rainbow trout, perch, Atlantic salmon, and brown trout.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, cruising, kayaking, ice fishing, sailing, hiking, camping

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9. Harvey Lake

Harvey Lake in Northern Vermont

 Harvey Lake gets its name after Colonel Alexander Harvey, one of the original settlers there.

It is a lesser-known lake, situated in northeastern Vermont’s Barnet town, used mainly by the property owners of the area.

The northern end boasts a public beach called Harvey’s Lake Beach, opened between June and August, equipped with a concession stand, barbecue grill, and beach volleyball facilities.

Two commercial campgrounds, lying on the shore, feature over 200 campsites for summer visitors.

Fishing: Rainbow trout, lake trout, chain pickerel, yellow perch, panfish are mainly available in this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, windsurfing, tubing, ice fishing

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Lakes in Western Vermont

1. Lake Bomoseen

Lake Bomoseen in Western Vermont

With 2400 acres of surface area, this mighty lake lies entirely within the boundaries of Vermont. It offers various recreational opportunities and has several restaurants, marinas, public boat launches, and a public beach.

The Taconic Mountains surrounding it provide breathtaking views. On the western shoreline, you will find the Bomoseen State Park to enjoy additional fun activities.

Fishing: Brown trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, and yellow perch are a good catch here.

Other Activities: Swimming, windsurfing, boating, skiing, scuba diving, hiking, camping, wildlife watching.

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2. Lake Dunmore

Lake Dunmore in Western Vermont

Although glaciations formed this natural freshwater lake, a small dam controls its water levels of this natural freshwater lake.

While much of the shoreline is on private property, the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area and the Branbury State Park occupy the entire eastern shoreline providing a lush green surrounding. The state park is a hub of several recreational activities.

It boasts a 300-meter sandy beach, several campsites, and hiking trails. In addition, you can check out the Falls of Lana for some added adventure, located in the lake’s vicinity.

Fishing: Lake Dunmore is home to many types of fish which include northern pike, bass, catfish, lake trout, salmon, and perch.

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

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Lakes in Eastern Vermont

1. Silver Lake

Silver Lake in Eastern Vermont

Silver Lake is tucked in Vermont’s hill town, Barnard, offering some of the splendid scenic vistas.

Encompassing the lake’s northern shoreline is the Silver Lake State Park which has many campsites and a sandy swimming area.

You could for sure plan a picnic here since the state park has a picnic pavilion with amenities like picnic tables, group grills, and other facilities.

If planning to bring your dog or other pets, you can make them stroll anywhere else in the park sans the beach and the area designated for swimming.

Fishing: The northern pike, yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, crappie, rock bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass inhabit this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, paddling, canoeing, kayaking, ice skating, ice fishing, hiking, and picnicking

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Lakes in Southern Vermont

1. Lake Saint Catherine

Lake Saint Catherine Southern Vermont

Quaint and calm, Lake Saint Catherine is an ideal getaway spot for those who want to spend a relaxing vacation. Besides its pristine, clean waters, the lake also features a magnificently picturesque shoreline, suitable for those who intend to get absorbed in nature’s beauty for hours.

If lucky enough, you could spot a white-tailed deer or a moose. On the lake’s eastern shore lies the Lake Saint Catherine State, housing 61 campsites, two sandy beaches, a children’s playground, and many more things to enjoy.

If you intend to spend a day or two there, stay in the lovely cottages by the lake and take complete pleasure in the blue waters as you relax on the cozy bed.

Fishing: It provides excellent opportunities for largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish, rainbow and brown trout, yellow perch, northern pike.

Other Activities: Swimming, water skiing, scuba diving, boating, snorkeling, hiking, cycling, camping

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2. Somerset Reservoir

Somerset Reservoir in Southern Vermont

Within the Green Mountain National Forest, Somerset Reservoir sits at an elevation of over 2000 feet above sea level. Its underdeveloped shoreline has a small boat launch and picnic tables.

There are many trail networks around the Green Mountains, the Somerset Reservoir Trail in particular, ideal for hiking and mountain biking.

You may also get a glimpse of deer, moose, black bear, ducks, or loons who frequent the area, especially if you choose to paddle along the picturesque lake.

Fishing: Fishes available here are largemouth and smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, trout, and sunfish perch.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, paddling, sailing, hiking, mountain biking, wildlife watching

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3. Griffith Lake

Griffith Lake in Southern Vermont

Within the Green Mountain National Forest, the magnificent Griffith Lake is small in size, accessed mainly by hiking the 7.7 miles long Griffith Lake Trail.

While on your way to the place, stop by and look at the wildflowers blooming around, alongside wildlife. You could also get here if treading along the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail.

Besides engrossing yourself in the panoramic view of the place, you can also go camping, mostly during summer or fall.

However, you would need to pay $5 per person for the same. The parking area is also available at the end of Griffith Lake Trailhead.

Fishing: Pumpkinseed, yellow perch, largemouth bass, white perch, pickerel, crappie, bullhead, bluegill, brook trout are some of the species that reside in Griffith Lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, nature viewing, wildlife watching

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Best Lakes for Fishing: Lake Champlain, Silver Lake, Lake Saint Catherine

Best Lakes for Swimming: Lake Willoughby, Bomoseen Lake, Silver Lake

Best Lakes for Vacation: Lake Caspian, Bomoseen Lake, Lake Champlain

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