Florida has the longest coastline in the United States, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Strait. Much of the state is located on a peninsula below sea level, with the highest point being Mount Britton at 105 meters above sea level. In fact, Florida is the flattest state in the United States.
The Florida peninsula is made up of karst limestone that sits above bedrock and has many springs, sinkholes, and underwater caves. There are also numerous lakes and reservoirs across the state, many of which drain into rivers and surrounding waters.
Let’s take a look at the best lakes in Florida:
1. Lake Kissimmee
Lake Kissimmee sits within Kissimmee Lake State Park, known for its amazing wildlife. White-tailed deer, bald eagles, ospreys, lynx and alligators are just a few of the animals that live in the park and around the 141-square-kilometer lake.
Lake Kissimmee is known for its extraordinary bird watching as well as some of the best fishing in Florida. A boat ramp sits on the lake for fishing and recreational boating, and there are many campgrounds around.
Visitors have access to equestrian trails, hiking trails, picnic tables and playgrounds, and restroom facilities. Lake Kissimmee is also a popular wedding venue, although its wildlife is its main attraction.
2. Lake Tohopkaliga
Also known as Lake Toho, Lake Tohopekaliga is known for its bird watching and fishing, and is home to waterfowl and trophy bass. There is also a wide variety of alligators, turtles and other local wildlife.
The western end of the lake has playgrounds and picnic tables, as well as a dock for launching and storing boats. There is also a hiking trail for those who want to explore the natural beauty surrounding the area.
Lake Tohopekaliga is the largest lake in Osceola County, with an area of approximately 92 square kilometers. It is also one of the largest lakes in Florida.
3. Harris Lake
This 55-square-kilometer lake is one of the Harris Lake Chains in the Upper Okawaha River Basin. It is the largest lake in the region, but is known for its irregular shape.
Leesburg International Airport is located on the northeastern shore of Harris Lake, and sand dunes and cypress trees surround the rest of the lake, creating a stunning backdrop.
Harris Lake is a popular spot for boating and fishing, but many people also enjoy water skiing. There are also campgrounds and recreational areas around the lake.
4. Lake Eola
Lake Eola is located in Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando. The Disney Amphitheater, Chinese pagoda and playground sit on 1,369 miles of lake shoreline.
This is a small lake famous for its fountains, which illuminate at night and create a truly spectacular sight. During the day and night, when the fountain is lit, tourists often paddle on the lake.
Lake Eola was established in 1888 by Orlando resident Jacob Summerlin. Since then, the park has expanded around it, including paved courtyards, wide walkways, a welcome center, and a gift shop.
5. Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee, known to many as “The Big O,” is Florida’s largest freshwater lake, spanning over 700 square miles. The lake spans five counties with beautiful scenery.
The name Okeechobee is a Hitchiti word meaning water and big, and its origins date back to the 16th century. Today, this huge lake is a famous fishing spot, especially for largemouth bass and crappie.
Lake Okeechobee is located along the Florida National Scenic Trail and is ideal for hiking and biking. It’s a popular vacation spot with cabins for rent and campsites for tents or RVs.
6. Tarquin Lake
Surrounded by canyons and rolling hills, Tarquin Lake is a beautiful lake that is home to squirrels, wild turkeys, alligators, bald eagles and white-tailed deer. It is also a popular fishing lake, with largemouth bass, crappie and barracuda just a few of the fish that are easy to catch in the lake.
Lake Tarquin is home to the Florida State University Crew Club, and Lake Tarquin State Forest and Rock Cliffs Recreation Area is also near its shoreline. This is a great lake for boating, sailing and canoeing as the scenery is spectacular.
Lake Tarquin is located in northern Florida, about 15 kilometers west of Tallahassee. It was created in 1927 with the construction of the Jackson Bluff Dam, but today much of the lake is used for recreation.
7. Istok Poga Lake
Lake Istoke Poga is a freshwater lake located in Highlands County, Florida. The lake is famous for fishing and boating as there are many fish camps around it.
This rectangular lake is the fifth largest in the state, albeit shallow. Still, that hasn’t stopped boaters from enjoying the lake, although bass and pontoon boats are the best types of boats to use to circumnavigate it.
There are five boat ramps, two parks, and several campgrounds around the lake, making it a great place to spend the night. There are also some houses by the lake that are rented out for those who want more comfort.
8. Crescent Lake
Located in north central Florida, Crescent Lake is an undeveloped freshwater lake of great beauty. It’s a long, narrow lake surrounded by palm and cypress swamps.
Crescent Lake is known for its black crappie, making it an excellent fishing spot. Catfish, striped bass and black bass also live in the water, while eagles, egrets, ospreys and herons are common birds around the lake.
A fishing camp with boat ramps and accommodation surrounds the 65 square kilometer lake, making it a great getaway. On the east side of the lake is the Alligator, a steamboat that sank in 1909.
9. Eustis Lake
Eustis Lake is a spring water lake located west of the city of Eustis in central Florida. This is a beautiful lake surrounded by several communities including Los Vegas, Haines Creek and Tavares.
The lake is famous for its Lake Eustis puppies, which have been listed as a species of special concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. There are also many bass in the lake, which is a good place for fishing.
Sailing is a popular activity on Lake Eustis. It is home to the Sailing Club, which often hosts annual regattas and offers sailing lessons and camping facilities.
10. Seminole Lake
This freshwater lake is the second largest lake in Pinellas County, Florida, with an area of less than three square kilometers. The lake used to be an estuary, but became a lake when the upper Long Estuary closed in the 1940s.
Water skiing, jet skiing, fishing and boating are popular activities on Lake Seminole. There is also a county park by the lake, which is accessible year-round.
Families and nature lovers frequent the lake for its hiking trails, volleyball and softball fields, as well as picnic shelters, playgrounds and toilet facilities. There is also a boat ramp in the county park.
11. Lake Nunnance
Lake Nunnance is protected for its wildlife, including foxes, otters, white-tailed deer and a variety of snakes. It is also home to a variety of birds, making it a favorite among bird watchers.
The historic The Lake Pithlachocco Canoe Site is located on the northeastern shore of the lake and offers hiking, biking, picnicking and horseback riding in the surrounding area of the lake. Fishing on Lake Nunnance is also a popular activity.
The two-kilometer-wide lake lies east of Gainesville in north-central Florida. It is easily accessible by road and has multiple parking lots, and the southern area of the lake has a boat ramp.
12. Blue Cypress Lake
Lamb Lake is less than 9 square kilometers in size and is the largest lake in Florida’s Treasure Coast region. The lake is the start of the St. John’s River and is home to the famous Middleton Fish Camp.
Middleton’s Fish Camp is Blue Cypress Lake’s only fish camp, and in addition to boat rentals and ramps, it features cabins, campgrounds, and picnic areas. It also has a bait shop, snack bar and public toilet facilities.
Blue Cypress Lake, formerly Lake Wilmington, is located 18 kilometers west of Fairsmere and is easily accessible by road. Palm Cove is close by as well.
13. June Lake in winter
Located on the west side of Lake Placid, Winter June Lake is a kidney-shaped lake that borders June Lake in Winter Scrub State Park. The park occupies the entire west side of the lake, with trails and sheltered picnic areas.
The park has a sports field, softball diamonds, and a public beach, as well as a boat ramp for visitors to use their own boats or canoes. There is another park across the lake (HL Bishop Park) with picnic tables, boat ramps and a fishing pier.
Two canals connect June Lake in winter with the rest of the region, including August Lake. Lake Henry and Lake Latchard are close by as well.
14. Park Lake
For recreational use, this is one of Lakeland’s most popular lakes. Fishing and boating are the most popular activities on Lake Parker, which is home to bluegill, largemouth bass and crappie.
Parker Lake is Lakeland’s largest lake and is located northeast of the city. Surrounded by parks and green spaces, it is also the starting point of the Lake-To-Lake Trail, which ends at Lake John.
In addition to the city ramp on the west coast of the 8.8 square kilometer lake, there are three boat ramps on the lake shore. This is an important ecoregion as it flows to the Peace River and Saddle Creek.
15. Lake Imonia
Dating back to the Early Pleistocene, Lake Imonia is a fascinating body of water that was formed through the retreat of various glaciers. Numerous fossils have been found in and around the lake, including ancient horses, dogs and camels.
The lake is located in the Red Mountain region of North Florida, near neighboring Georgia. The Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy are located on the north side of the lake, while the south side is home to many developments.
Lake Imonia is home to numerous wildlife including beavers, coyotes, red foxes, nine-banded armadillos, snapping turtles and alligators. There are also many fish in the lake, which is a popular place for fishing.
Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Florida (FL)
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