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Monday, December 11, 2023

11 Best Lakes in Indiana

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A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.

Best Lakes in Indiana:- Part of the Great Lakes region, Indiana is home to breath-taking natural landscapes. From rolling hills to sand dunes, the state has it all. It’s also home to thousands of acres of lakes that draw nature lovers and adventure junkies alike.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded glacial lake or a lake with a bustling amusement park, you’ll find the one that caters to your requirements.

There’s even a five-day event called the “Festival of the Lakes” held in the city of Hammond annually. 

Wondering where to begin?

Take your pick from our list of the best lakes in Indiana: – 

Barbee Lakes #1

Barbee Lakes constitutes a chain of seven lakes that were created due to the melting of glaciers during the Pleistocene era.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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The seven connected lakes are Little Barbee Lake, Big Barbee Lake, Banning Lake, Irish Lake, Kuhn Lake, Sawmill Lake, and Sechrist Lake.

Located in Kosciusko County, the lakes offer a plethora of recreational activities to enjoy including swimming, sunbathing, boating, and more. Owing to the abundance of fish such as yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and muskellunge, fishing is also a popular activity.

Looking for some more adrenaline rush?

You can go speedboating since there is no speed limit on boats here. 

Monroe Lake #2

Looking for a tranquil escape in nature?

Head to Monroe Lake.

It’s the largest artificial reservoir in the state. On its southern end lies Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, which is federally protected. There are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy on and around the lake.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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You can swim at the beach, relish delicacies at one of the numerous restaurants, stay at the resort, or enjoy boating, there’s something here for everyone.

Even though the lake once lacked any fish, it is now home to a large population of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie, drawing many anglers here.

It also has federally endangered clubshell mussels and Indiana bats. 

What’s more?

You can also make use of hiking and birding opportunities in the nearby Hoosier National Forest. Hunting is also allowed in the non-developed areas around. 

Lake Lemon #3

Located a short drive from Bloomington, Lake Lemon features a 1,650-acre shoreline and exudes a tranquil vibe. A certain part of it is private while the other is owned by Riddle Point Park which is available for public access.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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From enjoying water sports such as boating, swimming, and kayaking to picnicking in the shelter house, and strolling on the large lawn area, there is no dearth of fun activities to enjoy here.

Visiting during summer?

You may be able to spot colourful wildflowers in the prairies of the lakeside. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as beavers, turtles, herons, muskrats, and more.

The shoreline also features the private Bloomington Yacht Club and the Indiana University Aquatic Center. 

Patoka Lake #4

Located in the state’s south-central region, this lake is the second-largest reservoir in Indiana. Created by the damming of the Patoka River, the lake serves as a popular recreation spot.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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You can enjoy water-skiing, fishing, camping, boating, hiking, horse riding, wildlife spotting, and much more. If you’re visiting during winter, you can go skiing, ice-fishing and snowboarding too.

There’s also a vast swimming beach, a disc golf course, an archery range, bike trails, and hunting areas on the shores.

The area abounds with wildlife such as squirrel, turkey, deer, and dove, and the lake has a large population of crappie as well as other fish such as largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, and bluegill.  

Lake Wawasee #5

With azure waters and its surrounding rolling hills, Lake Wawasee looks straight out of a postcard.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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Also known as the “Jewel of Kosciusko County,” Lake Wawasee is Indiana’s largest nature lake. The lake dates back to the Pleistocene epoch. 

Sprawled across an area of 3,000 acres, it provides plenty of opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating.

Since it’s a popular vacation spot, you’ll find plenty of amenities here including restaurants, marinas, and beaches.

Other popular attractions include Lakeside Park and Henry Ward Park. You may also spot eagles, hawks, and herons here.

Lake Maxinkuckee #6

With lush trees and colourful horses on its shoreline and clear waters, Lake Maxinkuckee is one of the most picturesque lakes in Indiana.

Located in Marshall County, it’s sprawled across 1,864 acres and is the second-largest natural lake in the state. The serene lake offers plenty of recreational activities.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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You can unwind on its shores, go for a swim, enjoy nature photography, and go sailing or fishing, there is a wide range of activities to indulge in.

Numerous bass fishing tournaments are also held here. 

Lake Shafer #7

Whether you’re looking for slow-paced activities such as canoeing or thrilling amusement park rides, this lake won’t disappoint.

Built-in the 1920s due to the damming of the Tippecanoe River, Shafer Lake is a popular recreational getaway that draws locals and tourists alike.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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Sprawled across 1,300 acres, the lake is perfect for enjoying a variety of activities such as swimming, canoeing, camping, boating, and more.

You can also explore the Indiana Beach Amusement Park and Camp Resort.

There’s a variety of food and stay options, ranging from rental cottages, and hotels to camps around the lake. If you’re looking for a lively vibe, visit during peak season from April through October. 

Lake James #8

Situated outside Angola, Lake James is popular for fishing and boating. You can also enjoy swimming, camping, hiking, water skiing, and many other recreational activities.

Its shoreline is home to Pokagon State Park which features a wooded campground, an inn, hiking and biking trails, a nature center, and several swimming beaches.

Visiting during winter?

You can go ice-skiing, ice-fishing, and cross-country skiing here. There’s also a toboggan slide for kids and a sandbar. Keep your eyes peeled for mute swans, sandhill cranes, Canada geese, and deer. 

J. Edward Roush Lake #9

Located in the north-central part of the state, J. Edward Roush Lake is perfect for a relaxing getaway. It’s surrounded by woodlands that make it a haven for nature lovers.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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From boating on the lake, and hiking on the various trails, to clicking some great photographs, there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy.

Owing to the abundance of smallmouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, and bluegill, fishing is another popular activity here.

You may also spot wildlife here such as rabbits, gulls, eagles, loons, and whitetail deer.

Want to spend the night?

There’s a primitive campsite where you can relax by the campfire and gaze at the night sky. 

Tippecanoe Lake #10

Located only three miles from North Webster, Tippecanoe Lake is a vast glacial lake. At 123 feet deep, it’s also the deepest natural lake in Indiana.

Best Lakes in Indiana
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There’s a range of recreational activities to enjoy on this 880-acre lake such as deep-water fishing, diving, water-skiing, and hiking on the trails along the shoreline of the lake.

There are numerous public boat ramps here too which draw many boaters.

What’s more?

You’ll find many amenities here such as restaurants, bars, and boat rentals. There’s also a resort, country club, and mineral water springs close to the lake. 

 Salamonie Lake #11

The vast lake is located in north-eastern Indiana and stretches to the counties of Wabash and Huntington.

Created by the Salamonie Dam, the lake is connected to the Salamonie River State Forest and draws many nature lovers.

Best Lakes in Indiana
Image source:- Facebook

You can fish for crappie, catfish, and many other species, go birding, swim, canoe, or explore the interpretive center, there’s something here for everyone.

What’s more?

There are many campsites, volleyball courts, and playgrounds around. You may also spot wildlife here.

Visiting during winter?

Cross-country skiing is also available. 

So, start with the one that ticks off every box on your checklist, and get ready for an epic lakeside vacation in Indiana. 

Follow us for more such insights!


Q. What’s the cleanest lake in Indiana?

Lake James and Patoka Lake are among the cleanest lakes in Indiana. 

Q. What is the best lake community in Indiana?

Michigan City is considered the best lake town in Indiana. 

Q. What is the biggest lake in Indiana?

Sprawled across 10,750 acres, Monroe Lake is the biggest lake in Indiana. 

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