5 Lakes in Vermont You Need to Visit
July 05, 2014
Looking for lakes in Vermont to swim, kayak, boat, or even scuba dive in this summer? Vermont may be New England’s only land-locked state, but you’ll still find plenty of water in the Green Mountains.
Here are five lakes in Vermont worth visiting:
Lake Bomoseen, the largest lake entirely within Vermont’s borders, is located in the towns of Castleton and Hubbardton in Rutland County. The lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and swimming at public beach areas including Crystal Beach and Bomoseen State Park. The nine-mile lake is along the Taconic Mountains, which were home to the region’s slate industry many years ago. Bomoseen State Park is home to several quarry holes and colorful slate rubble piles, and visitors can explore a self-guided Slate History Trail to learn more. You’ll also find shoreline cottages and restaurants in this vibrant lake community.
Lake Willoughby in Westmore sits at the base of Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Lake Willoughby is more than 300 feet deep with beach access at both ends of the lake along Route 5A. Want to take a hike while you’re there? Trails on Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor offer beautiful views of Vermont’s glorious northern mountains.
Silver Lake in Barnard is one of the prettiest lakes in Vermont. Located in Barnard Village, about 10 miles north of Woodstock, Silver Lake offers fishing, swimming, kayaking, and more. A great way to experience the lake is to visit Silver Lake State Park, which was established in 1955 and was once part of several farms. A farm homestead was located near the current park entrance and the remains of a barn foundation are still visible in the park’s campground.
Lake St. Catherine
Lake St. Catherine in the towns of Poultney and Wells is one of those places that feels like home to me. Similar to Lake Bomoseen, Lake St. Catherine’s shoreline is dotted with tiny camps and cottages, and the lake is a popular place for boating and fishing. You can access the lake at Lake St. Catherine State Park, which offers swimming and camping.
Lake Champlain extends 120 miles and borders Vermont, New York and Quebec. Lake Champlain is the nation’s sixth largest lake and is home to Champ, Vermont’s Loch Ness monster. Boating, fishing, kayaking and swimming are all a big part of experiencing Lake Champlain.
But what I find the most interesting about Lake Champlain are the more than 300 shipwrecks dating back to the 1700s that sit at the bottom of the lake. You can take shipwreck tours offered by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Several of the shipwrecks are state historic sites that are also accessible to certified Scuba divers.
Vermont has so many lakes, ponds and reservoirs — and I’m looking forward to getting out to explore this summer.
DavidPosted at 14:27h, 07 July
Hey, you’re giving away my secret places! There is no other spot on earth like Willoughby, and no better place for kids than Silver Lake.
I love Dunsmore, too, the way it’s nestled into the mountains with waterfall nearby. Haven’t been there in a few years, but remember it as lovely.
EricaPosted at 15:00h, 08 July
Hi David – Sorry to spill the beans! Willoughby, Silver Lake are great, and Dunsmore is wonderful, too. I’ve only driven by there but need to explore that lake a little more! Thanks for saying hello. -Erica
Todd LarsonPosted at 15:11h, 07 July
Your “5 Lakes” post really brought back memories for me of visiting Lake Champlain when I was 8 — though on its New York side, in Willsboro, which is about as “Vermont” as a small New York town can be. (Have you ever been there?) We stayed in Green Bay, a brick Cape on historic Flat Rock Camp, the summer retreat of famed paper manufacturer and bank magnate Augustus Paine Jr., then owned by Paine’s descendants, who were neighbors of ours in New York City. We rode around the lake in the boat of his grandson, who eventually let me be the “captain” of the ship and steer it! I remember a luscious corn-on-the-cob dinner up there, too. Lake Champlain is equally beautiful on the Vermont and Willsboro sides. Thanks for posting this, Erica!
EricaPosted at 15:02h, 08 July
Thanks, Todd! I haven’t been to Willsboro – it sounds nice. Happy to help bring back some old memories about Lake Champlain. Hope you’re having a great summer! – Erica
ScottPosted at 16:26h, 07 July
My friend was just up @ Lake Bomoseen and loves it. (Her Son attends Castleton St College) I’ve been thinking about visiting a lake with my Daughter this year, so maybe I’ll check this one our or Silver Lake.
My last Vermont lake experience was at Emerald Lake – probably 10 years ago.
(Has it been that long????)
EricaPosted at 15:04h, 08 July
Hi Scott – Bomoseen and Silver are both really nice. Bomoseen is pretty big compared to Silver, but both are great in their own way. I spent many years at Emerald Lake growing up, and that’s a nice spot as well. It sounds like you are due for a lake trip! Take care. -Erica
SuePosted at 02:56h, 08 July
I have passed by some of these lakes on my drive down from Burlington . I think the drive once you get onto route 30 is just lovely.
They all look beautiful with sun reflecting on them but I particulararily liked Lake St Catherine in the fall.
Silver Lake is a favourite too, It was so nice seeing children enjoying the lake in there canoes when I was in the area a few summers back.
EricaPosted at 15:06h, 08 July
Hi Sue – Lake St. Catherine in the fall is really nice, and Route 30 is a gorgeous road. I remember taking photos at Lake St. Catherine over Columbus Day Weekend about 9 years ago — it’s such a special spot. Silver Lake is gorgeous, too. I absolutely love the Barnard area. Thanks for saying hello! -Erica
Dan DutkoPosted at 05:23h, 23 August
Its so peaceful there, Going camping there is fun with the friends and family..this is how you really are suposed to have fun.. not at a bar or club. Just sitting around the camp fire telling stories playing with sticks lol. It’s tranquil and sometimes we need that..
Dan DutkoPosted at 05:25h, 23 August
Love the Chittenden dam too!!! Best memories in so many ways!
EricaPosted at 20:34h, 24 August
So true, Dan! Love the Chittenden Reservoir – I haven’t spent time there in a while. Thanks for saying hello! -Erica
JeffPosted at 16:57h, 10 July
Those are five great choices and “must see’s” in Vermont. I have to put in a vote too for my local lake too: the Waterbury Reservoir. Surrounded by undeveloped forests with loons, Bald Eagles, great variety of fish, and much other wildlife.
EricaPosted at 21:12h, 10 July
Hi Jeff — You’re right, Waterbury Reservoir is incredible. Definitely worth checking out. Thanks! -Erica
BarbaraPosted at 08:44h, 12 July
I live on Lake Bomoseen year round. It is a beautiful place. We also have a bald eagle nest on the lake. It is wonderful to see them soaring and fishing!
EricaPosted at 22:49h, 12 July
Hi Barbara – Lucky you! What a lovely spot. Thanks for saying hello. -Erica
Dave DahlPosted at 09:40h, 11 July
I have to put in a plug for Lake Memphremagog, which I have visited more times than I can count. It is a little slice of heaven 🙂
Brian DempseyPosted at 13:48h, 11 July
Champlain by far and many people don’t know that it is deeper than Lake Erie at just over 400 feet south of the mouth of Otter creek, I think that is champs home:)
SarahPosted at 15:09h, 11 July
Lake Carmi in Franklin! To the south you see Mt. Manfield, to the east Jay Peak, and to the north the Pinnacle and Sutton Mtn in Canada. Beautiful state park on the east side;public fishing access on the north end.Lots of fun activities across the border in the Eastern Townships.
LouisePosted at 22:04h, 11 July
We are at Willoughby for a few weeks. I have been coming for 70 years and
would not miss a year. Willoughby is the most beautiful Lake in Vermont
with MT Pisgah and Mt Hor. and it is 5+miles long and 1 and 1/2 miles wide.
The water is chrystal clear and it is 300 feet deep between the mountains.
Plan on coming every year till I die. It is very refreshing to swim in and
very nice to boat or kayak on. Come see thiis beautiful Lake. It is very near
the Canadian Border.
Adam PalmiterPosted at 23:11h, 11 July
Great options but you missed one! Lake Whitingham / Harriman Reservoir in Wilmington VT is 13 miles long, all public access, and completely undeveloped, so it is beautiful swimming and boating all year long with no crowds! Fresh spring fed water also means you never get thirsty during a hot day on the lake 😉
EricaPosted at 22:49h, 12 July
Good one, Adam! That is a great spot. Thanks for the recommendation! – Erica
NeillPosted at 11:10h, 12 July
Maidstone Lake in the Northeast Kingdom is a small, Loon, duck, fish, eagle, Ospray, and crawfish inhabited (just to name a few) slice of heaven on earth. There is a small State Park beach there, but the real treat is the rental properties along the shore that give you the opportunity to make this your home for a week, two weeks, a month, or a summer. Outings to the White Mountains, or Santa’s Village for the kids, or just wildlife spottings of deer, moose, bears, foxes, etc. make this sparsely inhabited area of Vermont a real pleasure to visit. Autumn comes early to this mountain lake, but the peace, and colors, make September my favorite time to visit. You should check it out.
EricaPosted at 22:50h, 12 July
Hi Neill — I almost went camping there a few years ago and then had to cancel because of bad weather. I will put it on my list. Thank you! – Erica
Eileen WiltshirePosted at 16:45h, 12 July
Why was Seymour Lake (in Vermont’s beautiful Northeast Kingdom) not included on this list? (I always thought that Seymour was the largest lake, but now it’s listed as the second-largest, with Bomoseen listed as the largest, so I guess I was wrong.) It has a public beach for swimming and a public boat launch. It’s a perfect spot for all kinds of water sports and fishing. The lake is great for ice fishing in the winter. If your are interested in wildlife, the area has plenty of that. The lake also has at least one pair of nesting loons each year. The Seymour Lake Lodge is a great Bread & Breakfast, too. There are also antique shops, craft shops, and restaurants around the lake, too.
EricaPosted at 22:51h, 12 July
Hi Eileen — Seymour Lake is beautiful. Great suggestion. Thank you! -Erica
Philip BobrowPosted at 00:06h, 13 July
Green River Reservoir, Peacham Pond, Chittenden Reservoir, Lake Hortonia and Harveys Lake(Jacques Cousteau learned to swim here) are some of my favs. The ones you listed are the ones most well known.
EricaPosted at 22:14h, 13 July
Great picks, Philip! These are great spots, for sure.
dawnPosted at 10:39h, 13 July
Don’t forget Lake Elmore! It’s gorgeous and the mountain next to it has an awesome little trail with a fire tower up at the top 🙂
EricaPosted at 22:13h, 13 July
Hi Dawn — Lake Elmore is lovely — and that trail with the fire tower is tough to beat! Thanks for the tip! – Erica
LoriPosted at 04:04h, 14 July
Sommerset. My favorite spot!! Beautiful view, beautiful drive!
EricaPosted at 19:58h, 14 July
Hi Lori — The drive is amazing. Wonderful area, too!
HaleyPosted at 08:24h, 10 August
My fiancé and I want to move to Vermont soon. My dream is to live on a lake that is in or near a cool little town and close to a ski resort. Do you know of a place like this? Great site by the way 🙂
EricaPosted at 19:12h, 06 September
Hi Haley — I sent you an email with some info. Thanks! -Erica