Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.
New York is a favorite vacation spot for people all over the world. From the bustling downtown core of Manhattan to the stunning beachside homes in the Hamptons, New York has some of the best sights to see in the country.
Follow along to find the best lakes in New York State for even more stunning vacation spots to enjoy the great outdoors.
Located inside the infamous Catskills mountains of New York, North-South Lake is the biggest and most popular camping ground in the state.
With over 200 campsites, guests will enjoy plenty of outdoor space to spread out and enjoy plenty of activities. Hiking, kayaking, and rowboating are all popular pastimes here.
Black Lake is well-known as one of the best fishing spots in the state. Anglers come from all over the country to catch perch, bass, crappie, and bluegill here.
Besides the thriving fishing scene, plenty of outdoor activities are available here. Guests can even take a ferry to the 100-year-old Dark Island and learn about the Gothic Castle located on this small inlet.
The Adirondacks are a vast, deep swath of mountains and forest in upstate New York. The area boasts plenty of fantastic lakes to enjoy. However, Lake George is one of the most scenic lakeside communities in the area.
With only 44 square miles of lake and 13 quaint cabins, the lake is a popular spot all summer long among locals. Be sure to bring a paddle board or a small rowboat to enjoy the majesty of the lake.
Located high up in the famous Adirondack Mountain range, Mirror Lake is known as Lake Placid’s town square. Travelers often enjoy the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa near the lake to rest and relax with a massage and cucumber water.
Lake Placid, the town nearby, has hosted the Olympics twice. Step into its well-preserved Olympic Village to try out some world-class sporting events.Tupper Lake (Adirondacks)
Lake Champlain is probably the most famous lake on this list. Home to the oldest fossil reef and allegedly the Loch Ness monster’s distant cousin, this lake has something for the whole family to see.
Located in between two spectacular mountain ranges, travelers will often stop here when driving from Vermont to upstate New York. The vast mountain ranges around the lake offer a lake that feels like a private hideaway.
Visiting the stunning shores of Lake Placid during the autumn foliage is one of the best ways to experience upstate New York.
Aside from the natural beauty and hiking, water activities are extremely popular here; jet skiing, kayaking, and fishing are all popular pastimes. Consider stopping in town to learn all about the 1932 and 1980 Olympics that took place here.
Lake Erie is the fourth biggest of the Great Lakes and borders four different U.S. states as well as Canada.
The lake is shallow, making it a popular commercial and leisure fishing spot. This spot is also very popular in the winter. Since the lake is so shallow, it often freezes over and creates the perfect surface for ice hockey cross-country skiing on top of the lake.
The smallest of all the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario sits between New York and Canada. The lake is a popular spot for seeing different varieties of wildlife.
When visiting the lake, you can also stop by one of the many waterfalls in the area. The lake is the perfect vacation spot for families because of the exceptional weather, shores, and sports activities.
The Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are a group of smaller lakes in upstate New York. The charming towns throughout the area offer plenty of boutique shopping, museums, and historic homes to view.
For activities, people often enjoy water skiing, boating, and swimming in any of these stunning lakes. If you’re traveling to this area for the weekend, be sure to book one of the quaint cottages in the area.
Sitting on the southeastern edge of Saratoga Springs is the stunning Saratoga Lake. Although the lake is popular with locals, much of the shoreline is privately owned.
If you want to enjoy the lake in style, you must rent one of the private houses that backs onto the lake. In the city, you can expect to enjoy plenty of great pubs and restaurants as well as tons of fun winter activities in the colder months.
Cayuga Lake is one of the most popular bodies of water that makes up the Finger Lakes. Fishermen from all over the country come here to fish for smelt, trout, and smallmouth bass.
The lake is closest to the city of Ithica, which has world-renowned restaurants and shopping if you’re spending the weekend at the lake and want to find some city activities to partake in.
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