Best boating lake in your state.

DVW

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OK, tell us what you think is the best boating lake in your state and what makes it good.
 
OK I will go first. The best boating lake in Minnesota is any lake on the whitefish chain of lakes. The most identifiable lake is Cross Lake in the town of Cross Lake. Many things make it good. Most of the lakes are small enough to be comfortable in a pontoon on a windy day. Because it’s a chain you can plot a long interesting route without entering big water. The lakeshore is mostly fully developed with interesting houses. Finally, it has a a softy sandy bottom. That reduces worry and makes the water Crystal clear. My second choice is Lake Minnetonka. This Twin City metro lake is a lot like the Whitefish Chain but with more wealth on the shoreline and more mud on the lake bottom.
 
In NC, there are so many lakes, many of which I have not been on, so my answer is based only on what I know and/or hear, but if you are looking for room to boat, watersports, beaches, campgrounds, fishing, and not so crowded, then Kerr Lake would be the place, though it does cross over into Virginia. It is by far the biggest lake at 75 sq miles. If you are looking for things to do, as in parties, restaurants and bars, beaches, crowded weekend waters, watersports, and just gloating over massive homes, then it would have to be Lake Norman where BigKahuna lives. At 45 sq miles, it is technically the biggest manmade lake in the state with all water in NC. It is close proximity to Charlotte and surrounding areas. Kerr Lake has very, very few restaurants and bars, and homes are not waterfront (they have setback requirements). All docks are floating. And it's close to a few very small towns at best. But a fabulous place for watersports. We go to Lake Gaston more than anywhere. Just a nice lake with spectacular lakefront homes. Very few marinas, restaurants, and bars, though there are a couple nice ones. It's near nothing, but a great place to boat and enjoy the day. Around 32 sq miles. It, too, crosses into Virginia.
 
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In California: Lake San Antonio (Reservoir) was our spot for about a decade - sandy beaches, never crowded, easy to get to, middle of central Caly wine country, and GREAT CAMPING SPOTS - we could sit by the fire at night, dark skies = amazing stars - PERFECT for family and kids. But, the drought resulted in it getting drained, it has not been usable for about 8 years now. Don Pedro is great runner up, but it get's busy, lake is often choppy, and the camping is not near as nice. Now Lake Havasu in AZ is our old stomping ground and though a bit further, and a tad hotter (averaging 105 + in the summer), the lake and town is really one of the BEST places we have ever been - especially the south end of the lake. At 46 square miles, 19,000 acres, 40 miles long (80 including the North end river) - plenty of lake to share and explore. The only negative - too damn hot in the summer to sit outside and BBQ. The Positive - we stay on the lake until 9pm and rarely get out of the water.
 

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Virginia has a lot of attributes but lake boating is NOT one of them! Smith Mountain is certainly a very nice lake but getting crowded and the only pretty part (IMO) is down by the dam. Probably our best.

Lake Anna... meh.

Kerr... huge but to BigD's point not a lot of amenities and not that pretty.

Our rivers and access to the Bay is probably the best on-water experience.
 
I’ll play along! While Houghton Lake is certainly not the prettiest lake in Michigan, it has several things going for it to make it a great place to boat. Being the largest inland lake in Michigan (~12 sq miles or 20K acres), you can always find a spot that isn’t very crowded. It also has multiple sandbars for hanging out. Because it’s quite shallow, the water temperature makes it nice to swim in and it boasts a sandy bottom in many areas. While not clear, the water quality is very good. It has multiple marinas, restaurants and bars to visit, as well as public restrooms accessible by boat. It also has several canal systems to explore if the lake is choppy. Did I mention that it has great fishing?

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been boating there since the mid sixties, so I am a bit biased.
 
In NC, there are so many lakes, many of which I have not been on, so my answer is based only on what I know and/or hear, but if you are looking for room to boat, watersports, beaches, campgrounds, fishing, and not so crowded, then Kerr Lake would be the place, though it does cross over into Virginia. It is by far the biggest lake at 75 sq miles. If you are looking for things to do, as in parties, restaurants and bars, beaches, crowded weekend waters, watersports, and just gloating over massive homes, then it would have to be Lake Norman where BigKahuna lives. At 45 sq miles, it is technically the biggest manmade Lake in the state all in NC. It is close proximity to Charlotte and surrounding areas. Kerr Lake has very, very few restaurants and bars, and homes are not waterfront (they have setback requirements). All docks are floating. And it's close to a few very small towns at best. But a fabulous place for watersports. We go to Lake Gaston more than anywhere. Just a beautiful lake with spectacular lakefront homes. Very few marinas, restaurants, and bars. And it's near nothing. But great place to boat and enjoy the day. Around 32 sq miles. It, too, crosses into Virginia.
Well said Big D!!!
 
Virginia has a lot of attributes but lake boating is NOT one of them! Smith Mountain is certainly a very nice lake but getting crowded and the only pretty part (IMO) is down by the dam. Probably our best.

Lake Anna... meh.

Kerr... huge but to BigD's point not a lot of amenities and not that pretty.

Our rivers and access to the Bay is probably the best on-water experience.
"Lake Anna.... meh". Haha! Boated there for years! Loved it! We had our favorite hang out/skiing spots......
 
I will use some of the same reasons that Michiman says about Houghton Lake but will Substitute Saginaw Bay (East side of the bay on the thumb side). You can get away from the crowd or you can be in the crowd depending on what your "thing is". The tip of Sand Point is beautiful. Water is crystal clear and endless shallow sand bars makes for a very relaxing time.

And maybe the best part of it since I'm still a weekend warrior (and haven't won the lottery yet) so I still have to work M-F, I don't ever have to get on I-75 and fight traffic. No 4 hour traffic jams driving home on a Sunday afternoon which Michigan is known for. From my home to the cottage in Caseville, its 2 hours on a bad day. :)
 
"Lake Anna.... meh". Haha! Boated there for years! Loved it! We had our favorite hang out/skiing spots......

My buddy's family has had a house back in Contrary Creek since the 80's - maybe being on the end of the lake I wasn't exposed to other better parts. Never been to the hot side. Fishing is pretty tough if you don't know how to work the depths. Not enough boozed up college girls!

If I had the choice between Anna and the other bigger lakes it would be last on the list. VEPCO just impounded a topographically boring part of the Commonwealth. I think about lakes in the Appalachian mts up and down the east coast and there's just much more going on visually as well as better water quality. Maybe I'm just a lake snob!
 
I’ll play along! While Houghton Lake is certainly not the prettiest lake in Michigan, it has several things going for it to make it a great place to boat.
And here I was keeping our lake on the down-low in the other thread…lol. Many of the things you mention are certainly reasons we bought on Houghton Lake in 2016. Lots of fantastic qualities that make it a great boating lake, and great lakeside cottage lake (with shallow sandy bottom for enjoyment).

And although not the subject of this thread or forum, it is a fantastic northern winter lake for ice and snow activities: ice fishing, lake snowmobiling, lake access to snowmobile trails, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, etc… I love it as much in the winter as I do in the summer.
 
I will use some of the same reasons that Michiman says about Houghton Lake but will Substitute Saginaw Bay (East side of the bay on the thumb side). You can get away from the crowd or you can be in the crowd depending on what your "thing is". The tip of Sand Point is beautiful. Water is crystal clear and endless shallow sand bars makes for a very relaxing time.

And maybe the best part of it since I'm still a weekend warrior (and haven't won the lottery yet) so I still have to work M-F, I don't ever have to get on I-75 and fight traffic. No 4 hour traffic jams driving home on a Sunday afternoon which Michigan is known for. From my home to the cottage in Caseville, its 2 hours on a bad day. :)
I have several friends who share your enthusiasm! If I ever have the opportunity, I’d like to check it out for myself.
 
I have several friends who share your enthusiasm! If I ever have the opportunity, I’d like to check it out for myself.
If you're ever in our area, we have our own private launch and have plenty of dock space at our seawall for you. And that invitation goes to any of my club Bennington family.
We always put up a VB net to play on the sandbar every weekend. The water and sand is clean as you can see.
 

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If you're ever in our area, we have our own private launch and have plenty of dock space at our seawall for you. And that invitation goes to any of my club Bennington family.
We always put up a VB net to play on the sandbar every weekend. The water and sand is clean as you can see.
Gorgeous! Looks like a lot of fun!! Unfortunately, without a trailer I’m pretty much home-bound but thanks for the offer. Enjoy…
 
OK, tell us what you think is the best boating lake in your state and what makes it good.
South Carolina has several wonderful boating lakes, Lake Hartwell is my favorite, with over 900 miles of shoreline and 67,000 plus acres and a climate where the water never freezes. The lake is dotted with many sandy beach islands. We were out yesterday (January 13th) on our 25' Benny went to an island about 8 miles from our floating dock, roasted some dogs over a beach fire and enjoyed some spirits. We are fortunate to be on a lake you can boat year round with water access to 6 restaurants and 5 marinas. After watching a magnificent sunset we motored to a restaurant called Tiki Tilley's for dinner. For you football fans, in the fall we take boat-a-cades to the shores of Clemson University and tailgate on the boat before short walk to the famous Death Valley. For the Georgia fans out there, this lake serves a a boundary between Georgia and SC, always brings out good natured bantering at the beaches and local on lake watering holes. The sun is out today and as I type this the First Mate is preparing a cooler for todays adventure.
A second best SC lake is Lake Jocasse, a mountain lake that has 7 waterfalls, 2 of them you can actually get your boat under, extremely clear water and very limited boat access with only one boat ramp and very few private property homes. Boat traffic is always minimal. This lake borders with North Carolina and navigating steep mountain canyons on a lake is a joy. It is the perfect get-away in the heat of the summer as the water temp stays around 75 degrees. The lake has depths around 300 feet and many diving opportunities because of the lakes clarity and depth.
 
South Carolina has several wonderful boating lakes, Lake Hartwell is my favorite, with over 900 miles of shoreline and 67,000 plus acres and a climate where the water never freezes. The lake is dotted with many sandy beach islands. We were out yesterday (January 13th) on our 25' Benny went to an island about 8 miles from our floating dock, roasted some dogs over a beach fire and enjoyed some spirits. We are fortunate to be on a lake you can boat year round with water access to 6 restaurants and 5 marinas. After watching a magnificent sunset we motored to a restaurant called Tiki Tilley's for dinner. For you football fans, in the fall we take boat-a-cades to the shores of Clemson University and tailgate on the boat before short walk to the famous Death Valley. For the Georgia fans out there, this lake serves a a boundary between Georgia and SC, always brings out good natured bantering at the beaches and local on lake watering holes. The sun is out today and as I type this the First Mate is preparing a cooler for todays adventure.
A second best SC lake is Lake Jocasse, a mountain lake that has 7 waterfalls, 2 of them you can actually get your boat under, extremely clear water and very limited boat access with only one boat ramp and very few private property homes. Boat traffic is always minimal. This lake borders with North Carolina and navigating steep mountain canyons on a lake is a joy. It is the perfect get-away in the heat of the summer as the water temp stays around 75 degrees. The lake has depths around 300 feet and many diving opportunities because of the lakes clarity and depth.
Stopped in to your beautiful lake a couple times on the way to my son's old house outside of Atlanta. Ate at The Grill at Clemson marina once and at The Galley in Anderson. Very nice!
 
Lake Hartwell is a beautiful lake. We bought our boat at in Elberton, GA, and passed by Lake Hartwell on the trip. I would love to take the boat down there some day and go out on the lake. It looks great.
 
South Carolina has several wonderful boating lakes, Lake Hartwell is my favorite, with over 900 miles of shoreline and 67,000 plus acres and a climate where the water never freezes. The lake is dotted with many sandy beach islands. We were out yesterday (January 13th) on our 25' Benny went to an island about 8 miles from our floating dock, roasted some dogs over a beach fire and enjoyed some spirits. We are fortunate to be on a lake you can boat year round with water access to 6 restaurants and 5 marinas. After watching a magnificent sunset we motored to a restaurant called Tiki Tilley's for dinner. For you football fans, in the fall we take boat-a-cades to the shores of Clemson University and tailgate on the boat before short walk to the famous Death Valley. For the Georgia fans out there, this lake serves a a boundary between Georgia and SC, always brings out good natured bantering at the beaches and local on lake watering holes. The sun is out today and as I type this the First Mate is preparing a cooler for todays adventure.
A second best SC lake is Lake Jocasse, a mountain lake that has 7 waterfalls, 2 of them you can actually get your boat under, extremely clear water and very limited boat access with only one boat ramp and very few private property homes. Boat traffic is always minimal. This lake borders with North Carolina and navigating steep mountain canyons on a lake is a joy. It is the perfect get-away in the heat of the summer as the water temp stays around 75 degrees. The lake has depths around 300 feet and many diving opportunities because of the lakes clarity and depth.
Maybe we should close down this thread. Ignorance is bliss after all.

So, what’s the catch with Hartwell? I looked on Zillow and lakefront homes are downright cheap. Too hot? Too crowded?
 
This thread is helping me make a list of lakes that I would like to visit. I am very interested in the Michigan lakes because i already go there to snowmobile in the winter.
 
This thread is helping me make a list of lakes that I would like to visit. I am very interested in the Michigan lakes because i already go there to snowmobile in the winter.
Caught my attention now…lol. OOC, where do you go snowmobiling?
 
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