The 5 Best Lakes for Kayaking in the USA

Although kayaking is generally thought of as a river sport, and you are hitting the rougher water and some rapids along the way.

They can also be used when you are looking for a vacation or that R&R that is a little more serene and relaxed than gushing water flowing to the side and over the top of you. Kayaking is a great way to exercise without going overboard. They can also be ideal for a spot of fishing.

They have no outboard motor so that you will not scare any fish away; you can stealthily paddle into position and drop your line anywhere you want. Where are the ideal places for this that give something different?

Lakes, it might not be your first choice, but you bet you can have a great time and one that is as relaxing as they come.

Here are five of the best lakes you can visit in the USA for that all-important kayaking camping and fishing trip.

Waldo Lake OregonWaldo Lake – Oregon

Waldo Lake is one of the largest both in size and depth in the state of Oregon. It is also entirely natural, so you have more than enough nature to keep your breath and the chance for some fantastic pictures.

Waldo Lake is nearly ten square miles of water that is crystal clear, and what makes it rare is the fact that there is no permanent inlet into the lake that introduces new nutrients.

None of these and no underwater plants are growing. If you want to look down, you can see through the clear water to around 120 ft in depth.

If you want to make a vacation around Lake Waldo, you will find plenty to do and finding a spot will never be a problem. There are a little over 205 designated campsites close by with an extra 50 primitive tent sites around the lake.

The most regularly visited in the summer months are:

  • North Waldo
  • Shadow Bay
  • Gold Lake
  • Taylor Burn
  • Islet

As powered boats are restricted to electric motors to preserve the clarity of the water, you can see why your Kayak is the best option here. You can do a spot of regular fishing or take one of the many treks that lead up into the hills.

Coldwater Lake WashingtonColdwater Lake – Washington

Once in a lifetime experiences do not come around very often. However, kayaking in Coldwater Lake is one of them. The lake was created from a volcano blast.

It was not a hole that was ripped into the ground, it was the debris that was spewed out of Mount St Helen, and a natural dam was created. Now the waters are calm with no sign of the massive eruption that caused it.

If you take a spell in the quiet waters, you can take some time out and spend a little time in the Coldwater Ridge visitor center which gives you those once in a lifetime photo opportunities from the panoramic views of the valley below you.

Fishing on the lake is restricted as it is no longer stocked and the current levels are maintained.

If you make your way to the south of the lake in your kayak, you can make use of the Coldwater Lake Recreation Area. This, unfortunately, is only usable in the daytime. There is a trail you can take which shows all the history of how the lake was formed.

Although this is more of a day trip, it is well worth it for the views and the quietness that surrounds you.

Yellowstone LakeYellowstone Lake

This is the largest lake in the Yellowstone National Park and covers a whopping 136 square miles, and most of that having a shoreline.

Due to the weather, much of the ice is frozen over. Boating is allowed with a permit, and with fishing as the most popular pastime.

You can make an overnight stop and make use of the several dozen backcountry campsites that line the southern shores which will be quiet as they can only be accessed by boat. If you spend a day or two, there are a few trails that hug the shoreline where you can take in some of the natural beauty.

Beaver Lake ArkansasBeaver Lake – Arkansas

This unlike the other lakes so far is man-made and is in the Ozark Mountains. It was created by a dam and has a massive 487 miles of shoreline for you to explore. That is some mammoth paddling and is best suited for touring kayaks.

There is plenty for you to see as you explore, from the limestone bluffs that tower over you to some natural caves and lots of flora and fauna for you to take in. This is more of a touristy lake and has had many recreational facilities constructed around the edges of the lake.

There are plenty of access roads that make their way through modern campsites, so you have the chance to arrive by car and make it a stop for a few days.

These campgrounds have most mod cons such as running water, showers and fire rings. With a total of 677 campsites situated in 12 recreational areas, there is plenty to do apart from kayaking on one of the best lakes in America.

Jackson Lake WyomingJackson Lake – Wyoming

This is a natural lake yet it was enlarged when the Jackson Lake Dam was constructed which has itself been improved over the years.

This is one of the few lakes on the list that is fed by a river, and this being the Snake River which enters the north of the lake.

What makes this one special, is it is one of the highest lakes in the USA and is a little over 2000 meters above sea level.

Water temperature can be a bit on the cold side even during summer, yet this should not detract you from the beauty that surrounds you.

With 15 islands in the lake, you have plenty to break the view up, and they give you a bit more of exploration possibilities.

On the eastern shore you have a few lodges and marinas which are dotted about and on the western shore there are a handful of primitive campgrounds should you wish to stay as well as the more familiar Signal Mountain or Lizard Creek campsites which have the usual amenities.

The 5 Best Lakes for Kayaking in the USA

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