Top Lakes in Upstate New York

Lake George | Credit: Gerald Berliner

Upstate New York has stunning lakes offering residents and visitors destinations for warm weather fun, including fishing, boating, and even beach relaxation. If you want to cool off this summer at a picturesque Upstate New York lake, we’ve got you covered. Below, we break down the top lakes to visit across the region.

Chautauqua Lake | Credit: Liz Caldwell

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake is a stunning mountain lake in the Adirondacks. It stretches for more than 124 acres in the village of Lake Placid, which is best known as the site of the Winter Olympics during both the 1932 and 1980 games. Visitors take to Mirror Lake’s tranquil waters for boating, swimming, and water sports throughout the summer. 

Seneca Lake

The famed Finger Lakes are slender, scenic lakes that stretch across a significant portion of Upstate New York. Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes, hosts the annual National Lake Trout Derby. The lake also has many wineries and vineyards along its shores and among the surrounding hills.

Seneca Lake | Credit: Carter Cortelyou

Lake George

Lake George has long been a very popular getaway spot among New Yorkers. Located in the Adirondacks, green mountains frame this large, picturesque lake, which is considered one of the cleanest and clearest large lakes in the world. Lake George’s sandy beaches, boat launches, and nearby campsites make it a hub for summer excitement.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers will certainly have Chautauqua Lake circled on their to-do list, as it is home to a huge population of walleye, bass, muskellunge, and many other freshwater fish. While this vast 13,000-acre lake is also a hotspot for boating and swimming, it is comparatively less crowded than many other major Upstate lakes.

Chautauqua Lake | Credit: Walter Martin

Cayuga Lake

Stretching for nearly 40 miles, Cayuga Lake is the longest of the Finger Lakes. The lake’s frigid, glacial waters are perfect for cooling off on a warm day. Additionally, many picturesque natural areas stem from the lake, including gorges and waterfalls. Like many of the Finger Lakes, you can find wineries and campgrounds in the vicinity of Seneca Lake. 

Cayuga Lake | Credit: Brian Tafel

Oneida Lake

Oneida Lake, covering approximately 80 square miles, is the largest body of water entirely based in New York state. It has areas for swimming, boating, and water sports, but it is best known as a premier fishing destination for walleye and perch. Massive fish, such as sturgeon, also reside within the lake. 

Great Sacandaga Lake

Great Sacandaga Lake, in Adirondack Park, is steeped in natural beauty. Because of its relatively shallow water, it is ideal for swimmers of all experience levels. Its abundance of fish life makes the lake an angling destination, and the surrounding woods have plenty of campsites.

Great Sacandaga Lake | Credit: Joshua Rodriguez
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