The end of September always brings the start of fall and the dreaded end to summer. We all experience that seasonal depression and much put off end-of-summer anxiety of Labor Day weekend, but instead of crying the blues, seize the day and leave an everlasting impression on summer 2018 by making one last trip to one of the best lakes of the Southeastern United States. From the iridescent waters of Indian Lakes, North Carolina to Florida’s Venetian vibes, we’ve got you covered on a list of places to travel to in the next few weeks: including things to do and fish to catch—cause you’ve got enough to stress over—like sweater weather shopping and back to school shenanigans.
Here are our top choices for the best lakes in the south—be sure to let us know if we missed any of your favorites...
Lewis Smith Lake - Alabama
Along the Black Warrior River, in north Alabama, you can find one of state’s clearest lakes – Lewis Smith Lake. A popular holiday destination, the three-fingered lake has a shoreline of over 800 kilometers, a maximum depth of 264 feet at the dam, and at full pool has a level of 510 feet.
One of the largest earthen dams in the eastern United States, it’s perfect for swimming, boating, fishing and any other water sport your adventurous heart can imagine. Home to numerous coves, that add to its majestic beauty, the lake also features the 21-meter-high Indian head cliff jump, for the serious daredevils. Please, take caution when plunging into the water below, or perhaps stop by one of the marinas’ restaurants instead; after all it’s the only place you can find a drink in all three surrounding counties.
Lake Sylvia, Fort Lauderdale - Florida
A hidden gem unknown to most except the locals, Lake Sylvia is a great place for safe, secure and free anchorage – specially to anchor and party. Though it’s surrounded by waterfront homes and there aren’t any boat ramps or dinghy stations, it’s the perfect lake for sitting back and relaxing. Plus, in the case of inclement weather, it’s one of the more protected areas from some of Florida’s more harsh elements. Another plus, the lake is located in the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale, where the weather is year-round boating friendly – offering all the easy-going, breezy-relaxation of summer days anytime of the year.
Lake Allatoona - Georgia
The place to go for an outdoor getaway in Atlanta is Lake Allatoona, just 30 miles outside the city. With 270 miles of shoreline and 12,000 acres to explore, this massive lake is great for boating and fishing. Whether you want to rent a houseboat or cabin, go fishing, swimming, hiking, Lake Allatoona has it all; even if you’re simply looking to rest. You can also find over 25 parks, 8 marinas, 10 campgrounds and several places to fish around the shores of the lake—making a great place for a long weekend of extended stay!
Dale Hallow Lake - Kentucky
This more wilderness-flocked area is a great getaway in Kentucky's southern shorelines. Dale Hollow Lake is formed by the damming of the Obey River, and is one of four major flood control reservoirs for the Cumberland. A prime location for smallmouth bass fishing, holding the world record for the largest such fish, it’s also home to the largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, gar, and trout. The lake is popular for water sports, especially water skiing. Some other recreational activities include wakeboarding and tubing. What we love most about this lake, is its islands! Geiger Island is designated as a primitive camping site by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Boy Scout troops. The archipelago-esque lake is simply mesmerizing.
Clopper Lake - Maryland
Located within Seneca Creek State Park, Clopper Lake is a 90-acre impoundment that is surrounded by beautiful trees and aquatic vegetation. The lake averages 18 feet in depth, with several shallow enclaves.
Though there are fishing restrictions on the black bass, catch-and-return, fishing remains one of the biggest attractions of the lake. Tiger muskie fingerlings, a hybrid cross of northern pike and muskellunge, an over-abundance of largemouth bass, channel catfish and black crappie can all be found in the lake.
Not into fishing? No worries, Clopper Lake is also a great place for kayaking and boating. The surrounding park boasts 80 kilometers of trails that are ideal for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and cross-country skiing—but after all this is boats.com so you are probably more into the water activities.
Grenada Lake - Mississippi
A wonderful setting for exploration, Grenada Lake is a reservoir on the Yalobusha River. One of four flood control lakes, it was constructed to help control flooding along the Yazoo River Basin. Even though its main purpose is flood control, the lake has about 148 miles of shoreline and holds 35,820 acres of water, making it a popular spot for water-enthusiasts. Since its impoundment, the Lake has an increasing number of visitors and hosts several fishing tournaments year after year.
Lake Santeetlah - North Carolina
One of the most unspoiled lakes you’ll fine in the mountains of North Carolina, is Lake Santeetlah. Often dubbed one of the most beautiful lakes in the US, its located about 100 miles west of Asheville along the Indian Lakes Scenic Byway. Its location away from the city, gains its remarkably quiet and serene reputation.
The large and peaceful lake attracts swimmers and kayakers with its extensive 76-mile shoreline and is mostly surrounded by nationally protected forest to enjoy as you take it all in, or let it all go. Local camping, pontoon boat rentals, ski boats and kayaks are all found on the pristine waters. Looking to fish, you can find bass, walleye, bluegill, crappie, bream, and lake trout—talk about one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish!
Lake Greenwood - South Carolina
Lake Greenwood features over 212 miles of shoreline and spans a whopping 11,400 beautiful acres of pure fun and enjoyment that is the lake. You are sure to find peace and solitude! Offering recreational boating, fishing, camping, but all at a more friendly and slow pace. You’re sure to be embraced by true Southern hospitality with kind neighbors and kind waves.
Norris Lake - Tennessee
Norris Lake was created by the damming of the Clinch River, Tennessee. Located in five counties within the eastern portion of the state, the 137-square kilometer lake is surrounded by hills, rock formations and forest.
Sitting within the Great Valley of East Tennessee, a number of marinas surround the lake’s 1,302-kilometer shoreline, as well as camping grounds, vacation rentals and boat ramps. Looking for things to do, Norris Lake has plenty: water skiing, boating, swimming and fishing are popular activities. Home to cabins, camping sites and a recreation center, it’s a one stop shop for all things outdoors.
Smith Mountain Lake - Virginia
Smith Mountain Lake, the state’s second largest freshwater lake is a manmade watery avenue created after a dam was added in 1963. The picturesque lake lies in a broad valley nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of south-central Virginia. If you enjoy fishing, striped bass are a huge draw for the lake, bringing several large fishing tournaments to the area. From water sports to four golf courses, Smith Mountain Lake provides quite the adventures for everyone. With more than a dozen free public boat launches, you can enjoy:
- Motor Boating
- Water Skiing/Wake Boarding
- Jet Skiing
Don’t worry about buying gear, the lake provides rentals!
Summersville Lake - West Virginia
Summersville Lake is the largest lake in West Virginia, with more than 28,000 acres of water and 60 miles of shoreline. Formed by a rock-fill dam, Summersville Dam, its maximum depth is 327 feet, making it perfect for swimming, fishing and watercraft use of all kinds. Favorite activities include scuba diving, yes you read that right—scuba diving, picnicking, boating and swimming. The campground also has hook-ups, a bathhouse and a playground, so you’re never short of things to do.
Not crying so much anymore, are you? Well we are happy to help relieve some seasonal depression, and get you back on your feet, now go on ‘n get—time is a tickin’!
For more of your favorite lake destinations across the US, check out...
- Top 10 Lakes for Boaters in the Midwest
- Top 10 Western Lakes for Boaters
- 10 Best Party Coves in America
- Best Spring Break Destinations for Watersports Junkies