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11 Picturesque Lakes in the US Everyone Ought to Visit

The Great Lakes are among the most outstanding and unique natural wonders on the planet, but they are by far not the only noteworthy lakes in the United States. In fact, all across America, visitors and locals alike are able to enjoy a weekend getaway in nature with a gorgeous lakeside view. Some of these picturesque lakes, like Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake, are fairly famous, while others are hidden natural gems yet to be discovered by the masses. Although most travel plans will likely be postponed these days, you can still see gorgeous shots of these 11 lakes, learn all about them, and plan ahead.

1. Lake McDonald, Montana 

Picturesque Lakes in the US Lake McDonald, Montana

Lake McDonald is the largest glacier lake in the famous Glacier National Park on the border of Montana and Canada. It is 10 miles (16 km) long, over a mile (1.6 km) wide, and 472 ft (130 m) deep. The lake was created as the Ice Age glaciers have melted millions of years ago. Today, Lake McDonald is a prime destination to admire nature and the crystal clear waters of the freshwater lake, to go fishing, and spot some wild animals.

2. Lake Powell, border of Utah and Arizona

Picturesque Lakes in the US Lake Powell, border of Utah and Arizona

Probably one of the most unique lakes in the United States and the world is Lake Powell, which is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The lake is actually a man-made reservoir of the Colorado River that takes up 1,932 miles. The otherworldly combination of brick-colored canyons and cliffs with the clear waters of the lake create a one-of-a-kind sight, no wonder the lake attracts three million tourists annually.

While touring the lake, visitors will also be able to admire one of the largest natural bridges in the world - the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

3. Diamond Valley Lake, California 

Picturesque Lakes in the US Diamond Valley Lake, California
Image Source: Rob Bertholf/ Flickr

Diamond Valley Lake is another freshwater reservoir intended for emergency use with a capacity of 800,000 acre-feet (990,000,000 cubic meters). The lake is located near Hemet, California, and visitors can enjoy kayaking, boating, and fishing here. The best time to visit this lake is spring when the surrounding fields start blooming with golden poppies.

4. Crater Lake, Oregon 

Picturesque Lakes in the US  Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest in the world, reaching a depth of 1,943 ft (592 m) in some locations, which gives its waters a mysterious deep blue hue. The picturesque lake is quite literally a crater of a massive volcano that collapsed nearly 8.000 years ago. To this day, one can see how the crater shaped the shores of the lake if viewed from a distance.

The lake is a major tourist destination that offers all the activities imaginable, from biking and fishing in the summer to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.

5. Lake Tahoe, border of California and Nevada

Picturesque Lakes in the US Lake Tahoe, border of California and Nevada
Image Source:      jcookfisher/ Flickr
Another famous lake on this list is Lake Tahoe - the largest alpine lake in North America. The lake contains 122,160,280 acre-ft (150.7 cubic kilometers) of water, making it the most massive lake in terms of volume after the Great North American Lakes. Needless to say, Lake Tahoe is a major travel destination, with millions of visitors from both the Californian and the Nevada side choosing to engage in recreational activities like winter sports, hiking, and water sports.

6. Great Salt Lake, Utah

Picturesque Lakes in the US Great Salt Lake, Utah

The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the entire Western Hemisphere. This lake is actually the remnant of a huge prehistoric lake that once engulfed much of western Utah called Lake Bonneville. The waters of Great Salt Lake are high in salts, which makes swimming in it feel more like floating.

The picturesque lake is surrounded by a ring of beautiful pink and white salt deposits, and it is known as America's Dead Sea. Unlike the Dead Sea, though, the Great Salt Lake is brimming with life, with brine shrimp and several species of birds inhabiting it.

7. Lake Eklutna, Alaska

Picturesque Lakes in the US Lake Eklutna, Alaska
One of the lesser-known lakes in the United States is Lake Eklutna, a freshwater reservoir that is located less than an hour away from Anchorage and is a beautiful and remote destination. The lake is a prime fishing location for salmon and trout. Kayaking and boating are also popular activities in Lake Eklutna, as is hiking around the lake and through the surrounding Chugach State Park.

8. Lake Martin, Louisiana

Picturesque Lakes in the US Lake Martin, Louisiana

Lake Martin is the nature lover's paradise, as it features a natural cypress swamp and a wide range of wildlife. The lake is part of a 9,500-acre (38-square-kilometer) Cypress Island Preserve - a cypress and tupelo swamp forest that can be explored by boat. Several bird species, such as egrets and herons inhabit Lake Martin, as do and coypu rats, alligators, bullfrogs, and cottonmouth snakes.

9. Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Picturesque Lakes in the US Jenny Lake, Wyoming
Jenny Lake is the focal point of the magnificent Grand Teton National Park, with many of the hiking and biking trails starting or going along the lake's shoreline. Apart from the stunning scenery, Jenny Lake is famous for its pristine waters, which are considered to be among the clearest and least affected by air or water pollution in the country. 

10. Lake Tenkiller, Oklahoma

Picturesque Lakes in the US Lake Tenkiller, Oklahoma
Image Source: Bill Wilson/ Flickr
Lake Tenkiller is another hidden gem, located in the midst of the Ozark Mountains. This freshwater reservoir was created in the 1950s, and today, the location is considered an excellent location for camping, hiking, water sports, nature observation, fishing, and even scuba diving. Divers will be able to see the ruins of the old town of Cookson, submerged underwater completely with the creation of the lake.

11. Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior, Silver Bay, Minnesota

Picturesque Lakes in the US Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior, Silver Bay, Minnesota
If you do insist on visiting one of the Great Lakes, consider Split Rock Lighthouse Park, situated on the shores of Lake Superior - the largest of the Great Lakes and the biggest lake in the United States - in the area of Silver Bay, Minnesota.
The location is absolutely perfect for hiking, especially if you want to photograph one of the most picturesque and photographed lighthouses in America, the Split Rock Lighthouse, now a museum. Like nearly all of the items on the list, the camping grounds and the surrounding trails are perfect for winter sports, hiking, whereas the lake can be used to engage in nearly all imaginable water activities.
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