6 Best Lakes in Washington State
Washington has many lakefront cities and riverfront trails, making it an enchanting place for outdoorsmen and women. The Evergreen State doesn’t only provide hikers and campers with scenic views to gaze at, but boaters and anglers can also enjoy what the state has to offer. Being on the water is just a plus!
There are dozens of lakes in Washington State, each with unique features. We’ve got just the destination guide for boaters looking for the best lake in Washington:
- Lake Chelan
- Lake Washington
- Lake Crescent
- Lake Quinault
- Lake Wenatchee
- Ross Lake
1. Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan is Washington’s largest lake. Located in North Cascades National Park, it is surrounded by natural beauty and is bubbling with fun water adventures to be had. Here you can enjoy boating, swimming, kayaking, and fishing!
Lake Chelan is a fantastic spot for catching mountain whitefish, bull trout, largescale sucker, and Northern Pikeminnow. Surrounding Lake Chelan is the Enchantment Lakes chain, which has over 700 mountain lakes.
Nearby, Stehekin runs a Stehekin Shuttle, which is the easiest way to get there. See boat rentals in Lake Chelan!
2. Lake Washington
Lake Washington is conveniently located about nine miles from Seattle in King County. The graciously Cedar River flows into this lake and supplies nearly half its water! The southern half of the lake is home to Mercer Island.
It’s also a popular spot for boating and fishing and is well known for its sockeye salmon.
There are also many parks to visit here, like Alki Beach Park or Denny Blaine Park! Catch sunsets at Alki Beach or swim at Denny Blaine. Here’s a fun fact to tell at your next boat party: Lake Washington gets its name after former President George Washington.
3. Lake Crescent
Located in Olympic National Park, Lake Crescent is one of Washington’s most popular tourist sites! This lake has crystal clear waters and is surrounded by lush green trees. There are numerous hiking trails and opportunities for boating and fishing.
A few trout species are only found there! You can venture to a beautiful cascading waterfall at Marymere Falls. Or take Lake Crescent an hour-and-a-half boat tour.
There are public beach ramps available. Downtown Port Angeles is about 25 miles from this park.
4. Lake Quinault
Lake Quinault is found in Olympus National Park. The area is made up of charming rainforests.
Nearby stays are Rain Forest Resort, Lake Quinault Lodge, and Lake Quinault Resort serve Lake Quinault. It’s about one hour from the town of Forks (from Twilight)!
The best views here come at the point of the lake!
The trails around the lake are popular for hiking. Residential boats are also allowed on the water. However, anglers are required to have a permit.
5. Lake Wenatchee
Popular activities on Lake Wenatchee are kayaking, windsurfing, swimming, boating, and fishing! Public facilities are available all year.
Lake Wenatchee is well known for being a good lake for families with children.
6. Ross Lake
Ross Lake is located in North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National Recreation Area. It’s located in North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National Recreation Area. It’s 9.5 miles north of Newhalem.
Popular activities are canoeing, swimming, and fishing. You can also visit the lake’s floating resort. Fishing is open from July 1 to October 31. You can find rainbow trout here, with size restrictions. The south end also has a boat launch and camping sites accessible by boat.
These lakes are open to the public year-round and offer many opportunities for fun and adventure. If you want to rent a boat to explore Washington State’s lakes, get in touch with our team!
Discover more destinations like the best lakes in Washington State at Boating Guides & Resources!