clear lakes

22 Clear Lakes in the U.S. You’ll Need To See to Believe

Is there anything more rewarding than taking a dip in a cool, clear lake at the end of a long summer day? No matter where you find yourself, there’s simply nothing better! However, what if you got the chance to enjoy cooling off in one of these crystal clear, pristine lakes?

In this ultimate guide to the most impressive clear lakes in the United States, you’ll find everything from tiny alpine glacier lakes to some of the deepest and largest lakes in the country. Plus, make sure to see our bonus, a favorite clear lake – or spring! – you won’t want to miss.

crater lake
wollertz / Depositphotos

22 Clear Lakes You’ll Love

1. Crater Lake, Oregon

Located in Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon, Crater Lake is easily one of the prettiest clear lakes in the western United States. This giant lake was formed from the eruption of Mt. Mazama about 7,000 years ago. The iconic crystal clear blue waters of Crater Lake are fed by snowmelt and rain pooling into the remains of this ancient volcano’s crater.

A visit to Crater Lake is a great way for adults and kids to explore nature and learn from it in a variety of ways. Ranger programs at Crater Lake National Park run all year long, where visitors can learn about the natural history of Crater Lake and join guided hikes around the crater.

If you’re in the mood to hike on your own, there are plenty of trails around Crater Lake to enjoy. Alternatively, visitors can take trolley tours around the crater, or a boat tour to the islands within the lake.

Crater Lake National Park is open all year, but many parts of the park may be closed due to weather during the winter months. There are two lodges for visitors, as well two campgrounds that are reservable online. Park entrance fees are $30 between the months of May to October and $20 between November to May.

2. Colchuck Lake, Washington

Colchuck Lake is arguably the most iconic land-locked body of water in Washington state, a sprawling pool of clear, turquoise waters sitting in the shadow of some of the most rugged mountains in the Cascade Mountain range.

Most people access this stunning clear lake along the Colchuck Lake Trail. On this challenging 9-mile hike, you’ll pass through beautiful pine forests, past rushing rivers, and be able to gaze up at the surrounding peaks of the Cascades. At the trail’s end, you’ll stand on the shores of this clear lake (or on a particularly hot day, jump in its glacial waters!), with the snow-capped Dragontail Peak towering above.

The lake is also found along one of the most beloved backpacking routes in the Pacific Northwest, The Enchantments, where you’ll wander through a veritable wonderland of impressive granite peaks, ancient glaciers, and technicolor alpine lakes (including Colchuck!).

The permits to thru-hike this 18-mile trail are incredibly limited despite its popularity, but if you get super lucky and snag one, what an epic adventure to check off your Pacific Northwest bucket list

Once you’re done enjoying Colchuck Lake, head to the nearby town of Leavenworth to grab some food and a celebratory beer. The downtown of this tiny village boasts Bavarian architecture, so between the alpine buildings and the surrounding Cascades, it feels like you’re in the Sound of Music! 

3. Lake Willoughby, Vermont

Lake Willoughby is a gorgeous crystal clear lake located in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom about 65 miles northeast of Waterbury, VT. It is a very popular day trip from Central Vermont because the drive is only 90 minutes, and the views are breathtaking along the way!

Lake Willoughby sits between two looming mountains, Mount Pisgah to the east and Mount Hor to the west, giving it an incredibly unique and serene atmosphere – some say it resembles the landscape of Scotland. Lake Willoughby is also the deepest lake in Vermont at over 300 feet deep!

Visitors can park at South Beach across from White Caps Campground to take in the epic mountain view. Or, rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards with advance reservations to explore the lake’s waters.

For an active day enjoying the beautiful surroundings, the Mount Pisgah Trail is a popular hiking trail nearby the lake. It is a 4.1 mile out and back, moderately difficult, and it offers stunning views. The trailhead is located 1/2 mile from the south end of the beach.

jenny lake
VIKVAD / Depositphotos

4. Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park has waters that sparkle and glimmer under the sunshine and reflect the majestic Teton peaks. With scenery like this, it’s no wonder that Jenny Lake is one of the most popular destinations in the national park but is also often included as one of the most beautiful clear lakes in America.

Jenny Lake is a great spot for enjoying numerous recreational opportunities. Glide across its crisp, clear waters via boating, fishing, or canoeing. In the summer months, cool off with a swim after kayaking Jenny Lake, then ascend up to Inspiration Point for panoramic views. Spot the hidden waterfall along the way.

Grand Teton National Park offers a range of activities and experiences for visitors, from hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives through the jagged Teton Mountain range. Catch hordes of buffalo crossing roadways as you wind through alpine forests around glacial lakes. Don’t miss Signal Mountain and Jackson Lake Overlook, which both provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Finally, photographers should absolutely not miss the incredible sunrises at Snake River Overlook or the picture-perfect Oxbow Bend with its striking reflection of Mount Moran.

5. Mills Lake, Colorado

Mills Lake is a stunningly beautiful and clear lake surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Named after the man who founded the national park, Enos Mills, this lake is easily one of the most impressive clear lakes in the United States.

The difficult hike to Mills Lake starts at Glacier Gorge Trailhead and is about a 5-mile round-trip trek. The best way to get here is to take the bus from the Park&Ride lot up to the trailhead or to the Bear Lake Trailhead.

Visit Mills Lake during the months of May through October when the trail is free from snow and you can enjoy the spectacular views of the lake, as well as other mountain lakes along the way.

The area surrounding Mills Lake offers an array of wildlife, including elk, deer, marmots, and pikas. On the hike up, you’ll also notice the state flower, Columbine, growing on the trailside for colorful pictures.

Mills Lake is also a popular spot for fishing, and anglers will find plenty of greenback cutthroat trout and brook trout. The best thing about Mills Lake is that it’s not overcrowded with people so you can enjoy peaceful moments and picnic with the gorgeous views.

After relaxing by the lakeside, you can continue the trek another half mile to Jewel Lake and then 1.7 miles more to Black Lake. Once it’s time to head back, you’ll also be able to take in the incredible views of Bear Lake on your descent.

Be sure to visit Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer so you can view one of the clearest lakes in the United States!

6. Skaneateles Lake, New York

The cleanest lake in New York State happens to be home to one of the cutest towns, too! Skaneateles is one of Upstate NY’s Finger Lakes, and is frequently regarded as one of the cleanest lakes in the entire country. While it’s known as a beautiful clear lake, it was also put on the map as a favorite vacation spot for the Clinton family during his presidency. 

The actual village of Skaneateles is built entirely around the lake, making it the perfect destination in Upstate New York for a relaxing getaway. The streets are lined with charming boutiques, lakefront parks, and awesome restaurants – there’s even a wonderful vineyard to enjoy during your visit.

One of the most fun things to do is head out onto the water, of course! Boat tours around the lake are the perfect way to appreciate the town, and between narrated lunch tours, sunset cruises, and mail boat excursions, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Be sure to swing by Elephant and The Dove for margaritas and tacos! The restaurant was designed by famous designer Thom Filicia, and every nook and cranny is an Instagram-worthy moment. Lastly, you’ll want to pay a visit to Anyela’s, which is a gorgeous vineyard with beautiful outdoor spaces to sip on local Finger Lakes wines. 

lake mcdonald
YAYImages / Depositphotos

7. Lake McDonald, Montana

Lake McDonald is located in Glacier National Park, Montana. Not only is it one of the most impressive clear lakes in the US, but it’s also one of the most beautiful.

Lake McDonald sits below towering glacier-topped mountains and is lined with rocks that are colored red, green, and purple. In the mornings when the wind is calm, you can see the reflection of the mountains in the lake creating a perfect mirror effect. Combine that with the colorful lake bottom and the site is absolutely breathtaking. 

In the summer you can swim or kayak (but it’s always cold). If you visit Glacier in the winter, you can sit and marvel at the lake with reflections of snow-capped glaciers. You may even have the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights dancing across the night sky.

One of the most popular activities around Lake McDonald is hiking. From easy strolls along the shoreline to more challenging hikes up nearby mountains or through dense forests, there are plenty of trails for all levels.

If you want to get out on the water during your visit, consider renting a kayak or canoe from one of many local outfitters—it’s a great way to experience this stunning lake from a whole new perspective!

8. Lake Tahoe, California

When people think of California, beaches are one of the first things that pop into their minds. However, the shores of Lake Tahoe can rival the Pacific Ocean any day.

At almost 1650 feet deep (500 meters), it is one of the deepest lakes in the United States. This creates an intense cerulean blue in the middle that you can’t see anywhere else in the world. By the shore, you could be fooled by the crystal clear lake water usually only found in the tropics. Dip a toe in and you’ll quickly remember you are in the alpines!

Lake Tahoe is a stunning place to travel year-round. The lake is dotted by quaint towns, like the charming South Lake Tahoe, where you can stay in Swiss-inspired cabins or mountain lodges. In the winter, snowy peaks surround the lake and offer all the possible winter activities including skiing and sledding, while in the summer, there are many lakeside activities to try out, including fishing and kayaking.

Lake Tahoe is one of the most amazing lakes with clear water in the world and is worthy of a spot on everyone’s bucket list

9. Lake Champlain, New York and Vermont 

Located between New York and Vermont, Lake Champlain is one of the most breathtaking crystal-clear lakes in the USA. It also stretches into Quebec in Canada, just south of Montreal.

A French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, was the first outsider to visit the lake in the 1600s, hence its name. It has seen crucial wars like the French & Indian Wars, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812, which proved landmarks in world history. You can walk in the footsteps of history at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont.

Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster? What about the lake monters in Lake Champlain? The lake is believed to be inhabited a mysterious dinosaur-like creature known as Champ. You might try luck spotting the legendary Champ at one of the lakeshores. You never know!

From remote islands to bigger islands with towns, over 71 sleepy islands populate Lake Champlain, of which South Hero or Grand Isle, North Hero, and Isle La Motte are the largest. A scenic drive along US-2 lets you take in the charm of the Lake Champlain Islands and its rustic towns. 

World-famous for its fishing and birding habitat, Lake Champlain is a major draw in the summer. Quite a few sandy beaches punctuate the lake’s shoreline. Speaking about the best beaches, Thayer Beach, North Beach, and Sandbar State Park take the cake.

You can indulge in water activities like swimming, kayaking, canoeing, motorboating, sailing, paddle boarding, and fishing during summertime.

diablo lake / Depositphotos

10. Diablo Lake, Washington

Diablo Lake is located in North Cascades National Park and is one of the clearest lakes in North America. Why is this clear lake so impressive? Its waters are so clear, and even a beautiful bright blue, because the reservoir is fed by glacial melt instead of surface run-off like many other lakes. 

The water of Diablo Lake is extremely clean, making it a popular spot for boating, fishing for rainbow trout and landlocked sockeye salmon, kayaking, or even taking a plunge into the cool water if you dare. The lake was formed by Diablo Dam, which was completed in 1930 and created this very deep lake, and is up to 320 feet deep in some spots.

Diablo Lake is located 125 miles northeast of Seattle and makes for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway since it’s only about a 2.5-hour drive. On the way to North Cascades National Park, there are multiple lookout points along highway 20 that show off the lake’s turquoise waters. However, if you want the best views of the lake and mountain ranges, then hiking one of the many nearby trails is a must. 

This area is known for having some of the best trails in the state, with trails that are for everyone from beginners to advanced hikers. Diablo Lake Trail and Sourdough Mountain Trail are two of the more popular trails in the area, with epic views of Diablo Lake and the North Cascade Mountains

11. Convict Lake, California

Convict Lake is a must-visit destination in the Eastern Sierras for its crystal clear lake water and dramatic mountain peaks. If you are lucky enough to visit on a day when the wind is still, the lake’s glassy surface reflects the peaks of Laurel Mountain, which towers 4000 feet above the water. 

Convict Lake originally got its name from a famous shootout between escaped convicts from Carson City and a posse of locals in charge of rounding them up. The lake’s bloody past in no way takes away from the majestic scenery in the valley, and it only gets more beautiful when the Aspen trees change colors in the fall. 

The best way to experience Convict Lake’s crystal clear water is to rent a kayak or a paddle board and head to deeper water till you can no longer see the bottom of the lake.

Outside of its crystal clear water, the lake is best known for being a hotbed for fishing for rainbow and brown trout that thrive in this alpine lake. Anglers flock from across the west to camp along the lake’s shore, knowing they will get a chance to cast their line as the sun rises over the valley.

This popular mountain lake has a campground and other lodgings available, or you can also stay at Mammoth Lakes if you want access to more amenities located just 15 minutes away. 

12. Lone Pine Lake, California

Located in California’s Eastern Sierras, Lone Pine Lake is an impressive clear lake that sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). It’s surrounded by towering peaks, including Mount Whitney (14,505 feet), the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.

The area makes for a fantastic addition to a California National Parks Road Trip since it’s perfectly wedged between nearby Sequoia and Death Valley national parks.

Reaching Lone Pine Lake requires a fairly strenuous 5.5-mile out-and-back hike. The trek involves quite a few switchbacks but offers breathtaking views and includes several fun creek and stream crossings. 

The lake itself is a little alpine oasis with clear water, impressive views, and minimal people. It’s a popular rest point for day hikers and hardcore trekkers attempting Mt Whitney and an ideal spot for a picnic. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can take a polar plunge or for those interested in fishing, the lake is home to both rainbow and brook trout.

The hike to Lone Pine Lake starts at Whitney Portal, located just outside the town of Lone Pine, California. The trail is dog-friendly and does not require a permit, so long as you turn around at the lake and don’t proceed along the Mt Whitney Trail.  

13. Sawtooth Lake, Idaho

Nestled among the jagged peaks of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, the crystal-clear Sawtooth Lake is accessible only by foot, but the stunning scenery is worth the extra effort required to get there. On the hike to Sawtooth Lake, you’ll enjoy beautiful mountain views and pass by another slightly less impressive lake called Alpine Lake.

Sawtooth Lake is particularly impressive as it is surrounded on all sides by the snowy Sawtooth Mountains, most notably Mount Regan to the south. The lake’s rocky shore is the perfect spot to relax, enjoy the scenery and cool off after a tough hike. Wear a bathing suit and take an ice-cold plunge into the frigid waters, or pack a book and spend some time reading on the shore. 

For the best view overlooking Sawtooth Lake, take a short spur trail that branches off the main path just before reaching the lake. The trail climbs uphill for about a quarter-mile before arriving at an incredible viewpoint of Sawtooth Lake and the surrounding Sawtooth Mountains.

Sawtooth Lake is also a popular destination for backpackers. Permits are required to camp at Sawtooth Lake and may be picked up at the trailhead.

lonesome lake
petersilvermanphoto / Depositphotos

14. Lonesome Lake, New Hampshire

For some wonderful hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, hike to Lonesome Lake for both the gorgeous clear lake and stunning mountain views. Entirely surrounded by mountains, the lake is the perfect place for a picnic or a swim.

To reach Lonesome Lake, take the short and moderate round trip 3-mile trail. The trail starts on Route 93 in Franconia Notch and ascends about 1,000 feet to the lake. The trail is steady, steep, and rocky until it levels off near the lake. From here you can walk the trail around the lake for the best views or sit on the platform near the hut to enjoy the water.  

Visit Lonesome Lake during the summer months on a calm morning for incredible reflections and clear water, or come in the fall when the leaves change colors. Franconia Notch is an incredible hiking area and you can find many other hikes in the region including the Basin, the Flume, Cannon Mountain, and Artist’s Bluff.

Consider staying overnight at the Lonesome Lake Mountain Hut (part of the AMC hut system). A night at the hut includes dinner and breakfast and you can enjoy the lake once the daytime crowds leave.

15. Lake George, New York

Beautiful Lake George in New York’s Adirondack mountain range, is the perfect destination to enjoy outdoor recreation and watersports on crystal clear lake water. This idyllic lake-side retreat offers some historic depth as well: it was the location of one of the most pivotal battles of the 1757 French and Indian War.

To learn more about the Battle of Lake George, head to Fort William Henry. The fort offers regular guided tours. Guests will learn why Lake George was instrumental in stopping the southern progression of the French army. Daily cannon firings and rifle demonstrations also take place and are a big hit with kids.

While most people come to Lake George in the summer, it also makes a great winter destination. Some fun winter activities in Lake George include sledding or skiing at the Lake George Recreation Center and attending Lake George Winterfest. This popular festival takes place every February. Attendees can try their hand at ice fishing or axe-throwing, go cross-country skiing, or even take a ride on a dog sled. 

Whatever your interests, be they relaxing on the lake, hiking the Adirondacks, soaking up history, or experiencing a winter wonderland, Lake George has it all. This gorgeous clear lake and lake town are wonderful destinations for your next lake-side vacation.

Read More: 24 Best Lake Towns in the United States

16. Lake Superior, Michigan

Located between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Canada lies Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Lake Superior holds enough water to cover North and South America up to 30 centimeters deep. It is also the deepest and coldest of all five Great Lakes. 

Lake Superior is known for its clean, clear waters, picturesque islands, rocky shorelines, and eye-catching beauty.

A variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, lake trout, lake sturgeon, and walleye, call Lake Superior home, making for impressive birding and fishing excursions. Thousands of visitors flock to the beaches of Lake Superior annually for these activities and much more.

While Lake Superior might be considered the coldest Great Lake, many families still enjoy swimming in its clear waters, especially on a hot summer day. However, if the water is too cold for you, consider looking for Yooperlites (Michigan’s glowing rocks) along the shore at night, take a glass bottom boat tour of the shipwrecks, or enjoy any of a number of Great Lakes cruises.

17. Lake Blue Ridge, Georgia

Nestled into the picturesque Blue Ridge mountains, Lake Blue Ridge is a reservoir lake that covers 3,300 acres and is surrounded by national forests. The lake is 11 miles long with 65 miles of shoreline, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery.

Visitors can enjoy swimming in the cool water at the beach at Morganton Point. Renting jet skis, paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, or pontoon boats is the perfect way to enjoy long, lazy summer days. There are also camping and cabin rentals around the lake for visitors to enjoy a relaxing weekend.

Lake Blue Ridge is located next to the town of Blue Ridge, which offers a charming downtown, a delicious fall apple season, and plenty of outdoor activities. North Georgia provides a wealth of experiences from wine tastings to white water rafting.

Visitors can hike miles of trails through the mountains, enjoy festivals each season, learn about alpacas at a local farm, or just roast marshmallows over a campfire – there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Lake Blue Ridge in North Georgia.

string lake
juliannafunk / Depositphotos

18. String Lake, Wyoming 

It’s no secret that Grand Teton National Park is home to incredible beautiful views. From epic mountainous hikes to magical wildlife sightings, the adventures here are endless. Perhaps one of the most breathtaking sights in all of the Grand Tetons is String Lake, one of the most impressive clear lakes in the United States.

String Lake is nestled just north of the famous Jenny Lake and is surrounded by picturesque mountains. The lake itself is a popular place for swimming due to being slightly warmer and shallower than the surrounding lakes. And who doesn’t like taking a dip in a clear water lake?! 

In addition to swimming, you’ll also see many people kayaking and paddleboarding around the clear water. If you are up for the adventure, you can paddle the entire String Lake (less than a mile) and then portage about 75 yards to continue your paddle in Leigh Lake. You will need to bring your own kayak or paddleboard or rent one before arriving as there are no rentals at the lake itself. 

After you have enjoyed the water, you can take in more views with a 4.4-mile hike on String Lake Loop. Other nearby attractions include the Jenny Lake Shuttle with hikes to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, wildlife tours, river raft floats, and many scenic drives. 

19. Round Lake and Green Lake, New York

Round Lake and Green Lake, found within one of New York’s most picturesque state parks, are truly hidden gems in Fayetteville, New York, and some of the most impressive clear lakes in the nation.

These twin clear lakes lie within glacier-carved basins that contain a unique mix of minerals, shoreline reefs, and surrounding landscapes that protect the lake waters and allow them to maintain the clear blue and green colors that give these lakes their unique look.

Situated inside Green Lakes State Park, Round Lake and Green Lake are two of only a handful of meromictic clear lakes in the world. This type of lake contains a lower level and an upper level of water that do not mix. Because of this, sediment settles at the bottom of the lake and does not mix with the upper levels, giving the lake its clear appearance.

While visiting the park will without a doubt include some time spent admiring the beauty of these clear lakes, you can also enjoy a swim along the sandy beach of Green Lake or check out the hiking trails that run through forested areas throughout the park.

The uniqueness of these clear lakes is also not lost in the surrounding communities. A fifteen-minute drive will bring you to Chittenango, where you can explore the hometown of the author of the Wizard of Oz, or about an hour’s drive will bring you to the small, historic town of Herkimer, where you will find the Herkimer Diamond Mines. Here you can mine for the world-famous Herkimer diamonds. 

20. Lake Crescent, Washington

Lake Crescent, one of the most stunningly beautiful clear lakes in Washington state, is a glacially-carved clear lake in Olympic National Park. It’s twenty miles west of Port Angeles, the second-best small town to live in for outdoor adventurers, and thirty-five miles from Sequim, the lavender capital of the world. 

Lake Crescent is 600 feet deep and 12 miles long and is known for its clear lake waters that reflect the surrounding forests and mountains. It’s a popular destination for swimming, paddling, fishing, camping, wildlife watching, photography, and hiking. With a variety of hiking trails in the area, there is something for every level and age. 

The Spruce Railroad Trail, running four breathtaking miles along the lake’s northern border, is the longest wheelchair-accessible trail in Olympic National Park. Recent renovations to the Spruce Railroad Trail have made it a smooth and spectacular walkway in an ongoing community effort to make the 134-mile-long Olympic Discovery Trail accessible to all. 

The Devil’s Punchbowl, also on the northern end of this clear lake, is an extremely popular and unbelievably gorgeous swimming hole approximately one mile onto the Spruce Railroad Trail. A charming bridge takes you over the water at this point in the trail and also serves as a jump-off point for the fearless.

21. Grindstone Lake, New Mexico

Grindstone Lake is a beautiful, clear lake in Ruidoso, New Mexico. It is located in the middle of a forest, which makes it a very scenic and serene place you need to see for yourself to believe!

While there are many things to do at Grindstone Lake, the surrounding multi-use trail system is a big draw for visitors. It includes five different trails, totaling over 18 miles, and is open for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Typical water activities, such as kayaking, boating, and fishing are also permitted on Grindstone Lake. During the summer season, the Wibit Water Park on Grindstone Lake is a popular attraction for families, consisting of a floating, inflatable platform with slides and other obstacles. 

The closest bigger city to Grindstone Lake is Alamogordo. There are many fun things to do in and around Alamogordo, including visiting the famous White Sands National Park. Plus, if you love campy roadside attractions, make sure to also visit the biggest pistachio in the world at McGinns Pistachio Land. 

22. Torch Lake, Michigan

Nicknamed the “Great Lakes State,” Michigan is home to a number of breathtaking lakes, and Torch Lake is no exception. Spanning an impressive 19 miles and with an average depth of 111 feet, Torch Lake is both the state’s longest and deepest inland lake.

With that said, this incredible glacial lake isn’t famous for its size; it is primarily known for its crystal-clear, blue-green waters as well as its sandbars. In fact, Torch Lake’s clear turquoise waters have led many tourists to compare it to the tropical beaches of the Caribbean

Apart from its sandy beaches, Torch Lake is surrounded by forests and rolling hills, with nearby Torch Lake Nature Preserve, as well as Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area. As such, Torch Lake is every nature lover’s paradise, and tourists are spoiled for choice here when it comes to outdoor recreation.

The area around Torch Lake offers a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, and even skiing in the winter.

Of course, the lake itself is a popular spot for boating, fishing, swimming, and all sorts of water sports. With its easily accessible sandbars, the lake is an extremely popular spot for summer parties and 4th of July celebrations, so expect it to be particularly crowded during the summer months. Keep in mind a few safety tips when swimming in open water to make sure your celebration stays safe!

rainbow springs
edb3_16 / Depositphotos

Bonus: Rainbow Springs, Florida

While Florida’s Rainbow Springs might not be considered a lake, we couldn’t help but add it to our list. The sparkling clean, clear waters here are just too impressive not to celebrate!

Rainbow Springs stays a cool 72 degrees year-round. Like many of the springs in Florida, the water is fed through underground caves which keeps it at steady and refreshing temperatures. It’s a perfect place to take a rejuvenating dip in those hot and humid Florida summers. 

Rainbow Springs in Rainbow Springs State Park is among many similar spots in Central Florida, though it’s a particularly beloved destination with locals. You’ll easily spot fish and turtles weaving between the green grass in the crystal clear water. While manatees occasionally visit Rainbow Springs, it’s not as popular as other springs in the Sunshine State. 

A lush tropical state park surrounds the swimming hole. This park harkens back to old Florida tourism. After a dip in the springs, stroll the grounds on paved paths. Find man-made waterfalls and remnants of past aviary and animal cages dating back to the 60s and Florida’s heyday of roadside attractions. 

Rainbow Springs is in Dunnellon, Florida close to Ocala and Marion County. Ocala offers more of the wild jungle landscape. Top activities here include horseback riding, the longest zipline in Florida, and glass-bottom boat tours in Silver Springs State Park. See if you can spot the monkeys left behind from Tarzan films. 

Read More: Rainbow Springs State Park: Ultimate Travel Guide

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.