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Top 7 NY Lakes for Boating this Summer [2020 Edition]

What better way to enjoy an iconic summer than a boating trip? Boating is a great way to unwind while exploring some of the most beautiful parts of NY and submersing yourself in the rich history that makes the state unique.

Whether you want to stay close to home or a up for a road trip, these are some of the best lakes in NY for boating this summer.

1. Lake George

With over 28,000 acres of water to explore and enjoy, Lake George is a popular summer destination. It’s just a short drive up the Northway from Albany, which makes it easily accessible for a day trip, overnight stay or mini-vacation. There are plenty of public boat launches and marinas along the lake, so you can head out on a boating adventure from just about anywhere.

Lake George is also home to the popular Million Dollar Beach, as well as numerous beautiful hiking and biking trails, so you can split your day between time on the water and other outdoor activities.

2. Great Sacandaga Lake

Great Sacandaga Lake entices visitors with 29 miles of water surrounded by beautiful pine woods. If you’ve never had a chance to visit, summer is the perfect time to go and get out on the water. You’re not limited to boating; you can also go waterskiing, hop on a jet ski or jump in the lake for a swim.

Interestingly enough, this lake is actually manmade. It was created as the result of efforts to stem seasonal flooding in the area and remains a popular summer getaway.

3. Blue Mountain Lake

Located in Indian Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, Blue Mountain Lake offers over 1,300 acres of water for boating enthusiasts to enjoy. Simply driving there should help you unwind from the stress of daily life. Your mind will be full of beautiful mountain landscapes by the time you arrive, and there’s plenty more to explore both on and off the water.

Before you head back from the lake, stop to visit the Adirondack Experience museum, get a taste of the history and culture of the area – and grab a souvenir to bring home. (Note the museum is closed to the public for the remainder of the 2020 season due to COVID-19.)

4. Saranac Lake

If you’d rather explore more than one body of water this summer, the Saranac Lake area is for you. Boasting over 24 miles of interconnected lakes and waterways, it’s a spectacular place for a boating trip. Your journey will take you past numerous islands as you enjoy scenic views, including the breathtaking peaks of the Adirondack mountains. If you’re feeling adventurous, make a splash with one of the many rope swings you’ll encounter along the way!

5. Lake Champlain

Drive a little father north, and you’ll hit Lake Champlain, which shares borders with Vermont and the Canadian province of Quebec. There are plenty of campgrounds to stay at while you take in all that the 125-mile stretch of water has to offer. You’ll enjoy views of rolling hills, distant mountains and breathtaking forests as you make your way through the lake, and there are numerous places where you can stop and lower anchor to simply sit and relax for a while. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for Champ, the famed “lake monster” – he might appear when you least expect it!

6. Oneida Lake

Water from five different counties flows into Oneida Lake. As the largest NY lake contained entirely within the state, it’s worth the drive to Western NY for a visit. The area has a rich geological history, and you may be perfectly content to spend your entire trip just looking at the surroundings. The unique lay of the land extends beyond the lake to include extensive wetlands, so you’ll have a lot to see and explore.

7. Chautauqua Lake

Although Chautauqua can’t technically be on the list of the best lakes near Albany, NY, it’s still a great place to go boating. You’ll need to do some advanced planning for this trip—it takes a little over five hours get there from the Capital District area. But it’s time well spent; the road takes you past Oneida lake, the Finger Lakes and miles of stunning scenery.

Once you arrive, you can boat, go water skiing and enjoy other outdoor activities on the 17-mile lake. And when you’ve had your fill of the water, you can visit the surrounding region for an afternoon of sightseeing.

Whatever lakes you decide to visit, always adhere to proper boating safety and decontamination protocols. You can find all the information you need on the Boat Upstate NY website. Happy summer boating!


About the Author Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks. You can find out more about Sam at


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