BlogApril 2022

6 Best Lakes for Boating in Spring

6 Best Lakes for Boating in Spring

By Jeff Bogle

Apr 12, 2022

You’ve been waiting all winter! Now’s the time to plan your spring boating vacation. Check out these 6 lakes perfect for spring boating and fishing!

You’ve been waiting all winter for the frost to subside, the snow to melt, the temperatures to rise, and the sun to deliver more warmth. Now’s the time to either start prepping your own boat or find an affordable pontoon boat rental, pinpoint the best lake for boating in spring, and get back out onto the water with friends and family. Here are 6 of the best spring boating lake destinations for launching your own boat on the water, taking a lake boat tour, kayaking, canoeing, or rent-ing a pontoon boat for the day.

1. Lake George, NY

On this pristine lake in upstate New York, you can spend your spring boating vacation enjoying a lake tour, going ex-treme on a jet ski, experiencing the lake from 300 feet in the sky while parasailing, or renting a boat and being your own captain! Lake George is 32 miles long and roughly 28,000 acres, making it ideal for spring boating vacations, fishing getaways, or spring camping trips. Located just an hour due north of Albany, and 3.5 hours from NYC, Lake George can be your spring city break to go boating, fishing or camping!

2. J. Percy Priest Lake, TN

When you choose to go boating in spring on this remarkable 42 miles long, north central Tennessee lake created by a dam and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, you’ll be able to spend your nights in the honky tonk bars on Broadway, sitting down at cool eateries like Folk and Redheaded Stranger in the hip neighborhood of East Nashville, or cheering on the home team at a Nashville SC soccer match inside the brand new Geodis Park. During the day, go fishing from your boat this spring and catch a variety of bass, including large and small mouth, striped and white bass, crappie and blue-gill all of which are abundant on this lake which is a world away but just 10 miles from the bustling state capital.

3. Lake Buchanan, TX

Like most other lakes, you can bring your own or rent a boat, kayak or canoe, but what makes the Hill Country of Texas special is the abundance of wildlife and geological beauty available to be enjoyed from a scenic wilderness cruise. Spring boat cruises offer you and your family the chance to view regional and migrating birds including wintering Bald Eagles, a variety of native Texas wildlife like osprey, blue herons, white egrets, hawks, ducks, and wild Spanish goats, as well as cascading waterfalls and staggering cliffs that tower above this Texas Highland Lake that's located just a little over an hour from the weird and wonderful capital city of Austin.

4. Elkhart Lake, WI

Elkhart Lake is one of the small town gems of America, with historic hotels like the Osthoff and Siebkens

Resorts and award winning restaurants like the remarkable Paddock Club. It’s also a utopia for car lovers thanks to the Throttlestop auto museum and Road America raceway. But of course, you’ve come to this Sheboygan County town situ-ated in between Green Bay and Milwaukee to be on the water! When boating in spring on Elkhart Lake, you’ll take a coun-ter-clockwise course on your rented pontoon (temporary boating licenses are easily available) or your own vessel that you’ve slipped down into the gorgeous water at the boat launch. Important to note that this peaceful community doesn’t permit motor boats on Sundays, making time spent in the village and on the lake both quiet and idyllic on spring week-ends.

5. Lake Coeur d’Alene, ID

Known as the Playground of the Pacific Northwest, Lake Coeur d’Alene is as picturesque as it is thrilling for boating en-thusiasts. Whether you want to learn how to kayak, rent a speedboat, go jet skiing, or be pulled in a boat towable by a trained captain, there’s spring boating fun waiting for you in Idaho. What’s also great about this big, beautiful lake is its proximity to the charming town that’s in its name! Coeur d’Alene is loaded with quaint shops, record stores, restaurants, and hotels to suit every budget.

6. Big Bear Lake, CA

There’s almost nothing you can’t do on Big Bear Lake. From pontoon boating to wake boarding, paddle boarding to wa-ter skiing, the six marinas located along the lake’s 23 miles of shoreline are open from spring through fall, and can outfit you and your family with all the equipment you'll need for an epic spring boating vacation. Of course, if you want to rent a boat to do some incredible freshwater fishing in spring, Big Bear Lake is your perfect spring fishing destination too!

Before you load your boat on the trailer, leave the dock, and get in the water, you need to know if a boating license is required in the state you’re in or visiting. Find out how to get your boat license online.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion