Best Places for boating in the Midwest

There are some great boating lakes in the Midwest. The Midwest is a group of states from Ohio, reaching west to Nebraska with a northern boundary of North Dakota, spreading south to Kansas and Missouri. With a little investigating, you’ll learn you won’t just want to fly over these great boating states as you travel this summer.

A great place to start learning more about the best places for boating in the Midwest is the “Best Family Friendly places to Fish and Boat” list that Take Me Fishing™ put together in 2017.  Input was gathered from boaters and anglers all over the country. You even can learn where some famous people like singer, Luke Bryan or Pittsburgh Steeler, Al Villanueva like to get on the water.

We are fortunate enough to have many choices of places for boating across the country, and boating lakes in the Midwest are must places to visit. What makes  boating lake s is the variety of fish, the accessibility and quality of fish, among others. Here I share my favorite factors to consider while assembling your best places for boating in the Midwest.

Boating Lakes in Midwest

Michigan gets a lot of attention with its proximity to four Great Lakes. Access for boating on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, or Lake Erie is impressive especially if you have a big boat and are looking for big water and plenty of room for cruising in powerboats, skiing, or sailing.  However, Michigan’s much smaller inland Lake Mitchell even made a list of best places for boating in the Midwest because it has a little something for everyone. 

Fishing Opportunities

I’m bias toward what a body of water has to offer fishing-wise while boating lakes in the Midwest. If your priorities are similar, you might want to look into a lake such as Lake Oahe which spreads into both South and North Dakota. At 370,000 acres, this massive impoundment of the upper Missouri River is the 4th largest reservoir in the U.S.  Mostly known for its walleye, white bass, and pike, it will host a Bassmaster Elite tournament for the first time this year at the end of June as anglers will be trying to figure out the best way to catch big smallmouth bass.

Amenities and Facilities

For others, facilities are important when deciding where to boat and fish. No boat ramps, poor parking, or a lack of camping areas are deal-breakers. Some boaters are looking for good marinas, boat rentals, or maybe even a dockside restaurant after a “hard day” of boating . 

Scenery and Water Quality

Scenery or water quality may weigh heavily in selecting a good boating place.. For example, when boating in Kansas, the water of Tuttle Creek Lake, near Manhattan is usually turbid but there always seem to be bald eagles soaring overhead and there are great skipping rocks if you bring your boat to shore.  

Make sure you have your boating registration and fishing license because I’m sure there’s a boating place for you in the Midwest!

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.