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The Best Boating Lakes In The Midwest

The Best Boating Lakes In The Midwest

Finding the best locations to go boating can really elevate the whole experience, and thankfully, there are fantastic places to indulge in this hobby all over the US. 

This includes the Midwest, despite the misconception that there aren’t many boating locations inland.

And this list of the best boating lakes in the Midwest prove what the area has to offer, so enjoy!

Lake Winnebago - Wisconsin

As far as inland lakes go, Lake Winnebago is one of the largest that you’ll find. At certain points, it’s 30 miles long and 10 miles wide. And it’s estimated to take up about 132,000 acres! So that’s a lot of space for boating.

Other relevant information about this lake is that it’s relatively shallow, and composed of freshwater. Plus, there are lots of charming towns dotted on its shorelines if you’d like to check those out as well.

Lake Winnebago - Wisconsin

Image from

Lake Pepin - Wisconsin, Minnesota

Lake Pepin isn’t nearly as large as Lake Winnebago, since it’s only around 25,000 acres in size. But that’s still a spacious area for boating, and it is actually the largest lake on the Mississippi River.

And the spectacular scenery near this area is another bonus. Because Lake Pepin is located inside a valley, which results in views of beautiful hills and bluffs. And if you like to fish while you’re out boating, then there’s plenty of opportunity in this lake. It contains panfish, smallmouth bass, and northern pike.

Lake Pepin

Image from Great River Road Wisconsin

Torch Lake - Michigan

Torch Lake is only about 19,000 acres but is renowned as a beautiful spot to spend the day, and also as a fantastic place to watch the sun set. The water is a clear blue color, and is quite shallow which makes it easy for anchoring to watch the day pass by.

The shores around this lake are actually quite woody, which is a nice change from the sandy beaches that border many lakes. And there are multiple landings where you can launch your boat from.

Torch Lake

Image from Tourist Secrets

Lake of the Ozarks - Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks is unique because it’s actually man-made, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty or plentiful boating opportunities. It’s about 54,000 acres of water, and 1,150 miles of shoreline!  And it’s dotted with cozy bays and inlets, which are perfect spots to boat to.

And, like all the lakes on this list… It has a lot of amenities on the shoreline. Such as restaurants and shopping centers. Plus, the fees to launch your boat into the lake are really cheaply priced. So you won’t have to spend much money to enjoy all this lake has to offer.

Lake Of The Ozarks

Image from Wikipedia

Table Rock Lake - Missouri, Arkansas

Much like Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake is also man-made. It's actually a bit smaller though, only taking up 45,000 acres worth of space. But it still boasts about 800 miles of shoreline and clean, clear water.

And, it’s extremely easy to find a launching point for your day out on this lake since there are 24 boat launchers that are open to the public! Additionally, the shoreline of Table Rock Lake contains 14 public marinas.

Table Rock Lake

Image from

Lake Okoboji - Iowa

Lake Okoboji is the smallest lake on this list by far and contains a little less than 4,000 acres of surface area. But despite this, it’s still one of the largest lakes in Iowa that isn’t man-made. And it has beautiful scenery that sets it apart…

It features bays, inlets, and channels as well as beautiful cliffs, relaxing beaches, and clear water. In fact, it even borders Pikes Point State Park on its north-eastern side. So there’s lots of natural beauty around the area for you to explore during your time there.

Lake Okoboji

Image from North West Iowa

Lake Michigan - Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

Parts of Lake Michigan are located in more northern areas of America, but because of its size, much of it is located in the midwest as well. It’s actually the largest lake in Illinois, and the third largest Great Lake; taking up almost 15 million acres of area! But boaters will appreciate the fact that this comes with 1,500 miles of coastline.

Another thing that makes this location so perfect for boating is because it mixes the attributes of freshwater boating with some more ocean-like attributes as well. So it offers a really unique experience! And to top it off, the water is clear with a stunning shade of blue for you to enjoy.

Lake Michigan

Image from

Lake Superior - Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Lake Superior which is the largest freshwater lake in terms of surface area. The lake astoundingly covers more than 20 million acres!

Aside from its massive size and notoriety, this lake is beautiful as well. And if you stick around until the evening, you may even be rewarded with sights of the Northern Lights in all their glory!

Lake Superior

Image from Great Lakes Commission 


As you can see, there are a large variety of lakes suitable for boating within the Midwest. And there’s truly something for everyone; whether you’re looking for a large surface area, beautiful scenery, opportunities for fishing, or simply a good boating experience.

So don’t overlook this area of the US when you’re looking to take a boating trip!

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