Our Favorite Lakes: Eastern US

Part 4 of our 4 part series talking about our favorite lakes in the eastern United States.

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Have you been following our series on the most beautiful and exciting lakes to visit throughout the US? In Parts 1, 2 and 3, we introduced you to some of the best lakes to visit on the West Coast and in the Mountain and Midwest regions. In this post, we are going to recommend some top lakes in the eastern part of the country.

Why Visit Eastern US Lakes?

Much of the Eastern US is dominated by major metropolitan areas and the hustle and bustle of city life (especially the Northeast).

Paying a visit to a lake in the eastern part of the US is an excellent way to get away from city life for a change and get back to enjoying the wonders of nature.

Because most of the eastern US is not particularly remote, amenities at lakes in this part of the country tend to be pretty good, ensuring a comfortable visit at most destinations.

1. Walden Pond, MA

You will find one classic destination just northwest of Boston and south of Concord, Massachusetts: the famous Walden Pond. No doubt you are familiar with this legendary lake (it is not a "pond" in a literal sense) if you are acquainted with the works of Henry David Thoreau.

You are not allowed to camp at Walden Pond, but we do not see any rules against setting up a canopy tent to enjoy an afternoon.

Why You’ll Love It

As you visit this peaceful destination, you will quickly see why Thoreau fell in love with it. It is a tranquil reprieve from everyday life, offering you the chance to hike, swim, or just lounge around enjoying nature. While you are here, you can learn more about Thoreau as well, and even drop by a cabin that was built as replica of the one where he stayed. There is a self-guided walking tour you can take to learn more. You can even retrace the steps taken by Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott by taking a stroll along the Emerson-Thoreau Amble footpath.

You’ll also be conveniently close to many other historical destinations in Concord, so you will find plenty to fill your time and connect you with famous American writers of the past.

2. Finger Lakes, NY

Between Rochester and Syracuse, NY, and south of Lake Ontario, you will find the world-famous Finger Lakes. Each of these long, narrow lakes is beautiful to behold, and offers opportunities for outdoor recreation. There are a number of campgrounds scattered around the area, especially around the shores of the larger lakes.

Why You’ll Love It

Along with experiencing the lakes themselves, you’ll find so much else to do in the surrounding area. You can visit wineries, go hiking in Watkins Glen State Park, or visit the fabulous Corning Museum of Glass. It is a distinctive region like no other, and your visit there will create lasting memories.

3. Tallulah Falls Lake, GA

If you want to head to a dramatic destination in Georgia, think about making a trip to Tallulah Falls, which you will find in the northern part of the state.

Tallulah Falls Lake is a small reservoir in Tallulah Gorge State Park, and just one of its attractions. Naturally, it is the falls themselves that are the main draw, especially Hurricane Falls.

Why You’ll Love It

Hike the trails, cross the high suspension bridge, cycle, fish, paddle, swim, picnic, and more at Tallulah Falls. Whatever outdoor activities you are into, you will find endless opportunities to make the most of this gorgeous park.

Be aware that if you want to visit the floor of the gorge, you will need to drop by the Interpretive Center to pick up a free permit. You also will need to wear close-toed shoes.

You will also find yourself conveniently close to quite a few other area destinations as well, such as Black Rock Mountain State Park, the Alpine Village of Helen, Moccasin Creek State Park, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Chattahoochee National Forest, and more.

Tips for Visiting Lakes in the Eastern US

To finish up this article, let’s go over a few recommendations for how you can get the most out of your time at lakes in the Eastern part of the US.

  • Book early. If you are planning on camping at or near one of these lakes, you are going to want to place a reservation as early as possible. Lakes are popular destinations for nearby city dwellers who want to get a break from urban life, so they tend to fill up fast. Needless to say, if a campground is first-come, first-serve, then you will want to arrive early for your best chance at a spot. Have a backup plan ready in case you are not fast enough.
  • Bring a pop-up canopy tent. The Eastern US is subject to a wide range of weather conditions depending on what time of the year you visit. On bright days, you will be grateful for the shade provided by a pop-up canopy tent, and on rainy days, it will help you stay dry.
  • Consider visiting in spring or fall. A lot of locations in the Eastern US are quite hot during summer, and sometimes very humid as well. But the Eastern US also can get to be very cold and uncomfortable during winter. That means the best times of year for outdoor activities are spring and autumn. If you can, try and book your camping reservations during these seasons. Fall is especially ideal, as then you might also be able to enjoy spectacular colorful foliage reflecting in the water.

Enjoy These Lakes in the Eastern US

That wraps up our series on the best lakes to add to your vacation bucket list. We hope you have a chance to visit a few of these destinations. If you liked this series, you may also enjoy our series on Our Favorite Beaches and Our Favorite State Parks.