Massachusetts is the 7th-smallest state that consists of coastal plains, hills, mountains, and metropolitan areas. Massachusetts also has a wealth of natural beauty, including several breathtaking lakes.
There are over 3,000 ponds and lakes in Massachusetts. Beautiful waterfalls and calm lakes provide the ideal backdrop for live entertainment and fine dining. There are so many different natural environments around Massachusetts that aren’t well-known but we’re here to change that!
The lakes and reservoirs in this area offer you many outdoors and magnificent views to spend a day or even your whole vacation. If you’re visiting Massachusetts or even if you live here, you’ll definitely want to check out some of these gorgeous bodies of water.
Here are some of our favorite lakes in Massachusetts that can’t be missed!
16. Cochituate Lake
Cochituate is a 635-acre Great Pond situated at the confluence of Framingham, Natick, and Wayland. Averaging 19 feet deep, the SouthernBasin has the lake’s deepest point at 69 feet, making it the biggest at 257 acres.
Except for the southern part of the south basin, which has significant portions of sand, the pond bottom is mainly made of mud and gravel. The water’s clarity ranges from 5 to 7 feet, making it ideal for growing aquatic flora. You won’t want to swim in certain areas of this lake.
However, there is a super nice beach at this lake. Cochituate State Park contains most of the local beachfront, largely untouched by development while surrounded by densely populated neighborhoods. Recreational use is at its peak during the summer months and it gets really crowded!
For many years, it served as a water reservoir for the city of Boston. Today, however, it is one of Massachusetts’ top recreational destinations. In the summer, you can enjoy water sports like swimming, boating, fishing, and sailing, as well as hiking on the area’s many trails. There are many places to stop for a picnic or a grill along the beach.
If you choose to fish in this lake, Chain Pickerel, Common Carp, White Perch, Brown Bullhead, White Sucker, American Eel, Black Crappie, Swamp Darter, and Golden Shiner are among the fish species you can discover here.
Cochituate Lake is well-known in Massachusetts for many reasons. It’s kind of a whole destination all by itself, offering swimming, fishing, nature-watching, hiking, and more, but it’s also pretty centrally located to some major Massachusetts cities.
15. Monomonac Lake
This artificial lake is on the boundary between Rindge and Winchendon. The damming of the North Branch of the Millers River, a tributary of the Connecticut River in New Hampshire, transformed a little pond into the reservoir you see today.
The average depth of Monomonac Lake is three meters. It is located at an altitude of 318 meters above sea level. The lake is mainly in New Hampshire, although people from both states come to the lake to relax and enjoy it.
In this warm water fishing area, you can target a wide variety of fish including chain pickerel, bass, black crappie, and bluegill. Canoeing is a popular activity here as well.
New Hampshire’s fishing rules apply to Monomonac Lake. Since this lake is 592-acres, only licensed anglers from Massachusetts or New Hampshire can access it.
This is definitely a smaller, less-popular lake that’s great for when you want to get away and have some privacy. We feel that it’s better for fishing and nature-watching than swimming.
14. Onota Lake
The 19th and 20th-century vacation houses on Onota Lake’s 2.5 square kilometer shoreline have made it a popular tourist destination. It is a beautiful lake that has been a popular summer vacation for many decades. Seriously – this area is stunning!
Onata Lake is located in Western Massachusetts. The City of Pittsfield owns and manages Onota Lake, a 617-acre lake wholly inside the city limits. Residents of the Berkshires and tourists appreciate the lake’s many recreational activities.
Swimming, sailing, water skiing, and fishing are all popular activities on Onota Lake. Burbank Park is accessible all year and has a boat launch, picnic spaces, a walking route, and a beach.
As a result of its position, many anglers, swimmers, and sailors visit this lake. Despite the traffic, the lake is in excellent shape, with a water clarity at 17 feet depth.
In terms of depth, the maximum is 66 feet, while the average is approximately 22 feet. Low-depth aquatic flora is numerous and very thick.
In this lake, you’ll find a wide variety of fish including northern pike, rainbow trout, chain pickerel, white perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, black crappie, carp, and rock bass. Other species include golden shiners, white suckers, and rainbow smelt. It’s a great spot for some Massachusetts lake fishing!
In addition to 75 parking spaces, the ramp can handle any trailered boat. In one of the best fishing spots, you’ll find a cement fishing pier as well.
Whether you want to spend a day on the boat, swim, or observe nature, Onata lake has it all. We recommend spending a weekend in the area for the full effect!
13. Boon Lake
Boon Lake is a 66-hectare lake located in eastern Massachusetts. Matthew Boon, a native and early explorer from Charlestown, Massachusetts, inspired the lake’s name.
The lake’s average depth is 11 feet. It is divided into many basins and connected by thin, navigable canals.
The lake has four basins, all of which are vital to the villages of Stow and Hudson. It has been a favorite summer vacation destination for Bostonians for generations, with thousands flocking to the area.
For those who like to relax on the water, there’s a specific area to swim, barbeque, and spend time on the water. During the summer months, the town beach is available to the public. There are also summer programs for children and a swimming class nearby. It definitely gets busy in the warmer months because it’s so close to the city!
If you fish, Chain Pickerel and sunfish are plentiful in the easternmost basins because of the abundance of plant beds and coarse woody debris. You can catch Black Crappie, Perch, and Largemouth Bass in the more prominent and deeper basins.
Horseshoe Pub and Restaurant and Rail Trail Flatbread Co. in Hudson are great options for a meal before or after your Boon Lake excursion. We love how this lake is so close to the city because it can give you a taste of nature along with an urban vacation!
12. Wyola Lake
Wyola Lake is a tiny lagoon located near Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Aside from boating, fishing, and swimming, the reservoir is a popular destination for various recreational activities. It’s a terrific area to canoe or boat.
In the winter, visitors to the park go skiing or snowmobiling – there’s a lot of gorgeous terrain surrounding the lake.
The lake has a secured beach and many picnic areas, all with charcoal grills, to relax and enjoy the crystal blue water. There is a volleyball court, a horseshoe pit, and two manicured fields for children to play in. Wheelchair users will appreciate the accessible parking and waterfront walkway.
Stocked trout are plentiful at Lake Wyola, making it a great place to fish. Anglers can also catch largemouth bass (up to 5 pounds) and chain pickerel in the lake’s vegetated regions. Despite the presence of Smallmouth Bass, they are in reduced numbers.
Non-motorized boats are welcomed. There is a public boat launch at the eastern end of the lake with excellent bass and trout fishing facilities.
If you’re looking for a quiet lake with a local town community then Wyola is definitely your spot. However, it’s not much of a tourist destination, though it’s perfect for anyone who wants a little privacy.
11. Otis Reservoir
One of the most prominent recreational water bodies in the state, Otis Reservoir is located in Western Massachusetts. It covers 1,100 acres and has 30 miles of coastline. There is a DEM boat ramp at the forest’s entry, and powerboating is allowed.
The Otis Reservoir’s western side is home to Tolland State Forest’s 90 campsites. Many campsites are right on the water’s edge, making them ideal for tent and trailer campers. The roughly 4,900-acre State Forest has various trails for summer and winter activities. Swimming, boating, water-skiing, and sailing are all popular activities on the water.
Most anglers visit Otis to pursue the stocked trout that the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has released for capture. Most are caught by trolling tiny spinners and spoons or still-fishing the bottom with dough-baits or worms from a boat or shore. A fall stocking of fewer but larger trout in late September and early October brings back the best fishing for these trout.
Yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and black crappie are popular ice fishing targets, although chain pickerel are hard to come by in large quantities. Trophy tiger muskies are possible, but they’re rare.
Locating a secluded area free of water skiers and speedboats is a considerable challenge – this is a popular spot. If you want the full-on New England lake experience, head to Otis Lake’s campsite for the week.
10. Chaubunagungamaug (Webster) Lake
Chaubunagungamaug Lake, also known as Webster Lake, is one of the most beautiful bodies of water in Massachusetts.
While it’s close to Connecticut, this picturesque site also happens to be Massachusetts’ second biggest natural lake. The lake’s 27-kilometer coastline covers 584 hectares. It’s so large that we call it the “Great Pond” around here!
Due to two marinas on the lake, it is an excellent spot for boating, swimming, and fishing. Largemouth bass and black crappie are among the species found in the lake. Additionally, it’s a popular tourist attraction because of the abundance of wildlife you can see when strolling along its Walkabout Trail.
Stave & Still or Samuel Slater’s Restaurant in Webster are great places to dine after a day at the lake.
If you have an opportunity to rent a summer cottage on Webster Lake then we highly recommend that you take it! The lake is incredibly gorgeous but is also a really fun time, especially in the summer.
9. Crystal Lake
The Newton Center Baptist Church previously used Crystal Lake for baptisms, which is why this body of water used to be called Baptist Lake. Crystal Lake (formerly Baptist Lake) got its new name from the industrial ice harvesting that took place there in the nineteenth century.
Homes and tiny parks ring the coastline of Crystal Lake nowadays. Lifeguard training and swimming classes are available at this popular swimming site. It’s a great spot for families!
The lake’s west bank is also a popular fishing spot for anglers, and the fishing pier is quite busy in the summer. On the east end of the lake, near the municipal beach, an additional public beachfront is accessible for angling.
Crystal is a bass-and-panfish-friendly body of water. Anglers may catch a few good-sized basses as well as the rare prize bass while out on the water. However, the sunfish are small but plentiful. We have the most fun catching sunfish here.
Before leaving the lake, make sure your boat, trailer, and other equipment are free of visible plant matter. The water can get pretty dense!
While this is a smaller lake and isn’t really a destination, it’s a great spot for city folk who want to spend a day on the water.
8. Quinsigamond Lake
To experience one of the most excellent lakes in Massachusetts, go to Quinsigamond Lake near Worchester. It is a 772-hectare lake home to eight privately-owned islands.
You can swim, fish, kayak, sail, and barbeque at Quinsigamond State Park in Worcester. Additionally, you’ll find one of the top rowing courses in the world, which measures 2,000 meters long.
Family-friendly amenities include a swimming pool and a playground. It’s definitely set up to be super accessible.
There are two locations on the western coast of Quinsigamond State Park; both are family-friendly, and both provide bathroom facilities.
The two boat ramps make it easy for those who like boating to go out on the lake. Also, because it’s in the middle of town, you won’t have to search far for somewhere to stay, eat, or shop. It’s really close to a lot of fun non-water activities.
This Massachusetts lake has year-round fishing opportunities, including ice fishing, but be aware that this is a big lake that will be one of the slowest to freeze over. Water temperatures below 55℉ are ideal for trout and salmon to be most active.
The lake is stocked with Brown, Brook, and Rainbow trout (spring and fall) and Broodstock Atlantic Salmon in late fall by mass wildlife. In specific years, Northern Pike and Tiger Muskie are supplied based on the availability of these fish species.
This lake is definitely more of a sightseeing or fishing lake and less of a swimming spot. We recommend checking out some of the local restaurants for a bite by the water.
7. Quabbin Reservoir
Summer in western Massachusetts isn’t complete without a trip to the Quabbin Reservoir, no matter how long you’ve lived in the region. The Quabbin Reservoir has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. There are 181 miles of beachfront here, and it’s well-known as one of New England’s most idyllic spots for strolling, hiking, and picnics.
Due to an increasing need for freshwater, the Quabbin Reservoir was constructed in the 1930s in the Swift River Valley. When Nani-Quaben (Naniquaben), a Native American chief, gave the Quabbin its name, it was a reference to the area’s abundance of water. Four settlements had to be relocated to accommodate the new water supply as part of the construction process.
The Quabbin Reservoir is still one of the most significant reservoirs in North America, providing safe drinking water to millions of people in Massachusetts. Nearly 40 square miles and 412 billion gallons of water make it the largest reservoir in the United States.
The pool, of course, provides much more than pure water. The Quabbin also offers a wide variety of recreational activities.
There are hiking, walking, and bike routes around the Quabbin Reservoir. A picnic in one of the several serene areas is a beautiful way to spend time together. Another favorite pastime is bird viewing since the reservoir is home to various species, including the rare bald eagle.
The abundance of fish in the Quabbin also makes it a fantastic area to go fishing. On the other hand, fishing is only permitted during the official fishing season, which runs from April to October.
You can’t swim here, but the picture opportunities and views make Quabbin totally worth a trip.
6. Ashmere Lake
You’ll discover one of the most beautiful lakes in Massachusetts in Berkshire County. Seriously: this lake is not to be missed!
Ashmere Lake, a 287-acre body of water on the border of Hinsdale and Peru along Route 143, is divided the lake into two basins, with a trench allowing small boats to travel between them.
Near the dam in the southern basin, Ashmere Lake’s depth rises to a whopping 24 feet. There are significant regions of rock and debris in the western and southern parts of the south of the basin’s bottom that are mostly mud.
Other than Ashmere Lake State Park, the southern side of the South Basin has a modestly developed shoreline, with a few buildings along the beach.
There’s a lot of recreational activity around Lake Ashmere. Warm water makes fishing a favorite pastime for visitors to the lake. The fish species you can find in the lake includes yellow perch, black crappie, and brown bullhead. The lake is also famous for kayaking, canoeing, and water skiing.
Camp Danbee and Camp Taconic are two summer camps situated on the shoreline. Along the coast, you’ll find plenty of trees and comfortable vacation cottages available for private rental.
Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Ashmere Lake while savoring some of the best local cuisines. Ozzie’s Steak & Eggs in Hinsdale is a good option if you’re in the mood for some home cooking. Worthington, Ohio’s The Rabbit Hole, is also about 15 minutes from Peru.
Overall, Ashmere is a great tourist destination if you want to spend a week by the water!
5. Attitash Lake
Located approximately a mile and a half northeast of Merrimack City, Attitash Lake is a 373-acre expansion of Great Pond. Except at the entrance and outflow coves, the water’s surface is primarily free of aquatic plants due to the area’s sandy and gravelly composition. Nearly all of the beachfront has been converted into residential areas.
Tourists and people from all over Massachusetts flock to Essex County’s Attitash Lake during the summer months. It is a gorgeous lake surrounded by houses, boat docks, and two fantastic beaches.
The lake offers year-round fishing opportunities, making it one of the most incredible spots in the state for the sport. During the warm months of the year, it’s common to go boating, swimming, and do other water sports.
Fishermen and boaters have access to ramps and parking at the lake’s edge thanks to Fishing and Boating Access. After a day on the lake, travel to Merrimac Town Forest for a scenic trek in the woods. The Cobbler’s Brook Trail, the Red Oak Hill Trail, and the Long Hill Trail are worth exploring.
4. Massapoag Lake
There is a pristine natural lake in the town of Sharon called Massapoag Lake, known for its clear, gorgeous water. Besides fishing, swimming, sailing, or ice fishing, this 353-acre lake is a great spot to relax and unwind.
During the cooler months, the secluded beach is a great place to cool down without fighting the crowds at more crowded locations. Regardless of the season, Massapoag Lake is a must-see in Massachusetts.
Since the 18th century, Massapoag Lake has been used for ice production. Today, the lake is a popular summer destination, with resorts, hotels, and cottages all around it. This lake is a popular ice fishing destination in the winter and transforms into a spectacular display of foliage in the fall. Really – any season is amazing!
Massapoag Lake has a maximum depth of 48 feet and an average depth of 16 feet. The water is translucent up to a depth of around 10 feet. Most of it is gravel and debris, but there are many boulder-strewn sections near the surface marked with buoys.
Massapoag Lake is an excellent fishing spot for both large and smallmouth bass. You should concentrate your efforts in the boulder-strewn areas of the lake, as these fish often congregate in and around underwater cover and structure.
Fish for yellow and white perch with bass near structure, but you can also catch them down the coastline on occasion. Among the weeds and coves of the pond, you can discover Chain Pickerel.
You can access the shoreline on town property at the southern end of the lake off Lakeview Street. There is a concrete boat ramp and associated parking space at Memorial Park off Pond St. on the northern shore of the pond. For a charge, the city offers passes that allow trailered boats to be parked and launched in certain spots.
We love Massapoag Lake in the summer because it’s a bit quieter but is still one of the destination lakes in Massachusetts.
3. Quannapowitt Lake
Located in the town of Wakefield, Quannapowitt Lake was initially known as Reading Pond. The lake is one of the most famous in the greater Boston region and is surrounded by a beautiful location for running, cycling, in-line skating, and other recreational activities.
Quannapowitt Lake’s 3.3-mile circular path is ideal for jogging, biking, or running. The paved, mainly flat track, is suitable for all ages and levels, and it is also accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
The route is adorned with abundant wildflowers during the spring and summer, making it a popular destination for tourists. As a result, it is a well-known venue for races of all distances, from 5 kilometers to marathons.
For those looking to go out on the water, Quannapowitt Lake is an excellent option. After a hard day at the office, take a short trip on the water with your kayak or canoe from the tiny boat launch and sandy area.
The Wakefield Boathouse offers a variety of watercraft rentals, including kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal boats, while the Quannapowitt Yacht Club teaches sailing. The club provides sailboats, dinghies, sailing for youngsters, racing, and regional regattas.
There are three parks around Lake Quannapowitt where you can play Frisbee, have a picnic, or sit back and read a book. On the Quannapowitt Parkway, you can quickly locate Colonel Connelly Playground and Gertrude Spaulding Park.
Quannapowitt Lake is a beautiful place to sit back and enjoy the scenery. However, the lake is contaminated, making it impossible to fish here, and you definitely can’t swim. It’s more of an observational spot.
2. Walden Pond
Walden Pond was formed 10,000 years ago by glaciers receding. Near Concord, Massachusetts, it is part of Walden Pond State Reservation, which is protected from development.
Henry David Thoreau lived near the northern bank of the lake and wrote several times about it in his book ‘The Ponds’. The film production company Walden Media takes its name from the lake.
Walden Pond is a popular place to swim, boat, fish, and picnic. Nearby parks offer camping, hiking, and hunting.
To get a feel for the simple way of life Thoreau promoted, head to the reproduction of his cottage as soon as you arrive. Then, take the path that follows the coast of Walden Pond.
This 100-foot-deep swimming pool is a kettle lake, created when a giant block of ice broke away and was left in its place after the last Ice Age. The water is still warm enough to wade in at the nearby beach in early October.
An accessible boat ramp off Route 128 is open daily from 5 AM to 5:30 PM for those who choose to bring their canoes or kayaks, with extra parking across the street for when the area gets crowded. Rental boats from Charles River Canoe & Kayak can be delivered to Walden Pond at your convenience.
There are no restrictions on using any non-gas-powered watercraft on Walden Pond. You can fish for trout from a boat or along the shoreline.
If you want to follow Thoreau’s example and spend your vacation in the great outdoors, you’ll have to travel a bit. Walden Pond State Reservation does not allow overnight camping. Among the options for camping in the area are Berry’s Grove Campground, Hanscom Air Force Base FamCamp, and Spacious Skies Minute Man Campground.
We 100% recommend checking out Walden Pond for the history alone! However, it’s also a nice place to see some wildlife and take a dip.
1. Laurel Lake
At the top of our list Laurel Lake, one of our absolute favorite lakes in Massachusetts. Between Lee and the western terminus of the Jacob’s Ladder Trail, Laurel Lake is a popular destination for both hikers and campers in Western Massachusetts. It’s worth the drive to get out there!
Visit Sandy Beach, a peaceful lakeside beach nestled in a secluded cove to cool down in the lake. A boat launch is accessible for your use, so bring your canoes and kayaks and enjoy some lake time.
This family-friendly swimming hole’s water is always refreshingly cool during the hottest summer days. Relax on your favorite beach chair or spread out on a blanket on the sand. Concessions are provided at the lakeside refreshment stand if you are hungry.
Picnic tables and charcoal grills are tucked away in the woods beside the lake if you need a respite from the heat. There are bathrooms available in the building for your relief. The Pine Grove General Store is also an excellent place to fill up on food and beverages.
In addition to swimming and boating, you can also pull out the fishing gear and explore the park’s many trails, including a piece of the famed Appalachian Trail.
Take a 10-minute journey to Twirly Top for the ideal finale of your day. The soft-serve ice cream at this neighborhood staple has been around for more than six decades.
While visiting Laurel Lake and Pine Grove Furnace State Park, take advantage of the neighboring hotels and B&Bs available to extend your Weekend Easy getaway. Camping in the park’s campgrounds or renting the two-story Paymaster’s Cabin if you want more contemporary facilities are your two options.
If you want to spend at least a few days at one of the best lakes in Massachusetts, you should definitely consider Laurel Lake. It literally has it all!
Hopefully, this post gave you some ideas for the best Massachusetts lakes to check out this summer!
These bodies of water are the most incredible in the state due to their spectacular scenery, tranquil atmosphere, and year-round pleasure.
After learning about the top lakes in Massachusetts, which one will you visit first?