Long before the warm temperatures spread across the American heartland, there are plenty of nature lovers thinking about the best places to go boating in the Midwest. The best boating destinations in the Midwest offer easy access, great fishing, and family-friendly amenities.
If you’re wondering where to go boating or want a list of the best boating lakes in the Midwest, look no further. In fact, these ten boating spots may sound familiar to you because they are the lakes that are often mentioned when someone asks about the best places to go boating in the Midwest.
1. Big Green Lake, Wisconsin
Located in central Wisconsin, Big Green Lake is a natural feathered lake that spans nearly 8,000 acres and has eight boat ramps. It is also known as a prime fishing spot for black bass, largemouth bass, trout and panfish.
2. Lake Vermillion, Minnesota
Not only is Lake Vermillion often cited as one of the top ten most beautiful lakes in the Midwest, it’s also often cited as one of the best boating vacations as the lake is easy to navigate due to its size of 40,000 acres. There are numbered canal markers and sanctuaries to take refuge in on windy days.
3. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
While Lake St. Clair is partially in Canada, the lake’s waters within the Michigan boundaries are a haven for boaters, anglers, and water sports enthusiasts. There are several access points in Michigan, sandy beaches for families to relax on, and even some waterfront restaurants with boat docks.
4. Spirit Lake, Iowa
Spirit Lake may be known for excellent fishing for small bass and black crappies, but it’s also a great boating destination considering it’s the largest natural lake in Iowa at 5,684 acres. That means a lot of water that you can explore by fishing boat, pontoon boat or deck boat.
5. Chain O’Lakes, Illinois
Grass, Marie, and Nippersink are three of the best places to go boating on the Illinois Chain O ‘Lakes Waterway. In fact, Chain O’Lakes State Park borders these three natural lakes and offers a range of activities for boaters, anglers, and water skiers.
6. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
The city on Lake Geneva is a hotspot for summer vacation in the Midwest. Hence, you may need to plan a boating vacation here early. There are six state boat ramps that provide access to Lake Geneva in Walworth County. You can attach your own boat, take a historic boat tour, rent a boat, take a dinner cruise, or set out on a fishing charter boat.
7. Table Rock Lake, Missouri
Table Rock Lake is about 20 minutes from Branson and provides you and your family with 45,000 acres of water to explore this summer. Access to Table Rock Lake is easy as there are 24 boat ramps and over a dozen public marinas.
8. West Okoboji Lake, Iowa
West Okoboji Lake is a natural glacial lake that stretches for nearly 3,847 acres in northwest Iowa. Sailing, fishing, and cruising are popular boating activities. Access to the boat is via the ramp in the Emerson Bay Recreational Area or near Triboji Beach at the north end of the lake.
9. Tippecanoe Lake, Indiana
This large glacial lake is part of the Barbee Lakes chain in northern Indiana. Fishing (there are over 25 different species that can be caught on Tippecanoe Lake), cruising, kayaking, and canoeing are among your options when visiting Tippecanoe Lake this summer.
10. Tappan Lake, Ohio
Boating and water sports are the main attractions of Lake Tappan, also known as the Tappan Reservoir. At Lake Tappan there is a maximum output of 399 hp. This is a lot of speed for the recreational boating activities that families can enjoy here. There are also guided paddle tours as well as good fishing for bluegill, sunfish or Saugeye.
Now all you have to do is choose the best places to go boating in the Midwest and plan your family’s upcoming adventure on the water. Go to the state pages OH, IA, IN, IL, WI, MO, MI, MN for information about specific boating regulations or laws you may need to know before you set off.