When considering the best seasons for boating in the south, fall is often cited as a favorite. The weather is cooler, the landscapes more colorful and the waterways calmer. Your only challenge might be deciding which place to visit first. Learn about seven scenic southern lakes to explore this fall.
- Lake Cumberland, Kentucky. Surrounded by mountains and lined with bays and waterfalls, Lake Cumberland’s 1,255 mile coastline offers some of the finest and best boating in the south. Don’t forget your fishing gear, however, as Lake Cumberland is also great for catching striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish.
- Lake Douglas, Tennessee. Since Lake Douglas is at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains and just a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the view alone is worth the trip. If you’re wondering where to go boating and fishing while surrounded by beautiful autumn views, Lake Douglas is well worth a visit. In addition to the view of the mountains, the lake is known for its large largemouth bass and crappie.
- Lake Ouachita, Arkansas. As Arkansas’ largest lake, experience some of the best boats in the south on 40,000 acres of clear, sparkling water surrounded by the scenic Ouachita National Forest. Boating, kayaking, and fishing are often considered more enjoyable here in the cooler fall months. Species such as crappie, catfish, striped bass and largemouth bass can be caught on a trip to Lake Ouachita – either in open water or at anchor in a calm cove. Buy your Arkansas fishing license online to save time before you set off.
- Caddo Lake, Texas / Louisiana. Located on the Texas and Louisiana border, Caddo Lake has over 25,000 acres and some of the most scenic boats in the south. Imagine cypress trees draped with Spanish moss along the shorelines and marshes. Relax while taking in the autumn views or try your hand at fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, white bass and sunfish.
- Lake Martin, Alabama. In the autumn months, Martinsee is often considered to be one of the best boating lakes due to the views of the surrounding hills and excellent bass fishing. The clear waters of this dam on the Tallapoosa River are known to be an excellent destination for bass and trout at this time of year.
- Lake Oconee, Georgia. If you’re looking for places to go boating in the south, with the waterfront restaurants and landscaped views of the golf course, Lake Oconee is for you. Don’t forget, however, that this lake remains one of the best largemouth bass trout in the state of Georgia. Be sure to bring your spinnerbaits!
- Lake Okeechobee, Florida. While you may be most interested in planning a trip to Lake Okeechobee because it is known as a popular destination for bass fishing, it is also surrounded by part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. This fact makes “Lake O” an equally attractive place for hikers and bikers in the cooler months of the year.
With this list of places to go boating in the south, planning a family adventure on the water this fall should be easy. For more ideas, see the list of places to go fishing and boating. Happy autumn!
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Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide in southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has been featured in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @ shefishes2.