Best places for boating in the Midwest

Best places for boating in the Midwest

There are some great boating lakes in the Midwest. The Midwest is a group of Ohio states that stretch west to Nebraska with a northern border from North Dakota and south to Kansas and Missouri. With a little research, you’ll find that you don’t want to just fly over these great boating conditions when you travel this summer.

A great place to learn about the best places to go boating in the Midwest is the “Best Family Friendly Places to Go Fishing and Boating” list compiled by Take Me Fishing ™ in 2017. The contributions were collected from boaters and anglers across the country. You can even find out where some famous people like singer Luke Bryan or Pittsburgh Steeler, Al Villanueva like to go on the water.

We are fortunate to have a wide variety of boating locations across the country, and boating lakes in the Midwest are a must to visit. What defines boat lakes is, among other things, the variety of fish, the accessibility and quality of the fish. Here, I share my favorite factors to consider when putting together your best boating spots in the Midwest.

Boating lakes in the Midwest

Michigan gets a lot of attention with its proximity to four great lakes. Boating access on Lake Michigan, Huron, Lake Superior, or Lake Erie is impressive, especially if you have a large boat and are looking for plenty of water and plenty of space for motorboat cruises, skiing, or sailing. However, Michigan’s much smaller inland Lake Mitchell even made a list of the best boating spots in the Midwest as there is something for everyone here.

Fishing opportunities

I’m biased about what a body of water has to offer in terms of fishing while boating off lakes in the Midwest. If your priorities are similar, you might want to look into a lake like Lake Oahe, which extends to both South and North Dakota. At 370,000 acres, this massive impoundment of the upper Missouri River is the fourth largest reservoir in the United States. Best known for its pikeperch, white bass and pike, it will host a Bassmaster Elite tournament for the first time this year at the end of June. Anglers will be trying to find the best way to catch large black bass.

Equipment and furnishings

For others, facilities are important when deciding where to go boating and fishing. No boat ramps, poor parking, or a lack of camping sites are deal breakers. Some boaters are looking for good marinas, boat rentals or maybe even a harbor restaurant after a “hard day” with the boat.

Landscape and water quality

The landscape or the water quality can play a big role in choosing a good boat spot. For example, when you go boating in Kansas, the waters of Tuttle Creek Lake near Manhattan are usually cloudy, but bald eagles always seem to hover overhead, and there are big jumps in rocks when you bring your boat ashore.

Make sure you have your boat registration and fishing license because I’m sure there is a boating spot for you in the Midwest!

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After graduating with a degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and the US state of Michigan.