5 Great Lakes
Sebago Lake, Maine
Big, deep, readily accessible and sparkling clean, Sebago is a Maine getaway that offers a little something for everyone. Whether you want to be in the middle of the action or off in some quiet corner of the lake fishing, Sebago can provide. Even sailboat owners laud its winds, which can zoom out of the White Mountains to the northwest or gently waft in off the ocean to the southwest.
Read more about boating on Sebago Lake.
Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
At 72 square miles, Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire and the third largest lake in New England. Formed by glaciers some 10,000 years ago, Lake “Winnie” sits 500′ above sea level and comprises 253 islands.
A popular tourist attraction since the mid-1800s (the lakeside town of Wolfeboro bills itself as the oldest summer resort in America), Winnipesaukee remains a summer playground for millions of visitors. Thanks to its size, scenic surroundings, excellent marine facilities, lakeside attractions, great fishing and central-New Hampshire location, Winnie sees a phenomenal amount of boating traffic during the summer, and hosts some surprisingly large vessels.
Read more about boating on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Candlewood Lake, Connecticut
The largest lake in Connecticut, Candlewood is the ideal place to spend the summer or a weekend getaway. It features lots of little islands where people can beach their boats, as well as secluded coves where boaters can drop anchor and swim or hang out. The southern part of the lake attracts a mix of boaters, from fishermen and Jet Skiers to sailors and day-boating families. All are welcome, and there’s plenty of room.
For those interested in watersports, the lake’s wide, open stretches are ideal for wakeboarding, waterskiing, wake surfing and tubing. Hollywyle Park in New Fairfield is one such spot. Another popular hangout is Chicken Rock in Sherman, where boaters gather to socialize, climb the rocks and jump into the water.
Read more about boating on Candlewood Lake.
Moosehead Lake, Maine
From fishing to camping, kayaking to rafting, there are so many ways to enjoy the Moosehead Lake Region of north-central Maine that it would take an entire summer to sample them all.
Some 40 miles long by 10 miles wide, with an average depth of 55 feet, Moosehead is plenty deep and wide enough for big boats, and it demands respect. That said, Moosehead’s many islands and coves provide good protection in most conditions, along with myriad sheltered places to pursue watersports activities, fish or go ashore for a picnic or a swim. Kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding can be enjoyed throughout the lake, but of particular interest is the network of small islands and shallow coves comprising Lily Bay, on the eastern side of Moosehead. Many of the islands are uninhabited, and some feature course-sand beaches perfect for beaching a small craft or taking a swim. This is also a good area to encounter feeding moose, especially at dawn and dusk.
Read more about boating on Moosehead Lake.
Lake Champlain, Vermont
The islands of northern Lake Champlain are Vermont’s version of the Bahamas—an emerald archipelago boasting well-protected harbors, stellar fishing, rural landscapes and a laidback vibe. They even have a famous reef, though it’s no risk to mariners; the Chazy Fossil Reef on Isle LaMotte is a reminder of the shallow sea that once covered much of Vermont and New York.
While a visit to the 27-mile-long Inland Sea is a treat at any time of year, fall is extraordinary—a fireworks display of reds, oranges and yellows set against the distant heights of the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. Better still for boaters, they can have the waters all to themselves.
Read more about boating on Lake Champlain.