Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Maine has a famously beautiful coastline dotted with picturesque lighthouses, but it’s also home to gorgeous mountains and sparkling lakes. There are hundreds of bodies of water to enjoy here, some of which are unnamed, offering everything from peaceful tranquility in the wilderness where one can enjoy a quiet paddle interrupted only by the sounds of the loons, to those that are buzzing with activity. While it’s hard to narrow down the list, these are the top spots if you’re looking for an idyllic lake getaway in this spectacular state.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
Rangeley Lake is absolutely stunning – from above, the view is sure to impress, but along the southern shoreline, you’ll find Rangeley Lake State Park which offers plenty of things to do. One of the best places to visit in Maine, it offers fishing, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking on the water as well as hitting the scenic trails for a trek. Watch for wildlife, including a wide range of bird species, deer, and moose. Nearby, Angel Falls is an easy one-mile round-trip hike with its cascades plunging for 90-feet, sometimes looking like an angel’s wing.
Moosehead Lake is the largest in Maine and the second largest in all of New England, covering 120 square miles. It’s home to more than 80 islands and Mount Kineo rises more than 656 feet on a 1,150-acre peninsula that extends from its eastern shore. The lake was named for the abundant moose population, with the animals outnumber people 3 to 1, making it ideal for those hoping to catch a glimpse, just not too close as the creatures are massive and can be dangerous if provoked or protecting a calf. When looking at it from a bird’s-eye view the lake also happens to resemble moose antlers. It’s a great place to enjoy wild beauty, go boating, or take part in all types of other water sports. Plus, boat rentals are available in the area if you don’t have your own. You’ll find a wide range of accommodation too, from campgrounds and cabin rentals to motels too.
Sebago Lake covers 45 square miles and is absolutely stunning. While much of the state offers brilliant autumn foliage during the season, this is one of the best spots for photos with the trees often reflected in the still water. There’s plenty of other things to do here too, from swimming and fishing to boating and water skiing. Sebago Lake State Park sits along its north shore and offers campsites, two beaches, a boat ramp, and a hiking trail. There are plenty of places to stay nearby too, including cabins, cottages, and hotels. The lake is also home to Frye Island, a seasonal island with lots of waterfront properties.
One of the best parks in Maine, Acadia National park is home to Bowl Lake, a gorgeous high-altitude lake that’s ideal for a swim on a hot summer’s day. It’s especially refreshing after the short hike up on a well-marked, approximately three-quarters of a mile trail. It’s definitely worth the effort just to soak up the beauty and you’ll find plenty of other things to do in the park with its breathtaking coastline and a variety of tours, including canoeing and kayaking excursions.
Just to the west of Rangeley Lake, Mooselookmeguntic Lake is a 16,000-acre lake that’s just a couple of miles off the famous Appalachian Trail. Its shoreline is nearly 60 miles long offering plenty of spots to try your luck at catching brook or brown trout, salmon, or perch. Its fun, long name (the third-longest named lake in the country), is an Abnaki word that means “moose feeding place,” appropriate considering the significant moose population. This is a fabulous spot for a tranquil paddle, in a canoe or kayak, and the fall colors are absolutely dazzling in the season. In winter, nearby Saddleback Mountain offers alpine skiing and snowmobiling. There are also many vacation rental properties dotted along the shore that provide an ideal base for enjoying it all.
One of the best bass fishing lakes in the northeast, Cobbossee Lake offers 62 miles of shoreline and is also popular for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, water skiing, boating, and more. It boasts one of the most unique features of any lake in Maine, home to the state’s only active inland waters lighthouse. “Ladies Delight Light” was built in 1908 and has been shining ever since. The lake borders five towns and has two boat launches, one in Manchester and the other in Monmouth. All that and it’s only an hour from the city of Portland.
Historically known as Great East Pond, Sebasticook Lake is located in the town of Newport, with its borders surrounding the shoreline. It’s easily accessible for many, located close to Interstate 95 in central Maine, and provides opportunities for recreational activities like swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing for smallmouth bass, white perch, and black crappie. Bird watching is fantastic here with loons, herons, and eagles frequently spotted. In the winter, ice huts pop across the lake for ice fishing. As it’s not as remote you’ll find plenty of shops and eateries nearby along with a good range of accommodation options.
This picturesque lake isn’t big, at just over 4.5-miles long, but it’s stunningly beautiful with a backdrop of Mount Blue and other mountain peaks. Mount Blue State Park sits along the western shoreline, popular for all sorts of activities on the water like swimming and on land, including horseback riding and hiking. Dummer’s Beach is a great spot to relax, play, and camp, with a boat launch, campsites, and a number of facilities, including showers. if you like to fish, bring your gear and try your luck at hooking smallmouth bass or landlocked salmon.
Located just north of Mount Katahdin, in an area with lots of moose, Millinocket offers especially picturesque scenery as well as being an outstanding spot for fishing. Brook trout, landlocked salmon, and yellow perch are all abundant here and there are many other fish species as well. It’s divided between the larger main lake and smaller Little Millinocket Lake which sits at the west end, with most of the shoreline forested. There’s not much in the way of development, but there’s plenty of scenic spots to pitch a tent and a few small hotels nearby in the town of Millinocket.
Jordan Pond is a 185-acre lake edged by Penobscot Mountain in Acadia National Park, ideal for those looking for lots of great photo-ops. It has an approximately 3.5-mile shoreline with a trail that encircles it for enjoying the views. Watch for wildlife and stop for lunch, tea, or dinner at the famous Jordan House which is along the waterfront. Afterward, you can enjoy other activities in the park-like sightseeing cruises that feature Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, puffin cruises, and sunset cruises.
Flagstaff Lake is bordered by the Bigelow Mountain Range, providing a wealth of activities on land and water. The Appalachian Trail sits along its 146-mile-long shoreline, making it popular for hiking, and the lake is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a historic 740-mile water trail that runs through the province of Quebec in Canada, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Maine. It’s great for trout and salmon fishing, kayaking, and canoeing, as well as offering six boat launches. Vacation rental cabins and campsites are numerous too.
Located just 20 miles from Maine’s capital city of Augusta, China Lake is located in the towns of China and Vassalboro and includes two large basins linked by a narrow neck. A freshwater glacial lake, it has three boat ramps and draws many visitors for boating, swimming from multiple public beaches, and fishing. The Maine Division of Inland Fish and Wildlife stocks it with brown trout and there are also many warm water species like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, white and yellow perch, and brown bullhead. Hiking, biking, and camping can all be enjoyed nearby as well. In the winter, many bring their snowmobiles.