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5 Must Visit Lakes in the Northeast!

At Rudder USA, we are huge fans of lake life.  Over the next few months we'll be detailing our favorite lakes across the USA on the blog - starting with the Northeast.  Below, find our top 5 must visit lakes in the Northeast - and start planning your next adventure today!

Relaxing on a classic New England Lake in Vermont.

Lakes in the Northeast are beautiful year round, especially in the fall!

Lake Champlain
With more than 270,000 acres to explore and a bridge-connected island larger than some small towns, Lake Champlain is its own little world.  With its massive economic and touristic impact on both New York state and Vermont, Bill Clinton famously classified it as a Great Lake for a hot second in 1998.  Picking a home base for visiting Lake Champlain is an embarrassment of riches. Of note on the New York side is Whitehall, Ticonderoga, Westport, Plattsburgh, and Champlain; on the Vermont side consider staying in Shelburne, Burlington, Saint Albans, or Grand Isle.  Lake Champlain’s diversity is stunning: at its widest expanses it can feel like the ocean—perfect for sailing and long cruises—while the southern reaches wind into quiet, river-like bends perfect for kayaking and lazy summer days. 

When you’ve had your fill of Portland’s working waterfront, hip oyster bars, and famous breweries, it’s just a quick half hour in the car through sleepy suburbs and swaths of quiet farmland to get to Sebago Lake.  The massive Sebago watershed stretches from unincorporated townships near the New Hampshire border all the way to tiny ponds and streams that empty into Casco Bay. Sebago Lake is a boaters heaven—generous open water for racing around in the hot summer sun, and countless tiny coves and bays for tossing down an anchor and taking a quick snooze on a float (we won’t tell anyone). In and around Sebago are dozens upon dozens of hiking trails, wilderness camps, friendly downtowns, bougie inns, and boat clubs with every imaginable amenity. 

As the crown jewel of New Hampshire’s world famous Lakes Region, the only thing larger than Winnipesaukee (71 square miles, mind you!) is its influence on the area’s culture, economy, real estate, and wildlife.  Wolfeboro, Meredith, Center Harbor, Alton Bay, and Weirs Beach each have their own little tourist bubble along the lake’s massive shoreline. Take a tour around the lake on the historic M/S Mount Washington, M/V Doris E, or even the mailboat Sophie C. With serious ocean-like vibes—best keep those kayaks, canoes, and small sailboats in protected bays to avoid the enormous swells on windy days—you’ll likely need days to explore the lake and its 365 islands. The carefree summer culture of dockside restaurants, motels, bars, and long drives around the lake (a surprising 63 miles is the shortest route) somehow stretches all year long.  The best example of pushing those summer activities even into the dead of winter: ice sailing.

Boating in a classic Wooden Boat on a lake.

Boating, kayaking, swimming, or just enjoying the view - there's an activity for everyone across the Northeast's beautiful lakes.

Lake George
The so-called Queen of American Lakes, Lake George shines as the eastern limit and entrance to New York’s six million acre massif of Adirondack Park mountains and forests. And it’s fitting: despite the growing number of lavish town centers and luxurious rentals tucked along its quiet shores, Lake George remains a destination for outdoor exploration and nautical adventure. World-class hiking with scenic vistas and a 32-mile long expanse of open water are waiting to be discovered by your oars, paddles, sails and boots.  Some of the lake’s shoreline along its 28,000 acres are preserved and completely undeveloped, while large tracts have bustling bars and cafes for sipping a local brew after a long day on the water. 

Belgrade Lakes
A chain of connected lakes in Maine’s rustic interior—Long Pond, Great Pond, Messalonskee Lake, and Salmon Lake to name only a few—the Belgrade Lakes region makes Maine’s vacationland reputation feel like an understatement.  Lined with beaches, boat-up ice cream shops, cottages, marinas with pizzerias and bars, and always smelling a bit like cookouts and ice-cold beer, there’s no better way to experience Northern New England’s summertime lake and boating culture. And with just over an hour’s worth of drive time to Maine’s luxurious and rocky coast, there’s no shortage of options for day trips and salt air. 

Now that you have the perfect itinerary planned for your next lake trip - be sure to get the right gear!  Rudder USA's Yeti ramblers are perfect for a day on the boat - they keep your beverage hot or cold for hours!  And top off your lakeside look with our Rudder USA Classic Logo Baseball Hat - it is 100% cotton, fully adjustable, and embroidered right here in the USA.  Happy sailing!

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