14 of the Cleanest Lakes in the United States

The United States is home to some beautiful scenery. From snow-covered mountain peaks to sun-kissed sandy beaches. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in one of the 50 states. And if you’re looking to vacation or visit a lake this summer, consider one of the 14 cleanest lakes in the United States.

Let’s have a look!

14 Cleanest Lakes in the United States

While the following list of the cleanest lakes in the United States is comprehensive, they are not the only clean lakes found throughout America. Each lake on our list, however, offers more than just clean water. They also provide various other recreational offerings, such as fishing, boating, and swimming, for you to enjoy.

1. Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain outdoor
Lake Champlain outdoor by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

Location: New York and Vermont

Lake Champlain separates New York and Vermont, but also runs across the United States-Canada border and into Quebec. It is a natural freshwater lake that has an impressive length of 124.9 miles, with 435 square miles of surface water.

According to the Lake Champlain Natural Trust, the deepest part of the lake is between Essex, NY, and Charlotte, VT reaching a depth of 400 feet. However, the average depth of the lake is only 64 feet. Lake Champlain is home to over 90 species of fish, and this body of water is known as one of the best lakes for bass fishing.

2. Lake Winnipesaukee

A Beautiful view on Lake Winnipesaukee | image by Doug Kerr via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire, with a surface area of 44,422 acres. It whines in and out of cities and mountains, boasting almost 300 miles of shore.

Lake Winnipesaukee is no stranger to the big screen, and has been seen in a wide array of movies, including “What About Bob?” and “On Golden Pond.”

3. Lake George

Best view on Lake George | image by Randall Wick via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: New York

Known as the “Queen of the American Lakes,” Lake George is a stunning body of water that can thank the many underground springs that feed into the lake for giving it its clear appearance. Over the years, Lake George has gone through some name changes.

The Mohawk tribe originally called it Andia-ta-roc-te, and in the 1600s, when settlers to the area arrived, they called the lake Lac Du Saint Sacrement. It wasn’t until the French and Indian War that the lake was named after King George.

4. Lake Norris

A Beauty Lake Norris | image by collect moments via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Tennessee

Lake Norris features stunning bright blue water and 809 miles of shore that are set against the backdrop of rugged hills and mountainous peaks. While its beautiful surroundings are enough to bring in tourists, the real draw is its impressive amount of fish.

Lake Norris has over 56 species of fish living in its water and is known for being a great place to catch striper fish.

5. Lake Murray Park

Lake Murray Park | image by Tony Webster via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: Oklahoma

Located in Lake Murray Park, which is the largest park in Oklahoma, Lake Murray has stunning water that the lake gets from various springs feeding into it. It is a man-made lake that was built in 1937.

An interesting fact about Lake Murray is that in 2017, divers found lost towns under the lake. There are still cemeteries, churches, and schools under the lake’s water.

6. Lake of the Ozarks

Sunrise-on-the Lake-of-the-Ozarks
Lake of the Ozarks View From Sky | image by James St. John via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: Missouri

The Lake of the Ozarks is a man-made body of water that was created when a dam was built in 1929. Its serpentine-like shape and deep blueish water have earned this lake the nickname “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

The Lake of the Ozarks has 1,150 miles of shoreline and 54,000 acres of surface area, which makes it one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States.

7. Lake Michigan

Moonset over Lake Michigan | image by Greg Marks via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: Illinois

Lake Michigan is part of the Great Lakes and is stretched across Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. However, Chicago, Illinois is home to some of the cleanest and bluest parts of the lake.

Millennium Park in Chicago offers access to Lake Michigan and has a wide array of events and activities for the whole family both on and off the water.

8. Lake Torch

Peaceful View of Torch Lake
Peaceful View of Torch Lake | image by Marada via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Michigan

Lake Torch is a member of Michigan’s Chain of Lakes, which consists of 14 lakes and rivers. It is the longest inland lake in Michigan with a length of 19 miles. Its turquoise water and sandbars can give you tropical paradise vibes without leaving the United States.

9. Lake Superior

Sunset over Lake Superior
Sunset over Lake Superior | image by Helena Jacoba via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the entire world if you are measuring surface area. It spans three different states and comes to an end in Ontario, Canada. The lake is so large that if you could straighten out its shoreline, it would connect Duluth, Minnesota to the Bahama Islands.

The water of Lake Superior is reminiscent of the ocean, and the lake itself has been used as an oceanic backdrop in various films. In “The Good Son”, a 1993 film starring Elijah Wood and Macauley Culkin, they used Lake Superior for the coastal scenes.

10. Lake Tahoe

Winter Evening, Lake Tahoe
Winter Evening, Lake Tahoe | image by Jonathan Cook-Fisher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: Nevada and California

Lake Tahoe is a popular lake, and for good reason. It borders Nevada and California, has cold clear water, and is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This lake is older than most of the lakes found throughout the world.

In fact, it is over 2 million years old. It is also a very deep lake, reaching depths of up to 1, 645 feet. To put that in perspective, the Empire State Building is only 1,454 feet tall!

11. Crater Lake

Bluish lake water on Crater Lake
Bluish lake water on Crater Lake | image by Mark Smith via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Oregon

Crater Lake is one of the most famous lakes in the United States. Its stunning appearance has been described as otherwordly. Crater Lake gets its beautiful blue water from rain and snow, which means there are no mineral deposits being transferred to it.

This makes it one of the cleanest lakes in the entire world. Crater Lake is also the deepest lake in the United States, measuring a depth of 1,943 feet.

12. Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake | image by Barbara Ann Spengler via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: Montana

When measured by surface area, Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western portion of the United States. It is also one of the cleanest lakes.

According to the Flathead Lake Bio Station, the reason for this is that the lake’s watershed is mainly from managed forest lands, such as the National Park. Flathead Lakes holds a fishing tournament, known as “Mack Days”, that brings in more than 400,000 lake trout!

13. Newfound Lake

Newfound Lake at Sunset
Newfound Lake at Sunset | image by David Salafia via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: New Hampshire

Newfound Lake is known by some as one of the cleanest lakes in the world. It is also one of the deepest lakes in New Hampshire, with a max depth of 183 feet. Newfound Lake is a spring-fed lake, which gives it clear and clean water.

You can find over 20 species of fish in the lake, and the state regularly stocks it with various fish species, including salmon, trout, and whitefish. The Wellington State Park features a boat launch that gives boaters free access to Newfound Lake year-round.

14. Deer Lake

Sunset over Deer Lake | image by Eric Titcombe via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Location: Minnesota

Deer Lake is a rather large lake covering over 4,000 acres. It has clean and clear water with a visibility of about 13 feet. It is well known as a place to catch quality muskies, walleyes, and small-mouth bass. Deer Lake is one of the biggest lakes in Minnesota and features many small islands.

When the sun bounces off the water’s surface, it gives the lake a rainbow-like appearance, which has earned this lake the nickname “Lake of the Changing Colors.”