It’s almost officially summer time in Appalachia. Time for hot days spent in the great outdoors coupled with good friends and even better beer. The mountains and rivers of Appalachia boast hundreds of placid lakes waiting for the summer shenanigans of millions of annual visitors. Whether you are searching for a quiet place to kayak or your next boat outing location, consider these 10 Scenic Lakes of Appalachia for your travels.

1. Summersville Lake – Nicholas County, West Virginia

Summersville Lake | Ken Thomas

Surrounded by the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, Summersville Lake is an incredible vacation spot for the avid lake goer. Developed as a reservoir for a nearby river dam, Summersville Lake boasts 60 miles of shoreline for over a million visitors each year. Rent a cabin or a kayak and enjoy the rising cliffs on this beautiful lake.

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2. Nantahala Lake – Franklin, North Carolina

Nantahala Lake, NC | Tom Haynie

“Land of the Noon Day Sun,” Nantahala Lake offers a playground of summertime fun for locals and tourists alike. From whitewater rafting to relaxed trout fishing, this body of water draws visitors from around the country seeking thrills and trout gills. Fun fact, the lake also serves as a hydroelectric power to the area, so you can feel good about supporting nature`s clean energy machine. If you have time, check out the Nantahala Gorge, a smoky mountain gem that draws from the Nantahala River.

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3. Lake Blue Ridge – GA

Lake Blue Ridge viewed from Morganton Point, Georgia | Thomson200

Covering 3,300 acres of water, this massive reservoir sits at a high elevation in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Spawning from the massive Blue Ridge Dam, Lake Blue Ridge consists of 11 miles of lake day fun. The pristine lake entices visitors with plenty of public swimming space and several entrances for boats, perfect for a family day at the lake.

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4. Lake Chatuge – North Carolina & Georgia

Lake Chatuge | Keone

Straddling the line between North Carolina and Georgia, Lake Chatuge provides ample entertainment for water skiers, swimmers, and fishermen alike. Soak up some sun on the beach along the 132 miles of shoreline or rent a cabin for a quiet weekend on the lake. With three major towns surrounding the lake, there are plenty of recreational activities on and off the lake shore.

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5. Watauga Lake – TN

Watauga Lake from Watauga Dam | Whiteonrice04

Settled between Carter and Johnson County, Tennessee, this lake nestles itself in the background of the beautiful Cherokee National Forest. Lake goers enjoy world class fishing, camping, and swimming on this scenic local attraction. After you have exhausted the numerous opportunities at this quaint Tennessee lake, head over to one of the many natural waterfalls hidden in the hollows of the Appalachian Mountains.

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6. Smith Mountain Lake – VA

Smith Mountain Lake | Virginia State Parks

Located near historic Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia, Smith Mountain Lake is by far the most popular lake in the Blue Ridge Mountain range. The lake`s clear, blue waters provide swimming opportunities from May to September, and the local scene offers many activities for newcomers to the area. Take advantage of the numerous houseboat  and cabin rentals for a true day on the lake.

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7. Stonewall Jackson Lake – WV

Stonewall Jackson Lake | WVhybrid

The mesmerizing Stonewall Jackson State Park holds its own country road attraction nestled between the rolling hills of West Virginia. Stonewall Jackson Lake affords travelers small town vibes and big lake attractions. Beyond boating and fishing, discover the 13 hiking trails and spooky Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum nearby.

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8. Moosehead Lake – ME

Moosehead Lake | Dennis Redfield

A Maine staple, Moosehead Lake captures the serenity of life untouched in the mountains. With over 80 islands marking the waters of this northern attraction, Moosehead Lake is a hot destination for highland seekers. Find yourself in the sublime of the Appalachian hills of Maine at this “Crown Jewel” travel destination.

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9. Lake Jocassee – Devil`s Fork State Park, South Carolina

Lake Jocassee | Stanislav Vitebskiy

Devil`s Fork State Park`s popular public lake has a consequently interesting name, Lake Jocassee. This body of water allows access to a scenic expanse of remote waterfalls and gorges as well as ample fishing grounds for visitors. Visitors even take their swimming excursions a step further here by scuba diving in the crystal clear waters. This southern location is a refreshing spot for a hot day in the South Carolina heat.

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10. Lake Winnipesaukee – New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee | Ipsing

A summer playground for the residents of New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee boasts activities far and wide for eager lake goers. Beyond the usual camping, fishing, and swimming, the lake maintains a variety of experiences around the lake. Mount Washington Cruise Lines offer tours of the expansive lake during the summer, stopping at five separate ports to give visitors a full view of the incredible variety of the area. For the adventurous hiker, Mount Major sits 1,785 above sea level offering a fantastic view of the blue lake below.

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