Florida is popular for its lakes and lakefront communities. With more than 5,373 square miles of lake, the state is undeniably a wonderland of water adventure. As a boater or kayaking enthusiast looking to vacation in Florida, there are many options to consider. World Sailing Charters knows for one thing, the best sailing lakes in Florida are worth the visit!
Here are our 7 top picks for the top sailing lakes in Florida:
- Lake Eustis
- Lake Kissimmee
- Lake Tohopekaliga
- Lake Talquin
- Lake Monroe
- Lake Seminole
- Crescent Lake
Here’s why these lakes come highly recommended to sail on as much as visiting Florida’s great state park!
1. Lake Eustis
Located in the City of Eustis, Lake Eustis is a 7,806-acre lake that’s part of the vast Harris Chain of Lakes. The lake and the City of Eustis got their name from General Abraham Eustis, a renowned civil war hero. At 5 miles long and 4 miles wide, the lake is accessible through a boat on the southwest corner (the Dead River).
The Lake Eustis area
Lake Eustis, is home to several Harris Chain waterfront restaurants. Along the shore of the lake lies the Eustis Lake Walk, which is a modern concrete walkaway that gives a panoramic view of the waterbody. The most common pastime activities on the Lake Walk include gator watching and fishing.
Boating is also a popular pastime activity in the Lake Walk, thanks to the two public boat ramps on the lake. The Eustis city ramp lies on Lakeshore Drive in the southern part of Eustis City. On the other hand, the Buzzard Beach ramp lies between Leesburg and Tavares on Highway 441.
More Florida Lake Adventures
Besides boating, a popular bass tournament takes place at the Buzzard Beah each Sunday. Participants usually weigh dozens of fish that weigh over 10 pounds and return them to the lack to grow bigger during this tournament. The water clarity in Lake Eustis varies by the amount of yearly rainfall and the season.
2. Lake Kissimmee
Lake Kissimmee is a 34,948-acre lake that lies between Yeehaw Junction and Lake Wales. It has a national reputation for largemouth bass and bass fishing. The lake area features expansive vegetation stands, including knotgrass, bulrush, and maiden cane that are attractive fishing spots for Trophy Bass. Boat ramps (including Shady Oaks Park Boat Ramp and Kissimmee River Boat Launch) spread across the lake area make it favorable for sailing.
Lake Kissimeee State Park
The surrounding Lake Kissimmee State Park boasts rich wildlife that includes sandhill cranes, turkeys, bobcats, and alligators.
Other wild animals in the Lake Kissimee State Park include:
- White-tailed deer
- Bald eagles
Lake Kissimmee has at least five islands, with Brahma Island (located in the south) being the largest.
The other islands include:
- Strum Island
- Rabbit Island
- Gardner-Cobb Marsh
- Bird Island
3. Lake Tohopekaliga
Also known as Lake Toho or West Lake, Lake Tohopekaliga is a 22,700-acre lake that spans about 42 miles in circumference. It gained national acclaim for birdwatching and fishing activities. At the northern end of the lake lies Lakefront park, which features a scenic walking path with strategically positioned benches.
Lake Tohopekaliga: A Florida Lake Park
The surrounding Lakefront park has a children’s playground area and a miniature lighthouse. Popular boat ramps for sailing on the lake include the East Lake Toho Boat Ramp, Granada Public Boat Ramp, and Whaleys Landing Public Boat Ramp.
The top sites around Lake Toho include:
Gatorland (known for gator wrestling and snake shows) and Marsh Landing Adventures (known for airboat excursions).
4. Lake Talquin
As a reservoir, Lake Talquin lies on the Ochlocknee River between Leon and Gadsden counties in northern Florida. It is part of the C. H. Corn Hydroelectric Generating Station. Along the lake’s shoreline lies Lake Talquin State Forest that is popular for its vast biodiversity.
The Lake Talquin State Forest features:
- Several picnic areas
- Boat landings and facilities for receptions, weddings, family reunions, and parties.
Wildlife in Lake Talquin
Fish species found in Lake Talquin include bowfin, catfish, gar, pickerel, striped bass and largemouth, bream, and crappie.
While sightseeing in the Lake Talquin State Forest, you may encounter:
- Fox squirrels
- Wild turkeys
- Eastern gray squirrels
The vast vegetated area is also suitable for hiking trails and adventures.
5. Lake Monroe
As part of the St. Johns River system, Lake Monroe is an 8,771-acre public lake in the middle of DeBary, Deltona, and Sandford cities. The lake is a suitable spot for boating activities and fishing, thanks to the boat ramps and fishing docks fitted at the Lake Monroe Wayside Park. You can also explore several vacation rental properties in the surrounding cities when you’re not sailing on the lake.
Hiking trails at Lake Monroe and More
Other outdoor activities that are common around the lake area include hiking, wildlife viewing, and horse riding. Near the shore of the lake lies Gemini Springs Park that features gardens and a zoo. The park also boasts splash grounds, nature trails, rich wildlife, and a train and carousel.
6. Lake Seminole
Lake Seminole is U.S. Army Corps maintained reservoir that lies in the southwest corner of Georgia along the Florida border. The 37,500-acre lake is popular for fish species such as striped bass, catfish, chain pickerel, crappie, and largemouth bass. You have to pass through the Jim Woodruff Dam from the Apalachicola River to access the lake and the surrounding upstream rivers.
Lake Seminole and State Park Trails
About 35 parks that surround Lake Seminole are open to the public for recreation. The lake has waterways that support birding and kayaking activities. The surrounding Apalachee Wilderness Management Area is conducive for hiking and wildlife viewing. You can also visit Chattahoochee, which is the largest town in the area, for a glimpse of the area’s historical sites.
7. Crescent Lake
As a 15,960-acre freshwater lake, the Crescent Lake lies in Flagler and Putnam counties in North Central Florida. It has a long but narrow shape that resembles a crescent.
Deeper pilings on the Crescent Lake provide ideal targets for catching:
- Shell crackers
- Largemouth bass
At the south end of the lake lies the Crescent Lake Conservation Area that is home to:
- Bald eagles
Boating on Crescent Lake
Boating (supported by the Lake Stella Boat Ramp and Crescent City New Boat Ramp) is among the popular pastime activities at Lake Crescent.
Besides sailing, you can visit Crescent City (which lies on the west end) for:
- Private residences
The city also hosts the critically acclaimed Catfish Festival that features good music, crafts, and food on the first weekend of April.
You must visit these lakes in Florida!
The state of Florida has the highest number of registered water vessels in the U.S. You can acquire a temporary certificate or enroll in the Boat Florida correspondence course to start sailing in one of the lakes discussed above. For safety reasons, carry Coast Guard-approved floatation devices to your boating adventures.
Bonus and Additional Lakes in Florida to Consider:
- Cypress Lake
- Lake Harris
- Lake Okeechobee