5 of the Most Beautiful Lakes in Pennsylvania for Nature Lovers

Blue marsh lake
© cwieders/Shutterstock.com

Written by Trinity Londos

Updated: January 7, 2024

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The state of Pennsylvania is home to an array of notable things — from tasty Dutch cuisine to its diverse historic towns and multicultural cities! Another one of the highlights of the Keystone State is its gorgeous natural landscapes. This includes over 2,500 lakes, 38 rivers, the Appalachian Mountains, and a whopping 112 miles (180.25 km) of coastline along the Delaware estuary. Having said that, lakes, specifically, are one of Pennsylvania’s most precious resources. Residents even have their own celebrations for them throughout the month of July, which is known by locals as Lake Appreciation Month! With that, let’s explore the top five most beautiful lakes in Pennsylvania. Each of these lakes showcases the natural beauty of the state, offering outdoor recreational activities and breathtaking scenic views that make them truly unique.

Lake Erie

kayaking sunset silhouette on Lake Erie

Lake Erie is a popular destination for tourists and locals, especially in the summer months when the weather is ideal!

©Grace Greer/Shutterstock.com

Located in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania is Lake Erie, which is one of the most famous of the North American Great Lakes. Though its waters touch Ohio, New York, Michigan, and Ontario as well, it is the largest lake in all of Pennsylvania, with a surface area of 6.3615 million acres, or 9,910 square miles! 

Known as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” Lake Erie is widely recognized as the site for some of the best walleye fishing! But if fishing isn’t your preference, the area also offers breathtaking hiking trails, sandy beaches, and stunning views of the landscape. It also provides a variety of opportunities for boating and other water sports, such as water skiing, swimming, and kayaking.

Conneaut Lake

Another sunrise shot with great light and shadows. Conneaut Lake, PA

When the Seneca Indians resided near Conneaut Lake, they called it “Konneyaut,” which translates to “snow place” in English.


While there are more than 2,500 bodies of water classified as “lakes” in Pennsylvania, there are only about 50 natural, glacial lakes found within the state. One of the deepest is Conneaut Lake, which has a maximum depth of around 75 feet. Covering a whopping 925 acres, this water body in western Crawford County is a popular destination for recreational boaters as well as kayakers and skiers. The surrounding area also offers hiking and wildlife-watching opportunities. For those more interested in fishing, Conneaut Lake offers a variety of fish species for anglers, like muskies, white bass, large-mouth bass, northern pike, and crappies.

Raystown Lake

Lake view of boat marina in autumn. Image taken at Seven Springs, Raystown Lake Region, Pennsylvania. The Appalachian Mountains are seen in the background.

Fall is a popular time to visit, thanks to the cool, crisp Pennsylvania weather and picturesque foliage.


Nestled within the Allegheny Mountains in Huntingdon County is Raystown Lake. It is the largest artificial lake in all of the state, covering an area of 8,300 acres. With a shoreline that stretches for over 79 miles, Raystown Lake is one of the most picturesque in all of Pennsylvania. It boasts clear, serene waters and gorgeous mountain views. Additionally, this lake is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts thanks to its plentiful boating, swimming, hiking, and camping opportunities. 

Pymatuning Lake

Mallard ducks and carp in a feeding frenzy at Pymatuning Lake in Pennsylvania. If you visit at the right time of year, the above scene is a likely sight!

©K Steve Cope/Shutterstock.com

Straddling the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, Pymatuning Lake is yet another ideal nature destination for all those who love the outdoors. It is the second-largest body of water in Pennsylvania, with a surface area of 17,088 acres and a shoreline exceeding 170 miles (273.59 km). This vast reservoir is known for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife sighting opportunities. This is especially true for common goldeneyes, Canadian geese, and hooded mergansers, which are all creatures that like to hang out in and around Pymatuning Lake. It also features a unique “spillway,” which is where visitors can witness hundreds of carp and ducks congregating, making for the most remarkable photographic souvenirs! 

Promised Land Lake and Lower Lake

Late Summer Lake at Promised Land State Park in Northeastern Pennsylvania

The Pocono Mountains contain the Promised Land State Park and its two lakes.

©Bruce Goerlitz Photo/Shutterstock.com

Tucked away in the Pocono Mountains is Promised Land State Park. This area is home to two lakes: Promised Land Lake, which is 422 acres, and the 173-acre Lower Lake. These stunning lakes in the Poconos region continue to captivate visitors with their pristine beauty and year-round itinerary of activities. Surrounded by dense forests, these two lakes offer the most tranquil setting for visitors to partake in fishing, boating, and swimming. Alternatively, people who opt to visit this area can explore the many nearby trails or stay onsite in a rustic cabin to enjoy the stunning sunset views of Promised Land Lake. If you are looking to rough it camping or desire a cozy weekend getaway in a beautiful cabin, the Pickerel Point Campground or the Bear Wallows area are two of the most perfect places to stay after visiting this state park!

Beyond Promised Land Lake and Lower Lake, there are a ton of other fun activities to enjoy while in the area! Check out the eagles’ nests from the Wildlife Observation Center, or take part in one (or more) of the environmental education programs offered here. If you have some extra time, make sure to stop by the Masker Museum, which is one of the largest Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) museums. Great for people of all ages, this stop features interactive stories, displays, and incredible artifacts that tell the story of the CCC in Promised Land.

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About the Author

Trinity Londos is a writer currently working out of the Sunshine State. She has a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing, but her true passion is - and always has been - writing. Interested in all things wild, Trinity loves reading, writing, and learning all about the Earth and its many marvelous creatures. Passionate about animals, nature, and sustainability, she strives to answer as many of life's great mysteries as possible. When she isn't nose-deep in a book or on a Google deep dive, Trinity enjoys hiking, kayaking, and spending quality time with her friends and family - including Sherlock, her canine best friend of 8 years.

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