The 7 States With the Most Lakes

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: October 13, 2023
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States With the Most Lakes infographic
The United States is home to millions of lakes!

The five Great Lakes of America are well-known. Not only do they account for 21% of the earth’s surface freshwater by volume, but they are also the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world.

Yet, America is home to millions of other lakes. In fact, it’s estimated that Alaska could have up to 3 million unnamed lakes alone! They serve as water sources, recreational spots, and even sources of income. Yet, these lakes are spread unevenly among the USA’s 50 states.

What state has the most lakes in the U.S.? In this article, we’ll dive (pun intended) into the world of lakes. Here are the 7 states with the most lakes.


Alaska is located in the northwestern corner of North America. It has over 3 million unnamed lakes!


If you’re asking, “What state has the most lakes?” look no further than Alaska. The State of Alaska, often called ‘The Great Land,’ is located in the northwestern corner of North America. It is easily the largest state in the U.S., spanning an area of 6,663,268 square miles. Alaska is known to have more than 3,000 named lakes. This number pales in comparison to the 3 million unnamed ones in the state! So Alaska does have the most lakes of any state in the United States.

The largest lake in Alaska is Lake Iliamna which has an area of more than 1,600 square miles. Although many of Alaska’s lakes are frozen all year, Alaskans love to fish and are experts at fishing in their icy lakes. The state has diverse fish species. You can expect to spot king salmon, chum salmon, yelloweye rockfishes, Pacific halibut, and many more.


Wisconsin is located in the Midwestern U.S. and contains more than 15,000 lakes.

©Sean Pavone/

Wisconsin is a state of 5.8 million people and is known for its lakes and dairy industry. It is also home to several endangered species such as Higgins’ eye pearly mussels, northern long-eared bats, Karner blue butterflies, and whooping cranes. The state has more than 15,000 lakes but only 40 percent of them are large enough to have names.

Lake Winnebago is the largest lake in the state. The lake is 10 miles wide, 30 miles long, and spreads across 137,708 acres. Other lakes in this state are tourist attractions because they are known for their Native American culture, as well as fishing and snowmobiling. Some common species of fishes in Wisconsin’s lakes are sturgeon, muskies, northern pike, and smallmouth basses. Some of the state’s popular lakes are Geneva Lake, Lake Superior, Green Lake, and Lake Monona.


Minnesota is known as the ‘Land of 10000 Lakes’. It is bordered by Canada and Lake Superior.


Minnesota is a midwestern U.S. state bordered by Canada and Lake Superior, which is the largest of the five Great Lakes in the U.S. Minnesota is known for its forests and lakes. It is commonly called the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes.’ This is because the state is recorded to contain 11,842 lakes, including Lake Itasca, which primarily feeds the more famous Mississippi River.

The largest lake in Minnesota is Lake Superior which spans an area of more than 30,000 square miles and extends into Wisconsin. Minnesota’s lakes are filled with various fish species such as walleyes, basses, rainbow trout, northern pikes, brooks, muskellunge, and many other species. The State of Minnesota is culturally rich and naturally beautiful. There are hiking trails, museums, and historic sites that tell the story of Minnesota and its people. For nature lovers, it’s a wonderful state to take a vacation in.


Lake Michigan

The State of Michigan contains about 10,000 lakes that span 5 acres or greater.

©Frederick Millett/

Michigan is located in the upper midwest part of the U.S and is recorded to have about 10,000 lakes as well as the most miles of coastline in the country. Its 3,288-mile coastline means that the state contains many beaches and lakes. Michigan’s waters are home to various threatened and endangered species such as Redside daces.

Huron Lake is the largest lake in the state of Michigan with an area of 45,300 square miles. It is located between Ontario and Michigan. The lake is home to various fish species such as pumpkinseed fishes, yellow perches, rainbow smelts, and many more.


Lake George

The State of Florida is located between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.


Florida is almost synonymous with fishing. The southeastern U.S. State is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World” and this is thanks to its positioning and management. Florida is a southeastern U.S. State, at the tip of North America. It is situated between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico and has hundreds of miles of beaches and more than 7,700 lakes. Because the state is managed amazingly well, its resources are not depleted.

Lake Okeechobee is Florida’s largest lake. With a surface area of 1,175 square miles, it is also the fourth-largest natural lake in America. Some of Florida’s rarer fishes are shortnose sturgeons, Atlantic sturgeons, and Atlantic loggerhead turtles.


Texas has over 7,000 lakes and interestingly, only a small percentage are naturally occurring.


Texas is known to contain over 7,000 lakes. Although most of these lakes are not naturally occurring, it is still quite an amazing number. As you probably know, fishing is an important part of Texas. The Texas saltwater recreational fishery alone has about 1.2 million fishermen.

Lake Caddo is Texas’ largest natural lake stretching out across 25,400 acres of land. It has more than 70 fish species. They include crappie, black and temperate basses, catfish, sunfishes, bullheads, suckers, gar, carp, and many more! The lake is also home to alligators and other wild animals, so swimming in it is a bad idea.


Longest Rivers in California - Kern River

There are 3,000 named lakes in California.


California is known for its mesmerizing beaches and lakes. It is also known for surfing. The State of California has 3,000 officially named lakes. Lake Tahoe, which has a surface area of 191 square miles, is its largest natural lake.

Like the many lakes in California, water sports and fishing are quite common. The state is also home to many fascinating marine life forms including sea otters, gray whales, killer whales, elephant seals, sea lions, and many more. California’s freshwater lakes support an ecosystem of flathead catfish, lake trout, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, black crappie, walleye, and other fish species.  

California is also home to a number of popular tourist attractions, one of its most popular being the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge across the one-mile strait that connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It is the tallest and longest suspension bridge in the world!

Summary of the 7 States With the Most Lakes

Here is a list of the 7 states in the U.S. with the most lakes:

RankStateNumber of Lakes
1AlaskaMore than 3,000 named lakes
and 3 million unnamed lakes
2WisconsinMore than 15,000
5FloridaMore than 7,700
6TexasMore than 7,000
7California3,000 named lakes

Honorable Mention: Other States with Many Lakes

Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake, the second largest lake in New England, gets its name from the shape of the lake when drawn on a map and also has a massive moose population.


When looking at the number of lakes in a state, four factors are considered – natural lakes, named lakes, unnamed lakes, and man-made lakes. Almost every state in the United States has lakes with the exception of Maryland, which has no natural lakes as no body of water is considered large enough to be classified as a lake (although they do have numerous freshwater ponds and rivers). Here are a few additional states that deserve mention due to their high lake content:

  • New York – this state has two Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, that are found along the northern borders of New York, as well as the Finger Lakes region which are a group of eleven long, narrow, lakes located directly south of Lake Ontario. These well-known lakes are among the 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs that comprise the region.
  • Maine – this state, which is well-known for its parks like Acadia National Forest, its rocky coastline, and lobsters, is home to 6,000 lakes and ponds. The largest of all is Moosehead Lake, which spans more than 40 miles and covers almost 75,000 acres.
  • Wyoming – this state is home to one of the most famous, and beautiful parks, Yellowstone National Park, but it is also home to many lakes as well. There are around 4,000 lakes and reservoirs, with the largest, Yellowstone Lake, which at 7,000 feet above sea level, is the largest high-elevation lake in North America.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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