While summer is still a couple months away, it’s never too early to start planning your waterfront getaways! Buffalo is surrounded by several beautiful lakes, and even though some might require a bit of travel time, they’re all well worth a visit. Here are our picks for the eight best lakes to check out near(ish) the city:
1. Chautauqua Lake
Chautauqua Lake is one of the larger lakes near the Queen City, located in Chautauqua County. The lake is 17 miles long and reaches depths of 78 feet, making it a popular destination for boating and fishing in Western New York. In addition to plenty of activities to partake in on the water, there are also several restaurants and facilities nearby to add to your itinerary!
2. Darien Lake
Most people think Darien Lake only consists of a loud and busy amusement park, but the lake itself is actually quite serene. Darien Lake is a popular spot for camping, paddle boating, canoeing, and simply relaxing. You'll find it in the town of Darien, about 41 minutes from Buffalo.
3. Findley Lake
We've mentioned Findley Lake before, and we'll say it again: This lake is a gem! Located in the tiny town of Mina, Findley Lake is picture-perfect any time of year, but especially during the summer. Enjoy a day of boating or swimming and be sure to check out nearby Peek'n Peak for some added adventure!
4. Finger Lakes
Spending a day at one of the Finger Lakes requires a bit more travel time, but we promise the reward is worth it. There are eleven Finger Lakes in total - all within a few hours' drive from Buffalo. Whichever lake you choose, be sure to take advantage of the wineries nearby! (Just don't boat and drive.)
5. Lake Erie
We're stating the obvious here, but Lake Erie is the most popular waterfront destination for Buffalonians. Whether you want to stay near downtown and enjoy the views from Canalside, would rather walk the paths at the Outer Harbor, or want to get further away from it all in the south towns, we're blessed with beautiful beaches and plenty of water activities to enjoy!
6. Lake Ontario
Another obvious choice: Lake Ontario! We have not one, but two Great Lakes that touch our shorelines - how lucky! Lake Ontario is the 14th largest lake in the world, and it's a popular body of water for fishing, boating, sailing, swimming, and more!
7. Lime Lake
Small but mighty, Lime Lake is located just outside the town of Machias in the southern tier. The entire lake is one mile in diameter, surrounded by homes that comprise the hamlet of Lime Lake. Locals love the lake for boating and swimming when the weather gets hot!
8. Rushford Lake
Rushford Lake is a personal favorite, and chances are if you've ever been, you have fond memories of it, too. The lake is mainly in the town of Rushford, about an hour south of the city of Buffalo. The lake is stocked with several types of fish, making it a popular spot for anglers. During the day, you'll find speed boats, jet skis, and party boats navigating the waters - but at night is when the real magic happens. If you're fortunate enough to have a pontoon boat, turn on the lights and head out onto the lake for beautiful stargazing!
Where is your favorite lake near Buffalo? Are you more of a sun-bather or a swimmer? Leave your favorite waterfront summer pastimes in the comments!