10 Most Beautiful Lakes in Connecticut Worth Visiting

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Woman rowing boat along lake in Connecticut

Lakes in Connecticut offer a surprising array of recreational activities, sightseeing, and hikes. This small New England state packs a punch regarding waterways, so it should make your must-see list when you travel the Northeast. These ten beautiful lakes in CT are indeed sights to behold. Let’s dig in as we unpack what each of these lakes offers!

When Is the Best Time to Visit Lakes in CT?

The best time to visit lakes in CT is either during the fall or summer. Fall offers cool, crisp breezes, predominantly sunny weather, and an explosion of colors in the trees that surround the lakes. Summer is the best time for swimming in Connecticut lakes, enjoying hikes around them, or having a picnic on the beach. 

Traveler’s Tip: Go for a swim at one of these 10 Waterfalls in Connecticut That You Need to See.

Man rowing inflatable boat in Connecticut lake

How Many Lakes Are There in CT?

Over 3,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs dot the state of Connecticut. It is an imposing number for a state of its size. That’s why exploring these lakes should be on the agenda if you pass through CT.  

What Is the Cleanest Lake in Connecticut?

Lake Lillinonah is widely regarded as the cleanest lake in Connecticut because of its crystal-clear waters and pristine views. The lake straddles Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties. It is accessible no matter what part of the state you travel through during your adventures.  

Can You Swim in Lakes in CT?

Yes! Connecticut lakes offer many beautiful beaches and secluded swimming holes. They’ll give you a unique experience. Many lakes also feature picnic spots so that you can make a whole day of it with the family. 

Children playing together in Connecticut lake.

10 Most Beautiful Lakes in Connecticut

Connecticut’s lakes offer various landscapes and beaches for you and the family to enjoy. Let’s jump right into the ten most beautiful lakes in CT for your next New England trip. 

Candlewood Lake

Location: The lake touches five towns: Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Sherman. Each town features a beach. 

About: As the largest lake in the state, this crystal clear expanse offers numerous activities for anyone visiting the surrounding communities. You could engage in motorized water sports or navigate your boat to each town’s harbor to check out their unique history and charm.

Swimming also abounds at this lake because beaches and state, county, and town parks are everywhere.

Crystal Lake

Location: Sandy Beach Rd. Ellington, CT 06029

About: Swimming and sunbathing are the name of the game at this very accessible and clear lake in north central Connecticut. The cute little towns around the lake offer a delightful array of sights, restaurants, and history that you can enjoy when you’re not at the lake. 

Lake Waramaug

Location: 30 Lake Waramaug Rd, New Preston, CT 06777

About: This lake is the place to go for leaf seekers because the fall foliage bursts into a rainbow of color. The leaves reflect over the smooth surface of this lake.

There’s also a state park surrounding Lake Waramaug. It offers an array of hiking, camping, and picnicking activities to supplement your beach and lake fun. 

Gardner Lake

Location: 208 Old Colchester Rd, Salem, CT 06420

About: This lake features four campgrounds and a marina so that you can create a base camp and launch boats from the marina.

One of Garder Lake’s most iconic features was a ‘sinking house.’ This house was stuck partly in the water from 1895-2005 when a Gardner Lake resident attempted to move his summer home on sleds over the ice to another location but had to abandon the home. Kids used to ice skate to it, and postcards were available until the house rotted in 2005. 

The Bolton Lakes

Location: Bolton, CT

About: These triplet CT lakes offer three times the fun for anyone seeking a peaceful spot to swim, paddle, or view fall foliage. With upper, middle, and lower Bolton lakes, you’ll benefit from three interconnected waterways as you explore this area in CT. Check out Bolton Lake Beach for a terrific swimming spot. 

Lake Lillinonah

Location: 8 Simpson Street, Newtown, CT

About: Many regard this as one of the cleanest lakes in CT. This clear lake offers an open water space to take out motorized and non-motorized craft. The area is also stunningly beautiful, with rolling hills that turn into rainbows of color as the leaves turn in the fall.

There’s also a state forest on the eastern shores of the lake featuring enjoyable hiking and outdoor exploring. 

Mashapaug Lake

Location: 298 Bigelow Hollow Rd, Union, CT 06076

About: This is one of the lakes in CT, surrounded by a state park for your hiking and camping enjoyment. It’s a 297-acre water playground featuring beaches, boat ramps, and beautiful fall foliage.

With a maximum depth of only 39.5 feet, this lake stays warm for quite some time, giving it an extended swimming season. Mashapaug Lake is in the Northwest corner of the state.

Traveler’s Tip: Learn more about how to Take a Dip at Bigelow Hollow State Park, CT.

Squantz Pond

Location: 178 Short Woods Rd, New Fairfield, CT 06812

About: Known for its blue waters and epic swimming beach, Squantz Pond is a fun family lake in Connecticut. The pond is within a state park by the same name and features Pootatuck State Forest along its western border. Boating, swimming, fishing, and hiking are popular activities at Squantz Pond.

Bantam Lake

Location: Morris and Litchfield, CT

About: Bantam features two swimming beaches and is on the state’s western side. Many quaint New England towns are within a short driving distance from the lake, so you’ll easily explore fun food and culture. Bantam is the largest natural lake in Connecticut and features a bird preserve, covering much of the land at the northern end.  

Mansfield Hollow Lake

Location: 31 Old Willimantic Rd, Chaplin, CT 06235

About: Besides being a gorgeous lake offering swimming, fishing, and boating, Mansfield Hollow features a state park brimming with hiking and cross-country skiing trails. The lake also provides the Mansfield Hollow Wildlife Area, where you can see local animals in their natural habitat. 

Which of These Lakes in CT Will You Visit?

Connecticut is a picturesque New England state offering some of the most beautiful lakes in the region. Most of the lakes we listed above are also in state parks, so you’ll get a double dose of nature and fun. The next time you travel through the state, check off several lakes above, offering beaches, fishing, boating, hiking, and more for the entire family. 

Which lake will you visit first? Tell us in the comments!

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