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Calm waters of a mountain lake

6 Popular Pontoon Boating Destinations


If you are already dreaming of your summer pontoon experience, check out these six boating destinations to start planning a memorable trip.

Caddo Lake, Louisiana

This primeval lake contains the largest Cypress forest in the world. Sitting on the Texas and Louisiana border, Caddo Lake is the largest naturally occurring freshwater lake in the South. The 26,000 acres that the lake covers offer your choice of boating experiences. The Louisiana side of the lake is open water that can accommodate nearly any size of motor and boat. There is no horsepower limit. The Texas side of the lake favors smaller boats and motors. This area is a jungle-like maze of dense vegetation with Spanish moss hanging from every tree. Seventy-one species of fish make the fishing excellent, and the lake hosts several parks for off-boat play.

Mackinac Island

Voted one of the top 10 state parks in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler and National Geographic, this Michigan destination has beautiful sand beaches and crystalline waters. Mackinac Island boaters favor the location because of the balance between the on-water experience and the in-town fun. The Victorian charm of this Lake Huron island draws visitors back in time, and there is a bounty of good food and great shopping. Back on the water visitors can watch or join in the “Race to Mackinac,” which is the world’s largest yacht race on freshwater.

Moosehead Lake

If you are looking to escape the crowds and delve deep into a natural experience, Maine’s Moosehead Lake is the place. The local moose population often outnumbers the boaters, and visitors can be sure of a quiet getaway (except for the sound of their own motor of course). Pontoons and runabouts are the most popular craft on the lake. If you fancy a day trip off the water, hike to the top of 1,800-foot Mount Kineo, which lies on a peninsula jutting into the lake. From the top of the mountain, visitors can take in a grand view of the wilderness that surrounds the lake, seeing all the way into Canada.

Lake of the Ozarks

If you prefer your pontoon experience to resemble a scene from a country music video instead of serene photo, look no further than Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Known as the party capital for boaters, Party Cove is often filled with floating coolers, water guns, and water balloons.

Lake Tahoe

Few places rival Lake Tahoe for offering all the pleasures of boating. Sitting on the California and Nevada border, the drive through the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the way to the largest alpine lake in North America is a beautiful and memorable experience in itself. Check out Tahoe South to play all day on the water and party all night in town. North Lake Tahoe also offers all you can want with breathtaking mountain vistas from the water and numerous luxuries in town.

Lake Okeechobee

If largemouth bass, alligators and limitless sunshine are your idea of a perfect weekend on the boat, check out Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Known for providing some of the heftiest largemouths in the U.S., the 752-square acres of boating waters are a fisherman’s paradise.