Top 10 Biggest Lakes in Michigan to Visit in 2024

Michigan is home to more than 11,000 inland lakes which attract millions of visitors wanting an escape from their busy lives. Some lakes cover a massive area of more than 20,000 acres allowing people to do various exciting activities. If you are looking to visit some of the largest lakes in Michigan, then this guide is for you. Here is the list of the 10 largest lakes in Michigan that you can visit and have a memorable time.  

List of 10 Biggest Lakes in Michigan

  1. Houghton Lake 
  2. Torch Lake 
  3. Lake Charlevoix
  4. Burt Lake
  5. Mullett Lake 
  6. Lake Gogebic
  7. Manistique Lake
  8. Black Lake
  9. Crystal Lake
  10. Portage Lake

1) Houghton Lake 

Houghton Lake is the largest lake in Michigan which stands as a monument to the state’s breathtaking natural beauty. It covers a massive area of approximately 22,000 acres which makes it the largest inland lake in Michigan. The lake attracts visitors with its beautiful waters and picturesque surroundings, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to its outstanding size.

Houghton Lake is dotted with charming shoreline towns and provides a scenic setting for outdoor pursuits. With an average depth of seven feet, this large lake is suitable for a range of water sports, such as kayaking, swimming, and boating. Houghton Lake’s abundant aquatic life, which includes a wide variety of fish species like walleye, pike, and panfish, is especially alluring to fishermen.

Houghton Lake State Forest Park is surrounded by dense forests which adds to the area’s charm by offering hiking paths and camping areas to those who want to spend more time close to nature. Not only is the lake important for enjoyment, but it also contributes significantly to the local economy by drawing tourists and maintaining a healthy environment.

Houghton Lake changes with the seasons, presenting a unique appeal every time. Its icy surface draws ice-fishing lovers in the winter, and its shores bloom vividly in the spring. 

2) Torch Lake 

Torch Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Michigan that is hidden away amongst the state’s breathtaking views and picturesque hills. Standing at about 18,800 acres on the surface, Torch Lake is widely recognized as one of Michigan’s biggest and most picturesque inland lakes.

Known for its clear blue waters, Torch Lake is frequently praised for its vivid colors, which evoke the spirit of a tropical paradise. Being the second-deepest lake in Michigan, its remarkable depth of approximately 285 feet only serves to enhance its attraction. The lake’s unique glacial beginnings add to its captivating beauty and draw tourists from all over.

With a wide range of recreational opportunities, Torch Lake is a refuge for lovers of the great outdoors. The vast open waters are ideal for boating and sailing, while the lake’s clarity attracts swimmers and kayakers. A varied aquatic ecology is presented to fishermen, who can capture a range of fish species such as smallmouth bass, perch, and lake trout.

Charming villages and vacation houses surround the lake, offering a peaceful setting for individuals in search of a calm retreat. The Torch Lake region is also home to the well-known Torch Lake Sandbar, a summertime hotspot for boaters.

It is clear why both locals and tourists adore Torch Lake as the sun sets over the lake, bathing the surrounding hills in a warm glow. Torch Lake is the epitome of Michigan’s natural treasures, beckoning visitors to enjoy its splendor and make lifelong memories along its beautiful shoreline.

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3) Lake Charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix is a stunning freshwater treasure that enchants everyone who sees its vast splendor. This magnificent lake, which covers an amazing 17,200 acres of surface area, is renowned for both its vastness and the variety of recreational activities it provides.

The charming villages and rolling hillsides surrounding Lake Charlevoix, which is frequently regarded as one of the state’s biggest lakes, contribute to its allure. Boaters are drawn to its extended shape and deep blue seas because they offer plenty of area for sailing, water skiing, and leisurely cruises. The lake’s important location as a gateway for marine exploration is enhanced by its connection to Lake Michigan and the Pine River Channel.

The diverse fisheries of Lake Charlevoix, which include well-liked species including smallmouth bass, walleye, and perch, provide comfort to fishermen. Fishing tournaments and competitions are a common sight that showcases the lake’s vital role in Michigan’s angling culture.

Charming towns, including the town of Charlevoix itself, can be found all along the shore of Lake Charlevoix. The attraction of the lake as a natural beauty and a place to live vibrantly by the lake is enhanced by charming stores, restaurants on the waterfront, and cultural activities.

4) Burt Lake

Burt Lake is a peaceful sanctuary that invites both locals and tourists to enjoy its enchanting surroundings. Encompassing an enormous surface area of over 17,120 acres, Burt Lake is one of the biggest inland lakes in Michigan, providing a peaceful escape from the daily grind.

Burt Lake is a portion of the well-known Inland Waterway that has a certain appeal that draws visitors to its beaches. Its glistening waters, which mirror the lush surroundings, offer an enchanting setting for an array of leisure pursuits. 

Burt Lake is well-known for its diverse range of fisheries. It is one of the best places for fishermen looking for a fulfilling experience. The lake is a year-round favorite among fishermen due to its abundance of different species, which include walleye, northern pike, and a variety of panfish.

For those looking to live by the lake, the attractive villages of Indian River and Burt Lake extend a warm welcome. The shores are lined with charming cottages and waterfront houses that allow homeowners and visitors convenient access to the lake’s recreational facilities as well as stunning views.

Burt Lake changes with the seasons, becoming a vibrant work of nature’s art. It is a magnificent example of Michigan’s diverse lake ecosystem, drawing in visitors looking for a quiet getaway and a link to the stunning countryside of the state.

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5) Mullett Lake 

Mullett Lake is a monument to Michigan’s natural beauty and outdoor appeal, located in the middle of the state’s stunning northern landscapes. With a surface area of over 16,630 acres, Mullett Lake is one of the biggest inland lakes in Michigan. It attracts tourists with its peaceful atmosphere and recreational opportunities.

Situated on the renowned Inland Waterway, Mullett Lake is a picture-perfect scene with its pristine waters reflecting the beautiful surroundings. With plenty of room for boating, sailing, and other water sports, its long form and winding shoreline make it a delight for water lovers. The lake is more appealing for marine exploration because of its advantageous location within the Inland Waterway system, facilitating easy sailing to neighboring lakes and rivers.

Mullett Lake’s abundant fishery, which includes species like walleye, pike, and several panfish, is a source of delight for fishermen. The lake’s importance in Michigan’s thriving fishing culture is demonstrated by the frequency of fishing competitions and relaxing angling outings.

The charm of Mullett Lake never fades with the seasons, turning it into a dynamic work of breathtaking scenery. Mullett Lake attracts visitors seeking an escape amidst Michigan’s gorgeous inland waterways, regardless of the season. Mullett Lake is a beloved destination for people who value the splendor of nature due to its beautiful beaches and a wide range of recreational options.

6) Lake Gogebic

Lake Gogebic is a calm gem that captivates anyone looking for a peaceful escape inside the embrace of nature. Encompassing over 13,380 acres on its surface, Lake Gogebic is the largest inland lake in the Upper Peninsula and a wilderness lover’s paradise.

Lake Gogebic is surrounded by forests and hills which offer an enthralling setting for leisure pursuits. Enthusiasts of smallmouth bass, walleye, and perch, among other trophy-sized fish, are lured to the wide-open lakes for boating and fishing.

The isolation of Lake Gogebic contributes to its allure, offering peace to individuals looking for a true bond with the natural world.

Lake Gogebic changes with the seasons all year, each bringing its special appeal. While fall paints the environment with brilliant hues that draw leaf-peepers from far and wide, summer calls for water-based adventures. Wintertime turns the frozen lake into a fun place to go snowmobiling and ice fishing, bringing some excitement to people’s lives.

Lake Gogebic entices both the daring adventurer and those looking for a lakeside getaway with its beauty and array of leisure options. It is a monument to the wild allure of Michigan’s northern wilderness, being the largest inland lake in the Upper Peninsula.

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7) Manistique Lake

Manistique Lake is a hidden treasure that provides a peaceful getaway and a sanctuary for nature lovers. Manistique Lake may not be the largest in the state, but its beauty and tranquility make it a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Its surface area is estimated to be 10,130 acres.

Its crystal-clear waters reflect the tall trees that border the coast, fostering a calm environment ideal for a range of outdoor pursuits. Popular activities on the lake include boating, fishing, and kayaking, with plenty of opportunities to discover its hidden corners.

The varied fishery of Manistique Lake, which features species including walleye, pike, bass, and panfish, attracts fishermen. Fishing fans hoping to land a rewarding catch will find the lake to be a fascinating visit due to its diverse underwater environment.

Manistique Lake’s neighboring towns, such as Curtis and Germfask, have a friendly and inviting ambiance. A variety of lodging options are available to guests looking for a lakeside retreat, including cozy cottages, hotels, and campgrounds scattered around the lake’s edge.

Manistique Lake changes with the seasons, providing a unique experience all year round. Summer calls for outdoor recreation, fall delivers colorful foliage and breathtaking scenery, and winter turns the lake into a calm, frozen setting ideal for snowmobile and ice fishing.

8) Black Lake

Black Lake is a popular tourist attraction that is highly regarded for its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and ecological significance. Black Lake, which spans around 10,130 acres, is enticing not only because of its vastness but also because of the unique experiences it provides visitors.

Black Lake, which lies in Cheboygan County, is encircled by rolling hills and thick forests, providing outdoor enthusiasts with a lovely setting. With its clean waters and rich undersea environment, the lake is a paradise for fishermen looking for a fulfilling fishing trip. Because of its abundant walleye population, Black Lake attracts fishermen from all around the region for both open-water and ice fishing.

For those looking for a lakeside getaway, the lake’s picturesque shoreline, which is scattered with cabins, cottages, and campers, offers a warm environment. The adjacent communities of Onaway and Cheboygan provide facilities and a sense of place, which elevates the whole experience for guests.

The natural significance of Black Lake goes beyond its allure for pleasure. The lake is a refuge for birdwatchers and environment lovers, as it is home to a variety of bird species, such as the bald eagle and common loon. The lake is also a part of continuous conservation initiatives to save its natural environment and guarantee the long-term viability of its fishing.

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9) Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake is a dazzling treasure located in the northwest region of Michigan. It draws both locals and tourists in with its pure waters, breathtaking scenery, and various recreational options. Crystal Lake is a unique feature in the landscape of inland lakes in Michigan, with a surface area of about 9,854 acres.

The lake is a favored spot for people looking for peace and beauty in the natural world because of its pure, blue waters, which make a striking contrast to the surrounding greenery.

Water lovers will find paradise in Crystal Lake, which offers a variety of year-round recreational opportunities. During the summer, boating, sailing, and paddleboarding are popular activities. The lake offers enough area for both active water sports and peaceful cruises. The varied fisheries of Crystal Lake, which features species including lake trout, perch, and whitefish, attract fishermen.

Crystal Lake changes into a dynamic environment with the passing of the seasons. Families are out and about throughout the summer, taking advantage of the water and sun-kissed beaches. The neighboring hills are painted with vivid hues throughout the fall, providing nature enthusiasts with a scenic backdrop. 

10) Portage Lake

Portage Lake is a sparkling gem that lies in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, luring both locals and tourists with its breathtaking beauty and array of recreational opportunities. Though Portage Lake is not as large as some of its competitors, with an amazing surface area of about 9,640 acres, it nevertheless has a particular place in the hearts of those who enjoy its variety of attractions.

Portage Lake is a gorgeous location for a variety of outdoor activities which is close to the historic Keweenaw Peninsula. Its crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding forests and steep landscape. With its narrow neck and large bays, the lake’s unique geology offers chances for both peaceful exploration and thrilling aquatic experiences.

Portage Lake is renowned for its connection to the Keweenaw Water Trail, a paddler’s paradise offering breathtaking views of the peninsula’s shores. Kayakers and canoe enthusiasts are drawn to the calm waters and scenic views, with the lake serving as a gateway to the larger Lake Superior.

The abundant fisheries of Portage Lake, which include species like walleye, smallmouth bass, and northern pike that thrive in its depths, bring satisfaction to fishermen. A thriving fishing culture is supported by the lake’s unique aquatic habitat, drawing fishermen all year round.

The beauty of Portage Lake is viewed from different angles as the seasons change. Portage Lake continues to be a popular and dynamic destination in Michigan’s picturesque Upper Peninsula, offering a range of experiences from the bright energy of summer, ideal for water sports and fishing, to the serene frozen beauty of winter, welcoming ice fishing and snowmobiling.

No.LakeSurface Area (Acres)
1Houghton Lake 22,000
2Torch Lake 18,800
3Lake Charlevoix17,200
4Burt Lake17,120
5Mullett Lake 16,630
6Lake Gogebic13,380 
7Manistique Lake10,130
8Black Lake10,130
9Crystal Lake9,854
10Portage Lake9,640 

Conclusion

Michigan is a state in the Upper Midwest of the United States, near the Great Lakes. It is home to thousands of lakes drawing millions of tourists each year. This article listed the biggest lakes in Michigan in terms of surface area. You can visit these lakes to have a great time. 

FAQs

What Is the Deepest Lake in Michigan?

The deepest lake in Michigan is Torch Lake which has an average depth of 111 feet. Its maximum depth is 285 feet. 

What Fish Are Found in the Lakes of Michigan?

Some of the most popular fish that are found in Michigan are:
1. Walleye
2. Northern Pike
3. Smallmouth Bass
4. Largemouth Bass
5. Muskie 
6. Trout
7. Salmon 
8. Perch
9. Bluegill
10. Crappie

What Is the Cleanest Lake to Swim in Michigan?

Lake Huron is the cleanest lake to swim in Michigan. Its beautiful view and pure water encourage swimmers to dive into its deep waters.  

Is It OK to Swim in Lake Michigan?

Lake Michigan is open for swimming but it is recommended to never swim alone and be cautious of contaminated water. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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