Best Lakes for Water Skiing
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  • Post last modified:April 16, 2021

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Top Water Skiing Lakes in the United States

Great news! Water skiing season is just around the corner, and people are eager to get their boats out. It’s always a good idea to plan your next water ski trip before you put your skis in the water. For you next ski outing, why not go for a world-class water skiing lake?

Here are my top water skiing destinations in the United States.

Skiing on the Great Lakes – Lake Michigan

It’s a major one. It is easily available. It’s a lot of fun. Lake Michigan is the first lake on my list since it is accessible to so many people and states. It’s a great place for Northerners to go skiing because it’s lined with beaches and marinas. Normally, the best time to be out on the lake is in the middle to late summer, but due to this year’s warmer weather, you’ll be able to get a head start.

Fun facts about Lake Michigan

Size: 22,398 square miles
Number of marinas: more than 200
Boat rental locations: more than 60
License requirements: Michigan does not require boat operators to be licensed
Bragging rights: 5th largest lake in the world

Water Skiing in the Arid West – Lake Havasu

Havasu, a scenic lake with a beautiful western Arizona backdrop, is a great place to go skiing. The culture is welcoming and lively, but it may be a little crazy for those who want peace. There are several places to rent skis and appliances, as well as many excellent restaurants and bars to unwind in. Bring a tripod and binoculars because the landscape is breathtaking.

Fun facts about Lake Havasu

Size: 30.16 square miles
Number of marinas: 12
Fuel locations: 3
License requirements: Arizona does not require boat operators to be licensed
Bragging rights: Formed by the construction of the Parker Dam on the Colorado River

California Water Skiing – Lake Tahoe

Tahoe is ideal for a variety of activities. Almost anyone who sees it considers it a paradise. We might go on and on about how beautiful the lake is, but we’re here to talk about waterskiing, which Tahoe excels at. To begin, there are numerous rental locations where you can find great skis and get your day on the water off to a great start. Second, there are three separate water ski schools in Tahoe where you can enroll yourself or take your children. Aside from that, there is plenty of space for you to get up to speed. Tahoe is big and stunning, with almost 200 square miles of breathtaking blue water. Yes, water skiing is extremely common in Tahoe.

Fun facts about Lake Tahoe

Size: 191.6 square miles
Number of marinas: 45
Fuel locations: 28
License requirements: California boaters 35 years or younger need to have their California Boater Card
Bragging rights: The largest alpine lake in North America

Skiing in the Ozarks – Table Rock Lake

I couldn’t leave out the Ozarks. When it comes to water sports, Table Rock Lake is the highest in the Ozarks. Put your waterskiing skills to the test by participating in some fun tournaments with the locals. This area has plenty for everybody, both on and off the water, so if you get tired of one thing, there’s always something else to keep you occupied. It’s one of America’s most popular tourist destinations for a reason: the place is vast, scenic, and welcoming. The months of late June to August are ideal for skiing. While you’re in the city, stop by Cope Marine.

Fun facts about Table Rock Lake

Size:  67.34 square miles
Number of marinas: 14
Fuel locations: 11
License requirements: Missouri requires all motorized boat operators born after January 1, 1984, to pass a boater safety course and to carry a boater education card.
Bragging rights: The hundreds of “fingers” create coves that offer glass smooth water for some of the best skiing in the world.

Resort Water Skiing – Lake George

Lake George is a luxurious holiday spot, an outdoorsman’s fantasy, a quaint historical venue, a scenic getaway, and a fantastic late-summer ski destination. When you’re zipping through the river doing tricks, the Adirondack Mountains have stunning scenery. You’ll meet lots of people who like to blow off steam while having a fun time here because it’s a hub for Northeastern city folk who want to flee. There are plenty of places to get gear, and the food in the area is incredible.

Fun facts about Lake George

Size:  44 square miles
Number of marinas: 12
Fuel locations: 12
License requirements: No boating license required. You must be at least 21 years old with a valid drivers license.
Bragging rights: There are more than 170 islands where you can explore, picnic, or camp.

Skiing on a Big Lake – Lake Lanier

With 700 miles of shoreline, Lake Lanier is a large body of water. There are lovely parks and beaches, as well as a good selection of boat ramps. Many people think of it as Atlanta’s bay, but the lakefront towns of Buford and Gainesville have all the attractions and Southern charm you’d imagine. The skiing is incredible. There’s normally enough breeze to keep things exciting, but not so many to make things difficult. It’s still warm enough to ski nearly all year.

Fun facts about Lake Lanier

Size: 57.92 square miles
Number of marinas: 9
Fuel locations: 9
License requirements: No boating license required. Anyone 16 years or older can operate a boat with any government issued identification.
Bragging rights: At Buford dam, the lake is more than 200 feet deep.

My Secret Ski Location – Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland is an underappreciated watersports destination with 1,25 miles of shoreline and sparkling blue water. With four huge marinas, several ski rental places, and a variety of restaurants, you’ll have everything you need for a fantastic day on the lake. You’ll like these open waterways because of the lively, welcoming boating community.

Lake Cumberland has a lot to offer. Here is a little more information about this well-kept secret.

Size: 102.4 square miles
Number of marinas: 10
Fuel locations: 10
License requirements: No boating license required. You must be at least 18 years old with a valid drivers license.
Bragging rights: At capacity, Lake Cumberland holds enough water to cover the entire state of Kentucky under 3 inches of water.

The Takeaway

This is my list of best lakes for water skiing. Any list of this nature is somewhat subjective – it’s MY favorite spots after all. Let me know your thoughts on the best places for water skiing in the comments section below.

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John Allen

With more than a decade of experience cruising the lakes in my Crestliner Grand Cayman pontoon boat and my Boston Whaler, I now want to share everything I've learned with my community here at Boating Hub.

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