With so many lakes located in upstate New York, there’s no shortage of aquatic activities to keep you occupied. If you plan to visit Syracuse, you’ll find that some of the top lakes in the region are located within just a short drive of downtown. Check out these must-visit lakes in the Syracuse area to enjoy an exciting day of water sports, relaxing on the beach, or a little bit of both.
This glacial lake just a few miles east of Syracuse attracts visitors from all over the region to enjoy the stunning scenery that surrounds it. The unique thing about Green Lake is that it’s a meromictic lake, which means that there is no fall and spring mixing of surface and bottom waters. Lakes of this variety have a much higher chance of demonstrating evidence of ancient plant and animal life.
The fact that Green Lake has such historical significance and scientific sensitivity means that no outside boats, kayaks, or canoes are permitted on the water. This creates an incredibly serene and peaceful setting, which is why Green Lake is such a calming getaway. If you do want to explore the lake, you can rent rowboats and kayaks at the Boat House between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Think of a visit to Green Lake as a chance to unplug, relax, and take in the sights and sounds of nature without distraction.
If you want to visit the lake closest to the hotels in downtown Syracuse, choose Onondaga Lake. This lovely body of water sits just a few miles from the center of town and offers up plenty of attractions for visitors.
Make sure to visit Onondaga Lake Park, which is often called “The Central Park of Central New York.” Located along the shores of the lake, this park features a skate park, dog park, playground, event venue, fishing pier, walking trails, and more. There’s space to enjoy a picnic, courts for bocce, shuffleboard, and volleyball, and a local history museum. Certain annual events are held at Onondaga Lake, such as the Great New York State Fair in the summer and Light on the Lake during the holidays.
Located just 22 miles southwest of Syracuse, Otisco Lake is the easternmost of the Finger Lakes. Because the lake is surrounded mostly by private homes rather than businesses, it’s a quiet, family-friendly place to enjoy a day on the water. Head to Otisco Lake County Park to enjoy access to 600 feet of shoreline and convenient amenities like boat launches and restrooms. For stunning views, visit the Causeway near the south end of the lake or The Narrow at the north end.
If you love to fish, make sure you put Otisco Lake on your itinerary. This beautiful lake is stocked with thousands of brown trout and tiger musky each year. The north end of the lake is considered the prime spot to fish, with visitors coming year-round to cast a line into the water or carve out a spot for ice fishing.
Make your visit to Syracuse complete by checking out some of these must-see lakes in the area.