15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (2022)

Kansas is known for its agriculture, giving it the nickname ‘The Wheat State’. It is also known as ‘The Sunflower State’, as it is home to Mount Sunflower. In addition to this mountain, Kansas is also home to hills, forests, flatlands and rivers.

Two-thirds of Kansas sits within the Great Plains, with the remaining third being hills and forests. Amongst the flatlands, hills and forests are numerous rivers and lakes. When people visit Kansas they often don’t think about going to its lakes, but there are some beautiful ones that are not to be missed. These are the 15 best lakes in Kansas.

1. Wilson Lake; Russell & Lincoln Counties

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (1)

Source: Ethan Denton / shutterstock

Wilson Lake was originally built for flood control, but today it is also a popular recreation lake. It is also used for wildlife management.

There are four parks sitting along the lake’s 160 kilometre shoreline, the largest being the Wilson State Park. This public recreational area boasts swimming beaches, hiking trails, boat ramps and camping facilities.

On the northeast end of the 3,660 hectare lake is Lucas Park, which is home to the Rocktown Natural Area. It also has hiking trails, swimming beaches and boat ramps.

2. Milford Lake; Geary, Clay & Dickinson Counties

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (2)

Source: Acorns Resort at Milford Lake / Flickr

At 6,400 hectare, Milford Lake is the largest man-made lake in the state. The lake was created during the construction of the Milford Dam along the Republican River.

On the southeast corner of the lake is the Milford State Park. The park is a favourite getaway for outdoor lovers, offering bird watching and fishing.

Visitors come to the lake to enjoy water sports, go picnicking and to view wildlife. It is also possible to go hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping.

3. Tuttle Creek Lake; Pottawatomie, Riley & Marshall Counties

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (3)

Source: riebschlager / Flickr

This 5,000 hectare lake sits along the Big Blue River in northeast Kansas. Turtle Creek Lake was initially built for flood control, but today it is a popular recreational lake.

The Tuttle Creek State Park is located at the north end of the lake and boasts an artificial beach. It also hosts the annual Country Stampede Music Festival.

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On the north end of the lake is the Fancy Creek State Park, which is known for its 13 kilometre mountain bike trail. There are also plenty of other parks around the lake that offer picnicking, boating, fishing, swimming and camping.

4. Perry Lake; Jefferson County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (4)

Source: Richard Murdock / shutterstock

Known locally as ‘Paradise on the Plains’, Perry Lake is somewhat of a paradise for residents of the cities of Topeka and Lawrence. It is a popular destination that sits in the Dissected Till Plains region and makes for a great weekend escape.

The nationally recognised 47 kilometre Perry Lake Trail is great for hiking, while Perry State Park offers camping. Horseback riding, boating and fishing are also popular things enjoyed at the 4,511 hectare lake.

The lake sits along the Delaware River, with the Perry Dam located at the south end of it. Although many use it recreationally, its primary purpose is for flood control.

5. Kanopolis Lake; Ellsworth County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (5)

Source: Robert D Brozek / shutterstock

Located in the Smokey Hills region, Kanopolis Lake sits at an elevation of 446 metres. The 1,378 hectare lake was formed by Kanopolis Dam, which impounds the Smoky Hill River.

The lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who also run three lakeside parks. Venango Park is the largest and features a beach, a boat ramp and camping facilities.

The Kanopolis State Park sits at the northeast corner of the lake. It is part of the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, offering fantastic hiking, horseback riding, cycling and wildlife viewing.

6. Clinton Lake; Douglas County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (6)

Source: barteverett / shutterstock

Clinton Lake is located just southwest of the city of Lawrence, providing it water supply and flood control. It is also a highly popular recreational lake, with the Clinton State Park sitting on the north shore of it.

The Clinton State Park offers extensive hiking and biking, with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife. There are also boat launches, picnic areas and camping sites.

It is also possible to go swimming, boating and fishing on the lake. In fact, the lake and the state park is the annual site of the Ironman Kansas 70.3 triathlon.

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7. El Dorado Lake; Butler County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (7)

Source: -just-jay- / Flickr

This 3,200 hectare lake was built on the Walnut River for flood control. It is also used for water supply and for recreational purposes.

The El Dorado State Park sits along the southern shores of the lake, offering boating, camping and hiking. Many also come to go fishing for walleye, crappie, largemouth bass and channel catfish.

There are swimming area within the state park, as well as an amphitheatre and picnic areas. The park also offers horseback riding and even has a horse campground.

8. Big Hill Lake; Labette County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (8)

Source: usacetulsa / Flickr

Big Hill Lake sits in the southeast corner of Kansas between the cities of Cherryvale and Parsons. The 500 hectare lake is a popular spot for recreational activities, not only amongst locals, but also tourists.

The lake boasts a sandy beach as well as picnic areas, boat ramps and campsites. Many people also come to go fishing and water skiing, and to enjoy other water sports.

The 27 kilometre long Big Hill Horse Trail is located along the lake and in its surrounding area. The trail features a variety of terrain, making it enjoyable for people of all ages and skills.

9. Fall River Lake; Greenwood County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (9)

Source: ksoutdoors.com

Sitting along the Fall River, Fall River Lake is a popular spot to enjoy recreational activities. The lake attracts visitors of all ages who come to enjoy swimming, water skiing, boating and picnicking.

The lake is also popular amongst anglers thanks to its abundance of white bass, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish. Its surroundings also attract birdwatchers from all over the world.

Camping facilities are available at the Fall River State Park, which sits along the lake’s south shoreline. The park also boasts six hiking trails!

10. Elk City Lake; Montgomery County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (10)

Source: www.kansastrailscouncil.org

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This 1,800 hectare reservoir was constructed for flood control, but today it is a popular recreational lake. Elk City Lake is also extremely picturesque, as it is surrounded by rolling meadows.

There are six hiking trails surrounding the lake, two of which have National Trails designations. In addition, there is a 6.5 kilometre biking trail along the river.

The Elk City State Park sits along the east side of the lake. The 346 hectare park offers swimming, boating and camping.

11. Hillsdale Lake; Miami County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (11)

Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer unknown / Wikimedia

Hillsdale Lake is located just 48 kilometres away from Kansas City in the northeast part of the state. The 1,850 hectare lake is known for its V-shape, as well as for being home of the Hillsdale State Park.

The Hillsdale State Park sits at the bottom of the ‘V’, which is at the south end of the lake. It features two great hiking trails, as well as an equestrian area.

The park features a beach, four camping grounds, boat ramps and a day-use area. There is also 82 kilometres of shoreline where fishing is allowed.

12. Council Grove Lake; Morris County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (12)

Source: usacetulsa / Wikimedia

This 1,309 hectare lake was built in 1964 for flood control and water supply. Today, Council Grove Lake is also a popular recreational spot.

There are eight parks surrounding the lake that are managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. All eight of these parks have camping facilities and offer fishing.

Three of the parks (Canning Creek Cove, Richey Cove and Neosho Park) have hiking trails, while Richey Cove also boasts a swimming beach. It is the only park on the lake’s 64 kilometre shoreline that has a beach.

13. Cheney Reservoir; Sedgwick, Kingman & Reno Counties

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (13)

Source: Kurayba / Flickr

Cheney Reservoir stretches across three counties near the centre of Kansas. The 3,860 hectare lake sits at an elevation of 433 metres in the Great Plains area.

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The reservoir is located along the North Fork Ninnescah River, and was originally built for flood control and water supply. Today, it is also a popular spot for enjoying recreational activities.

The Cheney State Park sits on both sides of the south end of the lake. The park is divided into two areas (the East Shore Area and the West Shore Area), both of which offer camping sites, boat ramps and swimming beaches.

14. Lake Afton; Sedgwick County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (14)

Source: www.naturalkansas.org

Located just west of Wichita, Lake Afton is a man-made lake that is predominately used for recreation. The 104 hectare lake is easily accessible and as a result is popular amongst Kansas residents, as well as those from further afar.

There is a state run park along the south end of the lake that offers swimming, boating and picnicking. There are also campgrounds within the park, as well as in other spots around the lake’s shoreline.

Fishing is quite popular here, as there are plenty of crappie, largemouth bass, walleye and channel catfish. It is also possible to fish for saugeye, wiper and flathead catfish.

15. Lone Star Lake; Douglas County

15 Best Lakes in Kansas - The Crazy Tourist (15)

Source: LepomisLS / Wikimedia

This 75 hectare lake lies just southwest of the city of Lone Star in northeast Kansas. It is a small lake, but a serene one thanks to its natural surroundings.

The lake is surrounded by the Lone Star Lake Park, which offers a wide range of recreational activities. These include camping, water skiing, boating, fishing and swimming.

The entire shoreline of the lake is surrounded by the park, making it a popular place for nature lovers who want to relax and get away from it all. It should be noted that campsites are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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FAQs

What is the prettiest lake in Kansas? ›

These 10 Gorgeous Lakes In Kansas Are Demanding Your Attention
  • El Dorado Lake - El Dorado. ...
  • Perry Lake - Ozawkie. ...
  • Milford Lake - Milford. ...
  • Fall River Lake - Severy. ...
  • Waconda Lake - Glen Elder. ...
  • Cedar Bluff Reservoir - Ellis. ...
  • Clinton Lake - Lawrence. Clinton Lake, Kansas, USA. ...
  • Hillsdale Lake - Paola.
May 8, 2022

What is the deepest lake in Kansas? ›

Tuttle Creek Lake
Max. depth15 m (50 ft)
Water volume0.41 km3 (0.098 cu mi) (normal level)
Shore length1160 km (100 mi)
Surface elevation328 m (1075 ft)
18 more rows

Why is Wilson lake so clear? ›

Fun fact: There are a whopping 100-miles of shore that surround Wilson! How does the 9,000-acre reservoir stay so clean and blue? The answer is thanks in part to an all-natural grassland drainage system that works as a 1,000+ acre filter!

Is there any beaches in Kansas? ›

Clinton State Park Beach is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in the state. It is also nearby one of the largest marinas in Kansas.

Why is swimming not allowed at Creve Coeur? ›

The beach area is perfect for watching the sunset or playing sand volleyball. No swimming or gas boats are permitted because the lake is stocked with wildlife from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

What's the second biggest lake in Kansas? ›

Waconda Lake is Kansas' second-largest lake. It is 12,602 acres or 51 square kilometers in size, located in the state's Mitchell and Osborne counties. The land was home to the Waconda Spring, a naturally flowing artesian well, before the construction of the Glen Elder Dam that created Waconda Lake.

What is the only natural lake in Kansas? ›

Lake Inman is the largest natural lake in Kansas.
...
Lakes and reservoirs by size.
NameWilson Lake
Capacity in acre feet (normal pool)235,000
surface acres (normal pool)9,020 acres (3,650 ha)
maximum depth65 feet (20 m)
comments8,120 acres (3,290 ha) of recreational land, clearest lake in Kansas
23 more columns

Is there a crater lake in Kansas? ›

This is perhaps the most apparent indication within the show that it is not filmed in Kansas. It is, in fact, Buntzen Lake in Anmore, British Columbia.

What lakes are man made in Kansas? ›

Milford Lake

It is a man-made lake with an area of 64 square km. It has a maximum depth of 65 ft. Milford Lake was created by the construction of the Milford Dam on the Republican River in 1962. The lake serves multiple functions of water supply, flood control, navigation, and recreation.

What is the dirtiest lake in Missouri? ›

The test results issued by the Department of Natural Resources for 2011 indicates that the Lake of the Ozarks is one of, if not the cleanest, body of water in the State of Missouri in terms of E. Coli bacteria.”

What's the deepest lake in Missouri? ›

Missouri's deepest lake is man-made Table Rock Lake, 220 feet at its deepest point.

Is Creve Coeur Lake toxic? ›

over a year ago. No, this is basically a health and public safety issue.

How deep is Creve Coeur Lake? ›

Creve Coeur Lake formed several thousand years ago when a meander loop of the Missouri River was cut off. The original lake varied in depth from 10 to 30 feet and covered over 400 acres.

What is the biggest natural lake in Kansas? ›

The largest natural lake is McPherson County's Lake Inman in central Kansas. It covers about 160 acres and is on private property. In comparison, the largest reservoir, Milford Lake near Junction City, covers 15,709 acres.

What is the deepest lake in United States? ›

At 1,943 feet (592 meters), Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the deepest in the world. The depths were first explored thoroughly in 1886 by a party from the U.S. Geological Survey.

What is Kansas known for? ›

What is Kansas Known For? Kansas is known for its vast prairies, rolling hills, and natural beauty. The state has one of the most miles of river than any other state in the Great Plains and is home to the world's largest contiguous tallgrass prairie.

How many lakes are in Kansas? ›

There are more than 10,000 miles of rivers and streams in Kansas and more than 120,000 lakes, reservoirs, and ponds. Most lakes and ponds were created with artificial barriers, such as dams and dikes. Natural lakes are rare in Kansas and are much smaller than the state's reservoirs.

Which US state has the most lakes? ›

Alaska is the state with the most naturally formed lakes, containing 3,197 lakes and over 3 million unnamed lakes. Many of the lakes are unnamed because of the size of Alaska and the remote nature of much of the state.

What is the oldest lake in Kansas? ›

The oldest reservoir, Kanopolis Lake, has passed its middle age and is filling up with loose dirt and silt. Many others, such as Tuttle Creek Lake and John Redmond Reservoir, have followed that same sedimentation trend.

Is Wyandotte lake man made? ›

Each year, thousands of anglers, hikers, and boaters enjoy Wyandotte County Lake, a manmade lake that has been a destination in northeast Kansas for nearly 75 years.

Is there mountains in Kansas? ›

Known for its sprawling prairie and fields of grain, Kansas, or “the Sunflower State,” is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is home to 154 named mountains, the highest of which is Mount Sunflower (4,035ft/1,230m), and the most prominent of which is Temple Knob (1,647ft/502m).

Are there alligators in Missouri lakes? ›

Alligators are not native to Missouri; however, rare sightings have been reported. In July 2019, people in a Dutchtown neighborhood found an alligator hanging out on a sidewalk. St.

Are there piranhas in the Lake of the Ozarks? ›

The Missouri Department of Conservation confirms two piranhas were found at different locations in the lake over the past two weeks. (KRCG) Flesh eating fish have been found in the Lake of the Ozarks.

Are there alligators in Lake of Ozarks? ›

The alligator, according to Marlin, is the coolest animal he has ever caught in the Ozarks. Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc.

Is there a town under Table Rock Lake? ›

TABLE ROCK LAKE, Mo. — A small Ozarks town that was once a tourist destination is now underwater but not forgotten. The village of Oasis, along the banks of Long Creek, was mostly destroyed by a flood in 1957.

What is at the bottom of the Lake of the Ozarks? ›

At mile marker 31 in Linn Creek Cove, it's not just mud (and more mud) underneath you – there's actually an underwater ghost town. Old Linn Creek was supposedly the only complete town to be covered by water when the Osage River was dammed in the 1920s.

Are there any man made lakes in Missouri? ›

The Truman Reservoir (also known as Truman Lake) is the largest man-made lake in Missouri. Its 55,600 acres offer 958 miles of coastline. It is located on the Osage River between Clinton and Warsaw, and extends south to Osceola. Truman dam created the lake and manages the lake's water level.

Are there sharks in lake Ozark? ›

Bull sharks can survive in fresh water and one has been caught in the Mississippi River as far north as Illinois. While the chances of encountering a shark in the Ozarks are pretty much zero, the idea has spawned plenty of tall tales and even the aptly named movie “Ozark Sharks.”

Why is Lake of the Ozarks so dirty? ›

The water pollution from failed septic tanks can have tangible effects on E. coli levels in the Lake of the Ozarks. During the summer, the Natural Resources Department officially said a combination of factors was responsible for unsafe levels of E. coli in the water.

What is the cleanest lake? ›

Blue Lake (below), in New Zealand's South Island, is the clearest lake in the world. It is fed by water from Lake Constance, above. Both are found just next to Mount Franklin, in the Tasman District's Nelson Lakes National Park.

Are there any natural lakes in Kansas? ›

Natural lakes are rare in Kansas and are much smaller than the state's reservoirs. The largest natural lake is McPherson County's Lake Inman in central Kansas. It covers about 160 acres and is on private property. In comparison, the largest reservoir, Milford Lake near Junction City, covers 15,709 acres.

Can you swim at lake Perry? ›

Water Sports

Two designated swim beaches are located at Perry Lake. The Corps of Engineers maintains the Perry Park Swim Beach, adjacent to Perry Yacht and Marina. Perry State Park maintains a swimming beach within their camping area.

Can you swim in Milford Lake KS? ›

Water activities like boating and fishing may be safe; however direct contact activities including water skiing, jet skiing, wading and swimming are strongly discouraged. Pets and livestock should be kept away from water.

What's the second biggest lake in Kansas? ›

Waconda Lake is Kansas' second-largest lake. It is 12,602 acres or 51 square kilometers in size, located in the state's Mitchell and Osborne counties. The land was home to the Waconda Spring, a naturally flowing artesian well, before the construction of the Glen Elder Dam that created Waconda Lake.

Where is the biggest lake in Kansas? ›

1. Milford Lake. Milford Lake is the largest lake in Kansas. It is a man-made lake with an area of 64 square km.

How much does it cost to camp at Perry Lake? ›

Perry Lake offers a variety off camping opportunities from sites with water and electrical hookups to primitive sites that get you closer to nature. All campsite come accomidated with a picnic table and fire ring. The price of camping ranges from $10-$18 per night and we do honor Senior and Disability Passes.

What kind of fish are in Perry Lake? ›

Lake Perry is well stocked with Florida Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Coppernose Bluegill, Shell Cracker (Red Ear Sunfish), Crappie, and Channel Catfish.

Does Milford Lake have blue algae? ›

Public Health Advisories for Milford Lake Zone C Due to Blue-Green Algae. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have issued a public health warning for Milford Lake Zone C in Geary and Clay Counties due to blue-green algae.

Does Kansas have beaches? ›

Kansas, often considered the heart of America because of its location, is full of hills, forests, and lakes. Because it is far from the coast, you may not expect it but Kansas has some of the loveliest beaches in the country.

Do you have to pay to get into Hillsdale Lake? ›

The Kansas State Park System operates the Fee program at Hillsdale Lake. State Park Vehicle Permits are required for all vehicles entering park areas. Annual vehicle permits are available through the State Park Office. Camping fees and utilities can be paid at camp host sites within the park.

What is the deepest lake in United States? ›

At 1,943 feet (592 meters), Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the deepest in the world. The depths were first explored thoroughly in 1886 by a party from the U.S. Geological Survey.

What is Kansas known for? ›

What is Kansas Known For? Kansas is known for its vast prairies, rolling hills, and natural beauty. The state has one of the most miles of river than any other state in the Great Plains and is home to the world's largest contiguous tallgrass prairie.

Which US state has the most lakes? ›

Alaska is the state with the most naturally formed lakes, containing 3,197 lakes and over 3 million unnamed lakes. Many of the lakes are unnamed because of the size of Alaska and the remote nature of much of the state.

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