No natural lakes exist today in Maryland, but more than 100 man-made bodies of water can be found — many created as a byproduct of dam construction. Though they may not have been constructed with recreation in mind, many of the lakes now serve exactly this purpose, as families flock to them every year for relaxing vacations. Furthermore, they are very beautiful, and a quick getaway from nearby big cities.

5 Best Maryland Lake Vacation Destinations

1. Oakland, Maryland

The biggest of Maryland’s man-made lakes is Deep Creek Lake, located in Garrett County right by Oakland. In the summer visitors can fly fish, white water raft, and jet ski, while in the winter they can hit the slopes at Wisp Resort, which, in addition to the traditional skiing and snowboarding, also offers snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Also nearby is Swallow Falls State Park, named after its star attraction, Maryland’s highest free-falling waterfall. When travelers are tired of nature, they can visit the historic downtown area of Oakland, home to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church where four presidents have attended services.

2. Lexington Park, Maryland

Lexington Park is a historic town in Maryland best known for having early colonial settlers. It is located near Historic St. Mary’s City, where the Maryland colony was founded and now a center for living history. Also nearby is St. Mary’s River State Park, which has a 250-acre fishing lake. A trail that circles the lake is used for hiking, biking and horseback riding and some spots in the park are designated waterfowl hunting sites.

3. Hampstead, Maryland

Hampstead is home to Cascade Lake, the perfect destination for a short, family trip. The small, 6-acre spring-fed lake has been turned into a waterpark destination for all ages. The sandy-bottom lake has platforms and waterslides and is guarded by lifeguards. There’s also a waterpark playground, a fishing area of the lake stocked with fish, and paddle boats. In addition to Cascade Lake, Hampstead is home to the Prettyboy Reservoir Park, a scenic area around the reservoir, which provides water to the city of Baltimore.

4. Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland is located nearby Lake Habeeb, a reservoir now surrounded by the Rocky Gap State Park. The lake allows fishing and boating 24/7, year round, and the lake is home to trout, catfish, and bass. In addition, in the summer, canoe and kayak rentals are available. In town, Cumberland hosts many significant homes and other buildings in its Washington Street Historic District.

5. Baltimore, Maryland

Though Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland, it also has its lakeside charms. The city is home to Loch Raven Reservoir, which provides drinking water to its residents. The reservoir is also a source of recreation for those living in the city with boat rentals, fishing, canoes and kayaks. Beyond the reservoir, however, Baltimore is a destination in its own right. Visitors can catch an Orioles game, visit Fort McHenry, educate themselves in one of the numerous art museums, and peek in at the marine life at the aquarium.

This article was written by Isabella Sayyah.