Located in the southern United States near the Gulf Coast, Alabama boasts copious scenic lakes perfect for an unforgettable getaway. Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, or sunbathing, Alabama has it all. Furthermore, the area’s mild year-round climate makes lakes near Alabama vacation rentals ideal for water lovers. Pack your fishing pole and bathing suit, and look forward to a relaxing trip at one of these popular destinations.

1. Guntersville Lake

Well known to locals for its bass fishing, Guntersville Lake is in the northern part of Alabama near Guntersville and Bridgeport. This picturesque body of water offers resort-style vacation rentals near the Eagle’s Nest Golf Course on the water, or you can opt for a quieter setting near the Lake Guntersville State Park. Rent a boat at the North Alabama Sailing Marina or learn about the best places to fish with John Maner’s Pro Fishing Guide Service. For swimming and sunbathing, try the Mountain Lake recreation area, or bring your own canoe or kayak and paddle along near 900 miles of shoreline.

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2. Smith Lake

Smith Lake is located at the north end of Alabama near the towns of Smith Lake and Crane Hill. This reservoir lies on the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River and covers an area of approximately 32 miles. Travelers to the area can rent paddle boards at Smith Lake Paddle Boards or hike at the Clarkson Covered Bridge. There’s also swimming and sunbathing at the Sportsman Lake Park, or you can rent a boat at Trident Marina and fish for largemouth and spotted bass. This quiet area is ideal for those interested in history. Dry your feet and take a tour of the Crooked Creek Civil War Museum or spend some time taking pictures at the Ave Maria Grotto.

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3. Lake Martin

Formed by the Tallapoosa River, Lake Martin is a reservoir near Alexander City, Dadeville, and Jacksons Gap. The lake offers 743 miles of shoreline for hiking, fishing, and sunbathing. The towering rocks at Chimney Rock and Acapulco Rock are also known for swimming and diving. Many luxury vacation rentals and waterfront homes are located at Lake Martin, and the close towns offer activities like the DeSoto Caverns and the MuscleCar Museum, which are both ideal for families. On the water, you can rent boats and personal watercraft at the Russel Marina, or sign up for a kayak tour with the Adventure Center. Along the shore, the Lake Martin Amphitheater provides a host of concerts throughout the year and it often has fireworks, art shows, and cultural events on the holidays.

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4. Wheeler Lake

Wheeler Lake was created by Wheeler Dam along the Tennessee River on the northern part of Alabama. It stretches a total of 50 miles and includes the busy city of Huntsville and the smaller town of Rogersville. When planning a visit, make sure you visit the dam and take pictures. Go fishing at Joe Wheeler State Park or sign up for a Wheeler Lake scenic cruise. At the Elks River Lodge State Park, go swimming or enjoy a picnic beside the water. For days off the water, head into Rogersville and browse Stephen’s Unique Antique Shop and then stop by the Village Interiors and Specialty Gifts for souvenirs.

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5. Walter F. George Lake

Also known as Lake Eufaula, the Walter F. George Lake is formed on the Chattahoochee River between Alabama and Georgia. This beautiful body of water is close to the cities of Eufaula and Georgetown, which are both family-friendly locations. For birdwatching, head to the Eufaula Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is also an excellent place to hike and get some exercise or visit Providence Canyon and hike on one of the more remote trails. On the water, rent a boat at Lakepoint Boat Rental or join in one of the annual fishing tournaments at Lakepoint State Park.

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6. Lake Tuscaloosa

If west-central Alabama is your destination, choose Lake Tuscaloosa for your waterfront paradise. This reservoir is created by damming the North River. It has 177 miles of shorelines which are frequently used for swimming, fishing, and hiking. There are 36 parks in the area, including the Binion Creek Landing Park and the Rock Quarry Park. Rent a boat at Smith’s Marina and Dry Docks, or head into Tuscaloosa for a night on the town. Tuscaloosa is the fifth largest city in Alabama. Here, you can attend a Crimson Tide football game at the Bryant Denny Stadium or visit the Paul W. Bryant Museum.

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7. Weiss Lake

Weiss Lake is located near Cedar Bluff in northeastern Alabama. The lake is well known for its bass fishing with reports of fish over 25 pounds. The season runs from February through May. Lee Pitts Guide Service offer private tours to the best fishing spots on the lake. Go hiking or swimming at the Cherokee Rock Village or head to the DeSoto State Park for a picnic. Lake Weiss Watersports rents boats and personal watercraft, or you can rent a pontoon at the Little River Marina and Lodge. Head to the town of Centre and tour the Cherokee County Historical Museum or take in a movie at the Twin Drive-In Theater and Grill. There’s also mini golf for the family at BJ’s Mini Golf.

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8. Lake Wedowee

Lake Wedowee is a man-made lake on the upper portion of the Tallapoosa River near the small town of Wedowee. Those looking for vacation rentals near the water will find a variety of activities to keep you busy, like boating, swimming, and fishing. Rent a boat at the Wedowee Marine and go fishing with the family or grab an inner tube and catch some waves. The Cheaha Resort State Park is the place to go for hiking or stop and smell the flowers at the nearby Shiloh Covered Bridge.

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9. Lay Lake

Boating and trophy fishing is one of the most popular pastimes at Lay Lake. Best known for its spotted and largemouth bass fishing, Lay Lake covers 12,000 acres and over 280 miles of shoreline, which creates a wealth of recreational opportunities. Sign up with the Coosa River Guide Service and the popular fishing hot spot or rent a boat at the Paradise Point Marina and navigate the water on your own. If you prefer to head into town, browse for antiques at Classic Home Consignments or at Dragonflies Antique and Marketplace.

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10. Wilson Lake

Wilson Lake is the reservoir created by Wilson Dam and located in the city of Florence. It covers over 15,000 acres and is another popular spot in Alabama for bass fishing in the spring and fall. At the dam, anglers can enjoy the fishing platform that is located where a variety of fish species like to congregate. Take the kids to the Splash Pad at the River Heritage Park for an afternoon of splashing or bring your own boat and put in at the Colbert Alloys Boat Ramp. Florence is a quiet city with a family friendly-atmosphere. After a day on the water, visit the Indian Mound and Museum or take the kids to the Children’s Museum of the Shoals before heading back to your vacation rental.

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