With majestic mountains and hills, as well as picturesque forests, lush river valleys, and coastal lowlands, Connecticut offers a diversity of scenic backdrops for its many lakes. Book a stay at one of numerous cozy Connecticut vacation rentals to enjoy convenient access to activities such as swimming, sunbathing, water sports, boating, fishing, and more. Here are the most noteworthy lakes in the state of Connecticut.

1. Candlewood Lake

Candlewood
Source: Flickr / brownpau

The beautiful 8.4-mile length of Candlewood Lake, the largest lake in the state, lies in western Connecticut near the border with New York. For thrills on the water, rent pontoon boats, ski boats, and water sports equipment at Gerard’s Water’s Edge Marina in New Milford. Alternatively, launch your own boat at Squantz Cove State Boat Launch in New Fairfield or Lattins Cove State Boat Launch in Danbury. Candlewood Lake offers great fishing for trout, bass, perch, walleye, and other species. Another popular sport at the lake is scuba diving, and you can take lessons and obtain equipment with Northeast Diving Services in New Milford. Lovely family-friendly beaches at Squantz Pond State Park, Candlewood Town Park, and Lynn Deming Park provide swimming and sunbathing opportunities.

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2. Bantam Lake

Bantam
Source: Flickr / Felix Guzman

Bantam Lake is a pristine natural body of water in north-central Connecticut. Sandy Beach on the East Shore Road is a fun, family-friendly swimming area. Launch your motor boat, canoe, or kayak at the White Memorial Conservation Center Point Folly Marina at the north end of the lake. The conservation center also offers a fascinating museum about the area’s diverse wildlife and 40 miles of trails through woodlands and wetlands for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. Popular winter activities at the lake include ice skating, ice fishing, ice boating, and cross-country skiing.

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3. Squantz Pond

Squantz
Source: Flickr / David Goehring

Located in western Connecticut near the New York border, beautiful Squantz Pond is bordered by the verdant Pootatuck State Forest on the west and the recreational area of Squantz Pond State Park on the south. Enjoy swimming and sunbathing at the spacious state park beach. Pick up the gear you need at Candlewood Bait and Tackle in Danbury, and fish on the pond for trout, bass, perch, and walleye. Rent mountain bikes from the Bike Express in Danbury, and explore the miles of trails in Pootatuck State Forest and around the pond’s shoreline.

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4. Lake Zoar

Zoar
Source: Flickr / infinity513

Lake Zoar is a beautiful reservoir, 33 miles in length, in southwestern Connecticut. Launch your boat for water sports or fishing at the State Boat Launch in Southbury, the Zoar Beach Boat Ramp in Munroe, Jackson Cove Park in Oxford, or Eichler’s Cove in Newtown. Newtown Angling provides the bait and tackle you need to fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, perch, and catfish. For superb picnicking and hiking opportunities, head for Kettletown State Park on the east shore.

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5. Mashapaug Lake

Mashapaug
Source: Flickr / billandkent

Pristine Mashapaug Lake is surrounded by emerald-green forest in northeastern Connecticut at the edge of the border with Massachusetts. At the southern end of the lake, Bigelow Hollow State Park offers picnic areas and a boat launch. Fishing for trout, bass, and pickerel is popular in the summer by boat and in the winter through the ice. Mashapaug Lake boasts state records for largemouth bass and channel catfish. The state park and adjoining Nipmuck State Forest and Natchaug State Forest provide many miles of breathtaking forest trails ideal for hiking and mountain biking in summer and snowmobiling in winter. If you need to rent a mountain bike, look to Pedal Power in Vernon.

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6. Mansfield Hollow Lake

Mansfield
Source: Flickr / JJBers

Mansfield Hollow Lake is a beautiful reservoir bordered by Mansfield Hollow State Park and the pristine Mansfield Hollow Wildlife Area in east-central Connecticut. The state park offers a boat launch ramp and picnic tables in a pleasant, verdant location. Enjoy hiking and cycling along the trails in the park and on top of Mansfield Hollow Dam. From the top of the dam, you have a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. If you need bicycles, head for Storrs Center Cycle in downtown Mansfield. The lake is full of many fish species, and the lake’s northern pike often top 20 pounds.

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7. Crescent Lake

Crescent
Source: Flickr / Ben Pollard

Breathtaking Crescent Lake lies within Sunset Rock State Park in the town of Southington just southwest of Hartford, Connecticut. Fun activities at the lake include boating, canoeing, and fishing. Pick up the fishing equipment you need at Fishin Factory in Southington. Sunset Rock State Park is renowned for its beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails, which offer panoramic views of lovely forested hills. Central Wheel in nearby Hartford rents bicycles to meet your trail needs.

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8. Hop Brook Lake

Hop
Source: Flickr / CorpsNewEngland

Located near the town of Waterbury in southwestern Connecticut, Hop Brook Lake is in the midst of a beautiful day park featuring a sandy beach that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water fun. Other recreational activities at the park include disc golf, volleyball, and horseshoes. With only canoes, rowboats, and sailboards allowed on the lake, the area maintains a pristine and quiet ambiance. The seven miles of trails surrounding the lake allow observation of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, beavers, hawks, and songbirds. If you enjoy golf, play a round at the Hop Brook Golf Course just past the south end of the lake.

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9. West Thompson Lake

Thompson
Source: Flickr / CorpsNewEngland

West Thompson Lake lies in the northeastern edge of Connecticut near the borders of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The lake is popular for boating and fishing. Bob’s Place Fish Tackle in nearby Killingly provides the equipment and advice you need to angle for bass, panfish, and other species. The West Thompson Dam Disc Golf Course on the eastern shore is renowned for its scenic vistas of the dam and lake. Enjoy hiking through colorful surrounding forests of oak, eastern white pine, birch, and maple.

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10. Colebrook River Lake

Colebrook
Source: Flickr / CorpsNewEngland

Colebrook River Lake is a long reservoir in northwestern Connecticut that extends on into Massachusetts. Launch your boat for fun on the lake from a large boat ramp on the western shore. Fishing is excellent for rainbow trout, brook trout, northern pike, pickerel, and other species. Hike the trails around the lakeside, and observe wildlife such as black bears, white-tailed deer, beavers, red foxes, and mink. Additionally, watch for great blue herons, bald eagles, ospreys, and many other types of birds. To find the cycling equipment you need, try Biker’s Edge in nearby Torrington.

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