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7 Biggest Lakes in the U.S.

| Updated Apr 26, 2023

As Michiganders, we hold a special place in our hearts for the lakes of the U.S. and Canada. 

Of course, we’re especially partial to the Great Lakes, but there are many, many others.

When it comes to sheer size of the bodies of water, the team at Travel Trivia recently broke down a list of the “7 Biggest Lakes in the U.S.

Not to give it away too quickly, but they include some of our favorites, as you will see below.

  1. Lake of the Woods

With around 15.7 million acre-feet of water, the seventh-largest lake in the U.S. also happens to be one of the biggest lakes in Canada. It spans the borders between Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario, and comprises more than 25,000 miles of shoreline. This enormous American lake boasts the longest lake shoreline in the world, as noted by Lakelubbers magazine.

The western section of Lake of the Woods is mainly open water. More easterly parts of the lake contain thousands of small islands that are home to moose, bald eagles, bear, and other Minnesota wildlife.

In the summer, Lake of the Woods is a fishing paradise. In the winter, Lake of the Woods transforms into a cold-weather playground replete with ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and more.

  1. Great Salt Lake

Comprising some 28 million acre-feet of saline water, Utah's Great Salt Lake claims the title of the sixth-largest lake in the U.S. It's also the second-largest lake that sits completely within the U.S..

The most significant remaining vestige of a prehistoric 1,000-foot-deep lake known as Lake Bonneville, the Great Salt Lake lives up to its name, of course, with water that is significantly saltier than the other lakes in this list.

Among other things, the Great Salt Lake is home to a protected pelican rookery as well as a several small islands populated with American bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and numerous shorebirds and waterfowl, including avocets, swans, ducks, and gulls. Due to its high salt levels, only brine shrimp and algae live in the lake water, according to Lakelubbers.

  1. Lake Ontario

The RV Lifestyle has written about Lake Ontario previously, and Jennifer and I recently produced a video about a recent trip to Presquile Provincial Park that you can check out below.

You’ll see we loved what amounts to be the smallest of the Great Lakes (fifth-biggest lake in the U.S. and 14th-largest lake in the world). Formed by glacial activity long ago, Lake Ontario shorelines meander through Canada and New York.

At 802 feet, Ontario is the second-deepest of the Great Lakes. The scenic lake offers more than 700 miles of hike-able shoreline and plentiful fishing opportunities. Angler favorites include brown trout, black bass, brown trout, coho and king salmon, lake trout, perch, spring kings, walleye, and steelhead.

  1. Lake Erie

Yes, of course, it’s another of the Great Lakes!

We very recently did a story on Chautauqua Lakeside, a 143-year-old gated summer community that began as a campground and still is one today. (You can check out that video below.)

As for the lake itself, Erie is the southernmost and smallest by volume of the five Great Lakes as well as the fourth-largest lake in the U.S. Straddling the boundaries of Ontario, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes.

Because Erie has an average depth of just 62 feet, it is the only one of the Great Lakes to freeze over intermittently. In the wintertime, ice fishing is a big deal in Lake Erie where daring anglers brave the elements to pull walleye, yellow perch, steelhead, salmon, and small-mouth bass through holes bored in the ice.

Nobody knows exactly how many islands are in Lake Erie, but Lakelubbers says that there are at least 36 inhabited and abandoned islands, including Buckeye, Catawba, Gibraltar, Kafralu, Middle Bass, Mouse, and West Sister Island.

  1. Lake Michigan

Comprising nearly 4 billion acre-feet of fresh water, Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes to sit entirely within U.S. boundaries. With 1,640 miles of shoreline in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, Lake Michigan also happens to have the biggest surface area of any single-country freshwater lake.

It also allowed for us to bring you plenty of stories from our Great Lakes Shoreline Tour several years ago.

By the way, if you think the only wine country in America is on the west coast, you may be surprised to learn that the Lake Michigan Shore is a designated American Viticultural Area with hundreds of wineries that make wine from cool weather-loving Riesling grapes. That means plenty of opportunities to use Harvest Hosts!

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  1. Lake Huron

Lake Huron is located on Michigan’s Sunrise Side – a nickname earned by the glorious sunrises afforded by its location along the east coast of Michigan. Of course, the lake offers plenty of more considering it holds about 850 cubic miles of water and nearly 4,000 miles of shoreline.

It starts in the Upper Peninsula, and includes one of our favorite spots to visit: Mackinac Island.

In the summertime, fishermen (and women) flock to the shore at Saginaw Bay to angle for record-breaking walleye. Year-round fishing is good here, too, with plentiful musky, trout, bass, and salmon.

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A sunrise over Lake Huron.
  1. Lake Superior

It’s really hard to put into words the magnificence of the largest lake in the U.S. — Lake Superior. It boasts nearly 9.8 billion acre-feet of freshwater. To put that in perspective, the number represents about 400,000 gallons of water for every person on the planet, according to Lakelubbers.

Not only is Lake Superior the biggest lake in the U.S., but it's also the cleanest, coldest, and deepest of the five Great Lakes. When measured by surface area, Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the entire world.

And the area around it offers plenty for RVers. We encourage you to visit some of the stories we’ve done about Lake Superior’s coastline. Of course, we hold our annual winter campout at Tahquamenon Falls State Park that is a relative short distance from the lake.

Last, we invite you to check out a video we made of our visit to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

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Mike and Jennifer's Ultimate Michigan and Great Lakes Bundle – THREE ebooks

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This bundle contains our ever-popular Michigan Upper Peninsula 7-Stop Adventure Guide PLUS the NEW LOWER Michigan Adventure Guide PLUS the US Side Tour of the Great Lakes! This ULTIMATE Bundle will help you keep enjoying Michigan and the Great Lakes for years!

Mike Wendland

Published on 2019-09-02

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

2 Responses to “7 Biggest Lakes in the U.S.”

October 08, 2019at8:28 pm, Ross Williams said:

They are all partially in the United States. If you include Canada and Mexico, they would not be seven biggest. For instance, Lake Winnipeg is larger than Lake of the Woods.

September 04, 2019at6:47 pm, Ron Worth said:

Seven biggest lakes in North America! They are not all in the US.

Comments are closed.

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