Fall Boating within the South: 7 Scenic Lakes to Go to Now
When considering the best seasons for boating in the South, autumn is often named as a favorite. The weather is cooler, the landscapes are more colorful, and the waterways are quieter. Your only challenge might be deciding on which spot to visit first. Learn more about seven scenic southern lakes to explore this fall.
- Lake Cumberland, Kentucky. Surrounded by mountains and lined with coves and waterfalls, Lake Cumberland’s 1,255 miles of shoreline provides some of the most beautiful and best boating in the South. Don’t forget your fishing gear though because Lake Cumberland also offers outstanding opportunities to catch striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish.
- Lake Douglas, Tennessee. Since Lake Douglas is located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and is just a few short miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the views here alone are well worth the trip. If you’re wondering where to boat and go fishing while also surrounded by beautiful fall views, Lake Douglas is worth a visit. In addition to the mountain views, the lake is known for having plenty of largemouth bass and crappie.
- Lake Ouachita, Arkansas. As Arkansas’s largest lake, you’ll experience some of the best boating in the South on 40,000 acres of clear, sparkling water surrounded by the scenic Ouachita National Forest. Boating, kayaking, and fishing are often considered to be more enjoyable here during the cooler fall months. Species such as crappie, catfish, striped bass, and largemouth bass can be caught on a trip to Lake Ouachita — either out in open water or while anchored in a quiet cove. Buy your Arkansas fishing license online to save time before you go.
- Caddo Lake, Texas/Louisiana. Situated on the border between Texas and Louisiana, Caddo Lake has over 25,000 acres of surface area, along with some of the most scenic boating in the South. Picture cypress trees draped with Spanish moss along the shorelines and sloughs. Relax while soaking in the fall views, or try your luck fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, white bass, and sunfish.
- Lake Martin, Alabama. During the fall months, Lake Martin is often considered one of the best boating lakes due to the surrounding hillside views and excellent bass fishing. The clear waters of this Tallapoosa River impoundment are well known for being an excellent spotted bass and largemouth bass destination this time of year.
- Lake Oconee, Georgia. If you are looking for places to go boating in the South that offer waterfront dining and manicured golf course views, Lake Oconee certainly fits this description. However, don’t overlook the fact that this lake remains one of the best largemouth bass fishing spots in the State of Georgia. Be sure to bring along your spinnerbaits!
- Lake Okeechobee, Florida. While you might be most interested in planning a trip to Lake Okeechobee because it’s known for being a popular bass fishing destination, it’s also surrounded by part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. This fact makes “Lake O” an equally attractive spot for hikers and bikers during the cooler months of the year.
With this list of spots to go boating in the South, it should be easy to plan a family adventure on the water this fall. You can also check the list of places to fish and boat for more ideas. Happy fall y’all!
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Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.