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12 Clearest Lakes in Michigan

12 Clearest Lakes in Michigan

Michigan, known as the Great Lakes State, is home to more than 11,000 inland lakes. Among these, there are some that stand out for their exceptional clarity. These Clearest Lakes of Michigan are nature’s mirrors, reflecting the beauty of the state’s diverse landscapes. From the tranquil shores of Torch Lake to the crystal-clear waters of Clear Lake, each lake offers a unique blend of beauty, tranquility, and recreational opportunities.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, exploring these pristine lakes is a must-do. So, let’s dive in and discover the clear waters of Michigan’s most beautiful lakes. Each one is a testament to the state’s natural beauty, offering breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences. So, grab your paddle, put on your swimsuit, and get ready to explore the 12 clearest lakes in Michigan.

1. Torch Lake, Antrim

Torch Lake is a stunningly beautiful lake in the northwestern region of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. With its crystal clear turquoise waters and scenic surroundings, Torch Lake is often referred to as the “Caribbean of the Midwest.” The lake stretches for nearly 19 miles and covers an area of over 18,000 acres, making it Michigan’s second-largest inland lake.

Recreational Activities

Dive into the refreshing blue waters of Torch Lake and experience the epitome of aquatic bliss. Swim, Dive, or simply float atop the pristine surface, reveling in the sensation of tranquility. Engage in exhilarating water sports like jet skiing, paddle boarding, or kayaking, and let the lake’s gentle ripples guide you on a thrilling journey.

Unleash your inner sailor and embark on a captivating sailing expedition on Torch Lake. Feel the wind caress your face as you navigate the shimmering waters, indulging in the serenity of the open horizon. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a novice seeking adventure, the lake’s gentle waves and idyllic scenery make for an unforgettable sailing experience.

Apart from sightseeing and enjoying the beauty of the lake, you can also enjoy the good old fishing at Torch Lake. The lake is home to a variety of fish, such as Bass, Yellow Perch, Walleye, northern pike, and Rainbow trout.

Torch Lake

2. Higgins Lake, Roscommon, MI

Higgins Lake is a glacial lake, making it one of the clearest lakes in Michigan. It has crystal-clear azure-blue waters and a golden sandy shoreline, making it one of the most beautiful lakes in the state. The Higgins River feeds the lake, which flows into Lake Huron. The river has a dam controlling the lake’s water level. It’s also used for generating hydroelectric power.

Recreational Activities

  • Enjoy the sparkling clear waters of Higgins Lake, perfect for a refreshing dip.
  • Go boating with motor or silent sports boats, or opt for sailing, kayaking, or canoeing.
  • Try to catch lake trout, rock bass, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and northern pike.
  • Enjoy this exhilarating water sport at the vast Higgins Lake.
  • Take in the stunning views at either North Higgins or South Higgins State Park, where you can also camp out and hike.
Higgins Lake

3. Lake Huron, MI

Lake Huron is a breathtaking freshwater lake located in North America, straddling the United States and Canada. Known for its pristine waters and stunning scenery, Lake Huron is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

One of the unique features of Lake Huron is its crystal-clear waters. Thanks to its remote location and limited development along its shores, the lake remains largely untouched by human activity. This has helped preserve the water quality and keep it clean and clear, making it a haven for diverse aquatic life.

Recreational Activities

In addition to swimming, boating, and fishing, there are plenty of other fun activities to enjoy on and around Lake Huron. Here are some unique things to do:

  1. Lake Huron is home to over 1,000 shipwrecks, making it a popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. You can take a guided tour to explore some famous shipwrecks, such as the Wexford or Sweepstakes.
  2. This car-free island is located in the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. It’s a popular tourist destination known for its historic buildings, fudge shops, and scenic views. You can get there by ferry from nearby St. Ignace or Mackinaw City.
  3. Many hiking trails around Lake Huron offer stunning views of the lake and the surrounding forests. One popular trail is the Huron Sunrise Trail, which runs along the shoreline from Rogers City to Alpena.
  4. Lake Huron is home to many historic lighthouses, which served as necessary navigation aids for sailors in the past. You can tour some of these lighthouses, such as the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse or the Presque Isle Lighthouse.
  5. Lake Huron is an essential stopover for migratory birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The Tawas Point State Park and the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse are some of the best places to spot birds.
Dramatic Grotto on the Shores of the Great Lakes

4. Lake Mitchell, Wexford, MI

Lake Mitchell, located in the beautiful state of Michigan, is a captivating destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Nestled in the heart of Cadillac, this scenic lake offers a plethora of recreational activities, breathtaking views, and a peaceful escape from bustling city life.

Recreational Activities

Whether you’re an avid angler, a water sports enthusiast, or simply someone seeking solace in nature’s embrace, Lake Mitchell is the perfect destination to unwind and reconnect with the great outdoors.

Lake Mitchell is renowned for its exceptional boating and fishing opportunities. With its crystal-clear waters, anglers can indulge in the thrill of catching a variety of fish species, including walleye, pike, bass, and panfish. Boaters can cruise along the lake’s gentle waves, explore its scenic coves, and even enjoy water skiing or tubing.

For those seeking a refreshing swim, Lake Mitchell offers several sandy beaches with designated swimming areas. The clear freshwater provides an invigorating experience, and families can relax under the sun while children build sandcastles or play beach volleyball.

Lake Mitchell is surrounded by lush forests and picturesque landscapes, making it an ideal location for camping and hiking enthusiasts. The area has numerous campgrounds and trails, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s tranquility. Whether you prefer tent camping or RVs, options suit every camping style.

Lake Mitchell

5. Houghton Lake, Roscommon, MI

Houghton Lake, located in the heart of Michigan, is a mesmerizing destination that provides a variety of activities and attractions for outdoor enthusiasts. Houghton Lake, surrounded by natural beauty and home to the state’s largest inland lake, is a paradise of fishing, boating, water sports, hiking, and other activities. Houghton Lake provides something for everyone, whether you’re looking for action or relaxation.

Recreational Activities

Houghton Lake’s superb fishing opportunities are one of its key draws. The lake is well-known for its many game fish, which include walleye, pike, bass, and panfish. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines from the shore or use one of the many fishing piers and boat access points located around the lake. Whether you’re an experienced or inexperienced angler, Houghton Lake has lots of opportunities for landing a huge catch.

Renting a boat is highly advised to thoroughly explore the expanse of Houghton Lake. There are various marinas and boat rental businesses available, with pontoons, speedboats, and fishing boats among the alternatives. Renting a boat allows you to explore the lake at your leisure, find secret coves, and take in the spectacular scenery

Houghton Lake

6. Crystal Lake, Benzie County, MI

Crystal Lake is famous for its clear waters that mirror the sky and is named for the same reason. It’s the county’s largest body of water, spanning approximately 10,000 acres.

Recreational Activities

Crystal Lake is ideal for various activities, including water skiing, canoeing, bass fishing, or even a relaxing swim in its pristine waters.

Before You Go

Crystal Lake is near the popular tourist destination Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. Consider also exploring the neighboring towns of Frankfort and Beulah, which offer many dining and accommodation options.

Experience Michigan like never before by immersing yourself in these captivating, crystal-clear lakes. Each of these lakes, with unique characteristics and diverse activities, provides the perfect escape into nature’s lap. So pack your bags, get ready, and head out to your life’s greatest, most unforgettable adventure!

Crystal Lake,

7. Mullett Lake, Cheboygan, MI

Mullett Lake, also known as Mullet Lake, is a captivating freshwater lake situated in the heart of the United States. Mullett Lake is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers with its breathtaking natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and numerous recreational opportunities.

Nestled in the state of Michigan, Mullett Lake is the third-largest inland lake in the state. Spanning approximately 17,360 acres, this picturesque lake forms part of the renowned Inland Waterway, an interconnected chain of lakes and rivers that stretches for 38 miles.

Recreational Activities

Mullett Lake’s large surface area and navigable waters make it an ideal boating destination. Mullett Lake provides countless opportunities for adventure and fun on the water, whether you prefer a leisurely cruise, an adventurous speedboat ride, or water sports like waterskiing, tubing, and wakeboarding.

Camping and hiking opportunities abound near Mullett Lake for nature lovers. The peaceful camping sites offer an opportunity to immerse oneself in nature and reconnect with it. Hiking routes wind through the scenic countryside, providing stunning vistas and the opportunity to see local species. Mullett Lake has something for everyone, whether you want to relax or go on an exciting outdoor adventure.

Mullet Lake

8. Elk Lake, Antrim County, MI

Nestled in a warm embrace of lush greenery, Elk Lake in Antrim County is a testament to Michigan’s unspoiled natural beauty. Fed by pure glacial waters, this stunning lake, with its charming Caribbean-blue shades, offers a serene escape for those yearning for a tranquil retreat amidst nature’s marvels.

Immerse in Liquid Sapphire: Recreational Activities

The incredibly clear waters of Elk Lake invite you to plunge into its liquid sapphire. Leave the world behind and lose yourself in the soothing refreshment of a leisurely swim or an invigorating snorkeling session.

Are you in the mood for some adventure? Gear up for a rush of adrenaline with paddleboarding or jet-skiing. Glide along the lake’s gentle ripples, cutting through the cerulean surface, creating your own rhythm against the backdrop of serene vistas.

If you’re an enthusiastic angler, you’d find the clear waters of Elk Lake stimulating. Reel in the thrill as you cast a line for cisco, bass, or rainbow trout. Sharpen your fishing skills further in the ambiance of this serene retreat.

Insider Info: Enhance Your Visit

Elk Lake proudly forms a part of Antrim County’s renowned Chain of Lakes. This cluster of freshwater gems offers extended exploration possibilities and a diverse environment teeming with unique flora and fauna. The chain of lakes also provides convenient waterways perfect for boating, kayaking, and canoeing.

Barely a stone’s throw away from the lake rests the vibrant city of Traverse City. Here, you can do more than replenish your supplies. Traverse City is a treasure trove of diverse eateries serving delectable local and international cuisines, sightseeing spots infused with local history and culture, and comfortable accommodations that suit diverse preferences and budgets.

Lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a panoramic sunset over Elk Lake – a spectacle that would etch this Michigan gem forever in your memories. Soak in the ethereal shades of twilight mirrored on the lake’s tranquil surface and marvel at nature’s canvas of unfathomable beauty.

Elk Lake

9. Big Blue Lake, Muskegon County, MI

Big Blue Lake is a hidden jewel of natural beauty, nestled in a peaceful corner of the United States. Big Blue Lake is a nature lover’s and outdoor adventurer’s dream, with its crystal-clear waters, lush surroundings, and diverse species. Big Blue Lake, located in the lovely countryside, captivates visitors with its stunning geographical features. This gorgeous lake in the state of Michigan spans a large area and features depths that reach remarkable depths. Rolling hills, luscious forests, and magnificent vistas surround Big Blue Lake.

The pristine waters of Big Blue Lake are renowned for their clarity and vibrant blue hue. Fed by underground springs, the lake remains refreshingly cool even during the hottest months. Its shimmering surface reflects the azure sky, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that enchants visitors.

Recreational Activities

Visitors to Big Blue Lake can participate in a variety of leisure activities. Swimmers are drawn to the clean and welcoming waters, which provide a welcome reprieve on hot summer days. Kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing are popular ways for visitors to explore the lake’s nooks and crannies and get up close and personal with its natural treasures.

The abundance of fish species that call Big Blue Lake home will excite anglers. The lake provides numerous options for a pleasant fishing experience, ranging from bass and perch to walleye and pike. Anglers can reel in their prized catches by casting a line from a peaceful area on the coast or venturing out on a boat.

Blue Lake

10. Mud Lake, Antrim County, MI

Mud Lake, located in Antrim County, Michigan, is a serene hideaway that welcomes visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s embrace. With its tranquil waters, lush surrounds, and plentiful animals, Mud Lake provides a calm respite from the stresses of everyday life. Mud Lake delivers a revitalizing experience, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or a peaceful place to rest. This lovely lake, nestled among rolling hills and deep forests, captivates with its natural beauty.

Recreational Activities

Mud Lake is a fishing enthusiast’s paradise. Grab your fishing gear, cast a line, and try your luck at capturing one of the lake’s many fish species. These waters are teeming with bass, pike, and panfish, providing many opportunities for a rewarding fishing day. Find a quiet location along the shoreline or rent a boat to explore the lake’s various fishing spots.

Mud Lake is a wonderful playground for people who enjoy water sports. Bring your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and explore the lake’s quiet waters. Feel the soothing breeze on your face as you paddle across the lake’s surface, taking in the tranquil surroundings. Mud Lake is the ideal environment for a day of aquatic adventures, whether you’re a seasoned water sports enthusiast or a newbie looking to try something new.

Relax and have a relaxing picnic near Mud Lake’s shoreline. Pack a tasty meal, choose a shady area, and relax in the peaceful atmosphere. Listen to nature’s noises, feel the cold breeze, and allow the tranquil surroundings to restore your senses. It’s the ideal time to spend quality time with loved ones or simply enjoy some quiet moments of leisure.

Mud Lake

11. Clear Lake, Buchanan, MI

Clear Lake, situated in the beautiful state of Michigan, offers abundant recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. From water-based adventures to exploring the surrounding nature, Clear Lake is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the wonders of this picturesque destination and embrace all the recreational opportunities it offers.

Recreational Activities

Clear Lake offers a variety of water sports and recreational activities. Jet skiing, water skiing, and tubing provide thrilling activities on the lake’s glittering waters. Feel the thrill of excitement as you glide across the surface, making memories that will last a lifetime. Furthermore, paddleboarding and canoeing allow for a more leisurely exploration of the lake, allowing you to take in the scenery and observe wildlife along the route.

Embark on a boating or kayaking journey to explore the majestic beauty of Clear Lake. Rent or bring your own boat and enjoy the quiet waterways. As you traverse the lake, feel the breeze in your hair and take in the scenic beauty surrounding you. Kayakers may paddle across the calm waters, discovering hidden coves and soaking in the spectacular views along the shoreline. Clear Lake provides a memorable experience, whether you want a peaceful boat trip or an adventurous kayaking expedition.

Clear Lake is a fishing enthusiast’s dream. Cast your line into the lake’s depths and try your luck at capturing a variety of fish. These waters are teeming with bass, walleye, perch, and other species, making for a fantastic fishing experience. Clear Lake is a great setting for a calm day of fishing, whether you’re an experienced angler or a newbie hoping to reel in your first catch.

Clear Lake

12. Lake Medora, Keweenaw County, MI

Lake Medora, located in Michigan’s scenic Keweenaw County, is a hidden gem that provides guests with a quiet and intriguing experience. This gorgeous lake, surrounded by virgin forests and breathtaking scenery, offers a wide selection of leisure activities to satisfy every interest. Lake Medora has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for adventure or simply want to rest in the middle of nature’s splendor. Let’s have a look at the leisure opportunities available to you:

Things to do at Lake Medora

Lake Medora encourages swimmers to immerse themselves in its clean, soothing waters on a hot summer day. The sandy beaches are ideal for sunbathing, sandcastle making, or simply relaxing with a book. Enjoy the tranquillity of the lake while floating on the moderate waves, surrounded by the natural beauty of the surroundings. Swimming in Lake Medora is a revitalizing experience that allows you to connect with nature and find peace in its tranquility.

Explore the calm waters of Lake Medora by canoe or kayak for a quiet excursion. Glide across the lake’s glass-like surface, admiring the reflections of the surrounding trees and the bright blue sky above. Paddle around the shoreline, taking in the views and sounds of the peaceful setting. Lake Medora is a great location for a peaceful boating experience, whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner seeking to try something new.

Lake Medora provides many options for anglers to cast a line and reel in various fish species. Take your fishing equipment and head out to the lake for bass, pike, walleye, and other species. Find a calm area along the beach or rent a boat to get to the deeper waters where the huge catches await. Fishing on Lake Medora is not only enjoyable, but it also allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings.

Lake Medora

Location of These Lakes on Map


How many lakes are in Michigan?

Michigan is home to an impressive number of lakes and ponds, with 64,980 inland lakes and 11,000 lakes connected to Lake Michigan. With its extensive freshwater coastline, Michigan is truly a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and water sports lovers.

How many Great Lakes are in Michigan?

Michigan has five Great lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. These lakes make up 95 percent of the surface water in the state.

What is the clearest lake in Michigan?

Michigan has an abundance of great inland lakes, with over 11,000 of these freshwater bodies of water located within the state’s borders. With such a large number of lakes, there is plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation, ranging from fishing and boating to swimming and kayaking.

How many of the lakes in Michigan are natural?

About 75 percent of the lakes in Michigan are natural. Humans created the rest for water supply, recreation, or flood control.

What’s the deepest lake in Michigan?

The deepest lake in Michigan is Torch Lake, which is 19 miles long and 111 feet deep. National Geographic has even named Torch Lake the third most beautiful lake in the world due to its stunning, turquoise-colored water. While Torch Lake is known for its wild 4th of July weekend, Elk Lake, which is nearby, is a quieter alternative with its Caribbean blue water, making it a great spot for fishing and watersports.

What’s the largest lake in Michigan?

The largest lake in Michigan is Lake Superior, which is the largest freshwater lake in the world. Lake Superior is known for its stunning shorelines, intricate cave systems, and waterfalls, and is a popular spot for swimming despite its cold temperatures. Mullett Lake is also one of the largest lakes in Michigan, with 17,360 acres and 28 miles of shoreline.