- Kids screaming as they run into the water
- And everyone blasting their own music, trying to drown out their neighbor’s tunes.
What Are the Best Lakes in CT for a Relaxing Day?
While Connecticut is a very small state, it is filled with amazing options for a lake day, perfect for the whole family. From sandy beaches to picnic areas, these beautiful CT lakes can fit all your needs—it just depends on which one you feel like hitting first!
Lake Waramaug State Park
Over in Kent, Connecticut, Lake Waramaug is truly the star of the show for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who love CT state parks. The visuals of this lake are truly next level, with its rolling hills and green pastures. Lake Waramaug is especially beautiful during the fall with its warm-toned leaves and crisp grass.
Lake Waramaug State Park is so tranquil that it’s the perfect destination for getting a tan next to the water with a good book. Or gather some friends and family for a picnic.
Over the summer months, the lake also has so many popular activities if you’re looking for more to do than relax. You can look forward to camping, boating, fishing, and swimming all in one trip or spread across a couple visits.
If you plan to take out a boat, though, be sure to look at the area’s rules and stick to the “slow-no-wake” rule. While speed enthusiasts may be disappointed by this, those looking to have a nice day will be grateful for the serenity!
After a day at the lake swimming, fishing, and boating, hitch up your tent and camp out for a good night’s rest among the sound of gentle water and soft bird chirps.
Hop Brook Lake
Hop Brook Lake is quite the popping place during the summer. Situated in Naugatuck, the towns of Middlebury and Waterbury surround it. On a sunny day, you can find this place with visitors enjoying the summer sun and swimming in the cool water.
What’s great about this lake is that it has designated recreation areas, making it very safe for families with kids. The sandy beach is a great spot for kids to test their creativity by building sandcastles, giving parents peace of mind.
Hop Brook Lake also has great access to water sports, including sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Just note that if you want to spend a day on a motorboat, this isn’t the lake for you, as they aren’t permitted. You’ll have to save the water skiing and Sea-doos for another lake on another day!
This spot’s recreation areas are also only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so make sure you plan accordingly. You don’t want to plan a day at the lake when it isn’t open!
Bantam Lake in Morris is a great spot for an afternoon hike followed by a canoe ride on the water.
As the largest natural lake in CT, Bantam Lake has two beaches: Sandy Beach and Morris Town Beach. Having two locations allows ample opportunities to get your tanning on or swim in the cool water!
When you visit Bantam, you can also look forward to rowing, water skiing, and fishing! Fun Fact: The country’s oldest water ski club started here! And after a day full of activities, crash on the grounds for a night of camping.
This spot is also really great during the winter for its thick ice, allowing you to ice skate! However, always proceed cautiously and know how to avoid thin areas. Safety first! You can also go ice fishing here if you’re looking for fresh fish, even during the winter season!
Bird enthusiasts will especially love this park for bird-watching and other wildlife spottings. It’s protected by the White Memorial Foundation.
As the largest lake in CT, Candlewood Lake in Danbury, CT is beloved by locals and tourists alike! Its 8.4 square miles of water span both Fairfield County and Litchfield County and are equipped with 10 marinas and several boat launches.
While this lake offers the staples—swimming, sailing, and fishing—they also offer scuba diving! This beloved activity lets you get up close and personal with the lake’s wildlife and see how its ecosystem operates. Though the water is on the murkier side, it doesn’t stop divers from trying to find Jerusalem. This lost city flooded when creating this lake.
Lower Lake Bolton has the largest surface area of all three lakes, with 175 acres dedicated to anglers, boaters, and nature lovers.
You’ll also find a public boat launch and beach surrounding the lake. You and your family can spend the day on or in the water boating, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, or fishing. The choice is yours!
- Litchfield County
- And New Haven County
Lover’s Leap State Park has many trails to choose from and delivers an incredible view of the lake after just a short climb.
Check Out More Things to do in Connecticut
A visit to Connecticut lakes is a great idea, any time of year.
If you’re planning a trip during a certain time of year, be sure to check out our guides to:
- Summer in Connecticut, including the best beaches throughout the state
- Fall in Connecticut, so you can get your fall foliage drives along some of the most beautiful lakes
- Winter in Connecticut, the quiet months of year, for peaceful, reflective, walks
- Spring in Connecticut, a great time to get back in the great outdoors
And be sure to read our full guide to the best and most unique attractions, activities, and things to do in CT!