12 Amazing Lakes In Alabama To Take A Dip In

Alabama has the longest navigable waterways in the US. Around 3% of Alabama is submerged in water. Its rich history and culture are intertwined with the natural wonders of the lakes. 

There are over 100 lakes scattered throughout Alabama which are open around the year. These lakes are set amidst various landscapes, mountains, and pristine forests.  

They offer activities like swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, etc. Here’s the guide to the top 12 lakes in Alabama to visit.

1) Lake Martin

Located in Alabama’s Tallapoosa, Elmore, and Coosa counties, Lake Martin is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, spanning over 44,000 acres of pristine water. 

Lake Martin

Swimming And Other Activities

Its popularity stems from the vast array of activities visitors can indulge in, including swimming, boating, and fishing.

Swimming enthusiasts can utilize the numerous designated swim areas dotted around the lake. At the same time, boaters can engage in kayaking, wakeboarding, tubing, and other water sports. 

Lake Martin offers on-shore attractions, including the quaint town of Alexander City, which boasts a charming downtown area with many restaurants, shops, and historical landmarks.

Where To Roam About?

Visitors can also explore other popular attractions in the vicinity, such as the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, the Talladega National Forest, and the Wind Creek State Park, making. 

2) Wheeler Lake

Wheeler Lake is this massive lake in Alabama, you all! It’s on the Tennessee River and stretches out for over 60,000 acres.

Wheeler Lake

There are even sandy beaches where you can soak up some rays and have a good old-fashioned picnic.

Swimming And Other Activities

Swimming’s the most popular thing to do on Wheeler Lake. You’ll find special spots all over the lake just for swimming! But if you’re into fishin’, you’ll love it here too.

There is many fish to catch, like largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, and catfish. You can also try water sports like skiing and wakeboarding.

Where To Roam About?

If you’re looking for extra fun, check out the town of Decatur nearby. The Cook Museum of Natural Science is a must-visit.

They have all sorts of cool displays and interactive exhibits. And if you’re looking for outdoor fun, head to Point Mallard Park. They’ve got a water park, a golf course, and even an ice skating rink!

3) Smith Lake

Smith Lake, aka Lewis Smith Lake, is in north-central Alabama and covers over 21,000 acres.

Smith Lake

The water is so clear you can see right through it, and the shoreline extends over 500 miles. Smith Lake is a hot spot for swimming, fishing, and water sports.

Swimming And Other Activities

Swimming is the most popular activity on the lake, with specific swim areas located all around the lake. You can also enjoy boating and kayaking and participate in water sports such as wakeboarding and skiing.

Where To Roam About?

The city of Cullman is close by and boasts a variety of shops, restaurants, and historical landmarks, such as the Ave Maria Grotto and the Cullman County Museum. 

You should also check out the Clarkson Covered Bridge, one of the state’s oldest remaining covered bridges – popular in the area.

4) Lay Lake

Lay Lake is a huge body of water spanning 12,000 acres in central Alabama. It has crystal clear blue water and is a hotspot for prime-time fishing action. 

Lay Lake

If you’re feeling like taking a dip or indulging in some water sports, you’re in luck because many free swim areas are open to the public all over the lake. 

Swimming And Other Activities

Grab a fishing pole and get to work if you feel more adventurous. Lay Lake is home to some seriously big fish, like largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, and catfish.

You can also take a spin on a boat or kayak or even try your hand at skiing or wakeboarding. Just be careful because one wrong move and you’ll be taking a dip whether you planned to or not.

Where To Roam About?

Columbiana is just down the road, and it’s got a couple of museums worth seeing. 

There’s the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington, which makes you feel like you’re back in history class, and the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, where you can get up close and personal with some real-life locomotives.

5) Lake Guntersville

Lake Guntersville is a whopping 69,000-acre lake nestled in the northern part of Alabama. It’s famous for its crystal-clear water and teeming wildlife, making it a popular haunt for nature lovers and thrill-seekers.

Lake Guntersville

Swimming And Other Activities

There are designated swim areas around the lake for those who like to splash around without fear of getting caught by some over-zealous ranger.

Lake Guntersville is home to some of the most sought-after fish species in the region, like largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, and catfish. 

These fish aren’t just old fish – they’re real heavyweights! So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a total newbie, you’ll have a really good time.

Where To Roam About?

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there are places to visit. You can also try boating, kayaking, or water sports like skiing and wakeboarding. 

Just make sure you bring a change of clothes – trust me, no one wants to walk around all day with a soggy bottom!

6) Lake Wedowee

Lake Wedowee is a massive 10,600-acre lake in eastern Alabama, renowned for its crystal-clear water and breathtaking scenery. 

People love to swim, boat, and fish in the lake. Also, you can find several designated swimming areas around the lake.

Lake Wedowee

Swimming And Other Activities

Swimming is a popular activity in the lake, and it’s teeming with various fish species, such as largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, and catfish. 

Visitors can also indulge in boating, kayaking, and water sports, such as skiing and wakeboarding.

Where To Roam About?

The charming town of Wedowee houses the Randolph County Historical Museum. It showcases fascinating exhibits on the area’s rich history and culture. 

Additionally, the Cheaha State Park, located only a short drive from the lake, is a must-visit destination, with its stunning hiking trails and magnificent mountain vistas.

7) Lake Harding

Lake Harding is a sprawling 5,850-acre lake nestled on the Chattahoochee River. 

It spans the states of Alabama and Georgia. The lake has several public swimming areas, so you can easily dip and beat the heat.

 Lake Harding

Swimming And Other Activities

Lake Harding is home to various fish species, such as largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, and catfish. 

You’ll have a great time reeling in your catch of the day. For those who prefer water sports, the lake also offers boating, kayaking, skiing, and wakeboarding activities.

Where To Roam About?

Just a short drive away, you’ll find the charming city of Columbus, Georgia, which boasts the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. 

Those who want to return to nature should visit Callaway Gardens, which is also close to the lake. The stunning botanical gardens and scenic nature trails enchant you.

8) Lake Jordan

It’s a big lake in Alabama, about 25 miles northeast of Montgomery. The water’s so clear and blue; it’s perfect for beating the heat in the summer.

Lake Jordan

Swimming And Other Activities

While swimming, don’t worry about drowning because lifeguards always keep an eye out, especially in the summer months. Most swimming spots are around the dam and the State Park.

Swimming isn’t the only thing you can do at Lake Jordan. You can also go boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. 

They have ramps and marinas to launch your boat and head out on the water. And if fishing’s your thing, you can try catching bass, crappie, catfish, and many other fish.

Where To Roam About?

There are also some parks around Lake Jordan, like the Jordan Lake State Park and Deatsville Park. You can camp there, go hiking, and have a nice picnic. 

It’s a great spot for a day trip or even a weekend getaway, especially if you want to get away from the city and enjoy fresh air and nature.

9) Lake Tuscaloosa

Lake Tuscaloosa is this big lake in Alabama, you all. It’s over 5,000 acres in the middle of the state, north of Tuscaloosa. There are lots of public swimming areas that you can go to.

Lake Tuscaloosa

Swimming And Other Activities

The lake is also teeming with fish, like bass, catfish, and crappie, so it’s a real hotspot for fishing lovers. If you’re more into water sports, you can also try kayaking, skiing, or wakeboarding.

Where To Roam About?

Just south of the lake is the University of Alabama campus, where you can check out some cool museums like the Alabama Museum of Natural History and the Paul W. Bryant Museum. 

If you’re up for a stroll, the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk along the Black Warrior River has breathtaking views and parks.

10) Lake Eufaula

Lake Eufaula, situated in Barbour County, is one of Alabama’s most colossal and fashionable lakes, encompassing over 45,000 acres and 600 miles of shoreline, with abundant recreational opportunities.

Lake Eufaula

Swimming And Other Activities

Lake Eufaula offers several swimming areas, including sandy beaches perfect for basking in the sun and picnicking.

Besides swimming, Lake Eufaula provides various aquatic activities, including boating, water skiing, and fishing. Largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie are some species that anglers can fish for.

Where To Roam About?

You can also have fun on land by hiking along the numerous trails, playing golf on the many courses available, or visiting Eufaula’s historic district. 

This charming southern town is recognized for its Victorian architecture and antebellum homes, attracting many visitors from far and wide.

11) Lake Purdy

Lake Purdy is a whopping 990-acre lake in Shelby County, Alabama, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Birmingham. 

Lake Purdy

This lake has a lot of fish – I’m talking about largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, and catfish! And these fish are just begging to be caught by all the fishing enthusiasts.

Swimming And Other Activities

If you’re not into fishing, no problem! There are designated swim areas throughout the lake, and you can even participate in water sports like skiing and wakeboarding!

Where To Roam About?

The Oak Mountain State Park is located south of the lake. It is the biggest in Alabama! With hiking trails, a golf course, and a nature center, there’s something for everyone. 

And, if you’re up for a short drive north of the lake, you’ll find the amazing city of Birmingham. It’s got museums, restaurants, and entertainment venues galore!

12) Lake Lurleen

Lake Lurleen is a humongous water body in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, just up yonder from Tuscaloosa. 

It’s the perfect place to swim, throw in a line, or take a boat out for a spin. There are all kinds of activities to choose from.

Lake Lurleen

Swimming And Other Activities

There are many swimming areas all over the lake that you can hit up. You can also catch many fish, like bass, bluegill, and catfish. 

If swimming isn’t your thing, you can go boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Several boat ramps surround the lake so you can hop on and off at your leisure.

Where To Roam About?

Just south of the lake, there’s a museum called the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art. They’ve got all kinds of exhibitions and programs that showcase the work of local and regional artists. 

The Moundville Archaeological Park is a National Historic Landmark just east of the lake. There’s a museum, walking trails, and even a reconstructed Native American village.


Alabama lakes aren’t just ordinary lakes; they’re the real deal, with plenty of ways to keep cool during the sticky-hot summer months. You can take a dip, soak up some rays, and enjoy good outdoor activities.

We highly recommend you plan a visit to one or more of these lakes and trust us. You won’t regret it. So what are you waiting for? Get on down here and have some fun!