8 Stunning Lakes near Florence, OR for Fishing, Camping, and Kayaking

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Oregon is home to over 1,400 lakes, and some of the most unique of them are here in Florence. The area offers gorgeous coastal lakes where sand dunes meet the coniferous forest.

And it’s not just the views. Some of the lakes here provide fantastic recreation opportunities. You can camp by the water, paddleboard, fish, swim, or simply enjoy the sandy beaches.

And if you’re traveling on Highway 101, these lakes are fantastic pit stops that shouldn’t be missed. Read on to find out all the options.

Lakes near Florence:

  1. Munsel Lake
  2. Cleawox Lake
  3. Woahink Lake
  4. Siltcoos Lake
  5. Carter Lake
  6. Tahkenitch Lake
  7. Mercer Lake
  8. Sutton Lake
Lakes near Florence Oregon Comparison Table

1. Munsel Lake

Munsel Lake
  • Official Page: Munsel Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 3 miles (5 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming

Munsel Lake is a small 110-acre reservoir north of Florence. It’s the nearest lake with public access, ideal for evening excursions.

Like many lakes around Florence, Munsel is surrounded by private land. Yet, it has one public access area – Munsel Landing County Park. It offers parking, a boat launching ramp, and a fishing pier, but that’s really it. 

Swimming is allowed at Munsel Lake, but most people come here to fish, which can be done from a boat or a pier. The most common catches are largemouth bass and rainbow trout.

Also, canoeing and kayaking are popular ways to explore the reservoir. And thanks to its modest size and the lack of wind or waves, it’s an excellent spot for paddleboarding, too.

What you can’t do at Munsel Lake is wakeboard or ski. It’s a no-wake lake, and boat speed is limited to 10 mph. Instead, it’s a quiet, tranquil place with very few visitors, Florence’s hidden secret.

Related: 11 Gorgeous Lakes near Eugene, OR

2. Cleawox Lake

  • Official Page: Cleawox Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 4 miles (7 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Camping, RVs

Cleawox Lake is a small 87-acre reservoir south of Florence. It’s a family-oriented destination with a popular sandy beach.

The lake is part of the Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park which can be easily accessed from Hwy 101. It offers a range of modern facilities, including hot showers, campgrounds, and yurts.

What makes this lake unique is that it sits on the edge of the sand dunes, producing an unusual setting. You can sandboard from the top of the dune straight to the water.

Cleawox Lake is a popular swimming destination. It has wide sandy beaches and a designated swimming area. The water here is clear and warmer than in larger lakes.

In addition to swimming, fishing and paddling are popular, too. You can hire kayaks and pedalboats from the park. But note that motorized boating is prohibited.

Overall, Cleawox Lake is an excellent swimming destination, and the state park makes it one of the top outdoor attractions around.

Related: Top 9 Hiking Trails in Cape Perpetua

3. Woahink Lake

Woahink Lake
Photo: OCVA / CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Official Page: Woahink Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 5 miles (8 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Woahink Lake is 820 acres in size. It’s the deepest and the most versatile coastal lake near Florence.

Most of its shoreline is privately owned. However, you can access the lake via Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park or become a guest at RV resorts with private access.

Unlike many lakes around Florence, Woahink Lake permits water sports like wakeboarding, waterskiing, and jetskiing. Other activities include swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Plus, the state park offers several hiking trails if you want to explore the shoreline.

And when it comes to accommodation, the choice is extensive, too. The state park has campsites, RV spaces, and yurts. And private businesses offer suites and cabins.

Florence is great for lakes, but not many are as versatile as this one. Woahink Lake is highly-rated and probably is the top lake around.

Related: 9 Gorgeous Recreational Lakes near Sisters, OR

4. Siltcoos Lake

Siltcoos Lake
  • Official Page: Siltcoos Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 7 miles (12 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Siltcoos Lake is a large but shallow reservoir. At 3,164 surface acres, it’s the largest coastal lake in Oregon.

The reservoir is one of the best fishing lakes in the region. It’s known for warm water fish and has ideal habitat for largemouth bass. 

Also, it’s one of a few lakes in Oregon where you can keep coho salmon when in season. In fact, Siltcoos Lake holds the state record for coho salmon – a 25-pound lunker caught in 1966. If you plan to go fishing here, check out this write-up

The lake is also popular with kayakers. It has trestle bridges and islands to explore. Plus, this is where Siltcoos River Canoe Trail starts – the 3-mile paddling adventure from the lake to the ocean.

Like at other lakes around Florence, public access is limited here. The two parks – Westlake County Park and Ada Park – are the only public options. However, several resorts, RV parks, and fishing camps will let you in for a fee.

Swimming is allowed at Siltcoos Lake, but there are no designated swimming beaches, and the lake is prone to algae blooming. If swimming is your number one reason to visit, there are better options on the list.

Related: 11 Gorgeous Lakes near Eugene, OR

5. Carter Lake

Carter Lake
  • Official Page: Carter Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 10 miles (12 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Camping, RVs, Hiking

Carter Lake is a narrow 28-acre reservoir south of Florence. It’s a highly-rated location suited for solitude seekers and people who want to avoid the crowds.

The national forest manages the lake and maintains a small boat ramp and a campground with tent and RV sites. Both are easily accessible from Hwy 101.

Swimming is allowed at Carter Lake; it has a sandy beach and clear water. Also, kayaking and canoeing are popular ways to explore the reservoir. 

However, the most common activity here is fishing. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout annually, and folks quickly get to their daily trout limit.

Another excellent thing about this location is hiking. The nearby trails are perfect for exploring the dunes; they connect the lake with the ocean.

Thanks to the lack of facilities, the lake remains a crowd-free destination, which is its biggest advantage. If you’re looking for a peaceful destination, this is an amazing option.

Related: Top 9 Hiking Trails in Cape Perpetua

6. Tahkenitch Lake

Tahkenitch Lake
Photo: ODFW / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Official Page: Tahkenitch Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 14 miles (18 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Hiking, Camping, RVs, Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Tahkenitch Lake is a large 1,674-acre reservoir between Gardiner and Dunes City. Despite its size, the lake is wild and undeveloped.

The national forest manages the only access point. It consists of a modest campground, boat ramp, and a pier. 

Swimming is allowed at Tahkenitch Lake, but there is no beach, so most of the cooling-off is done near the landing. Paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing are fantastic ways to explore the lake, too.

Also, there is no restriction on boating. In theory, wakeboarding and skiing are possible, although the lake isn’t deep and has significant weed growth.

The reservoir is an excellent fishing location. It has a variety of species like largemouth bass, crappie, trout, and even coho and steelheads. 

Plus, due to the limited access, the lake isn’t overfished. The only problem is that shoreline has almost no access because of the brush. Hence, the best fishing is done from a boat.

Large and versatile, Tahkenitch Lake is an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts. But if you’re looking for a more developed option or a sandy beach, Florence has better alternatives.

Related: 9 Gorgeous Recreational Lakes near Sisters, OR

7. Mercer Lake

Mercer Lake
  • Official Page: Mercer Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 6 miles (10 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Hiking, Camping, RVs, Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Mercer Lake is a 359-acre reservoir north of Florence. Like Tahkenitch Lake, it’s undeveloped and has only a few access points.

If you want to experience the lake, you can either make use of the boat launching ramp in Mercer Lake County Park or become a guest at Mercer Lake Resort which offers vacation rentals and an RV park.

The resort has a small marina with a pier, boat rentals, and a fishing supplies store. It’s an ideal family destination.

The lake itself is stunning and large enough to try waterskiing and wakeboarding. Other activities include kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. The reservoir is known for largemouth bass and trout, among others.

Mercer Lake isn’t the largest or the deepest, but it has its charm, and it’s definitely free from crowds.

Related: 11 Gorgeous Lakes near Eugene, OR

8. Sutton Lake

  • Official Page: Sutton Lake
  • Distance from Florence: 5 miles (10 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Hiking, Camping, RVs

Sutton Lake is a small 107-acre reservoir next to Mercer Lake. It’s another option for peaceful retreats easily accessible from Hwy 101.

Most of the lake’s shoreline is privately owned, leaving just one access point managed by the national forest. It consists of the boat launching ramp and a restroom. 

Unfortunately, there is no swimming area, and the brush prevents access from the bank. Activities are limited to kayaking and boating, while fishing is better done from a boat.

However, the lake has Sutton Campground nearby, offering primitive campsites and RV places with hookups. Also, the significant advantage of this location is hiking trails. There are miles of them, connecting the lake and the ocean and offering stunning dunes vistas.

Sutton Lake is an excellent addition to camping or road trips, but as a lake destination, it’s not the best. It lacks access points and facilities like beaches, marinas, and rentals, although it’s absolutely stunning.

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