15 Amazing Recreational Lakes near Spokane, WA

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Spokane is ideally located to access the best lakes in eastern Washington. The choice here is huge, but most lakes have something special to offer.

For example, Newman Lake and Silver Lake are well-known muskellunge fishing spots. Bear Lake is the most family-friendly, and Lakes Pend Oreille and Roosevelt are the largest in their states, offering every activity imaginable.

All the options on the list have public access, and only one is over an hour’s drive away. The best way to experience these lakes is to rent an RV and go lakeside camping. You can visit just one or all of them at once.

Check out what Spokane has to offer.

Best Lakes near Spokane Washington comparison Table

1. Long Lake

Long Lake Dam aka Lake Spokane near Spokane Washington
Source: depositphotos
  • Official Page: Long Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 13 miles (25 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Hiking, Camping

Long Lake, also known as Lake Spokane, is a 4,748-acre reservoir on the Spokane River, between Nine Mile and Long Lake dams. It’s a must-visit reservoir with several access areas and plenty of things to do.

If it’s your first visit, the best place to start is Riverside State Park which offers swimming, paddling, boating, fishing, as well as miles of hiking and biking trails. 

It’s a pretty large park with access not just to Long Lake but also to the Spokane River (above the dam) and the Little Spokane River – a popular paddling spot. Also, this is where the Centennial Trail starts – the 40-mile route to the Idaho border.

Another fantastic spot worth mentioning is The Cove – a stunning natural area famous for cliff jumping and kayaking. It sits on the southern side of the lake, some 25 miles from Spokane. It will suit thrill-seekers and seasoned adventurers, but not families, as there is no easy water access.

What’s more, Long Lake is a highly-rated fishery with an incredible diversity of species. Most people target smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout. Also, there are northern pike and walleye that come in decent sizes, not to mention the typical panfish.

The drawback to Long Lake is that it can get pretty low in late summer and fall, rendering boat ramps unusable. Still, there is plenty to do in the area, and even in winter, the parks are open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Related: 15 Fun Recreational Lakes near Seattle, WA

2. Lake Coeur d’Alene

Lake Coeur d'Alene near Spokane
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Lake Coeur d’Alene
  • Distance from Spokane: 34 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Hiking, Camping

Lake Coeur d’Alene is a massive 30,000-acre reservoir in Idaho, just 40 minutes from Spokane. It’s a hugely versatile lake that offers any type of experience, from luxury, stays to BLM boondocking and anything in between.

Like most reservoirs of such size, Lake Coeur d’Alene has dozens of access points. If you want a civilized experience, stick to Coeur d’Alene city. It has resorts, marinas, lodges, and the famous Coeur D’Alene Golf Course with a floating section.

Yet, for more traditional lake getaways, you have various parks like Coeur d’Alene Parkway and Heyburn – the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest, and many more.

Alternatively, you can rent an RV and make a tour of the lake.

Heyburn State Park is probably the best spot for outdoor activities. Although 55 minutes from Spokane, it has many amenities and things to do. 

The cool thing about this park is that it has access to three interconnected lakes – Round Lake, Chatcolet Lake, and Benewah Lake, so it’s a 4-in-1 destination. If you’re struggling to choose the right spot, start here.

Also, Lake Coeur d’Alene offers something that many lakes don’t – boat-in camping. Several sites on the lake’s western shore have campgrounds for boaters, making multi-day boat trips possible.

What’s more, the reservoir has incredible fishing with a large variety of species that come in big sizes. In fact, it holds a state record for a 42-pound chinook salmon. Also, you can catch smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike, kokanee, yellow bullhead, and plenty of panfish.

Related: 13 Stunning Recreational Lakes near Olympia, WA

3. Lake Hayden

Lake Hayden in Idaho near Spokane Washington
Source: depositphotos
  • Official Page: Lake Hayden
  • Distance from Spokane: 40 miles (50 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Hiking, Camping

Lake Hayden is a 3,800-acre natural lake east of Spokane, some 50 minutes away. It’s a well-known spot for boating, so if you’re into skiing and wakeboarding, you’ll love it here.

Because the lake’s shore consists of private housing, the access areas are few. Honeysuckle Beach on the western side is the nearest spot to Spokane and has a designated swimming area, a boat ramp, and plenty of space for fishing nearby (Dyke Road).

Another public access area is Sportsman Park on the lake’s northern tip. Here you will find a free-to-use boat launch, but it gets pretty crowded on summer weekends. 

For hiking, check out English Point Trails, and for camping, you will have to drive all the way to the lake’s eastern shore – Mokins Bay Campground

Perhaps the most lively spot on the reservoir is Hayden Lake Marina. They cater to boaters’ needs, including fuel and slips, and rent out kayaks, paddleboards, and boats.

IDFG stocks the lake with kokanee and rainbow trout, making it an excellent fishery. There is also a selection of native species like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and an occasional muskie.

4. Liberty Lake

Liberty Lake near Spokane Washington
Source: flickr/public domain
  • Official Page: Liberty Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 18 miles (25 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Hiking, Camping

Liberty Lake is a 706-acre lake east of Spokane, just 25 minutes from downtown. It’s a well-known fishing spot and a popular place to kayak and canoe.

Liberty Lake has two public access points – the WDFW boat ramp on the lake’s northern side and Liberty Lake Regional Park on the southern.

The boat ramp is relatively small, and the parking lot is usually cramped, making it difficult to launch large boats. Fishing access here is somewhat limited, too.

On the other hand, the regional park is a much more spacious area with a sandy beach for swimming in summer, miles of hiking trails, and a campground. It’s definitely worth the extra 5-minute drive.

Liberty Lake is known for rainbow and brown trout stocked by WDFW. Yet, in summer, when the water is too warm for trout, the lake offers largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel cats, and panfish.

Related: 15 Fun Recreational Lakes near Seattle, WA

5. Newman Lake

Newman Lake near Spokane Washington
Source: wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Official Page: Newman Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 24 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Hiking

Newman Lake is a 1,100-acre lake east of Spokane. It’s a quieter alternative to Liberty Lake and a well-known muskie fishing spot.

Just like Liberty, Newman Lake has two access areas – McKenzie Conservation Area in the north and a boat ramp on the lake’s eastern side. 

The conservation area has a few highly-rated nature trails, perfect for wildlife photography, and allows fishing, which is frequently overlooked by anglers who tend to flock to the boat launch. 

The boat ramp area is pretty simple, yet it offers a fishing pier, which is a welcome addition. 

Swimming is allowed at Newman Lake. However, there is no designated beach, and the lake is geared towards fishing, paddling, and boating. If swimming is your priority, there are better options on the list.

Yet, where Newman Lake stands out is muskie fishing. It’s one of a few lakes in the area that gets stocked with this gorgeous but vicious fish. There are reports of 3-feet specimens, so come prepared if that’s your target.

Apart from muskie, the lake offers a pretty standard selection of local residents – largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, perch, and an occasional northern pike.

Related: 13 Stunning Recreational Lakes near Olympia, WA

6. Hauser Lake

Lake Hauser in Idaho near Spokane Washington
Source: flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Official Page: Hauser Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 27 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Hauser Lake is a 540-acre reservoir in Idaho, just 35 minutes from Spokane. It’s a highly-rated spot with a park and an excellent launching ramp.

The lake has just one access area located on its southern side. It has a wide boat ramp, picnic tables, and a designated swimming area.

Apart from swimming, Hauser Lake is a fun spot for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Its shoreline is only partially developed, so there is plenty to explore. But you will have to bring your own craft, as there are no rentals here.

Like Newman, Hauser Lake is stocked with tiger muskies, yet much fewer catches are reported. Instead, it’s an excellent spot for largemouth bass and channel catfish; the latter is also stocked.

In summer, this lake is hectic, which is a testament to how well-kept it is. And in winter, it’s a popular ice-fishing spot.

Hauser Lake is missing hiking trails and campgrounds, but it’s definitely worth visiting for water recreation.

7. Fish Lake

Lake in Washington State
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Fish Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 13 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Hiking, Biking

Fish Lake is a small 43-acre reservoir south of Spokane. It’s a scenic place and a well-known family destination.

Unlike most lakes on the list, Fish Lake’s shore is free from private housing, giving it a natural, wild atmosphere. Yet, it gets so busy on hot summer weekends that quiet spots are hard to find.

Fish Lake Reginal Park provides a boat ramp (no gas motors), a beach, a playground, and a couple of fishing piers. Swimming, kayaking, and picnicking are the most common activities here.

And when it comes to fishing, there is plenty of action. It’s an excellent place to introduce youngsters to this sport as you’re guaranteed a half-dozen of perch and other fry.

But when it comes to more serious fishing, Fish Lake isn’t great. It used to be stocked with brook and rainbow trout, but nowadays, these are hard to find, especially in summer. Also, because of the lake’s modest proportions, fish sizes tend to be small. 

What’s more, Fish Lake is the starting point of the 130-mile Columbia Plateau Trail – one of the best rail-trails in the state. It offers hiking, cycling, and skating, adding to the park’s versatility.

Also, the lake is connected to Spokane by Fish Lake Trail, which starts at S Lindeke St. It’s 12 miles one way, making for an excellent cycling lake trip (the last couple of miles are on the road).

Related: 15 Fun Recreational Lakes near Seattle, WA

8. Silver Lake

Lake in Washington State near Spokane
Source: depositphotos
  • Official Page: Silver Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 15 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Camping

Silver Lake is a 418-acre reservoir southwest of Spokane, just 20 minutes away. It’s a well-known spot for boating and muskie fishing.

Silver Lake’s only public access point is the WDFW boat ramp on the northern side. It’s a spacious place with a wide launch, restrooms, and an ADA-accessible fishing pier, but that’s really it.

Although swimming is allowed in Silver Lake, there are no designated beaches here, so it’s not the most family-friendly lake. 

Instead, boating and kayaking are hugely popular here, and the lake has plenty of space for tubing and water sports.

What’s more, Silver Lake is a unique fishery that is stocked with tiger muskie. Known as notorious fighters and hard-to-get fish, muskies provide an excellent challenge to anglers. And many of them here reach 35+ inches.

Another note on the fishing is that there is hardly any trout. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, and crappie are present, though.

Across the water from the boat ramp, you will find a private campground with tent and RV spaces. They also rent kayaks and canoes, making the lake a nice weekend getaway option.

Related: 13 Stunning Recreational Lakes near Olympia, WA

9. Clear Lake

Kayaking on a lake with pines
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Clear Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 18 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Camping

Clear Lake is another finger lake located southwest of Spokane. It’s 316 acres in size and offers pretty good fishing and boating.

Despite what most reviews say, there is a public area on Clear Lake. It’s located on the southern tip and accessed from S Clear Lake Rd; here is the turnoff

Like many public boat launches, this one gets fairly busy on weekends. It has a wide launch and a small parking lot, but that’s pretty much it.

Also, the lake has a couple of resorts, some of them are for the military, but Sun Cove Resort on the northern tip is open to the public, too. This is where you will find boat rentals and tent and RV campgrounds.

When it comes to fishing, Clear Lake is generously stocked with rainbow trout. Together with largemouth bass and brown trout, these are the three most targeted species here.

10. Medical Lake

Paddleboarding on the lake
Source: pexels
  • Official Page: Medical Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 16 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Hiking

Medical Lake is a 206-acre lake located just 20 minutes from Spokane. It has several parks and excellent shore access for fishing.

The best place to visit is the Waterfront Park on the lake’s southern shore. It has a beach, playgrounds, picnic areas, and sports fields. Adjacent to it is the public boat launch with a decent-sized ramp.

Motorized boating is prohibited at Medical Lake, making it a more tranquil place. Moreover, it’s an excellent kayaking and paddleboarding spot thanks to the undeveloped shoreline with unusual rock formations and lilypad fields.

The rocks work for cliff jumping, too, making it a popular swimming hole for thrill-seekers.

Another superb feature at this destination is the Medical Lake Trail that hugs the western shoreline. So if you want to get a few steps in before cooling off in the lake, it’s an excellent spot.

Finally, the park offers easy shoreline access for fishing, which isn’t the case for many other lakes. You can catch largemouth bass, rainbow and brown trout, and even an occasional northern pike. But, be mindful of the fishing restrictions – selective gear rules apply. This means barbless hooks and no live bait.

Related: 15 Fun Recreational Lakes near Seattle, WA

11. Bonnie Lake

Kayaking through a marsh
Source: pexabay
  • Official Page: Bonnie Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 39 miles (50 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Kayaking, Canoeing, Boating

Bonnie Lake is a 327-acre lake on Rock Creek, 50 minutes south of Spokane. It offers a unique paddling adventure with steep canyon walls, overgrown marshes, and even rattlesnakes.

This destination won’t suit most people. It starts at the bridge across Rock Creek on Belsby Road. This is where you put in and start paddling up the stream. And in about a mile, you will reach the scenic Bonnie Lake.

The route is best tackled in late spring and early summer. This is when the area is at its lushest, and the lake is full. Towards the end of summer, the whole place turns into a smelly swamp and becomes unpassable.

The property around Bonnie Lake is private, so you can’t land. Prepare to spend the whole day in your kayak or canoe.

Regarding fishing, the lake scores average reviews, although WDFW suggests it’s amazing. Anglers report largemouth bass and panfish like perch, crappie, and bluegill.

Related: 13 Stunning Recreational Lakes near Olympia, WA

12. Bear Lake

A boy paddling on a lake
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Bear Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 21 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing (restricted), Swimming, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Hiking, Biking

Bear Lake is a small 30-acre reservoir north of Spokane. It’s many people’s favorite lake destination and the most family-friendly spot on the list.

Bear Lake Regional Park provides BBQ grills, playgrounds, and a circular trail around the lake. Plus, there is a designated swimming area and a fishing pier to enjoy.

The park doesn’t have any boat ramps, so the traffic on the lake consists of inflatable unicorns, paddleboards, and canoes. It’s the perfect place to learn to stand on the SUP and paddle a kayak.

Fishing here is restricted to under 15s and over 70s. Yet, the lake is stocked generously with rainbow trout, which is the prime target in spring. Also, kids catch channel catfish, largemouth bass, and various panfish. You won’t get lunkers here, but the action is usually good, and there is plenty of shore access in addition to the fishing pier.

Bear Lake is cozy and scenic. It doesn’t have a single house on its shores, and it’s only 35 minutes away from downtown – definitely worth the drive.

13. Loon Lake

Lakehouses and pines
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Loon Lake
  • Distance from Spokane: 36 miles (50 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Camping

Loon Lake is a 1,086-acre reservoir north of Spokane, some 50 minutes away. It’s a lovely spot for group holidays and a kind of place where family memories are made.

The lake offers two resorts that provide cabins, RV camping, swimming beaches, and rent boats and kayaks. Plus, there is a public boat ramp on the lake’s northern side, although it doesn’t have much water access, either for swimming or fishing.

When it comes to activities, everything goes at Loon Lake. You can swim, kayak, and jet ski to all your heart’s desire. And it has plenty of space for water sports like wakeboarding and waterskiing, too.

Also, it’s a highly-rated fishery known for kokanee – a prized catch and the perfect dinner. This fish doesn’t like warm water, so it usually hides in the depths. You have few chances of catching one from shore or a pier, but fishing from a boat or a kayak should do the trick.

Related: 15 Fun Recreational Lakes near Seattle, WA

14. Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho near Spokane Washington
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Lake Pend Oreille
  • Distance from Spokane: 50 miles (1 h)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Camping, Hiking

No list of lakes around Spokane will be complete without Lake Pend Oreille. At 94,720 acres, it’s the largest lake in Idaho and the fifth deepest in the US.

As you can imagine, this massive natural lake offers every recreational opportunity under the sun. From fishing and swimming to wakeboarding and scuba diving, you name it.

Broadly, the lake can be split into two parts. The northern part, around Sandpoint, is well developed and offers modern resorts, marinas, and hotels.

On the other hand, the southern part is more outdoorsy, with a state park, national forest, and campgrounds to offer. Your choice will depend on what kind of holiday you’re planning.

If in doubt, start with Farragut State Park near Bayview. It’s the nearest spot to Spokane and a well-kept park with tons of amenities and things to do.

Moreover, it’s important to mention Panhandle National Forest, which hugs the lake’s eastern side. It’s a vast and isolated place with free shoreside camping, making multi-day boat trips possible.

Related: 13 Stunning Recreational Lakes near Olympia, WA

15. Lake Roosevelt

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area near Spokane Washington
Source: wikimedia/CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: LakeRoosevelt
  • Distance from Spokane: 58 miles (1h 5min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Camping, Hiking

At 80,000 acres, Lake Roosevelt is the largest reservoir in Washington. It’s an impoundment on the Columbia River that stretches from Northport near the Canadian border to the Grand Coulee Dam.

The whole length of the reservoir (150 miles) is managed by National Park Service for recreational purposes. Naturally, a lake of such proportions offers dozens of access areas, anything from remote boat-in campgrounds to beaches and resorts.

The choice will depend on your circumstances, but the nearest developed area is Fort Spokane, some 58 miles away. Here, you will find a beach, boat ramp, and a resort with rentals and campgrounds.

Another excellent option is Seven Bays Marina – an all-in-one destination just 1 hour and 15 minutes away.

Lake Roosevelt can be a remote experience with no soul in sight or a buzzing adventure with party boats and aquaparks. It all depends on your needs.

Naturally, there are no recreational restrictions here; from swimming and hiking to wildlife photography and snorkeling, the sky is the limit.

However, Lake Roosevelt stands out for its fishing. It’s a highly-rated fishery with a great variety of species that holds a state record for kokanee salmon (6.25 pounds) and offers excellent shoreline access, even in winter.

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