Ten Beautiful Lakes in the U.S. with Pontoon Boat Rentals

Adventure Fishing Paddling By Emily Leikam

There are some pretty special lakes around the United States, and one of the best ways to enjoy gorgeous scenery in the summer season is by getting out on the water!

While some people prefer cruising around on a jet ski, others are more up for a full day relaxing next to their fishing rod. Spending the day on a pontoon boat is an adventure in itself, as it's a wonderful way to relax and have fun with a group of people on the water. It’slike having your own private, moving island! Make it a party barge, go fishing, find that perfect place to swim, or just be your own captain and cruise around observing unique wildlife.

Pontoons are spacious and sturdy, providing comfort for everyone on board and offering the opportunity to spend a fabulous sun-filled day. If you're going on vacation or don’t own a pontoon boat, you can rent one for the day. Here's a list of some of the best destinations in the United States that offer pontoon boat rentals.

1.  Lake Tahoe - California/Nevada

Sitting on the California and Nevada borders within the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America.

Rent a pontoon boat to catch fish, relax with friends, go water skiing or just simply enjoy the view. There are not many places that can top Lake Tahoe with its crystalline turquoise waters, giant boulders, and mountain scenery. Check out Lake Tahoe pontoon boat rental services.

pontoon boat on body of water
Pontoon boat on Tahoe Lake. Photo by AlphaGeek.

2.  Lake of the Ozarks - Missouri 

Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri is a popular destination for nature lovers to soak up spectacular scenery. Not only do people arrive here for peace and quiet, but Lake of the Ozarks is also known for being the party capital for boaters.

During the weekends, find plenty of excitement at Party Cove! If you’re not into the party scene, there's plenty of space on this lake to find solitude on your pontoon rental. Find pontoon boat rentals on the Lake of the Ozarks.

pontoon boats and people in body of water
Pontoon boats and boaters in the Party Cove. Photo by James Carr.

3.   Lake Havasu - Arizona/California

Located on the border of California and Arizona, Lake Havasu is a spectacular choice for anybody looking to rent a pontoon boat for the day. This lake is an incredibly popular fishing destination for many and is well known for famous fishing tournaments.

Even if you’re not going to fish, Lake Havasu is still a great place to be out in nature. Drive your pontoon boat directly under Lake Havasu’s very own reconstruction of the London Bridge, or beach your boat on the sandbar and have a picnic with your family. Along with pontoon boats, it's possible to rent pretty much every watercraft on Lake Havasu.

white pontoon boat on lake with bridge in the background
If you get one of the pontoon boat rentals in Lake Havasu, you could have a very close look at the London Bridge! Photo by Eduard Marmet.

4.   Lake Okeechobee - Florida

Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida, making it a perfect destination to explore with a pontoon boat. If you love basking in the sun, catching largemouth bass, and observing alligators in their natural habitat, this 752-acre lake is an ideal getaway. Check out full or half-day pontoon boat services.

sun setting over body of water
Sunset over Lake Okeechobee. Photo by Katherine Bowman.

5.   Lake Cumberland - Kentucky

Lake Cumberland receives about 5 million visitors a year, so it’s safe to say this is a popular boating destination. Even with so many visitors, there's plenty of space for everyone. There are 50,000 acres of water in the man-made reservoir that offer gorgeous scenery surrounded by pine trees. Anglers will love these waters for the abundance of brown trout, rainbow trout, sauger, striped bass, sturgeon, and walleye. Rent fishing, ski and pontoon boats.

body of water under blue sky
Lake Cumberland. Photo by Brian Stansberry, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

6.   Moosehead Lake - Maine

Moosehead Lake is located in Northwestern Maine within the Longfellow Mountains. If you're looking for some peace and quiet, look no farther. You may see more moose, eagles, and fish than people in this area!

The ideal mode of transportation for visitors is a motorboat or a pontoon rental.. While visiting the lake, you could also visit Mount Kineo, a peninsula jutting out onto the lake. Hike to the top and get an amazing view where you can see all the way to Canada.

white pontoon boat on blue body of water
Pontoon boating in Maine - Rangeley Lake. Photo by Jim Pennucci.

7.   Lake Minnetonka - Minnesota

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 Lakes, and Minnetonka is one you'll definitely want to check out. Just west of Minneapolis, Lake Minnetonka is the perfect, family-friendly lake. Find a variety of options for pontoon boat rentals, whether you’d like to go fishing, skiing, swimming, or have a small party on a double-decker pontoon boat.

Pontoon Boat Rentals 1
Pontoon boat with chairs in Minnesota. Photo by Jo.

8.  Caddo Lake - Louisiana

Caddo Lake is considered the largest naturally occurring freshwater lake in the South. This lake is encompassed by one of the most lavish Cypress forests in the world.

While you'll find many guided pontoon boat tours through the swamp, you can also explore this region on your own with pontoon boat rentals in multiple parks. As you float across the water, notice the plethora of fish; Caddo Lake boasts 71 species of fish.

white pontoon boat on water in swamp
Pontoon boat parked under the cypress trees on Caddo Lake. Photo by Alexander Hatley.

9.   Lake Norman - North Carolina

Lake Norman is one of North Carolina's most popular summer attractions. Find everything from partygoers, to people just relaxing and soaking up the sun on their pontoon boats. Rent a jet ski or pontoon boat; if you don't have a boating license, look for a captained pontoon rental. Visit the beautiful city of Charlotte nearby for endless entertainment options and good food. 

pontoon boat parked on body of water next to lake house
Pontoon parked on Lake Norman in North Carolina. Photo by Tracie Hall.

10.  Crescent Lake - Oregon

Crescent Lake is nestled within the expansive Cascades. It's a wonderful destination to rent a pontoon boat to explore the lake's clear water and abundance of wildlife. It's impossible to be bored in this region of Oregon. Once you’re done boating for the day, find one of the many amazing campgrounds and stay for the night.   

body of water under blue sky
Crescent Lake, Oregon. Photo by Bonnie Moreland.

Find Your Fun on a Pontoon Boat

When renting a pontoon boat, keep some of these helpful tips in mind:

Every pontoon boat rental should come with safety equipment. There should be as many life jackets as there are adults on the boat. Ask for life jackets for children.

It's a good idea to specify to the rental service why you want to rent a pontoon because pontoon boats for different purposes have different boat features. For example, some pontoon boats aren’t equipped with fishing accessories, so if you’re looking to cast a line make sure you rent a pontoon that’s fishing-friendly. If you're renting a pontoon for a fun day with friends, you'd probably want to rent one of the double-decker pontoon boats that often have a water slide and spacious upper area for sunbathing.

Rental time can be anything from four hours, half-day to full-day. Be sure to check with the rental service about the fuel - sometimes pontoon rentals come with fuel included.

Of course, don't forget to wear the right apparel for a hot & sunny day on the water! You'll need breathable clothing with UPF and some quick-dry bottoms. Browse through sun shirts for men and sun shirts for women, and check out the sun hats!

Featured Image - A pontoon on Lac Brais by Lise1011.

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white pontoon boat on body of water with yellow trees in background
Emily Leikam
Emily is an avid traveler and has been all around the world from Alaska and Iceland to Peru and Bali. Her home base is Nashville, TN and when not traveling you can find her hiking, practicing yoga or cooking/baking!