The United States is full of diverse landscapes that make the perfect setting for extreme sports and adventurous activities. The country’s waterways are especially plentiful, and there are hundreds of thousands of lakes across the nation.
Some are known for their beauty, some for their fantastic fishing opportunities, and some for swimming. But if you’re reading this article, you’re likely on the hunt for the best wakeboarding lakes in the US.
Every wakeboarder has their local favorite when it comes to riding waves, but if you’re looking for the best of the best or simply a new place to try some tricks, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover the 15 best wakeboarding lakes in the US.
Table of Contents
- 1. Lake Shasta – California
- 2. Lake Powell – Utah & Arizona
- 3. Lake Havasu – Arizona
- 4. TSR Extreme Sports Complex – Texas
- 5. Lake Mead – Arizona & Nevada
- 6. Bow Lake – Washington
- 7. Lake Tahoe – California & Nevada
- 8. Table Rock Lake – Missouri
- 9. Lake Lure – North Carolina
- 10. Blue Lake – Florida
- 11. Coble Ski School – North Carolina
- 12. Radar Lake – Washington
- 13. Lake Allatoona – Georgia
- 14. Canyon Lake – California
- 15. Lake Austin – Texas
1. Lake Shasta – California
Situated 10 miles north of Redding, California, Lake Shasta has long since been known as one of the best wakeboarding lakes in the US. The title is well deserved, and both locals and out-of-towners flock to this northern Californian lake to participate in a variety of water sports.
This massive reservoir stretches over 30,000 acres, making it the largest man-made lake in the state. Shasta boasts four “arms” in addition to the main body of water located near the dam. There are also thousands of hidden coves and secret inlets, and you’d be hard-pressed to explore all of them in a single afternoon – or even a lifetime for that matter!
Apart from providing a large area for wakeboarders to practice their craft, Lake Shasta is also incredibly beautiful. Verdant forests and tall mountain peaks make a lovely backdrop for boarders and boaters to admire, and the beautiful blue hue of the water is particularly inviting on hot summer days.
If you don’t have your own gear with you when you visit, you’ll find rentals for both boards and boats all around the lake that cater to tourists. Visitors are aplenty at Lake Shasta, and if you’d like to experience calmer conditions on the water, head out after 6 pm when all the day-trippers turn in for the day.
2. Lake Powell – Utah & Arizona
Situated along the Utah Arizona border, Lake Powell is a premier wakeboarding and water sports destination. Spanning across nearly 200 miles with over 650 miles of shoreline, Lake Powell is the second-largest artificial lake in the United States.
Not surprisingly, this massive body of water attracts over 200 million visitors each year – mainly during the warm summer months. But don’t be deterred by this startling statistic. Lake Powell is large enough that you’ll have no problem finding a smooth stretch of water to ride, no matter how busy the lake is.
The beautiful scenery surrounding the lake is another factor that makes the reservoir so popular. You’ll ride past staggering red rock faces, which make a stark contrast to the beautiful blue lake waters. There are nearly 100 narrow slot canyons to explore as well, offering a wakeboarding experience unlike any other.
Lake Powell is situated in the greater Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. So once you’ve had enough of the water, you can take a hike through the otherworldly rock formations that dot the area, pitch a tent at one of the campgrounds, or keep the adrenaline pumping with an off-roading adventure.
3. Lake Havasu – Arizona
Another one of the best wakeboarding lakes in the US can be found at Arizona’s Lake Havasu. This is also one of the most beautiful lakes in the whole country, with red sandstone cliffs lining the sapphire blue water.
Lake Havasu features over 250 miles of shoreline and measures nearly 20,000 acres. Of that, nearly 60 miles are navigable by boat, making it easy for borders and boaters to zip around. The climate in this area is also perfect for splashing about, with dry arid desert surrounding the lake.
But there’s more than just barren land around Lake Havasu. There are tons of attractions in the nearby Lake Havasu City, and the booming metropolis of Las Vegas is just a few hours away.
While Lake Havasu is one of the most popular lakes for water sports in the region, it often gets a bad rep for being overcrowded. Some parts of the lake are even in jeopardy of becoming no-wake zones, further limiting the amount of space for boarders and boaters.
4. TSR Extreme Sports Complex – Texas
Those on the hunt for a unique wakeboarding experience should make a beeline to the TSR Extreme Sports Complex in New Braunfels, Texas. While you’ll find tons of activities at this massive complex, including axe throwing and paintball, the real star of the show is the cableway.
The cableway offers riders of all skill levels a boat-free way to hone in on their craft, and there are even expert coaches available for anyone who wants to take their skills to the next level. Veteran boarders appreciate the ability to get big air on the cableway, and you can also take on various rails and kickers during your ride.
The more traditional riders can stick to the private boating lake, and the calm waters here are the perfect place for newbies to get the hang of wakeboarding – no need to worry about choppy waters or boat traffic!
If you live in the area, you can purchase an annual pass. If you’re from out of town, hourly and all-day passes are available.
5. Lake Mead – Arizona & Nevada
Situated inside America’s first and largest national recreation area, there’s no doubt that Lake Mead is one of the best wakeboarding lakes in the US. This massive reservoir is a result of the creation of the Hoover Dam and boasts 750 miles of shoreline from which to swim, fish, or simply take in the incredible views.
The lake is so large that you’ll have no trouble finding a flat spot to ride, even on the busiest of days. The spectacular mountain views make Lake Mead even more enjoyable, and they can be seen no matter where you are in the reservoir.
Once you’ve had enough wakeboarding for the day, you can spend some time exploring the recreation area. Then, once you’re ready to call it a night, you can pitch a tent or park your RV in one of the hundreds of campsites available inside the recreation area or make your way to a ritzy hotel in the Las Vegas strip – it is only 25 miles away, after all.
6. Bow Lake – Washington
Situated in the stunning Skagit Valley just 60 miles from Seattle, Bow Lake is one of the best wakeboarding lakes in the US. Sitting at the gateway to the San Juan Islands, the scenic location is hard to beat.
But it’s not just the beautiful surroundings and proximity to Seattle that make Bow Lake so popular amongst wakeboarders. The Bow Lake Training Center beckons riders of all skill levels to brush up on their skills. Both professionals and first-time wakeboarders are welcome to ride, and you can book passes, private lessons, or just drop in for a ride!
The season usually runs between May and October, and the center provides all the gear you’ll need, including boat, driver, cables, and boards. That being said, if you do have your own board you are encouraged to bring it. If you have all your own equipment, you can also reserve a private time slot on the lake.
If you’d like to try something new, the training center also offers slalom skiing and wake surfing lessons.
7. Lake Tahoe – California & Nevada
Not only is Lake Tahoe the largest lake in California, but it’s also one of the best wakeboarding lakes in the entire country. Of course, no one could deny its beauty either, which makes for a lovely backdrop during a day of riding.
The lake lies in the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevadas on the California/Nevada border. The crystal clear waters are dazzling no matter where you are in the lake, but some of the calmest waters can be found at the southern end, which makes for perfect wakeboarding conditions.
Lake Tahoe is a top-rated destination, and it’s not just wakeboarders who flock to this stunning body of water, either. The lake sees over three million visitors annually, but the the water levels have been slowly dropping over the last few years due to the droughts that have plagued the area.
If the lake continues shrinking, boats may have a hard time accessing it, so you may want to visit this hot spot sooner rather than later!
8. Table Rock Lake – Missouri
Table Rock Lake is a scenic man-made reservoir located in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri. Each year this large body of water plays host to the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboarding competition, which makes it an obvious addition to many wakeboarders’ bucket list.
The weather is warm, the shoreline is long, and the water temperature sits at a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months. This makes Table Rock Lake a favorite amongst both pros and amateurs looking to shred some waves without a wetsuit.
The lake is also a popular sports fishing spot, so feel free to try your luck reeling in bass, crappie, bluegill, and more. With the ever-popular resort town of Branson just 12 miles east, you could easily turn your wakeboarding trip into a fun-filled weekend getaway.
9. Lake Lure – North Carolina
One of the newer names in wakeboarding popularity is the lovely Lake Lure, located in Rutherford County, North Carolina. The crystal clear waters, long bays, and stunning mountainous surroundings all make Lake Lure a premier wakeboarding destination.
Back in the day, the Chalet Club was a huge draw to this lake. The vintage resort provided an alpine chic setting for lake goers to eat, sleep, and waterski, and while it is now permanently closed, other accommodations have stepped up to the plate to entice considerable crowds to the lake year-round.
The serene waters are the perfect place for beginner boarders, and there are even various adventure companies around the lake that offer full-day excursions with expert staff and state-of-the-art equipment. If you’re looking for a new hobby, you could even try your hand at wake surfing or paddleboarding.
Consider renting a cozy cabin along the scenic shoreline if you’d like to experience Lake Lure for more than just one afternoon.
10. Blue Lake – Florida
Ever since the famous “Defy” video was put out by X Games gold medalist Danny Harf a few years ago, wakeboarders from around the country have been on the hunt for the legendary “Blue Lake” where the video was filmed. This may be one of the most epic wakeboarding lakes in the country, the only problem is that the exact location of it is a well-kept secret.
While the location of Blue Lake is still a bit of a mystery, the Caribbean blue waters are definitely located somewhere in Florida. The top-secret location of this hidden gem has yet to be disclosed, though some die-hard fans claim that it is one of the smaller lakes near Clermont in central Florida.
If you want an insider’s tip about the well-hidden Blue Lake or some recommendations for other sick wakeboarding spots, head to Port Charlotte in Western Florida and talk to the local experts down at the marina.
If you decide to go searching for Blue Lake yourself, be aware that the lake is most likely located on private land – so proceed with caution!
11. Coble Ski School – North Carolina
As one of the largest and most comprehensive wakeboard-specific schools in the world, serious wakeboarders will not want to miss out on their chance to shred some waves at Coble Ski School.
Located in Lillington, North Carolina, the camp is comprised of a whopping ten private lakes explicitly used for training participants in waterskiing and wakeboarding. Only one boat is allowed on each lake at any given time, allowing riders to enjoy calm conditions as they master their skills.
This one-of-a-kind facility has been in operation since 1995 and offers a variety of different packages for wakeboarders of all skill levels. For example, you can book for a women’s week, a week of high-intensity summer camp, or just a Saturday training session.
There’s no denying that packages at Coble Ski Camp will cost you a pretty penny, but if you want to learn from the best, there’s no better place to hone your craft.
12. Radar Lake – Washington
When you mention Radar Lake to an avid wakeboarder, you’ll likely see a look of wonder strike their eyes. This artificial lake was created specifically for water sports back in 1972, and it remains an icon for riders to this day.
You’ll find all the perfect wakeboarding conditions at this western Washington lake. While it is a bit smaller compared to some of the other reservoirs on our list, the elongated shape and two small islands at either end make it the perfect place to practice shredding corners and perfecting other tricks.
Radar Lake is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to watersports, and if you’re ever lucky enough to wakeboard here yourself, you’ll get to experience the magic of this place first hand.
13. Lake Allatoona – Georgia
Just 35 miles northwest of Atlanta you’ll find another legend in the wakeboarding world – Lake Allatoona (or simply “Toona” to the locals). This lovely lake comprises 12 acres and boasts over 250 miles of scenic shoreline.
Lake Allatoona often plays host to professional wakeboarding competitions, which is part of what makes it so popular with watersports enthusiasts from all around the country. Whether you’re a pro or an amateur, Lake Allatoona is definitely worth checking out if you’re eve in the area.
14. Canyon Lake – California
Not to be confused with the lakes by the same name in Texas and Arizona, California’s Canyon Lake is one of the best places for wakeboarding in the United States.
Situated in the Riverside area of SoCal, Canyon Lake is much loved both by the locals who reside on its shores and water sports enthusiasts who make the trek over to the lake from near and far. But, unfortunately, these two groups have not gotten along very well. The wealthy residents prefer peace and quiet, while wakeboarders and boaters tend to prefer a bit more action on the lake.
While there have been many battles resulting in restrictions and regulations on Canyon Lake, wakeboarding is still permitted in certain areas – for now at least.
15. Lake Austin – Texas
If you’re an Austin native, you know there’s no better way to beat the heat than a refreshing dip in Lake Austin. The lake is located in the center of the downtown area, making it extremely accessible.
It’s no surprise that Lake Austin is extremely popular with both residents and tourists, and on hot sunny days you’ll find hosts of party boats meandering the shoreline.
If you’re not interested in finding a spot to ride amid the party-centric scene of Lake Austin, you could always check out Lake Travis – located about 20 miles north of the city center.