The scenic Scituate Reservoir in Rhode Island.

7 Most Beautiful Lakes In Rhode Island

Officially nicknamed “The Ocean State,” the small state of Rhode Island in the New England region of the American Northeast is well-known for its 400 mi long coastline and hundreds of water bodies – including lakes, ponds, large bays, inlets, and saltwater coastal lagoons. Although a majority of the lakes in the state are man-made, about 25% of the lakes are natural, five of which exceed an area of more than 100 acres. The neighboring woody areas and marshlands surrounding the water bodies also allow one to observe many avian species. However, not all of these lakes allow recreational activities; only some allow swimming, boating, and fishing activities.

Wallum Lake

The serene Wallum Lake in winter. Image credit: John Phelan, via Wikimedia Commons.

Placed close to the Wallum Lake Park and Douglas State Forest, the northern half of this 322-acre lake is located in the town of Douglas in Massachusetts’s Southern Worcester County, whereas its southern half is located in the town of Burrillville in Rhode Island’s Providence County. Various summer cottages and year-round homes line the lake’s eastern shore, while the lake’s western shore is relatively undeveloped. The Buck Hill Management Area is situated near the lake, which hosts an expansive campground area that is immensely popular with residents and tourists alike. Wallum Lake supports several fish species like smallmouth bass, brown trout, largemouth bass, bluegills, chain pickerel, yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, rainbow trout, and landlocked alewife. Besides fishing, visitors can also enjoy boating and swimming activities at this scenic lake.

Diamond Hill Reservoir

Diamond Hill Reservoir, Cumberland, Rhode Island. Image credit: S-Bahn/Flickr.

Also referred to as the Pawtucket Upper Reservoir, this 390-acre reservoir was formed by the construction of the 80 ft high earthen Diamond Hill Reservoir Dam on the Abbott Run Waterway. Owned and managed by the Water Supply Board of the industrial city of Pawtucket, the reservoir is located close to Diamond Hill in the town of Cumberland in Rhode Island’s Providence County. The Diamond Hill Reservoir has the highest capacity of 15,680 acre-ft and average storage of 11,000 acre-ft.

Since the reservoir water is used for drinking purposes, no recreational activities like boating and swimming are permitted here. Although the reservoir offers breathtaking views all year round, nevertheless, Fall is the perfect season to visit as during this period, one can witness the spectacular fall foliage. The roadway that runs through the reservoir is greatly appreciated by recreational users and cycling enthusiasts who love to enjoy the beautiful scenery. In addition to the magnificent view, nature lovers are especially attracted to the variety of faunal life found in the lake area, including bald eagles, hawks, falcons, waterfowl, and various other avian species. 

Lake Washington

A chain pickerel fish is one of the fish species found in Lake Washington.

This 41-acre lake, placed at a surface elevation of 604 ft, is situated in the town of Glocester in Rhode Island’s Providence County. Only non-motorized boats and those powered by electric motors are permitted in the lake’s waters. Lake Washington is also home to many fish species like largemouth bass, bluegill, chain pickerel, and black crappie, making it a popular place for anglers and other fishing enthusiasts. During the summer evenings, several paddleboarders enjoy paddleboarding here. One can head to the adjacent George Washington Campground to rest after spending a fun-filled day at the lake.

Echo Lake

Also known as the Pascoag Reservoir, this 350-acre lake is situated close to Pascoag in the state’s northwestern portion. The lake’s excellent water quality draws many visitors to enjoy numerous water sports or to take a plunge in its clean waters. Spots, where one can fish from the banks, are located along the western shore, making the lake one of Rhode Island’s most popular destinations for fishing. The lake harbors many fish species like largemouth bass, yellow perch, redbreast sunfish, bluegill, northern pike, and pumpkinseed sunfish. Boat docks occupy a significant part of the lake’s 5-mile-long shoreline, with the Echo Lake Boat Launch located in the southwestern corner of the lake and Echo Lake Campground containing a boat launch ramp.

Lake Aldersgate

The scenic Lake Aldersgate in Rhode Island. Image credit: Terekhova/Flickr.

This small reservoir is located about 0.7 miles from Harrisville in the town of Burrillville in Rhode Island’s Providence County. The Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center is placed adjacent to the lake, which offers various recreational activities for the visitors besides helping them access the entire lake. Being home to many fish species like largemouth bass, catfish, bluegills, crappie, and pumpkinseed sunfish, Aldersgate Lake is a popular fishing spot. Whether one is fly fishing, spinning, or baitcasting, the chances of catching a fish here are always high. So, try visiting Aldersgate Lake with your favorite fly fishing equipment.

Bowdish Lake

This 226-acre reservoir is located in the state’s northwestern corner, close to the town of Glocester in Rhode Island’s Providence County. Floating bog mats at the lake’s center make for a beautiful ecosystem that can be explored by small boats. The lake’s rocky shoreline features two camping grounds: the George Washington Campground on the southeastern side and the Bowdish Lake Campground on the northeastern side.

The George Washington Campground contains 45 gravel sites and offers many recreational activities like fishing, boating, and swimming, whereas the Bowdish Lake Campground has more than 100 gravel sites and several facilities. A concrete plank boat ramp and a gravel parking area are located in the campsite off Route 44 at the reservoir’s eastern end. Some notable fish in the Bowdish Lake include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, and chain pickerel. 

Scituate Reservoir

The scenic Scituate Reservoir in Rhode Island. Image credit: Rafael Medina/Flickr.

Formed by the construction of the 100 ft high Gainer Memorial Dam on the North Branch Pawtuxet River, the Scituate Reservoir is the state’s biggest inland water body. Managed by the Providence Water Supply Board, the reservoir covers a total surface area of 5.3 sq. mi and has a maximum length of 7 mi and a maximum width of 2.5 mi. Reaching an average depth of 32 ft and a maximum depth of 87 ft, the reservoir holds a water volume of 150,000,000 cubic meters. Along with its six tributary reservoirs, the Scituate Reservoir supplies drinking water to over 60% of the state’s population. The adjoining drainage basin that provides water to this reservoir system occupies an area of 94 sq. mi and includes major portions of the towns of Scituate, Glocester, Cranston, Johnston, and Foster.

The seven lakes mentioned above are some of the most magnificent bodies of water in the nation’s smallest and the second-most densely populated state. Each of these lakes in Rhode Island has its own charm and draws thousands of tourists all year round to scenic vistas and water-based leisure activities. So, when in the Ocean State, do not forget to drop by these breathtaking lakes and enjoy a memorable time.


More in Bodies of Water