8 lakes with waterfalls that will take your breath away

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From roaring cascades to tiny trickles, lakes with waterfalls are perfect spots to picnic, take a hike (or possibly a dip) and, of course, capture stunning photos.

And lake waterfalls are more common than you may think. In fact, some of the world’s most impressive lakes are surrounded by incredible waterfalls.

Keep reading to discover lakes with waterfalls in the United States and around the world that are definitely worth a visit.

View of Angel Falls at Lake Guri

Lake Guri, Venezuela

Snuggled into the Guiana Highlands, Lake Guri is a haven for anglers and wildlife watchers. Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits south of the lake.

The park’s breathtaking attractions include Angel Falls, one of Venezuela’s top tourism destinations.

Measuring more than 3,200 feet tall, the towering cascade of white water is the world’s tallest waterfall. The most spectacular way to experience Salto Angel (as it’s called in Spanish) is from above, so consider taking an aerial tour. 

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Hartwell Lake, Georgia and South Carolina

Scenic waterfall at Lake Hartwell, Georgia
Toccoa Falls, Lake Hartwell – Paulbr via canva

If you’re looking for a lake with waterfalls in SC, plan your visit to Hartwell Lake.

Hartwell Lake, at almost 56,000 acres, stretches over six counties in two states. The massive reservoir is known for recreational pursuits like boating, fishing, and water skiing, as well as hiking and wildlife watching at parks including Lake Hartwell State Recreation Area, Chattahoochee National Forest, Hart State Outdoor Recreation Area, and Tugaloo State Park.

There are at least 12 waterfalls surrounding Lake Hartwell, including Longnose Falls, Issaqueena Falls, Brasstown Falls, Station Cove Falls, Long Creek Falls, and LickLog Falls.

Toccoa Falls is perhaps the most well known, offering one of the highest cascades east of the Mississippi. The white waterfall is 186 feet tall — 19 feet higher than Niagara Falls — and is easily accessed through the Toccoa Falls College campus.

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Lake Crescent, Washington

Icy view of Marymere Falls in Washington
Marymere Falls, Lake Crescent – Lindsay Snow via canva

Majestic and scenic, Lake Crescent is situated on the northern edge of Olympic National Park. The 5,127-acre crater lake, which is known for its natural beauty and numerous recreational pursuits, is flanked by Mount Storm King and surrounded by steep mountain cliffs.

The lake lies just a few miles from picturesque Marymere Falls, a stunning natural waterfall. Lake Crescent is not to be missed for this reason! Due to its extreme beauty and easy accessibility via US 101, Marymere Falls is one of Olympic National Park’s most visited sites.

Hikers should take the Barnes Creek hiking trail, a mile-long park path, to reach the roaring 90-foot cascade. After weaving through cedar trees and walking along foot bridges, you’ll finally emerge at the base of Marymere Falls.

Finally, if you have the energy, continue another two miles up to the Mount Storm King viewpoint. From there, you’ll enjoy an incredible panorama of Lake Crescent.

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Lake Kaniere, South Island, New Zealand

Water snakes down a narrow passage at Dorothy Falls
Dorothy Falls, New Zealand – Kevin Wells via canva

Known for beautiful vistas, varied water sports, and miles of hiking trails, Lake Kaniere is an outdoor wonderland. Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve surrounds the lake, where hiking trails abound.

For waterfall lovers, no hike is better (or easier — it’s just a few minutes on foot) than the aptly named Dorothy Falls trail, a short path that leads hikers to the base of 209-foot Dorothy Falls.

Dip your feet in the cool stream, or dive in for a full-fledged swim; the base of Dorothy falls is a beautiful spot for an afternoon dip.

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Lake Trasimeno, Umbria, Italy

Lush foliage surrounds Marmore Falls in Italy
Marmore Falls, Lake Trasimeno – Riccardo Saiu Calli via canva

Lake Trasimeno, located in the rolling Umbrian countryside, is a lake surrounded by history — ancient monasteries, quaint villages, castles and ruins are just a few of the lake’s sightseeing opportunities.

Approximately 40 miles south of the lake, Marmore Falls tell the great story of Roman innovation and invention: the waterfalls — a three-part series — were created to divert stagnant waters and prevent illness.

Today, at 541 feet high, they are one of Europe’s largest waterfalls and the tallest manmade falls in the world.

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Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Last waterfall on Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. Start of the river Korana.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia – rastovac via canva

Aquamarine waters, hidden caves, verdant forest, and roaring waterfalls characterize the picturesque Plitvice Lakes. They are a true nature lover’s paradise.

The 16-lake chain has been around for thousands of years, and in 1949, they formed Croatia’s first national park: Plitvice Lakes National Park. In 1979, UNESCO added Plitvice Lakes to its World Heritage list in honor of their incredible beauty.

Trails wind through the park, often passing through caves and in front of the cascading waterfalls.

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Seneca Lake, NY

View of Hector Falls on Seneca Lake; Schuyler County; New York
Hector Falls, Seneca Lake – stefko via canva

Vast, beautiful Seneca Lake is one of upstate New York’s famed Finger Lakes.

Watkins Glen State Park, situated on the lake’s southern shore, is home to several small waterfalls. The gentle falls cut into the mountains and carve out sections of gray stone, which create a scene so picturesque you have to see it to believe it.

Two miles of trails weave through the glen, where the only sounds are those of birdsong and water trickling over ancient rock — and the occasional oohs and ahhs of visitors!

Plot how you’ll visit Seneca Lake waterfalls and others nearby with this Finger Lakes waterfalls map.

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Bodi Lake, Michigan

The lower Tahquamenon falls in Michigan's upper peninsula
Lower Tahquamenon Falls, Bodi Lake – groveb via canva

Surrounded by sand dunes, state park, and swamplands, Bodi Lake is one of the Upper Peninsula’s hidden gems.

The lake is just miles from Tahquamenon Falls, a series of upper and lower falls guaranteed to delight nature lovers. Upper Tahquamenon Falls stretch more than 200 feet across the river bed, dropping 50 feet into the tannin-filled river below.

Downstream, Lower Tahquamenon Falls boast a series of five smaller waterfalls that cascade around a river island. Find out more and get a Tahquamenon Falls map to enjoy your adventure.

Lakes with waterfalls to inspire you

In conclusion, recreational lakes are great for on-water activities like boating, waterskiing, fishing and swimming. However, the aquatic fun doesn’t end when you leave the lake. The next time you’re at one of these incredible spots, get out and explore the scenic aquatic beauties mentioned in this lake waterfalls roundup.

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