Cedar Lake, Indiana, USA

Also known as:  Lake of The Red Cedars

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Cedar Lake IN — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Cedar Lake IN

Lake Locations: USA - US Midwest Region - Indiana - North Indiana -

Historic Cedar Lake in the North Region of Indiana has figured prominently in Chicago-area resort history. The 794-acre natural lake was the result of a large block of glacial ice that was left when the glacier receded thousands of years ago. Located a few miles east of the Indiana-Illinois state line, the lake was originally called Lake of The Red Cedars for the large number of trees lining its shores. Now, the lake is a favored residential lake for commuters from Gary and Chicago who enjoy lake living, boating and fishing. The shoreline is heavily developed with increasingly upscale housing; the Cedar Lake community is populated by nearly 10,000 residents. The local yacht club is a center of community activity as is the Cedar Lake Country Club.

Fishing, boating and golf form the center of activity around Cedar Lake. The large shallow lake is favored for sailing, pontooning, jet skis, water skiing and power boating. There is little public access to the lake other than a boat launch on the north shore. However, thousands of children have fond memories of Cedar Lake after attendance at a church-sponsored camp on the west shore. Here they enjoy swimming, canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, volleyball, tennis, team sports, campfires and religious instruction. The camp also sponsors adult religious retreats and offers a small public campground with RV services. Other visitors can take advantage of the many vacation rentals long the lakefront.

A marina on the northwest shore of Cedar Lake rents pontoons, jet skis and other watercraft besides selling ice, convenience foods and fishing necessities. The yacht club teaches sailing and holds regular regattas on the lake. Fishing is popular here, with some large crappies being the main attraction. Other sport fish include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegills and an occasional white perch, illegally planted.

The main water outlet of Cedar Lake is Cedar Creek, leading from the east side of the lake to Lake Delacarlia, a man-made lake a few miles downstream. A city park on the east side of the lake offers a small beach, playground, picnic tables and recreation courts. Less than a mile east of the lake, Lemon Lake County Park is open to the public. Lemon Lake offers fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, picnic facilities with grills, restrooms, sledding hill, baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts, soccer field, volleyball courts, dog park and paddleboat rental in season. The park also has a championship disk golf course where the World’s Professional Disk Golf Tournament will be held in July of 2010.

Only 20 miles south of Gary, Indiana and 40 miles from Chicago, Cedar Lake became a favored hunting and fishing destination early in the development of Chicago as a business hub. By 1834, lodges were being built along the shore to accommodate European hunters who shared game trails with the local Pottawatomie. By 1850, the Native American population had been forced farther west, and the lake was becoming a more frequent destination for hunting and fishing. It wasn’t until a railroad was built through the area that hundreds of visitors arrived each week to stay at the many resort hotels, enjoy steamship cruises along the lake, and swim, fish and enjoy the beaches. At one time there were over 50 resort hotels on the lake. The Monan Railroad built a park along the lake next to the rail line and brought trainloads to visit the lake from Chicago and other upstate areas. At one time, the Monon Railroad brought out thousands of employees from the Marshall field store in Chicago for picnics and family outings. Several ballrooms and pavilions dotted the lakefront, such as the Midway Gardens and the Lassen Pavilion, bringing in nationally-known bands to entertain area residents and visitors. Regular visitors began to build small cottages for summer use.

During the winter the ice industry employed both local residents and itinerant workers, bringing them from Chicago by train, to cut large blocks of ice from the lake. The ice was sent to the meat packing houses like the Armour Meat Company in Chicago. During WWII, workers came from the south to work in the Gary steel mills and often converted the tiny summer cottages to year-round homes. Later, these small cottages were often torn down and larger homes rebuilt on the site. The resort business faded away to be replaced by a lakefront community of year-round and part-time residents. The Lake of The Red Cedars Museum, located in one of the old resort hotels, has many pictures and artifacts detailing life at the lake in the previous 150 years.

Cedar Lake was finally incorporated as a town in 1967 and is still experiencing growth. Several new condo and townhouse developments have been built. The area is still in high demand as vacation property for those from the Chicago area, and real estate has continued to hold its value. Many of the part-time residents lease their homes as vacation rentals. Most include either a boat or directions to the nearest boat rental for the convenience of visitors. Hotel accommodations are available in the immediate area, although not on the lake front. And the countryside around Cedar Lake offers several bed-and-breakfasts not far away. Finding rental housing on or near Cedar Lake isn’t difficult and makes an ideal get-away from Chicago, Gary, Indianapolis or South Bend. So, come and enjoy the sunsets at Cedar Lake. You’ll soon be shopping for a condo overlooking the lake.

Things to Do at Cedar Lake IN

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • City Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish Species Found at Cedar Lake IN

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • White Perch

Find Places to Stay at Cedar Lake IN

If you’re considering a Cedar Lake IN lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Cedar Lake IN Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Cedar Lake IN lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Cedar Lake IN Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 794 acres

Shoreline Length: 6 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 593 feet

Average Depth: 9 feet

Maximum Depth: 16 feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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