Lake Harris, Florida, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Harris — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Lake Harris
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Lake Harris Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Lake Harris Gifts
Looking for Lake Harris cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Harris
Lake Harris, located in Lake County, sits atop an enviable central Florida location, only 31 miles from Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, and all Orlando has to offer. One of the lake’s most unique features is its shape: from the air, the lake is shaped just like China. But have no fear, it’s hardly as large and you’ll be able to traverse a reasonable number of its impressive 13,788 acres during your vacation.
Lake Harris is the namesake for eight lakes that comprise the Harris Chain of Lakes: Lake Harris, Little Lake Harris, Lake Eustis, the East Lakes (Dora, Beauclair, and Carlton), Lake Griffin, and Lake Apopka. A mixture of private residences, citrus groves, and wetlands comprise the eastern and southern shores of the lake, while the north side of the lake is a mixture of commercial, industrial, and private uses. The city of Leesburg is on the northwestern shore of Lake Harris.
Lake Harris has two public boat ramps, one at the western end of lake, the other located in a county park on the southeastern side. Boaters can also access Lake Harris from Lake Eustis and from the Palatlakaha River, offering scenic rides through cypress trees with abundant wildlife and prime fishing. Power boats, sailboats, and fishing boats share Lake Harris waters.
Because of its large size, Lake Harris waters become rough during high winds. Recreational boaters and anglers find respite at Little Harris Lake when waves are too rough on Lake Harris. Little Harris Lake, with 2739 acres, is located at the southeastern end of Lake Harris, divided only by the State Route 19 bridge. The hills around Little Harris Lake are a mixture of residential development, citrus groves, and wetlands.
The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) operates a series of dams in the Harris Chain of Lakes to stabilize water levels. The reduction of normal water level fluctuations, draining of marshes for farming, and runoff from agricultural, municipal, and commercial sources over many years led to the decline of fisheries habitat in the lakes. The SJRWMD’s 5-year restoration plan has significantly improved water quality in the Harris Chain of Lakes. The clean-up has been a cooperative effort between SJRWMD and federal, state, county and local governments, citizen support groups, and environmental organizations.
Lake Harris is humorously and lovingly called “The Mountains” because of its topography. Unlike the notoriously flat Greater Orlando area, the lake area is hilly and punctuated with cypress trees. This is a nice break from the surrounding flat terrain, and provides a safe haven for some beautiful flora and interesting fauna.
Nature photographers, rejoice, for Lake Harris is what you’ve been looking for. Blue waters framed by equally blue skies, swooping bald eagles and hawks, and long Kissimmee reeds providing the perfect hiding place for bullfrogs, toads, and other adorable creatures. And even if a camera isn’t one of your favorite accessories, you’ll still enjoy the towering cypresses, jumping fish, and singing birds.
Lake County is well regarded as a premier fishing destination in the southeastern United States. In fact, Florida has been nicknamed “The Fishing Capital of the World” by the satisfied anglers who come to drop a line in year after year. If you find yourself lucky enough to be sitting in a fishing boat, trolling down Lake Harris, prepare to reel in mostly black crappie and largemouth bass with the occasional bluegill, redear sunfish, and sunshine bass.
Even if you don’t fish, you owe it to yourself to take a boat out onto the lake and investigate the coves, dip your feet into the cool waters, and simply enjoy the sun on your face as you enjoy the bountiful nature that makes Lake Harris its home. For that’s what a vacation at the lake is all about: wind in your hair, water between your toes, and a few days that you will never forget.
Things to Do at Lake Harris
- Vacation Rentals
- Wildlife Viewing
Fish Species Found at Lake Harris
- Black Bass
- Black Crappie
- Largemouth Bass
- Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
- Sunshine Bass
Find Places to Stay at Lake Harris
If you’re considering a Lake Harris 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 Lake Harris Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Harris 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.
Lake Harris Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed
Water Level Control: St. Johns River Water Management District
Shoreline Length: 38 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 62 feet
Average Depth: 12 feet
Drainage Area: 337 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Shop Lake Harris Gifts
Advertise Your Lake Harris Business or Vacation Rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.
Looking for the Lake Harris Forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Lake Harris Photo Gallery
New photos coming soon!
Spread the word! Share our Lake Harris article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!