Lake Washington, Florida, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Florida - East Central -

Even in a state with thousands of lakes, Lake Washington stands out. This lake, one of three large lakes along the Saint Johns River Upper Basin, is one of the few in Florida to be used for drinking water supply. Located near the Atlantic Coast in Florida’s East Central tourism region, Lake Washington supplies most of the water for the City of Melbourne. Because of the lake’s importance both ecologically and to the area’s human population, Lake Washington is carefully monitored for water quality.

Lake Washington, with its extensive wetlands, is a favorite for both fishing and nature exploration. Fishermen come casting for largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill and shellcracker (known in many places as the red-eared sunfish). Several fish camps along the shore provide bait, boat rental and fishing supplies, along with plentiful advice on the best fishing spots. Because of the acres of emergent water plants and the shallow shoals, a preferred fishing craft is the airboat. The boat launch ramp at Lake Washington County Park has facilities for launching both regular small boats and airboats. Boating is enjoyed on the lake, including pontooning, canoeing, kayaking and rowing. The entire lake, as are most lakes in Florida, is quite shallow, with depths usually no more than 10 to 15 feet. A small fixed weir at the north end of the lake assures there is always enough water in the lake to meet water supply needs for the city of Melbourne. The St. Johns River, one of the longest rivers in Florida, is protected throughout most of its journey north to the Atlantic. The Upper Basin remains navigable to canoeing and air boats even under drought conditions.

Airboats are popular for exploring the vast areas of marsh and enjoying the wildlife that live there. The River Lakes Conservation Area encompasses much of the area along the western shoreline and the Saint Johns River, and can best be accessed by boat. Lake Washington is a favorite starting point for canoe campers and nature observers who canoe north through the Conservation Area into Winder Lake and Lake Poinsett. A number of primitive campsites are located along the waterway with several on the west shore of Winder Lake. The wetlands shelter a large number of raptors, waterfowl and wading birds such as eagles, purple gallinule, marsh and sedge wrens, limpkin, snail kite, sparrow and bobolink (during migration). South of Lake Washington, conservation lands continue with the Three Forks Marsh Conservation Area providing protection to another 52,000 acres along the St. Johns River and encompassing several small lakes. All of the protected lands are necessary for flood control and wildlife habitat and managed to enhance the cleansing effect the marshes exert on surface run-off.

The neighborhood of Lake Washington – a suburb of Melbourne – sprawls lazily across the sand on the east shore of the lake. A town of horse trails and semi-rural, relaxed living, Lake Washington is considered the perfect compromise between city living and the vast wetland wilderness along the Saint Johns River. The Lake Washington area is a comfortable mix of shops, camping areas, trails and parks. Nature is always close-by here. Since Lake Washington has several blocks of cafes, ice cream parlors, antique shops and gift shops, the area has become popular as a vacationer’s destination. Lake Washington County Park brings up the western terminus of the Lake Washington neighborhood and acts as the main access point for the lake. The 26-acre park has space designated for swimming, camping, and plenty of picnic tables. Both a boat launch and fishing pier are provided. Several private campgrounds exist around the town of Lake Washington, although none are located directly on the lake due to its marshy perimeter.

The Lake Washington area is perfect for an unhurried and non-commercial vacation. Lake Washington is by no means the only place to access a large expanse of water: the Atlantic coastline is only a couple of miles away. A variety of public beaches and nature preserves provide all of the water access any visitor could want. The Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of the more popular camping and beach access locations. Located along Hwy 1A south of Melbourne Beach, both day visitors and overnight campers can enjoy the sun, sand, surf and shorebirds. The park is well-known for the variety of birds on the mudflats and often attracts birding tourists. Eighty miles to the north, the Canaveral National Seashore preserves 58,000 acres of barrier island and sand dunes. The park is home to more than 1,000 plant species and 310 bird species. The park’s 24-mile-long beach is the longest undeveloped beach on the east coast of the state. At the south end of the island is the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Parking areas are provided for watching launch activities at the Space Center. Between Sebastian Inlet and Canaveral National Seashore are Cocoa Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, Satellite Beach and several other well-known beach destinations – some public, some private.

Deep sea fishing charters can easily be arranged around Melbourne, or the adventurous can enjoy kayaking near the shore or the barrier islands. Sailing, wind surfing, surfing, sea turtle watching, space exploration and simply sun bathing all have a home along this gorgeous and richly-endowed coast. With a campsite at Lake Washington as base camp, visiting vacationers can take in all of the sights, shop to their hearts’ content and never miss a golf game at one of the many nearby public golf courses. Other accommodations include private vacation rentals, motels, hotels, guest cottages and bed-and-breakfast facilities all within bicycling distance of Lake Washington. Real estate opportunities in the area are in increasing demand, particularly newly-completed condos and existing homes on lots up to three acres complete with horse fencing.

If this sounds like the perfect vacation – or lifestyle – for you, then come to visit Lake Washington as soon as you can slip away from the office. Bring the binoculars, the bird book and the bicycle. You’re in for a never-to-be-forgotten get-away. How about getting away from it all now?

Things to do at Lake Washington FL

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Wind Surfing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lake Washington FL

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Sunfish

Lake Washington FL Photo Gallery

Lake Washington FL Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Water Level Control: St. Johns River Water Management District

Surface Area: 4,362 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 16 feet

Average Depth: 12 feet

Maximum Depth: 15 feet

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.

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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