Opal Lake, Michigan, USA

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

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Opal Lake 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 Opal Lake

Sitting on the dock watching the colors of the sunset setting the blue lake on fire, it’s easy to see why this lake is named Opal Lake. White sand beaches ring the shore providing a perfect setting. The exceptionally clean, clear water shines like a jewel in northeast Michigan. The lake is nestled in the alpine village of Gaylord in Michigan’s Snow Belt, ensuring its place as a year round vacation destination.

Opal Lake is a small, natural lake covering 122 acres in Otsego County. Largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike, rock bass, walleye and yellow perch can all be found in Opal Lake, and the lake has been stocked with rainbow trout and smallmouth bass. Although lakes of this clarity support smaller populations of fish, the fish tend to grow very large. Anglers may have to work a little harder, but they have a chance at catching one of the “big ones.”

Access to Opal Lake is from a public car-top boat and canoe launching area managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Opal Lake is an all sports lake; boat rentals are available including ski boats. A small wooded island on one side of the lake is a great place to explore by canoe or kayak. There is residential development around the lake, including vacation rentals tucked in the woods. For anyone who falls in love with Opal Lake, real estate is available for sale around the lake and in nearby Gaylord.

Named for Augustine Smith Gaylord, an attorney for the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad, Gaylord was established in 1877 as the county seat of Otsego County. Gaylord is an alpine community with year round resorts. It is known for spectacular golf courses, including some on the water, with trails for hiking and biking. As part of Michigan’s Snow Belt, the area receives about 180 inches of snow every winter. Visitors to Opal Lake can find skiing nearby as well as trails for snow shoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.

The Pigeon River Country Elk Range is just a few minutes from downtown Gaylord and Opal Lake. The 95,000-acre Pigeon River Country State Forest supports the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi River. The Michigan DNR works to maintain the forest and field habitat of the elk. Elk are accustomed to cars, so viewing by automobile is the best way to see these magnificent creatures. The elk live in the area year-round, but September, when the bulls begin competing for mating rights, is the best time to see them. Hunting is allowed in season in some parts of the area.

A tree-lined shore wrapped around white sand beaches holds the clear, clean water of Opal Lake. The lake is as beautiful as its name implies, and with water for fishing and boating, it is a fantastic recreation destination. Add in the amazing golf and abundant snowfall, and Opal Lake becomes the perfect year round northeast Michigan getaway.

Things to Do at Opal Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Forest

Fish Species Found at Opal Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Opal Lake

If you’re considering a Opal Lake 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 Opal Lake Vacation

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

Opal Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 122 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,243 feet

Maximum Depth: 40 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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 Opal Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your Opal Lake 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 Opal Lake 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!

Opal Lake Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Opal Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!