The 6 Best Lakes Near Huntsville For a Day Trip

best lakes near huntsville

Whether you’re out on a boat or fishing from a dock, there’s nothing quite like spending a day at the lake. If you’re looking for a quick getaway, there are a handful of amazing lakes that are just a short drive from Huntsville!

I’ve lived in the Rocket City all of my life, and I’m going to take you through a quick list of some of the best lakes near Huntsville. All of the lakes on this list are worth visiting, but I’ve organized them by distance from Huntsville.

Let’s get to it!

Best Lakes Near Huntsville, Alabama

Madison County Lake

best lakes near Huntsville Madison County Lake
Image Credit: Madison County Lake

Distance from Huntsville: 16 miles

It’s no secret that the Rocket City boasts some natural gems, and Madison County Lake is definitely one of the best lakes near Huntsville.

If you’re looking for a great day trip from Huntsville, Madison County Lake is a great spot for a family getaway. It has picnic facilities, grills, a boat ramp, and a fishing pier, along with a shop where you can buy all of the things that you didn’t realize you needed until you arrived!

Fishing, picnics, and canoeing are on the list of activities you could enjoy. Since Madison County Lake is one of the smaller ones (105 acres), it is a prime fishing spot. So, you won’t need to compete with leisure boats and jet skiers.

It is also a superb location for wintertime trout fishing, but you can also catch crappies, bass, and bluegill there too.

Wheeler Lake

best lakes near Huntsville Wheeler Lake
Image Credit: Tennessee River Valley

Distance from Huntsville: 33 miles

Without a doubt, one of the best lakes near Huntsville is Wheeler Lake, thanks to its 60 miles of beauty. It’s the second-largest lake in Alabama after Guntersville.

Along the lake, you’ll find resort areas like Joe Wheeler State Park, and wildlife parks, like Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. It almost goes without saying that fishing opportunities are plentiful. You’ll easily find species like bass, crappies, and catfish.  

If you and the kids want to make the most of your trip, you can stay at one of the marinas in a lodge or enjoy a camping adventure. There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise above Wheeler Lake with a camp coffee in hand.

Lake Guntersville

best lakes near Huntsville  Lake Guntersville
Image Credit: City of Guntersville

Distance from Huntsville: 37 miles

Along the Tennessee River lies the 6,000-acre playgrounds of Lake Guntersville State Park, home to Alabama’s largest lake. The waters sip up the summer sunshine and reflect nothing but stunning views and good times, making it one of the best lakes near Huntsville.

Putting the lake aside, you could spend many hours here exploring the trails and trying to spot wildlife, including Bald Eagles!

But there’s more to this lake’s offerings, including an 18 golf course, a zipline, an outdoor nature center, and superb fishing opportunities. It’s also a perfect picnic spot!

If you’d like to spend more time enjoying Lake Guntersville and the area attractions, you can camp, rent one of the cabins, or stay in the on-site resort lodge.

Wilson Lake

best lakes near Huntsville Wilson Lake
Image Credit: City of Florence

Distance from Huntsville: 66 miles

The alluring Wilson Lake, a reservoir nestled between the Wilson and Wheeler Dam, is definitely worth mentioning on our list of the best lakes near Huntsville.

This 15,500-acre reservoir calls for you to explore, swim, and spend hours tubing, skiing, and canoeing across the water.

As for fishing, you’ll catch some decent-sized fellows. In fact, the lake holds the record for the largest Freshwater Drum ever caught in Alabama!

Some other species you’ll find include bream, largemouth bass, and bluegill. If you’re not into fishing, you can spot some wildlife at the Wilson Reservoir State Park And Wildlife Area.

Smith Lake

best lakes near Huntsville Smith Lake
Image Credit: Soul Grown

Distance from Huntsville: 74 miles

Smith Lake, also known as Lewis Smith Lake, is the deepest lake in Alabama at 264 feet. It covers a whopping 21,000 acres across the Cullman, Walker, and Winston Counties.

You may wonder why this lake is on our list of the best lakes near Huntsville since it’s over an hour’s drive from the Rocket City. Well, the sheer beauty of its crystal clear waters, definitely warrants a family trip to Smith Lake. It also offers free launch facilities for on-the-water fun.

The lake’s most defining quality is that it’s a hot spot for anglers across Alabama. It often hosts team-style tournaments for bass fishing too. You’ll find plenty of varying bass species, from Spotted to Guadalupe bass.

Lake Weiss

best lakes near Huntsville Lake Weiss
Image Credit: Alabama Power

Distance from Huntsville: 83 miles

Huntsville has many fantastic lakes to visit, and Lake Weiss is certainly one of them. It is known as the Crappie Capital among fishermen, but you can also enjoy the water in other ways.

Paddle out on your kayak, take your jetski for a spin, or simply take a refreshing swim at one of the best lakes near Huntsville.

If you’d like to explore nature, this spot has ample wild wonders, including the nearby Little River Canyon. Here, you can enjoy gorgeous trails of waterfalls, pools, boulders, and sandstone cliffs.