A Water Wonderland

Lakes | Kayaking & Rafting |

Lakes and Beaches

With over 90 inland lakes, Otsego County is truly a water wonderland.  Our lakes range from clear water with sandy, white beaches perfect for relaxing in the sun to glistening gems hidden deep in the forest, lined with trees. 

Whether you’re looking to relax in a beach chair at the Otsego Lake State Park, play a game of volleyball at the Otsego Lake County Park or kayak along still waters that feel away from it all, we have the perfect place for you to get your feet wet.  

Many area lakes offer perfect areas for swimming, with shallow waters and gentle waves.  Lay back and relax on a tube or just enjoy the beach with a good book.  All you need to bring is sunscreen and your towel! 

 

 

Canoeing, Kayaking & Rafting

Our geographically-gifted position right in the center of Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula offers the state’s best base camp for any outdoor pursuit. With easy access to trail networks, river systems, inland lakes, parks, ski resorts, and big wilderness spaces, Gaylord is alive with adventure!

Otsego County is the headwaters to five favorite rivers: Black River, Pigeon River, AuSable River, Manistee River & Sturgeon River.

The Sturgeon River is the fastest river in Michigan’s lower peninsula! Not whitewater, but exciting and challenging with its quick and often tricky current, along with leaning trees, stumps, and logs (especially when navigating through numerous narrow passages and sharp turns!). The current does most of the work, but it’s up to you and/or your partner(s) to maneuver your watercraft down the crystal-clear, spring-fed stream, as it winds its way through beautiful state forest.

Take a short drive north and check out Sturgeon River Paddlesports in Wolverine or Big Bear Adventures in Indian River to experience all the Sturgeon River has to offer!  Get ready for four-seasons of fun and check out guided winter rafting, offered at both locations.  

The Pigeon River runs through the north-central part of the southern peninsula of Michigan. Its headwaters are located a few miles northeast of Gaylord. The river then flows in a northernly direction to its mouth at Mullet Lake, a distance of 42 miles.

While on the  Au Sable River, you stand a good chance of seeing bald eagles along the river during any season. The Au Sable guarantees a leisurely, beautiful float, and there are plenty of canoe liveries available in the area if you do not have your own boat.

If lake kayaking or canoeing is more your speed, check out our recommendations for Where to Drop a Kayak in the Gaylord area.  

 

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Old 27 South
Gaylord, MI 49735

The largest lake in the Gaylord area, Otsego Lake runs along Old 27 South for approximately 5 miles
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Chub Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI 49735

This gorgeous and quiet spring fed lake feeds the mighty AuSable River
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East Opal Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI 49735

Opal Lake is known as one of the clearest, most stunning lakes in Otsego County
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East Heart Lake Dr.
Waters, MI

Although smaller in size, Heart Lake reaches a depth of 117 feet straight out from the public access site.
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Manuka Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI

Shallow waters and a unique layout make Lake Manuka excellent for fishing and paddling.
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Big Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI 49735

A little closer to downtown Gaylord you will find Big Lake
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West Dixon Lake Dr.
Gaylord, MI 49735

Dixon Lake is a true gem and a favorite among locals
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Bear Lake Rd.
Johannesburg, MI

Big Bear Lake State Forest Campgroupnd offers access to this peaceful, sandy-bottomed lake.
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Pickerel Lake Rd.
Vanderbilt, MI 49797

Camping, swimming and fishing are excellent ways to spend time at this Pigeon River Country lake.
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Thumb Lake Rd.
Vanderbilt, MI 49795

Sometimes called Lake Louise, this picturesque lake is located just northwest of Otsego County
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Bradford Lake Dr.
Waters, MI

Located in Waters, Big Bradford Lake is one of the deepest lakes in our area.
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List of Businesses

Businesses found: 11

showing 1 through 11 of 11

Big Bear Lake

Bear Lake Rd.
Johannesburg, MI
Big Bear Lake State Forest Campgroupnd offers access to this peaceful, sandy-bottomed lake. More

Big Bradford Lake

Bradford Lake Dr.
Waters, MI
Located in Waters, Big Bradford Lake is one of the deepest lakes in our area. More

Big Chub Lake

Chub Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
This gorgeous and quiet spring fed lake feeds the mighty AuSable River More

Big Lake

Big Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
A little closer to downtown Gaylord you will find Big Lake More

Dixon Lake

West Dixon Lake Dr.
Gaylord, MI 49735
Dixon Lake is a true gem and a favorite among locals More

Heart Lake

East Heart Lake Dr.
Waters, MI
Although smaller in size, Heart Lake reaches a depth of 117 feet straight out from the public access site. More

Lake Manuka

Manuka Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI
Shallow waters and a unique layout make Lake Manuka excellent for fishing and paddling. More

Opal Lake

East Opal Lake Rd.
Gaylord, MI 49735
Opal Lake is known as one of the clearest, most stunning lakes in Otsego County More

Otsego Lake

Old 27 South
Gaylord, MI 49735
The largest lake in the Gaylord area, Otsego Lake runs along Old 27 South for approximately 5 miles More

Pickerel Lake

Pickerel Lake Rd.
Vanderbilt, MI 49797
Camping, swimming and fishing are excellent ways to spend time at this Pigeon River Country lake. More

Thumb Lake (Lake Louise)

Thumb Lake Rd.
Vanderbilt, MI 49795
Sometimes called Lake Louise, this picturesque lake is located just northwest of Otsego County More

showing 1 through 11 of 11