Hidden Gem Lake Areas to Explore in 2021

If you’re actively looking to buy a lake home, you’ve likely come across all the big-name lakes in your searches. If you’re in the southeast, you’ve probably heard of Lake Martin. Or, if you’re a northerner, Lake Michigan tends to stand out.

Regardless of your region, refining your search to exclusively large or most popular lakes is a misstep. In doing so, you’re likely missing out on several hidden gem lakes across the country. Check out these five lake areas that are less known but deserve a big spotlight. 

Lake Wedowee, AL

Photo courtesy of Lake Homes Wedowee.

Officially known as the Harris Reservoir, this hidden gem lake in East Alabama is affordable, secluded, and an easy driving distance from major cities like Birmingham and Atlanta.

Because this lake doesn’t incorporate any urban areas, it has retained a pristine quality.
Lake Wedowee is ranked as one of the cleanest lakes in the region by the State and Federal Conservation Services. According to Lake Homes Realty’s Lake Real Estate Market Report, Lake Wedowee is number four in Alabama’s Largest Markets category.  


If you’re an angler, you’ll love the bass fishing opportunities along Lake Wedowee’s 270 miles of shoreline. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the Talladega National Forest and discovering Mount Cheaha, Alabama’s highest point — 2,407 feet above sea level. And for everyone, the small-town charm of Wedowee is lively and close-knit. Concerts at the Marina and hunting with the Tallapoosa River Hunting Club are just a few of the activity options. 

Lake Hickory, NC

Photo courtesy of HickoryNC.gov.

When it comes to lakes in North Carolina, Lake Norman sometimes eclipses the others because of its size. However, nearby Lake Hickory has attractive qualities. First off, it’s fully recreational, meaning that fishing, boating, water skiing, and other fun lake activities are all on the table. At Sandbar Cove, you can often find boats tied together for conversation or water sports. For anglers, the prospects of bass, channel catfish, and crappie are exciting.

Besides the highly active lifestyle, Lake Hickory is a serene environment with plenty of wildlife and mountain views in every direction. Once you’re here, you can enjoy the peaceful scene from a Lake Hickory Adventures Dinner Cruise — or from your boat dock. If you are looking to build on Lake Hickory, you are in luck! Lake Hickory is ranked number three in North Carolina for having the most land available, as stated in the Lake Real Estate Market Report.

Lake Eufaula, OK

Photo courtesy of wildlifedepartment.com.

Surprisingly, few people know of Lake Eufaula, but it is Oklahoma’s largest lake. Along its 800 miles of shoreline, there are 100 million dollars in available properties, but it’s still a very affordable lake. According to Lake Home Realty’s Lake Real Estate Market Report, Lake Eufaula has the most listings and land available of all the lakes in Oklahoma. With over 600 listings and a variety of properties and price points, you’re sure to find your dream home here. 


Once you’ve arrived, there’s no shortage of activities at this hidden gem lake. For starters, Lake Eufaula was dubbed the “bass fishing capital of the world” in 1962, and this reputation still holds firm. This lake is a fishing paradise for those looking to catch largemouth bass, Kentucky bass, sand bass, and crappie. Angling is a year-long sport here, with multiple annual tournaments. For other outdoor recreation, check out Lake Eufaula State Park nearby. 

Chain O’Lakes, IL

Photo courtesy of onlyinyourstate.com.

Because Chain O’Lakes is close to the Chicago market, Midwesterners often overlook it. However, these beautiful, surprisingly affordable lakes deserve a pin on the map. Chain O’Lakes is a 7,000-acre waterway system that encompasses fifteen different lakes, including Pistakee LakeFox Lake, and Lake Marie.

Pistakee Lake is ranked number three on the Lake Real Estate Market Report for having the most listings in Illinois. This chain was formed when the Wisconsin glacier melted, creating multiple lakes tied together.

Several of the lakes are interconnected, making this region a boater’s dream. Its proximity to
Chain O’Lakes State Park, boasting 23 miles of forested trails, makes it a hiker’s paradise. Each of the lakes has a different feel, so visit our Illinois listings for a full description of each lake in the Chain O’Lakes region.

Paw Paw Lake, MI

Photo courtesy of Paw Paw Chamber of Commerce.

Paw Paw Lake has been a popular resort town since the 1890s. Part of the lake’s appeal is its concealed location in the countryside of Northern Michigan, actually making it a hidden gem lake. Located just outside the farming village of Kalamazoo, Paw Paw Lake has a population of only 3,534. This remarkable lake is surrounded by nature.

Besides the calming landscape, Paw Paw Lake is known for its nearby wineries such as
St. Julian and Lawton Ridge. The wineries host an annual wine and harvest festival to celebrate their varietals. If your ideal lake experience is drinking a glass of wine while surrounded by nature, Paw Paw Lake is for you. 


Which hidden gem lake do you want to explore first? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *