Real Estate

Oregon’s 10 Best Lakes to Live in 2024

Oregon, the gem of the Pacific Northwest, is home to famous natural landmarks such as Mount Hood, Three Sisters, Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Haystack Rock, and Deschutes National Forest. With Oregon’s many natural wonders, it’s no surprise that it has some amazing lake towns to call home.

At Redfin, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best lakes in Oregon to live in this year. From stunning Crater Lake to the peaceful shores of Trillium Lake, Oregon has a charming lake town that’s right for you.

1. Crater Lake and Upper Klamath Lake (Klamath Falls)

Closest city: Klamath Falls, OR
Median Home Sales Price: $273,000
Population: 21,000
Homes for Sale in Klamath Falls
Apartments for rent in Klamath Falls

Crater Lake and Upper Klamath Lake top our list of lakes to stay in Oregon. Crater Lake is a famous volcanic crater lake, with deep blue waters. Although there are no homes around this lake, you can find plenty in the nearby town of Klamath Falls. At Klamath Falls, you’ll find another lake, Upper Klamath Lake. The lake offers plenty of opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and bird watching, especially on the nearby Klamath Basin Birding Trail. Klamath Falls has about 21,000 residents and is a gateway to outdoor adventures, such as Moore Park, Hogback Mountain, and the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

2. Detroit Lake (Detroit)

Closest city: Detroit, OR
Median Home Sales Price: $400,000
Population: 220
Homes for sale in Detroit
Apartments for rent in Detroit

Detroit Lake, located near the quaint city of Detroit, is a gem for those seeking a peaceful lakeside lifestyle. The reservoir is a popular spot for boating, fishing and camping, offering a plethora of outdoor activities for all ages. The surrounding area is full of cozy cabins and waterfront properties, making it an ideal place for a vacation home or permanent residence. Despite its small population, Detroit has a welcoming feel. The lake’s proximity to the Willamette National Forest also offers endless outdoor opportunities, from hiking trails to scenic views.

3. Diamond Lake (Diamond Lake)

Closest city: Diamond Lake, OR
Population: 300
Apartments for rent in Diamond Lake

Diamond Lake is a hidden treasure located in the heart of Oregon, offering pristine waters and a lush environment. The area is a paradise for anglers and hikers, as the lake is surrounded by miles of trails. Be sure to hike the scenic trails at Mount Bailey and Mount Thelsen. The community of Diamond Lake is small but vibrant, with local dining options and accommodations that cater to outdoor enthusiasts. Its remote location makes it the perfect getaway for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse themselves in the lakeside lifestyle.

Fern Ridge Lake in Oregon with sailboats

4. Fern Ridge Lake (Elmira)

Closest city: Elmira, OR
Median Home Sales Price: $375,000
Population: 27,000
Homes for sale in Elmira
Apartments for rent in Elmira

Fern Ridge Lake, with its expansive waters and lush surroundings, is perfect for boating, kayaking and wildlife watching. Located near Elmira, a city known for its welcoming community and natural beauty, the lake offers the perfect combination of recreational activities and tranquil scenery. The nearby Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is a must-visit for bird enthusiasts, providing habitat for a variety of bird species. Elmira’s proximity to the lake allows residents and visitors to enjoy both worlds – peaceful lakefront living and convenient city amenities. Whether you want to engage in water sports or just relax by the water, Fern Ridge Lake offers a beautiful setting.

5. Foster Lake (Sweet Home)

Closest city: Sweet Home, Or
Median Home Sales Price: $371,500
Average rent for 1 bedroom: $1,195
Population: 9,000
House for sale in Sweet Home
Apartment for rent in Sweet Home

Foster Lake, located near the charming town of Sweet Home, is a charming destination known for its clear waters and recreational opportunities. The lake is a hot spot for boating, fishing and swimming, making it a popular choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts. The surrounding area is rich in natural beauty, with the South Santiam River and Cascadia State Park nearby, offering additional options for hiking and exploring. The Sweet Home has a small-town charm and friendly community. The city’s annual events, such as the Oregon Jamboree Music Festival, add to the appeal of living in this vibrant area.

6. Paulina Lake (La Pine)

Closest city: La Pine, Or
Median Home Sales Price: $349,900
Population: 1,900
Homes for sale in La Pine
Apartments for rent in La Pine

Paulina Lake, located within the Newberry Volcanic Monument, offers a unique view of crystal clear water surrounded by volcanic rock and lush forests. This secluded lake is ideal for fishing, kayaking and hiking, with trails that lead past ancient lava flows and spectacular geological formations. La Pine, a small community, is just a short drive away, providing easy access to lake activities while maintaining the peace and quiet of rural life. The area’s natural hot springs and winter sports opportunities make it a year-round destination for adventure seekers. La Pine’s commitment to maintaining its natural beauty while welcoming new residents makes it a great option for those looking for some of Oregon’s best lakes.

Wallowa Lake in Joseph, Oregon

7. North Tanmill Lake (Lakeside)

Closest city: By the lake, or
Median Home Sales Price: $280,000
Population: 1,700
Homes for sale in Lakeside
Apartments for rent in Lakeside

North Tenmill Lake is part of a chain of lakes that includes Eel Lake and Clear Lake. It is located in the cozy town of Lakeside. Known for its calm waters and abundant fish, North Tenmile Lake is a favorite among anglers and boaters alike. The surrounding area is full of hiking trails and picnic spots. The nearest town, Lakeside, has a close-knit community and scenic views. The city’s proximity to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offers plenty of opportunities to explore the landscape for both off-roaders and nature lovers.

8. Odell Lake (Crescent)

Closest city: Crescent
Median Home Sales Price: $298,000
Population: 370
Homes for sale in Crescent
Apartments for rent in Crescent

Odell Lake, set against the backdrop of the majestic Cascade Mountains, is a haven for trout fishing and boating. The lake’s crystal clear waters and surrounding old-growth forests offer a tranquil setting for outdoor activities and relaxation. The nearest town of Crescent has about 370 residents and is a gateway to outdoor adventures, with nearby attractions such as Deschutes National Forest and La Pine State Park.

9. Wallawa Lake (Joseph)

Closest city: Joseph, or
Median Home Sales Price: $418,000
Population: 1,100
Homes for Sale in Joseph
Apartments for rent in Joseph

Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Wallowa Mountains, Wallowa Lake is a stunning natural wonder that attracts visitors from all over. The lake is famous for its icy waters and is a popular spot for fishing, boating and swimming. The nearest town is Joseph, which has an excellent arts scene and is home to the Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site. The downtown area, with its bronze foundries, art galleries, and boutiques, offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration. The annual Chief Joseph Days Rodeo is a highlight, drawing crowds with a celebration of rodeo culture and history.

10. Trillium Lake (Official Camp)

Closest city: Official camp, or
Median Home Sales Price: $945,000
Population: 200
House for sale in government camp
Apartment on rent in government camp

Last on our list of lakes to stay in Oregon is Trillium Lake. Located near the quaint mountain village of Government Camp, Trillium Lake offers postcard-perfect views of Mount Hood. This picturesque lake is a favorite among photographers, tourists and locals alike, providing a peaceful setting for picnicking, fishing and canoeing. Government Camp, with its alpine charm and small population, serves as a base for year-round mountain activities, including skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and mountain biking in the summer. The community’s proximity to the lake and mountains make it an ideal location for those looking to live amidst Oregon’s magnificent natural scenery.

Note, this list is not comprehensive of all Oregon lakes. Median home sales price data from Redfin Data Center During April 2024. From average rental data Population data obtained from April 2024 United States Census Bureau.

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