Lakes in Florida, such as the Harris Chain of Lakes, Lake Okeechobee and Lake George, are regulated by state water authorities and generally open to the public. An exception occurs if all of the surrounding land is privately owned, and no public inlet exists.
Lake Okeechobee, the largest freshwater lake in the southeastern United States, has a surface area of 730 square miles. It remains surprisingly shallow, however, with an average depth of 9 feet. It attracts recreational boaters and commercial fisheries and provides a natural habitat for local wildlife, such as fish and wading birds.
Lake George is the second largest Florida lake, located on the St. Johns River with the Ocala National Forest to the west of it. The lake draws enough salt water to provide a suitable environment for a variety of marine animals, including stingrays, mullets, blue crabs and striped bass, as well as alligators and migratory water birds. The Harris Chain of Lakes includes some of the largest lakes in the state of Florida, most commonly known for bass fishing.
The Department of Environmental Protection regulates and protects the lakes of Florida, as well as its rivers, streams and wetlands. Water skiing, boating, fishing and swimming are common water sports in the lakes of Florida, and those planning to partake should have an understanding of motor boat, safety and environmental regulations.