American Lake, Washington, USA

Less than three miles inland from Puget Sound, American Lake is one of the lesser known vacation destinations in Washington’s Seattle-King County Region. Lovely American Lake is often bypassed for the grandeur of Puget Sound. Little do visitors know what they’re missing at American Lake. Part of the lake is within the City of Lakewood, a suburb southwest of Tacoma. American Lake therefore has become a popular day use destination – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to American Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for American Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to American Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for American Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About American Lake

Lake Locations: USA - West - Washington - Seattle & Puget Sound -

Less than three miles inland from Puget Sound, American Lake is one of the lesser known vacation destinations in Washington’s Seattle-King County Region. Lovely American Lake is often bypassed for the grandeur of Puget Sound. Little do visitors know what they’re missing at American Lake. Part of the lake is within the City of Lakewood, a suburb southwest of Tacoma. American Lake therefore has become a popular day use destination boating, picnicking and fishing . From the water, American Lake appears more as a scenic wilderness lake with majestic Mount Rainier as a backdrop to the southeast. Much of the shoreline is owned by the United States military, allowing it to keep its tree-lined, undeveloped perimeter. Camp Murray is home to the Washington National Guard while Fort Lewis, across the lake, is an Army installation. Fort McCord Air Force Base, near Fort Lewis, completes the trio. All three have waterfront access and facilities for current and past military members, but most of their shoreline properties remain undeveloped.

The presence of the military at American Lake goes back to before the United States boundary with Canada was fully determined. Originally the Steilacoom and Nisqually tribes of Native Americans camped, hunted and fished the lands surrounding the lake. Located midway between the Columbia River and the city of Vancouver, BC, the area was chosen by the British in 1833 as the site of Fort Nisqually, one of the fur trading post operated by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The boundary was finally set at the 49th parallel in 1846 and in 1869, Fort Nisqually was finally closed and the property sold to the United States. The United States Army formally commissioned Camp Murray in 1889 but the camp has been in use since 1866 during the Indian Wars. The camp became National Guard headquarters in 1922 – 15 years earlier than Fort Lewis. As for the name? Some believe its because American settlers claimed the lake even though it technically belonged to the British and the name stuck.

Two public parks – Harry Todd Park and American Lake North Park & Marina – give the public access to the water. Both have lakeside beaches ideal for picnicking, swimming and fishing. The marina features a boat launching area; Harry Todd Park has tennis courts. Many of the regular visitors to the parks come from Tacoma and Seattle to enjoy a day of power boating, water skiing, tubing, sailing, jet skiing, swimming and fishing. Both sailing and rowing clubs utilize the lake on a regular basis and often have events scheduled that visitors can take part in. City-owned American Lake Seaplane Base is located on the northeastern shore and is the largest full-service seaplane facility in the western part of the United States. Located very near Interstate 5, the lake is easy to get to and a welcome recreational oasis near Tacoma, Kent, Seattle and other cities along the I-5 corridor.

Fishing is always attractive at American Lake, with largemouth bass, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, sockeye salmon (kokanee) and perch The Sockeye salmo and perch are the most sought-after game fish. The Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife monitors the state of the fishery, stocking favored species regularly to guarantee good fishing. There are several spots where visitors can try their luck from the shore but boat rentals are available. The wooded shoreline lends itself perfectly to kayaking and canoeing. Silcox Island holds several summer cottages and year-round homes while most of the smaller islands are uninhabited. The hardy lakelubbers of Silcox Island can be reached only by boat or seaplane and finally were serviced with electricity in 1968. One enterprising islander owned an amphibious vehicle at one time for trips to the store!

Both Camp Murray and Fort Lewis maintain military museums on their properties that are open to the public. Military history buffs can easily get their fill of the views of tanks, planes and armaments used over the past century. Hours vary so its wise to call ahead for tour information.

The aspiring visitor to American Lake will find that vacation rentals of all types can be had in the immediate vicinity. Some are located on the waterfront; others have lake views. Bed-and breakfast locations can be found nearby and one resort exists in the form of a restored, former manor house from the turn of the century. Lodgings are plentiful in Lakewood and Tacoma for those who wish to be closer to the shopping, nightlife and cultural activities of the bigger city. Also in Lakewood is Lakewold Gardens, complete with restored formal gardens, rare plants and carefully-designed garden vistas to delight the eye. Tacoma is the cultural center of South Puget Sound, with five carefully preserved historical districts, many art galleries and many public art works.

Just to the west of American Lake,the old town of Steilacoom sports a public beach on the Sound, a walking tour of some of the oldest homes in Washington state and variety of seasonal activities to delight visitor and resident alike. Here, one can take a ferry across the Sound, explore trails along the shore or enjoy the Farmers Market in season.

East of American Lake, one can explore the area around Mount Rainier and the Cascade Range, with many hiking trails to access several scenic waterfalls and Mount Rainier National Park. Primitive camping is available in much of the park, with developed campgrounds located between Mount Rainier and American Lake. Here, too, vacation rentals can be found. Real estate is often available near American Lake and the entire Cascade area is a popular place for scenic home sites. Visitors to American Lake quickly realize that the view of the mountains above the water is what they want to wake up to each morning and start looking for the perfect property to call their own. Give American Lake a try – you’ll wonder what took you so long!

Things to Do at American Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish Species Found at American Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

All About American Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at American Lake

The American Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a American Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a American Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a American Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a American Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite American Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

[get-post-images]

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 1,100 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 235 feet

Average Depth: 53 feet

Maximum Depth: 90 feet

Water Volume: 60,000 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 25 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More American Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The American Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New American Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this American Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at American Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

divider

Looking for the American Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your American Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former American Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New American Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our American Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local American Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old American Lake forum group? Click Here

New American Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam consequat a neque id hendrerit. Mauris ut commodo erat. Praesent at fermentum sem. Vivamus dui turpis, posuere sed auctor a, luctus semper nibh. Etiam quis neque vehicula, finibus sem sit amet, condimentum turpis….

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi