Lake Eustis, Florida, USA

Also known as:  Harris Chain of Lakes

One of the unsung gems of Central Florida’s Lake County is Lake Eustis. Nearly 8,000 acres, Lake Eustis is a central link in the Harris Chain of Lakes, a key waterbody in the Ocklawaha River watershed and home to about 50,000 area residents. In an area dotted with lakes small and large, and hosting several major Florida rivers, Lake Eustis is quite heavily developed with both year-round and seasonal homes. – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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

Looking for Lake Eustis 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 Lake Eustis! Article topics include:

Looking for Lake Eustis 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 Lake Eustis

Lake Locations: USA - South - Florida - East Central -

One of the unsung gems of Central Florida’s Lake County is Lake Eustis. Nearly 8,000 acres, Lake Eustis is a central link in the Harris Chain of Lakes, a key waterbody in the Ocklawaha River watershed and home to about 50,000 area residents. In an area dotted with lakes small and large, and hosting several major Florida rivers, Lake Eustis is quite heavily developed with both year-round and seasonal homes. ‘Snowbirds’ with RVs regularly spend the cold northern winter cozily ensconced in sunny Florida at area RV parks. Yet, the atmosphere in Eustis and Tavares, the two major towns along the shoreline, is anything but staid and insignificant. A great many artists and retired professionals have joined the considerable younger population to keep Lake Eustis inviting, exciting and interesting.

Contrary to popular belief, Lake Eustis isn’t just for seniors; they make up only about a quarter of the residents of the City of Eustis. Many young families have found the beautiful lake a perfect place to raise families and put down roots. Part of what is called the Golden Triangle, the cities of Eustis, Tavares and Mt. Dora are home to a population of sportsmen and nature lovers who would just as soon spend their time outdoors enjoying all this area has to offer. Lake Eustis is known as a power-boating, jet skiing, water skiing and sailing community which finds plenty of water-based fun waiting just outside their doors. Two marinas and two public boat launch sites on the lake assure everyone’s access to the water. A sailing club holds regular racing events for its members, sponsors regattas, and teaches sailing to both children and adults using certified instructors.

Three canals, which are deepened channels of former creeks, connect Lake Eustis directly to three other lakes, giving access to the entire Harris Chain of Lakes. The Burrell Lock and Dam near Lisbon on Haines Creek keeps water levels relatively stabile and the channels navigable for small boats. The channels and wetland areas around the lake support large numbers of birds and wildlife, including the occasional alligator. The Dora Channel in particular is one of Florida’s most scenic short rivers; only a mile long, the channel meanders through ancient cypress trees draped in Spanish moss. Egrets, ospreys and herons nest along the quiet canal. So wild and remote-appearing is the canal that the Bogart movie classic “African Queen” was partially filmed here. The Dead River Canal leads to nearby Lake Harris.

Lake Eustis is known for world-class bass fishing. The largemouth bass here are legendary, as are the Sunday Palm Gardens Tournaments, an ongoing traditional bass fishing tournament that has occurred for about 15 years on Lake Eustis. Mostly attended by locals, the Tournament is open to all comers who will be hard-pressed to out-fish the local anglers who know the big shallow lake well. With an average depth of only 10 feet, Lake Eustis has a few deeper holes which often contain better underwater structure that attract the real lunkers. Other tournaments are also held here, although not as many as in the past. In the early 90s, the bass fishery was reputed to have ‘collapsed’ due to over-aggressive chemical treatment to rid the lakes of invasive hydrilla. The resulting overkill destroyed the food chain and breeding areas for a time, although some bass were still caught in the channels leading to the lake. Careful management has returned the fishery to near-optimal once again, but some bass anglers haven’t yet gotten the word. Lake Eustis also holds catfish, bluegill, crappie and sunfish. Both the City of Eustis and Tavares have public fishing piers that see plenty of action for crappies and sunfish. A recent experiment in placing gravel attractors for sunfish proved successful at the dock on Eustis Lake Walk. Increased catches have convinced local authorities to plan to place more of them in the near future.

Increasingly, visitors come to the Lake Eustis area to enjoy the many opportunities to observe wildlife and marvel at the unique ecology of the area. Canoes and kayaks can be rented locally to facilitate viewing the cypress swamps and narrow channels. Commercial eco-cruises on all three of the canals are gaining in popularity. A seaplane base at Tavares has a local flying business that offers seaplane tours of the area. On the outskirts of Eustis, the Trout Lake Nature Center offers over 35 acres of ideal bird-watching habitat. The center was founded in 1988 by the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society. Set within a 230-acre wildlife preserve, the Center holds several interpretive trails, a swinging bridge, 1000-foot boardwalk into Trout Lake, and a picnic pavilion on the lake. Trout Lake accepts the treated water from the local treatment plant, and the water eventually filters into Lake Eustis. Serious efforts to improve water quality on the Harris Chain of Lakes have been a rousing success. Lake Eustis is now considered one of the cleanest lakes in the system.

Only an hour northwest of the Orlando metropolitan area, Eustis is a full-service city in its own right, including historical features, arts, live entertainment and plenty of shopping. The area wasn’t originally intended as a tourism attraction. Early settlers came here to settle federal homestead land immediately after the Civil War. Within a few years, the area became one of the leading citrus farming areas in Florida. Fortunes were made shipping the precious fruit north to a sunshine-starved nation. Two major freeze events in the 1890s devastated many of the orchards but by that time, tourism had taken hold. Sun-seekers came by steamship to resort hotels along the lakes in the area, and the canals were improved to facilitate transport. The railways eventually took over transportation, cutting off the more remote resort locations in the process. The remains of the small ghost towns along the shorelines are still a popular paddling destination.

Early developers who made their fortune from the land and the orchards left behind examples of the lifestyle of the well-to-do in the form of homes in the Eustis Historic District. Several have been preserved and can be visited. One is now the home of the Eustis Historical Museum. The Lake Eustis Museum of Art showcases the works of several local artists and offers classes in the arts. Live stage shows can be enjoyed at the Historic State Theater staged by the Bay Street Players. Just one of the community events sponsored by the City of Eustis is the GeorgeFest. This celebration of the birthday of the country’s first president has been happening annually for over 100 years. It is the second-oldest such celebration in the nation; only Laredo, Texas has had such a celebration for more years.

In keeping with its reputation as a vacation destination, Lake Eustis is well-supplied with long and short-term lodgings, from hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to numerous private home rentals by the week or longer. Many are lakefront or have nearby lake access and lovely water views. Real estate is available on the lake also, with many existing homes appearing on the market in all price ranges. There are even some lots available for private home development. The canals shouldn’t be overlooked when searching for real estate, as they are often lower priced and still give access to the entire Harris Chain of Lakes.

Things to Do at Lake Eustis

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish Species Found at Lake Eustis

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

All About Lake Eustis

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Eustis

The Lake Eustis 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 Lake Eustis 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 Lake Eustis 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 Lake Eustis 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 Lake Eustis Vacation

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

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: St. Johns River Water Management District

Surface Area: 7,833 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 63 feet

Average Depth: 10 feet

Maximum Depth: 28 feet

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 Lake Eustis news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Lake Eustis forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Lake Eustis photos coming soon!
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  • Share this Lake Eustis article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Lake Eustis? 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.

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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.

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

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

New Lake Eustis photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

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

Explore local Lake Eustis 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.

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New Lake Eustis photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi