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The 10 Best US Lakes for a Family Vacation

posted in: North America  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on September 26, 2008  |  7 Comments

A trip to the beach doesn’t necessarily have to translate into a trip to the ocean. For some, especially those in the middle of the country, a trip to the ocean means a rather long car or plane ride that simply isn’t feasible for a family vacation. Fortunately, there are hundreds of lakes in states across the country. Whether you wish to stay close to home or travel a little further out, you’re bound to find an amazing lake for your next family vacation.

10. Shahola Lake, Pennsylvania

Shahola Lake

Beat the worst of the summer heat with a trip Shahola Lake in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. When you’re not at the lake, you’ll enjoy dozens of trails designed for hikers of all levels of experience. A few of the trails throughout the Pocono Mountains allow horseback riding as well. Keep your eyes peeled for bear, deer, rabbits, and even turkeys. In the wintertime, there are plenty of ski resorts with activities for the entire family.

9. Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California

Lake Tahoe

Right along the border, where California and Nevada come together, you’ll find beautiful Lake Tahoe. The residents in the area thrive on tourism, but the area is laid back and friendly. There’s always something to do for entertainment. Rent a boat, relax along the shores with your fishing pole, or cruise the lake. There are dozens of swimming beaches, bike rental outfits, and hiking trails to keep you occupied as well!

8. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks

Deep in the heart of Missouri you’ll be pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the Lake of the Ozarks. This lake is considered bustling resort destination, complete with access to the surrounding state parks, golfing, boating, fishing, and more. You’ll also be within visiting distance to a number of attractions, including the swinging bridges at Auglaize Creek or the Tunnel Dam.

7. Wallowa Lake, Oregon

Wallowa Lake

In Joseph, Oregon lies the quiet resort town at Wallowa Lake. Here you’ll rent a private home, complete with all of the amenities, including your furniture, cable, barbeques, and even lawn furniture. You can spend at your house on the lake and lounge on the private boat dock, visit one of the surrounding towns for a day at the spa, or you can take a hike through Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, exploring everything between Hell’s Canyon and Eagle Cap Wilderness.

6. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

Lake Cumberland Kentucky

In Russell County, Kentucky, sits one of the largest man-made bodies of water in the country. There’s no shortage of things to do in Lake Cumberland State Resort Park. You can camp, stay in a cabin, or visit a motel. Spend your day fishing, shopping, or even on a jet ski. Not far from the park is the Kentucky Off-Track, where you can watch one of over fifty daily horse races.

5. Clear Lake, California

Clear Lake

In Lake County, California you’ll have a number of incredible Clear Lake vacation rentals to choose from. On the lake you’ll enjoy water skiing, boating, cruising, and fishing. On the shores you’ll be entertained by a number of incredible concerts, delectable restaurants, and the tours and tasting events held at local wineries.

4. Lake Chelan, Washington

Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan is considered one of the best vacation lakes in all of Washington. Families or couples are destined to find the perfect rental home, condo, or hotel on the banks of the lake, leaving you with the perfect mix of privacy and activity. Visitors to Lake Chelan enjoy swimming, golfing, or exploring the nearby state parks and mountain trails.

3. Lake Norman, North Carolina

Lake Norman

Mooresville, North Carolina is the home of the beautiful Lake Norman. The man-made lake was one of seven that were originally created to help produce energy. Now it’s a prime vacation destination for those wishing to relax and play. A number of the properties on Lake Normal are privately owned and rented, giving you the flexibility to find something that will suit the needs of your entire family. You’ll enjoy swimming, fishing, and hiking during the summer months during your week-long rental. Winter rentals are also available, when you’ll be able to ski as well.

2. Lake George, New York

Lake George

You’ll be truly astounded at how much there is to do at the southern end of Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Swimming, boating, biking, and hiking are the norm, but there’s tons more. You’ll also enjoy visiting the Fort Wm. Henry Historic Museum or one of the many wax museums. There are dozens of lodging options to choose from, too, including cottages, cabins, motels, resorts, and simple bed and breakfast inns. Relax and enjoy!

1. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan

Any of the Great Lakes would make an excellent vacation destination, but Lake Michigan tops our list of favorites. The lake is surrounded by resorts, campgrounds, and accommodations suitable for families of all sizes. You’ll enjoy hiking on any one of the mountain trails, bird watching, participating in water sports, or simply relaxing on the waters of the lake.

No matter where you choose to go, you’ll find that a vacation on the lake is often more relaxing than anywhere else. Grab a cup of coffee, your favorite sweatshirt, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the sunrise!

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


Responses to this Article


7 Responses to “The 10 Best US Lakes for a Family Vacation”

  1. Jet Ski Rentals says on

    A lot of these lakes are a great place to jet ski! If you don’t own one, rent one :)

  2. morison dony says on

    I book marked the site i never seen so many good resources in one place and free.

  3. Lake Tahoe Vacation Rentals says on

    Lake Tahoe… The four seasons.
    Lake Tahoe is blessed with agreeable weather as a result of which it has now become an immensely popular year round destination for Americans. The Lake on an average enjoys 250 to 300 days of sunny weather during the year. During the winter months it tends to receive nearly 300-500 inches of snow fall and this has enabled Lake Tahoe to become one of the nation’s premier ski destinations. The Lake Tahoe area has a multitude of ski resorts that offer a vast number of activities like snowboarding, ice –skating, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh riding in addition to skiing and cross country skiing. During the warmer months, people flock to Lake Tahoe to indulge in various recreational activities like boating and water sports, hiking, tennis, camping, ballooning, golf, horseback riding, parasailing, bungee jumping and much more.

  4. Mike says on

    I live near Lake George and all I can say is that it is truly the most beautiful lake in the country, if not the world. A ride on the minnie-ha-ha ferry is a must.

  5. Hotel Santa Barbara says on

    The lake in Washington is by far the most scenic, but I can speak to Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Tahoe, and Lake Michigan from experience. All very nice, distinct vacation spots!

  6. S Hicks says on

    THE best lake in the country to plan a family vacation is Pickwick Lake! It touches Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi with clear, still water and beautiful bluffs and lots of undeveloped land. Three+ marinas, two State Parks and 40,000 acres of water. The Lake is actually part of the TN River and was created in the 1940′s by the TVA. Inexpensive family fun!



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