The Ten Best US Lakes for a Family Vacation

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.

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