Are you looking forward to a nice vacation and considering going to a lake? A relaxing lake vacation is always an excellent getaway.

The United States has many stunning outdoor locations to visit, including some great lake locales. All of these have great views, and lots to do around these lakes. You will be sure to enjoy your vacation in one of these warm destination spots.

There are so many lake locations to consider, but here are some of the best lake options in the United States.

Best Lake Vacations in the United States


Lake Havasu

Known as a spring break destination, Lake Havasu is so much more. Whether you love the water or the desert, you can have it all in Lake Havasu.

The sun is always shining and there are over 400 miles of shoreline along the lake. There are hotels, resorts, campgrounds, and general campsites right on the lakeshore. You can also rent a houseboat.

Lake Havasu is known for its water sports. You can water ski, wakeboard, swim or go Jet Skiing. Rent a boat or bring your own to enjoy the lake. 

If you want a unique view, try a hot air balloon ride. If you prefer to stay on the ground you can join a walking tour or rent a jeep.


Walen Pond

ptwo from Allahabad, India [CC BY 2.0 (]

Walden Pond

Close to Boston, The Walden Pond State Reservation is worth a visit. Technically a pond, you have 400 acres with a small beach, canoeing and swimming, too. Boats are permitted, but no gasoline engines are allowed. 

You can walk the trails around the pond and even go fishing. The area has a lot of wildlife to observe as well. There are picnic areas and canoe rentals, too.

MaineMoosehead Lake in Maine

Moosehead Lake

Moosehead Lake is Maine’s largest lake and is 30 miles long and has almost 300 miles of shoreline. In the past, this area was only known by natives, but it is becoming a great spot for nature lovers to visit.

You can go kayaking, canoeing, and fly fishing at Moosehead Lake. There is white water rafting and you can even cruise the lake on a historic steamship.

The lake is next to the mountains, so hiking trails abound. Other popular activities are mountain biking, bird watching. There are also guided ‘safaris’ to catch a glimpse of moose in the area.

RELATED  10 Best Museums in Brooklyn

The Moosehead Lake area has campgrounds, and in the nearby town of Greenville, there are hotels and cabins. There are also shops and restaurants to visit in the area.


Table Rock Lake

KTrimble at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake is close to the activities in Branson, but far enough away to feel relaxing. With 500 miles of waterfront, you can have lots of fun. There are hotels, lakefront resorts, and campgrounds for lodging choices. You can also rent a houseboat on the lake for a different vacation experience.

You can bring your own watercraft or rent a boat. There are over 20 public boat ramps around the lake. Fun activities on the lake include paddle boarding, kayaking, boating and waterskiing, and fishing, of course! You can swim and even try scuba diving. 

New Mexico

Elephant Butte Lake

When you think of New Mexico you probably don’t think of lakes. Elephant Butte Lake is just north of Truth or Consequences and is the largest body of water in the state. There are great sandy beaches here at the lake, too.

Elephant Butte Lake has fishing, boating, camping, and beautiful scenery. Many types of watercraft are allowed on the lake, including jet skis, kayaks, sailboats and pontoons, houseboats, cruisers, and ski boats. There are 3 marinas at the lake.

Since the lake is part of a State Park, you have access to picnic areas, playgrounds, and restrooms. There are cabins, an RV park, and places for tent camping.

New YorkLake Champlain

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the sixth-largest U.S. ake and can be accessed through both NY and Vermont, so we’ll give you info on both.

The New York side of Lake Champlain has lots to do and it’s historic. The oldest natural tourist attraction in the U.S. is Ausable Chasm, which is a gorge of the Ausable River. A mini Grand Canyon, there are lots of hiking trails in this beautiful area.

If you want to get out on the lake you can rent kayaks, powerboats, and pedal boats. Lake Champlain is considered one of the best bass fishing lakes in the U.S. 

If you like history, there are many museums in the area. You can also plan a visit to Ft. Ticonderoga. There are plenty of places to stay, from hotels to cabins.

Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes

Technically the Finger Lakes is more than one lake each with their own vibe and things to do! The Finger Lakes are gorgeous and worth a visit.


In Ohio, it is all about Lake Erie. Between Cleveland and Toledo, there are 100 miles of shore and nice towns to stay on your vacation.




If you want an amusement park with beaches, try Cedar Point. You can also take a ferry over to Put-In-Bay. Put-In-Bay is quaint, and you won’t see cars. Get around via bike or golf cart. You can even visit a winery here.

RELATED  7 Reasons to Explore Yellowstone National Park

Kelley’s Island is quieter and you can see glacier grooves on the island. There are beautiful Victorian homes to admire or stay at one that is now an Inn. You can play on 20 miles of shorefront and take leisurely bike rides.

Explore Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. You can tour the grounds and museums for free. If you like history see Perry’s Monument.


Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Crater Lake in south-central Oregon is one you don’t want to miss. This is a National Park and Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. There is a lodge and campground in the park. Klamath Falls is not too far away if you wanted to stay in town.

Crater Lake is known for having clear, deep blue water. It is simply stunning to look at. In the summer there are many activities to enjoy including boat or trolley tours, hiking, fishing, and swimming. There are also ranger talks and some evening programs for all ages. You can even take a volcano boat tour.

In the summer you will want to go along Rim Drive and see the scenic views all around the lake. There are also paths for walking or biking. The trails are usually open from July to October, depending on the weather.

Suttle Lake

Suttle Lake is tiny but also worth a visit. It’s near Sisters. 

Paddle boarding on Suttle Lake

Paddleboarding on Suttle Lake


Lady Bird Lake

If you like a more urban vacation, don’t think you can’t enjoy a lake as well. Lady Bird Lake in Austin gives you the best of both worlds. Austin is a vibrant city with lots of indoor and outdoor entertainment.

While you can’t have motorized boats on Lady Bird Lake, you can enjoy rowing, canoeing, kayaking and dragon boats. There is a deep pool (Deep Eddy Pool) along the lakeshore that is great for swimming.

Surrounding Lady Bird Lake are hiking and biking trails. Zilker Park (Austin’s largest downtown park) is right next to Lady Bird Lake. You can also fish for bass, sunfish, and catfish in the lake.

Austin is a music city, and there’s lots of music and other events around the lake almost year-round.

UtahLake Powell

Lake Powell

Lake Powell straddles the border of Utah and Arizona, but most of the lake is in Utah. Lake Powell is actually a reservoir on the Colorado River. Over 180 miles long and with almost 2,000 miles of shoreline, it is the second-largest man-made lake in the United States.

RELATED  New York City Travel Guide

The crystal blue waters of Lake Powell stand in stark contrast the red rock canyon walls. There are sandy beaches and you can swim and boat. There is more water than land here, so you will want to get around by boat.

There are houseboats in some areas and lots of water fun. You can wakeboard, water ski, kayak, take a boat tour or go fishing. Some of the fish you can catch include Northern Pike, Walleye, Bass, and catfish. You can even take a dinner cruise.

One thing you don’t want to miss is the Rainbow Bridge National Monument. This is one of the largest known natural bridges in the world and is considered sacred by the many Native American tribes from this area. While you are not allowed to go under the bridge, you can view and take pictures from a distance.


Lake Champlain Islands Lake Champlain

In Vermont, you can visit Burlington and be near the lake. There is the wonderful Lake Champlain Islands that have 200 miles of shore to explore and enjoy. This is a quieter vacation to enjoy nature, but you are close to shops and can stay at a lovely inn.


Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan

In north-central Washington State is the largest natural lake in the whole state. It is a narrow lake, but over 50 miles long. The lake is about 4 hours east of the Seattle area and is surrounded by mountains and vineyards.

Lake Chelan is a mecca for water lovers, as you can try jet-skiing, water skiing, kayaking, parasailing, canoeing, tubing or rowing. Parts of the lake are great for sailboats and windsurfing, too. Since the lake is crystal clear, you can also give snorkeling a try.

If you enjoy fishing and having fresh fish for meals, this area is great. You can fish for Burbot, Rainbow Trout, Chinook and Sockeye Salmon, and Smallmouth Bass.

Restaurants in the Lake Chelan Valley offer something for everyone and often include wine from the local vineyards. For a quick bite during the day there are plenty of takeout options, too.


Winnebago Lake

The largest lake in Wisconsin is Winnebago Lake. This lake is 138,000 acres and a fisherman’s dream. There is open water fishing for bass and many others like Panfish, Musky, Catfish, Walleye and Sturgeon.

There are lots of opportunities for boating if that is what you like to do. With the lake being 30 miles long and 10 miles wide you have lots of room to launch and run your boat.

One of the reasons Lake Winnebago is popular is that you can drive around the lake and visit many great Wisconsin towns. Oshkosh is to the west, Appleton is on the Northside, and Fond du Lac is south.

Checkout High Cliff State Park on the Northeast shore and enjoy hiking, camping, a marina, an observation tower, picnic areas, and beaches.  Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac has picnic areas, a deer park, a playground, a marina, baseball diamonds, and boat launch ramps. You can rent canoes, bumper boats, and aqua bikes.

Have you taken a lake vacation with your family? We would love to hear about your best lake trip in the comments below!

Best Lake Vacations in the United States