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What better way to spend a summer vacation than at a lake, enjoying days by the water keeping cool, and having fun? While you could go camping, if you don’t relish roughing it, there are many fabulous resorts and hotels that will put you right at the lakeside for enjoying it all. Some even come with complimentary toys for getting out on the water, like kayaks and paddleboards. Many of these lakeside resorts are among the best destinations for summer travel while others are hidden gems you should add to your bucket list. While there are lots of options across the country, these are some of our top picks.
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Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa is nestled in the Adirondacks right alongside Mirror Lake and offers views of the water from every window. This historic property is among the world’s most beautiful lakeside resorts and is a fabulous place to go for fun activities and relaxation. Right on the beach, you’ll find canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, paddleboards, and rowboats for guests’ exclusive use. There are two pools – one indoor and one outdoor – along with a large hot tub. The lodge-like rooms come with amenity options like jetted tubs and fireplaces. Two- and three-bedroom family rooms are available too.
Located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe offers a more peaceful, nature-oriented experience as compared to options on the California side. It sits right at lakeside providing access to swimming and just about every water sport imaginable. Plus it’s easy to reach many different scenic trails for hiking. Lakeview golf courses are only minutes away too. The property has its own large beach area, an indoor/outdoor pool complete with a lazy river, a 24-hour casino, multiple on-site eateries, and a fabulous spa. All those amenities help make this resort one of the best-rated luxury Lake Tahoe resorts.
Log Cabin Resort enjoys a secluded location at the edge of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. It offers a variety of accommodation in rooms, chalets and cabins, some of which include electricity and kitchenettes. The biggest plus to a stay here is the breathtaking scenery and easy access to the lake, just steps away no matter what your lodging choice. The resort offers multiple types of rentals for fun out on the water too, including kayaks and paddleboards. There’s a coin-operated laundry facility, café, and convenience store too.
Stehekin offers a remote, tranquil experience at the top of Lake Chelan, accessible only by boat or plane. The North Cascades Lodge is one of only a few accommodation options in the area and all of its rooms come with forest or lake views. There are several cabins too, with private entrances, decks, and kitchens. The property hosts a seasonal restaurant and grocery store, a game room with a pool table, board games, books, and puzzles, in addition to offering boat rentals and bus tours.
Lake Oconee, about 75 miles from Atlanta, offers some of the region’s best fishing, boating and other water sports like kayaking and wakeboarding. Bordered by the Oconee National Forest, the views are spectacular. The best place to stay is arguably the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, often named the top resort in Georgia. It sits right alongside the lake and offers 99 holes of golf, a huge spa with a menu of Southern-style treatments and beauty therapies. Bikes, boats, and fishing gear can be rented and there are indoor and outdoor pools, and multiple dining options too.
Named the ‘Best Lakeside Inn’ by Yankee magazine, the historic Wolfeboro Inn has its own private beach on Lake Winnipesaukee and a replica 19th-century paddleboat for seasonal daytime cruises. It dates back to 1812 but you’ll find plenty of modern amenities. Elegant rooms include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, some come with private decks. For a garden or lake view, book a suite. The property also offers a spa and a pub serving upscale dishes and an impressive list of beers.
One of the highlights of Grand Teton National Park, Jenny Lake is incredibly scenic with a back drop of the Teton peaks. It also offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife watching. Jenny Lake Lodge is the perfect place to take advantage of it all, with accommodation in private cabins with luxurious touches like hand-woven quilts. The on-site restaurant is practically a destination in itself, serving gourmet cuisine, including seasonal five-course dinners.
Lutsen Resort sits on Lake Superior, bringing the opportunity for a wealth of recreational activities, including outstanding fishing for multiple species like trout, salmon, small mouth bass, walleye, and northern pike, among many others. You can take a fly-fishing class, or join a guided sea-kayak or hiking tour. Of course, you can always just hang out on an Adirondack chair on the private beach while soaking up the view. The property also includes an indoor pool and spa, while accommodation is in Scandinavian-style lodge rooms, log cabins with full kitchens, and luxurious villas with Jacuzzis.
Blue Waters Mountain Lodge can be found on Lake Santeetlah, which offers 76 miles of mostly protected shoreline in the Nantahala National Forest. Enjoy swimming, water skiing, canoeing, boating, and jet skiing — the lodge can help make arrangements for pontoon, fishing boat, ski boat, and wave runner rentals. There’s a lodge restaurant and a lakeside bar for relaxing with a drink after a day of play, while the comfortable rooms come with picturesque lake views.
Wallowa Lake Lodge is a restored 1923 property offering a tranquil atmosphere for enjoying Wallowa Lake, which is surrounded by 9,000-foot-tall snow-capped mountains on three sides. There are a variety of watercraft rentals available at the marina, including kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, paddleboards, rowboats, motor boats and pontoons. Fishing and swimming are popular here too, and on land there are trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The lodge serves tasty steak dinners, while accommodation is in rooms or cabins, all of which are free of televisions or phones, aimed to preserve the quiet atmosphere.
Located along the eastern coastline of Lake Michigan in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which “Good Morning America” once named the “Most Beautiful Place in America,” Bayshore Resort offers easy access to it all, including the vast sand dunes, beautiful beaches, and lush forests. The cool blue waters of Traverse Bay are ideal for boating and jet-skiing, while the property has an indoor pool and whirlpool, and Victorian-style rooms with jetted spa tubs, fireplaces, and balconies overlooking the bay.
Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa is often named as the best resort in Arkansas. It overlooks Lake Ouachita and includes a lakefront beach as well as a marina where you can rent a boat. There are also three pools, a lakeview restaurant, a spa offering a wide range of beauty and wellness treatments, and opportunities to hike or bike the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. Accommodation is in condo-style rooms and cottages with full kitchens, making it easy to save on dining out too.
Set along the shores of Lake Wawasee, Indiana’s largest natural lake, Oakwood Resort has its own sandy beach with a pier, boat slip pontoon and kayak rentals. Families with kids will appreciate the playground and arcade, while parents can enjoy services at the salon or spa. The restaurant and bar offers tasty meals that can be enjoyed indoors or out during the warmer months, and live entertainment is hosted on weekends. There are many lodging options, including spacious rooms and luxury suites with kitchens, as well as 10 vacation homes.
Just an hour east of Portland in Government Camp, Collins Lake Resort is spread across 28 acres with private nature trails right out your back door while being just minutes from multiple lakes and cascading waterfalls. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and golfing can all be easily enjoyed from here. The property includes a wide range of facilities like a day spa for enjoying a decadent massage, a heated pool, a huge hot tub, a sauna, and a fitness room. Accommodation is in gorgeous alpine chalets that boast gourmet kitchens, plasma TVs, and comfy log beds.
One of the best hotels in the Texas Hill Country and located on a 19-acre property about 20 miles northwest of downtown Austin, this luxurious resort offers a secluded lakefront escape with all-inclusive packages that include three delicious meals a day at the on-site restaurant. The menu has a “gourmet spa cuisine” theme with dishes featuring herbs and produce grown in the property’s own organic garden. Guests can enjoy all sorts of activities on the lake, including paddle boarding and canoeing, along with opportunities to hike scenic trails and join in on a number of fitness activities. The all-inclusive packages also include allowances for spa treatments like massages and facials, while rooms feature lake or garden views, private furnished porches, flat-screen TVs, minifridges, and many other desirable amenities. Upgraded options include outdoor hot tubs, whirlpool baths, private gardens, and fireplaces.