Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Summer is the ideal time for a lakeside escape, when the days are long, warm, and sometimes lazy, inviting you to kick back and enjoy the beautiful scenery or perhaps even jump right in. However, fall offers gorgeous autumn foliage and fewer tourists. Whether you’re looking for a secluded getaway or a luxurious, full-service resort with lots of activities for all, you’re sure to find just the right fit among these lakeside hotels and resorts.
The Azur Lodge offers the down-to-earth welcome of a backpackers’ inn but in significantly more luxurious surroundings. It sits perched on a hillside, providing guests an impressive vantage point of one of the most picturesque areas of New Zealand, yet it’s just two miles outside of Queenstown, renowned as the country’s adventure capital. Just some of the heart-pounding activities available include whitewater rafting, jet boating, skydiving, bungee jumping and zip-lining, as well as more gentle pursuits like golfing and scenic hikes. Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars for checking out the action on the lake. All of the lodge villas feature separate lounging areas, en-suite bathrooms complete with rainforest showers and double spa baths, as well as massive windows that help bring the spectacular outdoors in.
Yoho was named for a Cree expression of “awe and wonder,” which describes it perfectly. The park boasts towering rock walls, impressive waterfalls, expansive glaciers, and numerous rocky mountain peaks. It’s a hikers’ dream, with treks of all types, from short strolls around magnificent Emerald Lake and to Wapta Falls as well as hikes where half-a-billion-year-old fossils can be discovered in the Burgess Shale fossil beds and epic multi-day adventures on the high-elevation Iceline Trail. By staying at Emerald Lake Lodge, you’ll be in the heart of it all. Accommodation is in cabin-style structures that are set among one of the world’s most outstanding wilderness settings – there are no TVs, no Internet, and no cell phone reception, which means, this is the place to totally forget about all your cares and truly get back to nature. Choose a lake view room and you’ll have a private balcony overlooking the lake.
Explora Patagonia sits along the shores of turquoise Lake Pehoé, right in the middle of Torres del Paine National Park. It’s renowned for providing some of the most impressive mountain, lake and waterfall views on the planet, as well as for its location in a UNESCO biosphere. One of the world’s most incredible all-inclusive resorts, it brings luxury to the wilderness in an ideal base for exploring the breathtaking Patagonian landscape, with daily excursions ensuring that guests fully experience the region’s awe-inspiring beauty, including horseback riding and hiking through the majestic Chilean mountains. There are over 50 explorations available, on foot or on horse, half-or full-day, and at all skill levels. The television-free rooms have an eco-conscious design featuring native lenga wood details and almond wood floors, designed to take advantage of the tranquility, silence and privacy of the surrounding landscape. At the bathhouse, guests can unwind even more, with massages, a swimming pool and a stunning view of the lake.
You’ve probably heard about Lake Como, as actor George Clooney officially put it on the map after purchasing a mansion in the lakeside village of Laglio. If you hope to enjoy a lakeside retreat that includes lots of luxury and the chance to bump into a celebrity, look no further than Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como. The property enjoys an enviable location right on the water. Guests arrive via boat before stepping onto the secluded grounds with shady pine trees and a gorgeous pool that floats right out in the lake. Stunning lake views can be enjoyed from the on-site restaurants, which includes a Michelin star eatery, as well the pool bar that sits by the resort’s floating pool on the lake.
At this Adirondack Mountain getaway, you’ll enjoy expansive Mirror Lake views from every window. One of the most luxurious hotels in the U.S., Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa offers cozy, lodge-like rooms, some with fireplaces, jetted tubs, and balconies, along with outstanding hospitality like homemade cookies at check-in. There are two pools, one indoor and one outdoor, a large hot tub, and a small beach area and dock for swimming in the lake. If you don’t want to get wet, Adirondack chairs invite you to simply sit back and soak up the views.
Glitzy St. Moritz, a famous playground for the wealthy, is a winter resort, offering skiing and a variety of winter sports, but it also offers a ton to do in the warmer months too. Take advantage of all the outdoor opportunities during the day and return to lavish accommodation to rest and relax by booking a stay at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. Rooms offer impressive views of the crystal clear lake and the surrounding mountains, and guests even enjoy the warmth of hot water bottles that are tucked under the bed sheets every night. Rates include hiking passes, Rolls Royce transfers, and a daily breakfast buffet. After your adventures out on the lake or in the mountains, you can soothe those sore muscles in the lavish spa by indulging in a full-body massage. The property also features a number of eateries that range from a casual pizzeria and grill to a gourmet restaurant.
One of Europe’s top castle hotels, Ashford Castle is a 5-star luxury hotel set on a sprawling 350-acre estate that gazes onto the sparkling blue waters of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second-largest lake. The castle is worth visiting simply for its fairy-tale views alone, but if you stay overnight, you can enjoy this historic property’s new waterfront spa, swimming pool, 32-seat cinema and award-winning gourmet fare at its on-site restaurants. Rooms and suites are all individually designed, and some boast claw foot bath tubs, open fireplaces, and four-poster beds.
Crater Lake Lodge is a historic hotel that overlooks one of the most stunning lakes on Earth: Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S. The water is renowned for its intense sapphire-blue shade and combined with the sheer cliffs that surround it, soaring to nearly 2,000 feet, it’s a sight everyone should see at least once in a lifetime, and even better, stick around a while to truly experience it. One of the best hotels near Crater Lake National Park, the property first opened in 1915, and offers a rustic charm that brings guests back to the 1920s – there are no TVs or phones, but there are opportunities to enjoy fishing, take a boat tour, hike, bike, climb and watch for all sorts of birds.
For the ultimate wilderness escape in Washington State, Ross Lake Resort’s cabins are so close to the sparkling turquoise waters of the lake, they actually float. While it’s not exactly easy to get here, requiring a 3-hour drive from Seattle followed by a ferry, truck, and speedboat to get you to your retreat, the reward makes the journey well worth the effort. Right outside your door, you’ll see Jack Mountain rising 7,000 feet above the lake, and there are no sounds of vehicle traffic to be heard anywhere. If you want to get out on the water, the resort rents a variety of watercraft too, including dinghies, canoes, and kayaks so you can get out and explore, or fish for the several native species of trout that call it home.