10 Best Budget Friendly Lake Destinations for Families

Planning a family vacation on a budget can be challenging but feasible when you consider lake destinations. Lake destinations offer a wide variety of inexpensive activities such as swimming, fishing, hiking, house boat rentals, camping, picnicking, scuba diving, horseback riding and environmental programs. As a former tour planner I know of ten, budget friendly lake destinations that families should consider. Here they are:

1. Lake Wallenpaupack in Pennsylvania

Located in Hawley, this year round destination contains 52 miles of shoreline and six recreational areas. Lake access is free.

2. Lake Marcia in New Jersey

Located in Sussex, this 20 acre lake is part of High Point State Park. It is open daily, year round and admission ranges from $5 to $10 per vehicle.

3. Hessian Lake in New York

Located within Bear Mountain State Park, this destination features the unexpected; a merry-go-round, pool and museum. The park is open daily, year round and admission is $8 per vehicle.

4. Lake George in New York

Talk about the unusual! This Adirondack lake is part of the Submerged Heritage Preserves Program, which means that visitors may opt to scuba dive on two historic ship wrecks while there. The lake is open daily, year round and prices vary based on activities selected.

5. Rangeley Lakes in Maine

This year round destination features three museums, scenic airplane rides and some of the best trout and salmon fishing in the state. Lake access is free.

6. Lake Powell in Arizona

This year round destination boasts roughly 2,000 miles of shoreline and families may opt to rent house boats. Access to the lake is free.

7. Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri

This year round destination offers a 9.75 mile Aquatic Trail, lantern tours of Ozark Caverns and two sandy beaches.

8. Lake Tahoe in Nevada

Considered the largest Alpine lake in North America, this year round destination features a casino, children’s gymnasium and a day spa. Access to the lake is free.

9. Lake Sydney Lanier in Georgia

Located in Buford, this year round destination features 692 miles of shoreline, an indoor-outdoor water park, day spa, museums and historic sites. Fees vary by activity chosen.

10. Crater Lake in Oregon

Located in Crater Lake National Park, this lake is America’s deepest. Admission to the park is $10 per vehicle and it is valid for 7 days.

Mountain View Realty, “About Lake Wallenpaupack” Mountain View Realty
NJ Division Parks and Forestry, “High Point State Park” NJ Division Parks and Forestry
The Palisades Park Conservancy, “Bear Mountain State Park” The Palisades Park Conservancy
Warren County Tourism Department, “Lake George Area” Warren County Tourism Department
Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce, “Summer Recreation” Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce
Department Environmental Conservation, “Submerged Heritage Preserves Program” Dept. Environmental Conservation
Aramark Parks and Destinations, “Lake Powell” Aramark Parks and Destination
Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, “Home” Lake of the Ozarks CVB
Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, “About Lake Tahoe” Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
Great Lakes of Georgia, “Lake Sydney Lanier” Great Lakes of Georgia
National Park Service, “Crater Lake” National Park Service