Let’s face it, there are a lot of lakes in the United States. When it comes to choosing the best lakes in America for family fun, some fine places are sure to be missed. In compiling this list, each region was considered as well as different reasons for their appeal.
Crater Lake, Oregon
You aren’t going to do much swimming, and won’t see a jet ski, or a beach. Still, the natural wonder making up Crater Lake National Park is so awe-inspiring that it doesn’t need anything else. There is a common reaction from every visitor making the trek up the mountain and taking in the first view of Crater Lake. It’s simply, “wow.”
The exploded volcano filled with crystalline waters and the cinder cone island combine for a view everyone should see. You can hike down the side of the crater to the lakeside for more spectacular viewing.
Lake Chelan, Washington
For almost every lake activity you can think of, located in scenic wonder, Lake Chelan is hard to beat. Located in the North Cascades National Forest of Washington State, 50 mile long Lake Chelan is in the middle of mountains, forests, vineyards, orchards and rural communities.
If you don’t have your own watercraft. fear not. Virtually anything you can rent that floats is available,.
Lake Powell, Arizona, Utah
Starting just inside Arizona near the small town of Page, Lake Powell has over 2,000 miles of shoreline. Endless opportunities for waterborne exploration exist. Find secluded canyons to sail into, camping spots, and swimming holes. The starkly beautiful desert landscape will awe you.
Perhaps the best Lake Powell experience is to rent a houseboat and spend a few days meandering the expanse, exploring at your leisure. Further down the Colorado River Lake Mead provides similar scenarios, but Lake Powell is in a class by itself.
Lake Havasu, Arizona
Sitting on the border of Arizona and California is another Colorado River lake formed by a dam. Lake Havasu is a merging of desert and lake fun. Not only will you find boat and jet ski racing, but motocross and ATV racing too. You can rent your pleasure for any of those activities, and more.
Lake Havasu is also home to the London Bridge, brought across the pond brick-by-brick and placed smack in the middle of a desert.
Lake Tahoe, California, Nevada
Another body of water in a class by itself is Lake Tahoe. Straddling the California-Nevada border near Reno, Lake Tahoe is a year-round adventure, set to nature. The ski resorts offer incredible amounts of powder. The summer gives visitors a place to go to escape the heat below.
Lake Tahoe is the nation’s largest alpine lake, and second deepest at 501 meters. The water is a sharp, blue clear that makes you think you just might see the bottom.
Lake Michigan, Great Lakes
Of the Great Lakes, Michigan stands out for vacation fun. You can hit the beach in downtown Chicago or find remote camping outposts. There are resorts of every size and price range on all sides of the lake. You can climb giant sand dunes or lighthouses, and find both fairly close to each other. Explore mile after mile of beach, or get out on a boat and go fishing. Lake Michigan will challenge you to do it all.
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
Called the Midwest’s premier lake resort destination, Lake of the Ozarks has you covered when it comes to having fun on the lake. With around 54,000 surface acres there’s a lot of water to play on. Boating, fishing, nearby golfing, a water park fun are to be found.
Located in the heart of Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks is close to Midwest population centers, making a day trip possible.
Lake Norman, North Carolina
Not too far from Charlotte, North Carolina, lies Lake Norman, a fishing, boating, and swimming hot spot for southerners in the area to cool off. Lake Norman is 34 miles long with 520 miles of shoreline, so there’s room for all the people wanting to escape the city.
The area around Lake Norman has shopping, plenty of hotel rooms, and golfing. For racing fans, Lake Norman is right in the heart of NASCAR country, with racetracks and racing team headquarters nearby.
Lake George, New York
In the Adirondacks of upstate New York is Lake George, a water paradise offering kayaking, river tubing, fishing, and boating. The Lake George area comes alive with color in the fall, as color explodes across the landscape in shades of amber, yellow, and crimson.
The springtime snow melt brings incredible rapids to the rivers around Lake George, offering class I-V rafting. The small towns offer cultural experiences rich in history and culture.
Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
Another Northeast gem is New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, a lake dotted with islands and brimming with recreational opportunity. The numerous villages and towns surrounding the lake offer chances to explore either by boat or car. Fishing is among the most rewarding in New England, with many species in the lake.
Weirs Beach not only has a beach, but arcade, boardwalk, and water slides. In Meredith there are sled dog races in the winter. June features a triathlon in Gifford.