15 Best Lakes in The US to Visit in the Summer

By Seema Nande on May 22, 2017
* Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and book something (there is never any extra cost to you for using these links).

A hazy, misty morning with the chirping of migratory birds and timid waters gently caressing the shore banks reminisces of summer vacations and campsites that were dreaded as kids, but are yearned for now. There are plenty of places to visit in USA in summer that bestow you with this unparalleled feeling of waking up on a summery morning to such tranquility. Lake towns and lake resorts across the nation are an ideal place you can head to this summer. Here are some of the best US lakes and lake towns that bequeath you with an experience you will never want summer to end.

1. Lake Champlain, New York / Vermont

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lake Champlain lake shared by Canada is a freshwater lake. Accommodating so much of the nation’s history with reference to wars such as the Colonial America and the Revolutionary War, The Siege of Quebec, War of 1812 and much more, Lake Champlain is an important point of interest for the lake towns of Burlington in Vermont and Plattsburgh in New York. You can bask in this rich history at the several forts like Ticonderoga and Crown Point as well as the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. For recreation, the lake features several islands that have gorgeous resorts to stay at.

Things to do at Lake Champlain: Burlington Bike Path, Shelburne Museum, Waterfront Park (Burlington), Church Street Marketplace (Burlington), Shelburne Farms (Shelburne) and Ausable Chasm (Keeseville)

Discover: Cheap Summer Vacation Destinations

2. Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Enveloped by a host of gorgeous lake towns, including Oakland, McHenry, and Swanton, the Deep Creek Lake proves to be one of the best lake vacations for families. The highlight of this lake are its quaint lake houses that can be rented out. Spend the day in the front yards of the house soaking up some sun or get out where interesting activities await you. Choose your pick from adrenaline rushing whitewater rafting or something more mellow like fly-fishing and kayaking at the gorgeous backwaters of this lake. When the evening draws, start your own barbecue party under the night sky gloriously light with twinkling stars.

Things to do at Deep Creek Lake: Swallow Falls State Park (Oakland), Deep Creek Lake State Park (Oakland), Firefly Farms (Accident), Herrington Manor State Park (Oakland) and Garrett County Historical Museum (Oakland)

3. Gull Lake, Minnesota

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Featuring some of the best luxury resorts, the Gull Lake in Minnesota is made up of seven divisions. Owing to its size, the lake’s shores have seen a great deal of commercialization over the years. A thick layer of vegetation scatters all across the lake. This accounts to the region’s rich wildlife. So, you have great resorts, an incredibly huge lake and lots of vegetation; what do you do? You head out into the wilderness and undertake a host of leisure activities. Not to mention golf-lovers can indulge at the world-class golf here.

Things to do at Gull Lake: Brainerd Zip Line Tour, Gull Dam Brewing, Loide' Oils & Vinegars, Golf at Pines, Nisswa Family Fun Center, Nisswa City Park, Loon Cruise and Nisswa Yoga

4. Suttle Lake, Oregon

Image Source: Flickr.com

One of the best lakes in the US, especially for those looking at a romantic getaway the Suttle Lake is abundant with unrefined allure, privacy, and opulence! Sounds like the perfect place to be right?! And may we add that this is a glacier-formed lake, just to lure you some more. While romance tops off the chart of things to do at Suttle Lake, you cannot underestimate its capability of being a family-friendly destination either. The lake features three campgrounds as well as two day-use areas adjoining the lake shore, for those not too big on luxury resorts.

Things to do at Suttle Lake: Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, Lake Creek Lodge, Metolius River, House on Metolius, Cold Springs Resort and RV Park, and Sahalie and Koosah Falls

Check Out: Honeymoon Destinations in the US

5. Lake Superior, Minnesota

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Sharing its coasts with not one or two but three states, the Lake Superior well explains the fact that it is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. Further, its name is justified by its being one of the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Given its huge volume, this lake is most popular for fishing. Irrespective of the season, there is always ought to be some fishing done here; especially at Duluth in Minnesota and Bayfield in Wisconsin. Indeed, an apt summer activity fishing at this lake is ought to make some fun summer memories.

Things to do at Lake Superior: Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive, Lakewalk, Aerial Lift Bridge, Enger Park and Tower, Canal Park and Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

Those Shoes Need Some Walking!

Hit the road, plan your next vacation with TripHobo travel planner! Enter destination of your choice & travel dates and hit Enter!

6. Bigfork, Montana

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

One of the best lake towns to retire, Bigfork is bordered by the Flathead Lake on it's north and the National Forest on the northwest. This geography means lots of wilderness and hence, things to do! Not to mention the mighty Rocky Mountains that make a perfect backdrop for everything you do and see her. The virgin Glacier National Park is one of the main draw of this town, followed by lots of cherry orchards. Fishing and boating are however the most carried out activities for leisure here. Summers especially call for golf, that this town is famous for.

Things to do at Bigfork: hiking in Jewel Basin, camping at Glacier National Park, Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Swan River Nature Trail, Wayfarers State Park and Whistling Andy

7. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Embracing the town of Wolfeboro, the Lake Winnipesaukee wiggles like a magnet when the temperatures in the USA start soaring. This town along with being a celebrities’ favorite is also one of the oldest summer resort in America. As you begin to explore it, you will identify its unmissable colonial charm that is very prevalent in its shops, accommodations, and even docks. This quaint lake town features a handful of resorts that lie at a favorable distance from the lake to aid quick bites in between swims. The town has an incredible food scene too; must-try include the unusual fudges in flavors of raspberry and even lemonade!

Things to do at Wolfeboro/ Lake Winnipesaukee: Wright Museum of WWII, New Hampshire Boat Museum, Cotton Valley Trail, Allen Albee Beach and Cate Park

8. Lake Erie, Ohio

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The thirteenth largest lake in the world, Lake Erie derives its name from an Iroquoian tribal language’s word "Erige” which means cat. This was so because of the observed, unpredictable and dangerous nature of the lake. However, over time the lake has calmed down giving way to leisure activities like kayaking, canoeing or cruising through its gorgeous limestone cliffs. The lake’s coasts are no less than that of any sea beach, with ample sand for you to rest or be your beach-bum-self! There are some wine counties too fringing some coasts of the lake. The most fun place to bask in the lake’s goodness, however, is the Put-In-Bay.

Things to do at Put-in-Bay/ Lake Erie:
Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial, South Bass Island, Put-in-Bay Winery, Butterfly House and Perry's Cave

9. Lake Keowee, South Carolina

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Not a natural lake, but a manmade reservoir the Lake Keowee spans across a whopping 29 square miles. The lake, too true to be something made by a man, beckons of a far more natural experience than what you would typically expect. The Blue Ridge Mountains create the perfect ambiance for soothing, yet fun activities. Several coves exist in the lake, that are infamous for being hideout places for students of adjoining universities and their booze parties. In the evenings, several restaurants with floating rafts deck up the lake with glitzy lights. Seneca town is the best place to enjoy summer activities at Lake Keowee.

Things to do at Lake Keowee/ Seneca: South Cove County Park, World of Energy, Hochstetler's Country Store, Lake Keowee Marina and Historic Old Pickens Church and Cemeteries.

10. Moosehead Lake, Maine

Image Source: Jeff Gunn/flickr.com

You can always bet on Moosehead to deliver some of the best lake vacations on east coast. Staying true to its name, this lake, and its region feature a plethora of exquisite wildlife. You are bound to spot some quadruped folks gallivanting about, as you indulge in activities like fishing kayaking, canoeing and exploring a plethora coves through the region. The best way to get most of the vibe of this place is renting out a lakehouse, perhaps in the towns of Greenville or Rockwood. Both these have plenty of cottages that make for the perfect summer cottages.

Things to do at Moosehead Lake: Lily Bay State Park (Greenville), Mount Kineo (Rockwood), River Rafting & Tubing, Kayaking & Canoeing, Nature & Wildlife Tours

11. Crater Lake, Oregon

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Fancy a dive in a sunken volcano? Head to the Crater Lake! The Crater Lake National Park’s highlight, this gorgeous lake is especially popular for its deep blue color and remarkable water clarity. Featuring a full-sized tree or more popularly "Old Man of the Lake,” bobbing the lake for over a century, this lake does not cease to amaze you with its marvels. Another fact- despite being a volcanic activity lake, this is counted as the ninth deepest in the world. Such facts have made this site a famous diving site. Dives boast of some beautiful lava formations among more.

Things to do at Crater Lake: Crater Lake National Park, Rim Drive, Cleetwood Cove Trail, Toketee Falls, Wizard Island and Rim Village

Check Out: 10 Dangerously Beautiful Volcanoes in the US

12. Lake Havasu, Arizona

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Perched in Arizona’s Mohave County, the Lake Havasu is engulfed by the urbane Lake Havasu City. Despite a lot of urbanization, the lake has managed to keep its natural appeal. There are several avenues to keep the entertainment and leisure quotient high of the city. There are tons of luxurious resorts especially that perfect for family vacations. Kids are in for a gala time owing to the vast entertainment opportunities here. The region is abundant with paths perfect for those who love strolling. A good number of restaurants and souvenir shops complete the touristy draw of this place.

Things to do at Lake Havasu: London Bridge, Lake Havasu and Colorado River, Wheeler Park, Lake Havasu Historical Society, Havasu 95 Speedway and The Aquatic Center

13. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The largest lake in Missouri, the Lake of the Ozarks is a result of the impounding of the Osage River. Resembling a serpentine, this lake is also referred to as "The Magic Dragon”. Counties like the Benton, Camden, Morgan and Miller enjoy being a part of the lake’s enormous coastline. You can head to any of this, to enjoy summer activities. There are some 50-odd marinas that are used for recreational purposes, especially boat rentals. Fishing is carried out on a large scale here, for both leisure as well as occupational purposes. The lake also features a popular state park, which draws a considerable number of crowds.

Things to do at the Lake of the Ozarks: Golf, Ha Ha Tonka State Park, horseback riding, lantern tour of Ozark Caverns and even fine dining

Must Read: Popular Caves in Missouri

14. Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Perched in the beautiful regions of the Grand Teton National Park the Jenny Lake is popular for mirroring the state park’s highlight- Teton peaks, way better than even what a mirror would. Having an existence of over 12,000-odd years, this lake defines rustic tranquility. The lake is renowned for its hiking trails for those who love some adrenaline rush. While folks who prefer to observe natural beauty can make the most of this region by taking a boat ride in the lake. This is nature in its purest form, absolutely unaffected by any kind of pollution, as per a study.

Things to do at Jenny Lake: Jenny Lake Trail, 42-mile Scenic Loop Drive, Cascade Canyon Trail and Solitude Float Trips

15. Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin

Image Source: David Wilson/flickr.com

Saving some for the last, Lake Winnebago offers the most unique activity unlike any lake mentioned in this list! Windsurfing is what you can look forward to if you plan to do something really fun in your summer vacations. Several windsurfing enthusiasts from Wisconsin flock to this lake to windsurf as well as kitesurf. It is credited for being the largest lake entirely within the state. Popular cities that lie on the coast of the lake include Neenah, Fond du Lac, Menasha, and Oshkosh. The lake is famous for its annual events of Winnebago Pool that include events like fishing competitions, pleasure boating rallies, shoreline concerts and more.

Things to do at Lake Winnebago: High Cliff State Park, Menominee Park Zoo, Lakeside Park, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass and Doty Island

These are just a few of the multiple lakes the USA is home to. Each having its unique characteristics, catering to various seasons and activities; let us know in the comments which is your favorite US lake and for what!

Related Articles