Close your eyes and envision sitting on the sun-kissed deck of a boat as it glides through the water of a mountain lake on a hot summer day. You can enjoy a break from the sun with a refreshing dip in the cool water or take things up a notch with a high-speed adventure on water skis.
Luckily, America is home to a number of large and beautiful lakes, welcoming visitors to try out invigorating experiences like water skiing, fishing, kayaking and boating. No matter where you are in the country, there is probably a glistening lake not too far away. So, let's splash into some of America's wettest lakes that you will want to plunge into during the dog days of summer.
Grand Lake, Colorado
As the largest natural lake in Colorado, Grand Lake is an ideal summer destination for those who are looking to escape the heat with a day in some chilly water. Nestled in the mountains with an elevation of 8,369 feet, Grand Lake doesn’t only provide some relief from the heat but also offers jaw-dropping views of nearby peaks and forests that are nothing short of majestic.
Whether you choose to sail, paddle board or float away the day, you’re guaranteed a refreshing reprieve from the relentless summer sun. Locals and visitors also love to fish for salmon and trout at Grand Lake.
After a day relaxing on the water, the town of Grand Lake has a great selection of restaurants and cozy bars to grab a bite to eat. For a complete summer experience at Grand Lake, plan a trip during the 4th of July Extravaganza or Grand Lake Regatta Week.
Lake George, New York
The Adirondack Region of New York is home to many mountain lakes, so it might feel like it’s difficult to choose one. However, at 32 miles long and home to nearly 186 islands, Lake George, known as the “Queen of the American Lakes,” stands out as one of the best lake getaways in New York.
Lake George is a paradise for lake lovers with almost limitless opportunities for adventure. Go on a parasailing excursion, book a fishing expedition or spend the day sunbathing on the boat. You’ll find everything you need to enjoy the ultimate lake life all within the area. However, those hoping for a bit more thrill can take a short drive to nearby towns for an unforgettable whitewater rafting experience.
Lake George goes far beyond the water — it also encompasses 13 different communities, each with unique offerings. From adorable boutiques to the most popular waterfront restaurants, there is something to suit everyone in the Lake George Area. The region also boasts nine golf courses, multiple cycling trails and even a few dude ranches for those who need a little break from lake life.
Lake Cumberland, Kentucky
Situated in Kentucky, Lake Cumberland is known as the Houseboat Capital of the World, making it the perfect destination for anyone looking to spend as much time as possible on the water. Of course, as one of the counties that Lake Cumberland runs through, Russell County has the largest fleet of rental houseboats in the country! If you prefer some more solid footing, however, there are cabins, cottages and hotel rooms available too.
In addition to houseboats, visitors can also rent fishing boats, pontoon boats and ski boats to explore the 50,250 acres that make up Lake Cumberland.
If you’re into fishing, the water is home to largemouth, smallmouth, white and Kentucky bass, along with crappie, rockfish and walleye. Fishing gear is also available to rent on-site.
There is also an 18-hole mini golf course, hiking trails, playgrounds and more around the lake for a fun-filled family vacation.
Lake Havasu, Arizona
Named by Men’s Journal as “America’s Best Lake Town for Water Sports,” Lake Havasu City doesn’t mess around when it comes to having fun on the lake. Aside from the no-wake zones, you won’t find any speed limits in the 60 miles of open waterways that make up the lake. This is probably the main reason it’s also considered the “The Personal Watercraft (PWC aka ‘jet ski’) Hub of the World.” However, if you prefer leaving high-speed water sports to the pros, make sure to catch the Jet Ski World Finals held at the lake.
If jet skiing isn’t your thing, you can slow things down on one of the floating tiki bars or rent out a cabana boat that comes complete with grills, coolers and, of course, leather sofas. Rubba Duck Safaris and the Havasu Landing Ferry also offer fun ways to explore the lake.
Priest Lake, Idaho
Resting right beneath the Canadian border sits the crown jewel of Idaho, Priest Lake. Though there may only be 800 residents most of the year, once summertime hits, this sleepy town welcomes 20,000 visitors to its 19-mile- long lake.
This stunning lake is perfect for a lazy day paddling on the water while enjoying all the huckleberry-flavored treats one could imagine. The surrounding Selkirk Mountains will give you plenty of entertainment as you play I spy with all the wildlife along the 80 miles of shoreline.
Hill’s Resort doesn’t just offer lakeside cabins, but you’ll also find plenty of activities to dry off with, including beach volleyball, tennis, pickleball and playgrounds. Just don’t be surprised when the locals start a pickup pickleball tournament with you. Fishing boats, kayaks, canoes and golf carts can also be rented right at the resort.