Waking to another cloudless morning, you dive off your houseboat into the wild blue of Lake Powell in southern Utah. The water takes the edge off the heat, and you float along, contemplating a lazy day of navigating spectacular red-rock gorges and flooded canyons.
Brian Raub, founder of Lakelubbers.com, says lakes have an inherent advantage over the ocean when it comes to vacations. “You’ll probably prefer the feel of freshwater over salt, and you probably won’t miss seasickness, seaweed, or sharks. You can choose your outdoor temperatures; lakes exist at elevations from below sea level to 13,000 feet above.”
And temperature isn’t your only choice: America offers a lake vacation for every season and activity, and no matter where you live, even in the Southwest desert, chances are there’s one near you. Satellite mapping has yet to yield a precise answer, but the best guess is that there are between 3 and 4 million lakes across the U.S., ranging from duck ponds to wonders like Oregon’s Crater Lake.
Minnesota, known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, actually counts nearly 12,000—the most among the lower 48 states. Michigan comes in a close second and Florida third, while among smaller states, Maine stands out with nearly 800. But Alaska trumps them all with an estimated 3 million lakes. We’re partial to Lake Clark by Port Alsworth (pop. 159), where wilderness adventures are guaranteed, whether you’re in the mood for kayaking, getting dragged by a dogsled team, or spotting grizzly bears and caribou.
While Lake Tahoe is most popular for winter sports and Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago reaches its windsurfing peak in fall, we associate most lakes with summer, as places to cool off and chill out. A recent study by ResortsandLodges.com named lake vacations the most popular summer travel trend of 2012, ahead of beach vacations, romantic getaways, and family trips.
“Maybe instead of flying to Paris this year, you’re driving from New York City up to Lake Placid or from St. Louis down to Table Rock Lake,” says Matt Renner of ResortsandLodges.com. “No matter the reason, more and more people are spending their vacations on lakes.”
After all, lakes can inspire quiet reflection, most famously in the case of Henry David Thoreau, who sought out Walden Pond in the backwoods of Massachusetts. “They’re a commons, owned by everyone, where you are free to stake out some space for yourself, slow your life down for a day or a weekend or a couple weeks, and take stock of things,” says Jerry Dennis, author of The Living Great Lakes.
Read on to find the lake vacation that’s right for you.
A major storm with drenching rain, gusty winds and the risk of flooding will accompany temperatures more fitting for March and April in the northeastern United States early next week.
Citizens around the world now have the opportunity to be part of one of the newest scientific developments in earthquake research using only their smart phones.
Some relief from the recent harsh cold will come to Germany later this week but only across northern areas.
The Bartz brothers build elaborate snow sculptures not just for themselves but also to help others through charity.
Damaging winds, torrential downpours, hail and tornadoes are among the weather phenomena expected to threaten the Southeast this weekend.
At least 24 people, with the vast majority children, died on Thursday when a truck crashed into a school bus amid dense fog southeast of New Delhi, India.
Heavy rain moves south to Southern California as the first round of flooding tapers off throughout Thursday.
2016 was the third consecutive year with global temperatures soaring to record highs.