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5 of the Best Lake Vacations for Families

Best Lake Vacations in the US for families

Lake vacations combine the best elements of summer – not just swimming, fishing, and boating, but also lazy days on the beach, chasing fireflies, and the constant smell of sunscreen and wet bathing suits. There are thousands of lakes in the Unites States, many of them great retreats for families, but a few lakes stand out from the crowd as the perfect vacation spots for families. Here are five family-friendly lakes in the United States that are perfect for your next summer vacation.

Lake Superior

Best Lake Vacations for Families

The log flume at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest lake by surface area in the entire world. The shores of Lake Superior border Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario, Canada.  Numerous parks line the shores, but one of the most spectacular is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Here you will find dramatic vistas, lakeside campgrounds, and an incredible diversity of wildlife. Although there are plenty of rustic cabins, campgrounds, and RV-parks, you will not find many upscale resorts. The rustic charm and laid back vibe of the area is part of its beauty, but if you want the best of city life along the the lake, I’d recommend the Inn on Lake Superior in Duluth.  It’s right on the shore, but within walking distance to great dining, shopping and cultural attractions.  Anglers take note: Lake Superior is known throughout the world as a fishing hot-spot. Anglers come from all over to catch salmon, trout, walleye, and more.

Read more about Lake Superior vacations: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Lake Tahoe, California

Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe, NV by Don Graham

Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe, NV by Don Graham

Lake Tahoe is deep and cold, even in the summer. Popular activities include kayaking, paddle-boarding, and even nude sunbathing, if you’re feeling adventurous. Because the waters are so clear, divers frequently explore the many boats and barges that have come to rest on the lake’s bottom. On shore, hiking opportunities are plentiful, from leisurely strolls to extreme mountain climbing. If you want to get off the beaten path and explore the surrounding mountains, complete with unsurpassed views of the Tahoe Basin, consider hiking a section of the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Lake Tahoe vacation rentals include every price-point imaginable, from hostels and primitive campgrounds, to  lakeside cabins and luxury resorts.

Lake Champlain, Vermont

Button Bay State Park

Button Bay State Park is dog friendly!

Lake Champlain has been called America’s sixth Great Lake. Stretching 125 miles south from the Canadian border, and straddling the states of Vermont and New York, Lake Champlain and the surrounding communities seamlessly blend rural charm with urban influences. Burlington, Vermont’s largest city is more like a charming college town with upscale restaurants, a world-class theater, and excellent night-life. Lake Champlain played an important role in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812, making it a fabulous destination for history buffs. Visit the Shelburne Museum and check out the restored steamboat Ticonderoga, which carried passengers across the lake in luxury from 1906 to 1953. Visitors will have no problem finding a waterfront hotel in the city, and lakefront cabins and campgrounds are available in the far northern and southern parts of the lake. We especially love Button Bay State Park for camping, and they have cabins too if you don’t want to rough it.

Chain of Lakes, Florida

Woody Clouds by Antoine Gady

Woody Clouds by Antoine Gady

The Chain of Lakes consists of 16 unique lakes stretching around Winter Haven, Florida.  The big deal here is water skiing – the area might contain more water-ski schools than any other place in the world. Boating of all types is popular, and tourists come from all over to cruise the crystal-clear waters and fish for bass. Lodging opportunities are varied, but most visitors rent private houses or stay in the many waterfront resorts.

Lake Havasu, Arizona

Best Lake Vacations for Families

The balloon festival in Lake Havasu City is Awesome!!

Lake Havasu is a known vacation spot for college kids that like to party for spring break, but this desert oasis has a wholesome side to it too. Families who enjoy staying busy will love the shopping, restaurants and nightlife that surrounds the lake in all seasons. Hotels are plentiful, and kids will love the miles of sandy beaches, the warm water, and the perfect weather, nearly every day.  Be sure to visit SARA park, which encompasses miles of hiking trail and mountain biking trails, and Rotary Park, which has the coolest skate park we’ve ever seen, plus a great sandy beach.

Read more about Lake Havasu City Vacations Here. Lake Havasu City Vacations Here. 

Whether you’re looking for seclusion, nature, or fun, these iconic family vacation spots will certainly fit the bill. It’s never too early to start planning the perfect lake vacation . 

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Is there anything better than a summer vacation by the lake with your family? Here's a little round up of the best lake vacations in the United States. Is your special lake on the list?




  1. Really happy to have crossed paths with this today, we were just discussing some similar options for a trip this year and you just us a lot of ideas thanks.

  2. Since I haven’t been to the USA before, I haven’t visit any of these lakes yet. That’s too bad! Lake Tahoe is still so high on my list! It’s just a nature paradise what I’ve seen from pictures, breath taking! Great recommendations :-).

  3. Dawn Herzig

    Great list to keep in mind for after retirement in 44 days. Have been to Superior many times. There are bear there…..

    • Dawn,
      Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. That’s exciting. We’ve never seen a bear around Superior, just lots and lots of deer.

  4. All these look so fun for families. Have not been to any of them yet. I’m close to Lake Superior so maybe will do a road trip this summer.
    Matilda recently posted…15 Gifts for Women Who TravelMy Profile

  5. Lake Tahoe looks incredibly beautiful! I would love to go visit that one! Havasu isn’t far from me and it is such a fun place to hang out!
    Rachael recently posted…Best Bites of San Francisco: Fog Harbor Fish HouseMy Profile

  6. I miss Lake Tahoe! One of my favorite lakes in the world. I guess I should see the rest of them to compare…
    Peter Korchnak recently posted…Bite-Sized Travel: Things to do in Augusta, MaineMy Profile

  7. I have been to Havasu, but I still haven’t been Tahoe. That is the next one on the list.

  8. I love this list! Every lake looks so beautiful. I had no idea that Lake Superior is known throughout the world as a fishing hot-spot. That sounds like a fun place to fish.
    Sarah Kim recently posted…5 Must-Know Tips for Getting Started With House Sitting SuccessfullyMy Profile

  9. After I visited Lake Arrowhead, CA, I have been a huge fan of lakes. I really want to visit Lake Tahoe. I have seen so many beautiful photos of Lake Tahoe and had no idea that the water was cold in the summer months too. That’s a huge plus 🙂
    Candy recently posted…7 Simple Steps to Prepare for Your Cuba TripMy Profile

  10. wow the colour of the water in Tahoe is amazing. Hard to believe it is a lake. I am hoping to go skiing there one day

  11. Joe

    Sounds like my ideal kind of nature getaway! Have heard of Lake Superior and Tahoe of course, which are known the world over, but these others look great too. The balloon festival looks fantastic 🙂

    • The balloon festival in Lake Havasu is fantastic! The only downside is that it takes place in January, and it’s too cold to swim, unless you’re really brave.

  12. my parents go away every year (winter) and one of the places you were at is were they stayed at Lake Havasu, Arizona.

    I tryed to put my blog from google to here but had a hard time doing so…are you doing yours for free or are you paying for yours? if you don’t mind me asking….i don’t want to know how much i just want to know if you are doing it for fee…as you are doing a great job.

    • Thank you, Christine. My dad lives in Lake Havasu. He can’t stand the winters where I live in Vermont. I purchased my domain name from Go Daddy and use Go Daddy’s hosting service. It’s $4.99 a month for the first year and then it goes up a bit (I can’t remember how much). I appreciate your comments. It makes my day to know people are reading.

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