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Best Lake Vacations in the US: 10 Must-Visit Lakes

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

The warmer months call for a vacation on the lake. Take a look at these 10 must-visit lakes across the US along with a list of RV parks you can stay at.

Best lake vacations

Lake vacations are the best; you get to enjoy activities like kayaking and speedboating and then lounge on sandy beaches to relax and unwind. Whether you're RVing solo or with a family, lake vacations have something for everyone. The warmer months see an uptake in visitors, tourists and locals alike, to lakes across the US. Thankfully there is a huge number and variety of these lakes in the country so you can always find a spot on your favorite beach.

Take a look at some of the best lake vacation destinations in the US. Here you will find everything from the clearest lake in the US to the best party lakes in the country. We have also included a list of RV parks where you can park your rig as you visit these lakes.

Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

Lake Tahoe

As one of the most iconic and the second-deepest lake in the US, Lake Tahoe is a must-visit spring vacation destination. The clear blue water of the lake is complemented by the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains that surround it. This scenic lake is the dream photo-op destination. As one of the clearest lakes in the US, Lake Tahoe is best experienced by taking a cruise around the lake. The lake stays cold throughout the year so swim at your own risk but there are plenty of water sports and other activities to keep you entertained in the warmer months.

Things to Do:

  • Sunbathing along the shoreline

  • Cruising through Emerald Bay

  • Playing a round of golf on scenic courses like Edgewood

  • Mountain biking

  • Ziplining

  • Driving through the 'Most Beautiful Drive in America'

Stay At:

Lake Powell, Utah and California

Lake Powell

This man-made lake is one the most awe-inspiring vacation spots in the US. The lake is surrounded by the red-orange cliffs of Utah making for a breathtaking view. The lake is best experienced by wading through the waters while boating, kayaking, or just swimming all around. Spring is the best time to visit this lake since the warm desert weather is just starting to kick in so you get to avoid the sweltering heat but still enjoy a dip in the water.

Things to Do:

Stay At:

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake

Visit the deepest lake in the US by planning a trip to Crater Lake this spring. The lake was created by a volcanic eruption causing the collapse of a tall mountain peak and is fed by only rain and snow. This makes it the clearest lake in the US, perfect for scuba diving. It is located in Crater Lake National Park and offers stunning views. The water is frigid throughout the year but that does nothing to hamper all the fun you can have at the lake.

Things to Do:

  • Taking the 33-mile cruise around Rim Drive

  • Fishing

  • Visiting the Wizard Island to see the Phantom Ship

  • Scuba diving

Stay At:

Lake Keowee, South Carolina

Lake Keowee

If you're looking for the best party lakes in the US, then you will really enjoy visiting Lake Keowee in Seneca, North Carolina. This man-made lake runs along 29 square miles and boasts 350 miles of shoreline. Part of the lake lies at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains making for a scenic and largely secluded vacation spot. Apart from the stunning views, visitors can also become a part of some epic boat parties in the Keowee's various coves.

Things to Do:

Stay At:

Lake George, New York

Lake George

Lake George is one of the cleanest lakes on the East Coast and lies just an hour outside of Albany. The 32-mile-long scenic lake is surrounded by the majesty of the Adirondacks. There are plenty of towns along the shoreline so you have a variety of places to stay at and explore. The towns host tons of activities in the warmer months for the whole family to enjoy.

Things to Do:

  • Picnicking at the Million Dollar Beach

  • Having fun at an adventure course

  • Glide on the lake in a historic steamboat

  • Experiencing the beauty of the lake in a hot air balloon flight

  • Parasailing

  • Fishing

Stay At:

Great Salt Lake, Utah

Great Salt Lake

As the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere, Great Salt Lake is a vacation stop not to be missed. The 75-mile lake is surrounded by eight islands that offer a number of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Visitors can take a cruise around the lake or head over to Saltair - a resort that has been rebuilt three times in its history and is currently used as a concert venue. If you want to swim or float in the lake, the best place to do so is at Antelope Island State Park which provides easy access to the white oolitic sand beaches.

Things to Do:

  • Swimming or floating the lake

  • Boating or kayaking across the lake

  • Birdwatching at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve

  • Taking a scenic flight across the lake

Stay At:

Lake Havasu, Arizona

Lake Havasu

Christened as Arizona's Playground, Lake Havasu is a party lake that must not be missed, especially during spring break. The 400 miles of stunning shoreline is complimented by amazing places to eat, drink, and gamble. Explore all of Lake Havasu by taking a boat ride that reveals stunning rock formations, secluded coves, and hidden beaches. Want to spend some time fishing on the lake? Lake Havasu is one of the best fishing lakes in the Southwest.

Things to Do:

Stay At:

Flathead Lake, Montana

Flathead Lake

In addition to tranquil valleys and stunning mountain ranges, Montana is also home to one of the clearest lakes in the US, Flathead Lake. The 200 miles of sparkling water and the 185 miles of shoreline is accessible through 13 public access points that are maintained by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. This family-friendly lake has everything from public restrooms, and a boat launch, to camping and picnic facilities. Home to a gravelly beach, hiking trails, a scuba diving center, and cherry orchards, Flathead lake has fun activities for all ages.

Things to Do:

  • Sailing or powerboating across the lake

  • Fishing

  • Waterskiing

  • Walking by Wild Horse Island

  • Shopping in Kalispell, Bigfork, and Polson

Stay At:

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Deep Creek Lake

The largest inland body of water in Maryland, Deep Creek Lake, attracts a number of visitors throughout the year. This man-made lake is home to a large variety of bird and aquatic life. There are a number of fun beach and water activities visitors can enjoy, from boating to skiing and everything in between. There is also a white sand section on the beach that is perfect for lounging on sunny days.

Things to Do:

  • Kayaking or paddleboarding in the lake

  • Mountain biking

  • Trying your hand at archery

  • Ziplining

  • Golfing

  • Go-carting

Stay At:

High Falls Lake, Georgia

High Falls Lake

High Falls Lake is the perfect vacation spot for people looking to get away from the crowds and a little off the beaten path. This 250-acre lake is located inside the High Falls Lake Park one hour south of Atlanta. The lake is surrounded by what was once a prosperous town complete with stores, a grist mill, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, a shoe factory, and a hotel that descended into a ghost town at the turn of the 19th century. Regardless, the lake has many fun activities in store for the whole family.

Things to Do:

  • Spending an afternoon at the High Falls Water Park

  • Boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding across the lake

  • Fishing

  • Geocaching

  • Hiking

Stay At:

Dip into some fun!

There you have it, the top 10 most scenic lakes to visit this spring and summer. No matter which lake you decide to visit this season, make sure to book a parking spot at your preferred RV park in advance as these places tend to fill up quickly.

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When planning the best lake vacation in the US, don't forget to include a retreat day in your itinerary. I recently experienced a retreat day at wheelofbliss and found it incredibly refreshing. Spending a day reconnecting with yourself, nature, and your inner spirit can transform a regular vacation into a rejuvenating experience. Retreat days offer a chance to step back from the hustle and bustle, allowing you to return stronger and more grounded. If you're heading to one of the must-visit lakes, consider setting aside time for a retreat day. It's the perfect way to enhance your vacation and ensure you return home feeling truly recharged.


Choosing a vacation rental by the lake can elevate your experience, providing the comfort of home with the beauty of the outdoors right at your doorstep. Whether it's a cozy cabin or a luxurious lakeside home, a vacation rental ensures a memorable and relaxing getaway.


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