Lying at 6,225 feet, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine freshwater lake in North America. It sits west of Carson City on the state line between Nevada and California and was formed as part of the Lake Tahoe Basin about two million years ago. Today, it is popular for its clear waters and panoramic views of the mountains that straddle it on all sides. Lake Tahoe is also a major tourist attraction in California and Nevada and a haven for summer outdoor recreation, winter sports, and snow and ski resorts. If you love touring this location, you will also love these 20 Places Similar to Lake Tahoe.
20. Lake Powell, Utah
Lake Powell offered stunning cliff views and exciting swimming, boating, and kayaking experiences. Although the lake sits on the state line between Utah and Arizona, dipping slightly into the south, most of it is located in Utah. This is a great starting point for visiting other attractions in the area like Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Or, you can sit by the lake and enjoy the beautiful views and activities.
19. Grand Marais, Minnesota
You can birdwatch, rock climb, camp, fish, hike, and canoe in Grand Marais, Minnesota. If outdoor summer activities are not your idea of fun, you can also tour the quaint town and enjoy a surprisingly vibrant art scene and superb dining. You can then cap off your trip with a visit to the lighthouse at Artists’ Point, which offers the perfect peninsula location for amazing trip photos.
18. Rangeley Lake, Maine
Maine is an utter delight in the Summer, and Rangeley Lake is no exception. The small town is home to a mere 1,170 people, making it one of the best low-key summer destinations in the state. During your vacation here, you can kayak, canoe, or bat on one of the six lakes in the area of camp and hike in Rangeley Lake State Park. You can also catch some panoramic views at Saddleback Mountain. The storied lodges, bed and breakfasts, seafood restaurants, and antique shops should keep you busy the rest of the time.
17. Flathead Lake, Bigfork, Montana
Montana is cold and frozen in the winter, but things perk up in summer. This is a great destination for outdoor activities like hiking, fly fishing, and boating. If you love fish, you can spend your day on the 27-mile Flathead Lake, then sit down for delicious grilled lake trout at local establishments. You can also catch the Riverbend Concert series on Sundays in Riverbend Park for live music. Between May and September, the Bigfork Summer Playhouse also holds live musical and theater productions.
16. Lake George, New York
Lake George is home to 44 state-owned secluded islands that feature over 400 campsites. You can reserve some of these sites for as little as $28 a night and enjoy the lake scenery with your loved ones. Away from the sites, you can sign up for boat rentals, waterfall hikes, parasailing, and lake cruises. You can also enjoy some beverages at the iconic lakeside winery, Adirondack Pub and Brewery, or visit one of the largest amusement parks in the state, which is just nearby. If you would like to escape the crowds, drive an hour south to the secluded Great Sacandaga Lake.
15. Lake Keowee, South Carolina
Located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Keowee is an expansive man-made reservoir encompassing about 29 square miles. Its 350-mile shoreline is only a quarter developed, which makes for a pristine and isolated setting. Along the shore are several cabins that stay alive throughout the night, offering jet skis, floating rafts, and other vessels for rent.
14. Lake Okoboji, Iowa
Arnold town is a beautiful resort town that has been around since the 19th century. Teeming with ancient novelties like lemonade and popcorn stands and colorful Ferris wheels that rise just over the lake, it is a charming destination for families. You can take a glass-bottom boat ride on the lazy waters of Lake Okoboji or rent stand-up paddleboards or jet skis for a more adrenaline-packed experience. You can also visit the eponymous park, stroll through the ancient streets downtown, and enjoy the area’s popular ice cream – Nutty Bars. At night, you can enjoy parties, cold beers, and live music by the lake.
13. Lake Superior, Marquette, Michigan
The small friendly mining town of Marquette hugs the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan. Its charming vibe, world-class berries, old-school dives, and vibrant nightlife make it a great lake destination for you and your loved ones. During the day, you can jump off cliffs into Lake Superior at Presque Isle or have a quiet day of scenery at Little Presque. At night, you can catch a panorama of the starry sky from the Superior overlook or the haunted Breakwall in town. You should also visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore during your vacation. Located an hour from Marquette, this waterfront is wrapped in some of the most colorful cliffs and landscapes in the country.
12. Lake Havasu, Arizona
Lake Havasu is famous for its party scene, and you should cross it off your to-do list if you prefer a relaxed, slow-paced experience. Here, you will find casino gambling, plenty of drinks, and delicious foods. Although the heat can rise to brutal levels – up to 128 degrees – you can remain cool by spending most of your time in the water. The lake is open for boating, kayaking, and scuba diving.
11. Lake Hamilton, Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs is a resort town surrounded by beautiful hills and named for its 143-degree waters. The mineral-rich lake and bathhouses have been known to draw big names to the town, including Al Capone and Babe Ruth. On the west edge, Lake Hamilton is a lazy, relaxed impound that is suited to family fun. You can spend the day boating, then float over to Sam’s pizza joint located on the water and enjoy live music and good food. Hot Springs is also a hub of good music and art.
10. Canandaigua, New York
Canandaigua has many things to offer, including Kershaw Park, which features a launching area and a small beach where you can rent kayaks. You can also waterski and wakeboard at Roseland Wake Park, where cables are used to pull you along. Away from the water, you can enjoy the thrills of Main Street, which include brick brownstone rows containing shops, galleries, antiques, breweries, and restaurants. Canandaigua is also home to The Lake House; a beautiful hotel boasting bonfire pits by the shore, grounds encompassing the lake’s northern tip, and a heated pool.
9. Table Rock Lake, Branson, Missouri
Table Rock Lake is stunning, relaxed, and family-friendly. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the quiet hills make for a great reprieve. However, if you are a thrill-seeker, you will love the roller coaster options in Branson. Silver Dollar City recently opened The Time Traveler, which is the largest spinning roller coaster in the world. Runaway Mountain, which is just outside the park, offers a single-car alpine coaster and the giant original Branson coaster. All options feel like go-karting down a winding hill. Even better than these coaster options is the gigantic Bigfoot – a free-fall ride that rises over 200 feet over Branson and the lake.
8. Dillon Reservoir, Colorado
The Dillon Reservoir is the largest tourist attraction in Dillon. The alpine lake sits at a 9,000-foot elevation and is located within 10 miles of several major ski resorts. If you want to spend your day outside, visit the magnificent Dillon Amphitheatre and grab some food and drinks at local cafes in town. You can also drive through Boreas Pass or hike to Sapphire Point. When you are done exploring, wind down by sun-soaking on a boat on Lake Dillon. The surrounding mountains are breathtaking.
7. Saugatuck and Douglas, Michigan
Saugatuck and Douglas are located 45 minutes from Grand Rapids, which makes them a vantage starting point for your lakeside vacation in Michigan. You can spend your door on the shore, then grab some sun at Oval Beach or charter fish on Lake Michigan. If you are in the mood for more adventure, you can go hiking in Mount Baldhead Park.
6. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
Lake Winnipesaukee is located in Wolfeboro – America’s oldest resort town. It has, in the past, drawn celebrities like Dustin Hoffman, Jimmy Fallon, and Drew Barrymore, thanks to its stunning waters and beautiful lakeside homes. In addition to the lake, visitors can enjoy several free concerts, farmers’ markers, and festivals in Wolfeboro. During summer, a large truck full of lobsters pulls up and remains in town until all the lobsters are gone. This fantastic event is called Lobster Day at Hunters IGA Foodstore.
5. Ely, Minnesota
Ely is located 12 miles from Canada and is the entrance to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which is teeming with lakes. The wilderness preserve is almost the size of Delaware and is the largest in the country found east of the Rockies. Often considered a lake district, it is, in fact, an inland sea speckled with wooded islands. It is an excellent canoeing and camping destination, featuring a myriad of interconnected waterfalls, lakes, and streams surrounded by gigantic white pines, ridges, cliffs, and ancient rock art.
4. Priest Lake, Idaho
Priest Lake is a 19-mile freshwater lake located fifteen miles from the Canadian border. Its shores are lined with old-timey cabins that give you an uninterrupted view of the beautiful water. At Hills Resort, you can play pickleball with locals and learn more about the quaint town that is home to about 800 residents. You can also collect wild morels at the nearby golf course or visit Indian Rock for a tour of prehistoric pictographs engraved by Native Americans.
3. Shasta Lake, California
Shasta Lake is a hub of lakeside fun, complete with stunning views of Mt. Shasta’s snowcapped peak that rises to an astonishing 14,180 feet. During summer, you can spend your days on bass boats, houseboats, jet skis, sailboats, and pontoons on the blue water. You can also drop anchor on the many coves along the 370-mile coast and fish crappie, sturgeons, catfish, and bass. To cap off your trip, you can tour the 602-foot Shasta Dam, which is the second largest concrete dam in the country, or the Lake Shasta Caverns. The latter comprises 250-million-year-old underground caves that you can only explore on a boat over the lake.
2. Lake Chelan, Washington
Lake Chelan is located in Northern Washington, about 3 hours outside Seattle. The idyllic lake is over 1,500 feet deep with robin egg blue water that rivals the Caribbean. Getting over 300 days of sunshine a year, it is also a great destination for jet skiing, speed boating, paddle boarding, and kayaking. You can take a day away from the lake and visit the serene local villages of Stehekin, Mason, and Chillan. You can also tour the gigantic North Cascades National Park, which is home to remote backcountry camping sites, extensive alpine forests, and over 300 glaciers. Lake Chelan is also a haven for wine lovers, featuring several wineries overlooking the lake and serving more than 20 different grape varieties.
1. Big Bear Lake, California
Like Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake is a four-season destination. It is a smooth ride from LAX since it is located only two hours from Los Angeles, making it an excellent weekend getaway away from the city. Activities to look forward to here include hiking and swimming in summer and snow tubing and skiing in winter. Moreover, Big Bear Alpine Zoo and Big Bear Lake Village offer a log cabin and a small-town vibe that is absolutely charming. The zoo is actually an animal sanctuary that rehabilitates orphaned or injured animals before deciding if they should be released back into the wild. Consequently, wildlife lovers will enjoy their trip to Big Bear Lake all the more.
Written by Liz Flynn
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