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20 Places Similar to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lying at 6,225 feet above sea level, Lake Tahoe refers to the largest alpine freshwater lake in North America, surrounded by the stunning alpine Sierra Nevada Mountains that straddle the lake from all sides. Lake Tahoe, which was formed as part of the Lake Tahoe Basin approximately two million years ago, sits west of Carson City on the Nevada/California state line.

Lake Tahoe is home to diverse wildlife, a unique ecosystem, and water that is exceptionally clear, with visibility to depths of more than 70 feet. The area around Lake Tahoe offers a wide range of outdoor and sports activities throughout the year, including options in the surrounding rustic mountain towns. In winter, Lake Tahoe boasts several world-class ski resorts, including Heavenly, Squaw Valley and more. However, Lake Tahoe is also a year-round destination – with great summer activities from which to choose.

Lake Tahoe has a vibrant cultural scene, hosting various cultural events, including music festivals, art shows, and sporting events. The South (or Nevada) side of Lake Tahoe is known for its casinos, where you can enjoy gaming and entertainment in addition to the area’s outdoor adventures.

Our Methodology

Overall, Lake Tahoe's combination of natural beauty and recreational options make it a popular destination for visitors from across the globe. So, to select a list of places like Lake Tahoe, we scoured the internet’s travel and state/government websites dedicated to attracting tourists to similar outdoor activities and attractions.

20 Places Similar to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is also a major tourist attraction in California and neighboring Nevada and a haven for summer outdoor activities, winter recreational sports, and snow and ski resorts. If you love beautiful lakes, with adventure, wildlife, and nature to keep you busy, you will also love these 20 Places like Lake Tahoe.

20. Lake Keowee, South Carolina

Lake Keowee, South Carolina

Located at the foot of the lush and beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Keowee is an expansive man-made reservoir encompassing 18,000+ acres. Only about 25 percent of its 350-mile shoreline is developed, which makes for a pristine and isolated setting. Along Lake Keowee’s shore are several cabins that offer jet skis, floating rafts, and other vessels for rent. Like Lake Keowee, Lake Tahoe also offers winter sports adventures in the surrounding mountain areas during the colder months.

19. Lake Powell, Utah

Lake Powell, Utah

Lake Powell, which is a reservoir of the Colorado River, offers stunning cliff views and exciting swimming, boating, and kayaking adventures. Lake Powell sits on the Utah/Arizona state, with most of the lake within Utah’s borders. Lake Powell is the 2nd largest man-made American reservoir that offers great adventures and attractions in its surrounding red rock canyons. Or, you can sit by Lake Powell and enjoy the beautiful views and activities.

18. Grand Marais, Minnesota

Grand Marais, Minnesota

At Grand Marais, Minnesota, which is situated on the shores of Lake Superior and encircled by rugged landscapes and forests, you can birdwatch, rock climb, camp, fish, hike, and canoe. If summer outdoor activities are not your preference, take a stroll in the quaint town and enjoy a surprisingly vibrant art scene and excellent dining options. You can then cap off your trip with a visit to the Artists’ Point lighthouse, which offers the perfect peninsula location for amazing photo ops.

17. Rangeley Lake, Maine

Rangeley Lake, Maine

Maine is a summer delight, and Rangeley Lake is no exception. The small Maine town is home to a mere 1,200 (2022) people, making it one of the best-kept low-key summer destinations in the state. During your vacation, check out opportunities to kayak, canoe, or boat on the area’s many lakes or hike Rangeley Lake State Park – some with panoramic views at Saddleback Mountain. The lodges, bed and breakfasts, seafood restaurants, and antique shops, some dating back some time, should keep you busy when not exploring the natural beauty of Maine.

16. Flathead Lake, Bigfork, Montana

Flathead Lake, Bigfork, Montana

Montana is cold and frozen during winter months, but things perk up in summer. Flathead Lake, which is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, is a great destination for outdoor activities like hiking, fly fishing, and boating. If you love fishing, you can spend exploring the 27-mile Flathead Lake and then enjoy delicious grilled lake trout offered up by local chefs. On Sundays, catch the Riverbend Concert series in Riverbend Park for live music. In the warmer months, the Bigfork Summer Playhouse also holds live musical and theater productions, so there is something for everyone.

15. Lake George, New York

Lake George, New York

Lake George is home to more than 40 state-owned secluded islands that offer visitors more than 400 campsite options. You can reserve some of these campsites for as little as $28/night, with some islands having only one campsite for complete privacy. The area offers 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 New York’s largest amusement parks located nearby. If you would like to escape the more popular places, drive south to the secluded Great Sacandaga Lake.

14. Lake Okoboji, Iowa

Lake Okoboji, Iowa

Arnold is a beautiful resort town that feels as if time has forgotten – with ancient novelties like lemonade and popcorn stands and Ferris wheels that rise above the lake. This area is a charming destination for families, as this Great Lake region in Iowa offers a glass-bottom boat ride on Lake Okoboji or rentable stand-up paddleboards or jet skis for those looking for speed. You can also stroll through the ancient streets downtown, and enjoy the area’s popular ice cream – the Nutty Bar Stand. At night, you can enjoy planned and impromptu parties, cold beers, and live music.

13. Lake Superior, Marquette, Michigan

Lake Superior, Marquette, Michigan

This small, friendly mining town of Marquette is located along Lake Superior’s shores in Michigan and offers a charming vibe, old-school dives, world-class berries, and vibrant nightlife, making it a great lake destination for family and friends. During the day, you can jump the cliffs at Presque Isle into Lake Superior or simply spend some quiet time at Little Presque. At night, enjoy a panoramic view of the starry sky from the Superior Overlook or the haunted Breakwall in town. Try to find time for the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which is an hour from Marquette and offers some of the most colorful cliffs and landscapes in the country.

12. Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, which is the deepest in the U.S., is a caldera lake (that which forms within a crater) that was created within the now-extinct Mount Mazama - after a volcanic eruption. Crater Lake is located in a national park for which it was named and offers diverse landscapes and volcanic features that provide a variety of outdoor activities and breathtaking views of this unique landscape. Crater Lake is among the places like Lake Tahoe in that it is known for its clear and pristine waters – in this case, caused by the absence of rivers/streams feeding into the lake to maintain its clarity.

11. Lake Arrowhead, California

Lake Arrowhead and Lake Tahoe are both located in picturesque alpine environments that are surrounded by mountains/forests – with Lake Arrowhead situated in Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest and Lake Tahoe in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Each destination provides visitors with year-round activities and adventure options, with hiking trails offering beautiful views. For shopping, entertainment, and dining opportunities in the Lake Arrowhead area, check out Lake Arrowhead Village – day or night.

10. Canandaigua, New York

Canandaigua, New York

Canandaigua, in upstate New York, offers a variety of engaging options, including Kershaw Park, which features a boat launching area, and a small beach where kayaks can be rented. In Roseland Wake Park, check out the waterski and wakeboard, where cables pull riders over the water. Enjoy the thrills of Main Street, which includes brownstone rows containing shops, antiques, breweries, galleries, and restaurants. Canandaigua is also home to The Lake House, a hotel with a heated pool and bonfire pits by the shore, along the lake’s northern tip to enjoy a nightcap or s’mores.

9. Table Rock Lake, Branson, Missouri

Table Rock Lake, Branson, Missouri

Table Rock Lake is stunning, relaxed, and a family-friendly destination - away from the hustle and bustle of the city. While the quiet hills offer a chance to relax, there are thrill-seeking options in nearby Branson. Check out Silver Dollar City’s The Time Traveler, the largest spinning roller coaster in the world, or Runaway Mountain, a single-car alpine coaster, and the giant original Branson coaster. Try other coaster options like the gigantic Bigfoot – a free-fall ride that offers spectacular views and thrills as it rises over 200 feet over Branson and the lake.

8. Dillon Reservoir, Colorado

Dillon Reservoir, Colorado

The Dillon Reservoir, which is considered an alpine lake, is located at a 9,000-foot elevation and is the largest tourist attraction in Dillon. This beautiful Colorado destination is only 10 miles from several major ski resorts. For some outdoor adventure, visit the magnificent Dillon Amphitheatre and grab some grub and potent potables at local cafes. You can also drive Boreas Pass or hike Sapphire Point. When you are done exploring this incredibly beautiful mountain location, wind down by sun-soaking on a boat on Lake Dillon. The surrounding mountains are breathtaking any time of day.

7. Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid is situated in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. This scenic and picturesque location hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1980. Both destinations are popular year-round resorts that offer water, kicking, and outdoor activities in summer, although Lake Tahoe is clearly the bigger of the two. In the winter, both Lake Placid and Lake Tahoe are known for their winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding.

6. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee is located in Wolfeboro – which holds the distinction of being America’s oldest resort town. It has drawn celebrities like Dustin Hoffman, Jimmy Fallon, and Drew Barrymore, thanks to its stunning waters and lakeside homes. In addition to the lake and water activities, visitors can enjoy free concerts, farmers’ markers, and various festivals. During Lobster Day at Hunters IGA Foodstore in the summer, a large truck packed with fresh lobsters pulls up until they are sold out.

5. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Both Jackson Hole and Lake Tahoe are known for their stunning natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Jackson Hole is surrounded by the majestic Teton Range and, like Lake Tahoe, offers world-class ski resorts, challenging slopes, and an atmosphere that resembles a winter wonderland. Jackson Hole has a charming town center, famous rustic charm, art galleries, and a western motif. Both areas provide opportunities for diverse wildlife viewing.

4. Priest Lake, Idaho

Priest Lake, Idaho

Priest Lake is another place that is similar to Lake Tahoe. The lake offers 19-mile square miles of freshwater located only fifteen miles south of the Canadian border. The shores of Priest Lake are lined with old-time cabins with clear views of the beautiful waters of Priest Lake. 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. At Hills Resort, check out some pickleball or learn more about the quaint town that is home to several thousand residents.

3. Shasta Lake, California

Shasta Lake, California

Shasta Lake offers a hub of lakeside fun, with amazing views of Mt. Shasta’s snowcapped peak at 14,180 feet. During the summer, you can spend your days on bass boats, jet skis, sailboats, houseboats, and pontoons on the blue waters of Shasta Lake in California. You can also drop anchor on the many coves along the lake’s 370-mile coast to find sturgeons, catfish, bass, and more. Check out the 602-foot Shasta Dam, which is the second-largest concrete dam in the country. The Lake Shasta Caverns consist of a 250-million-year-old underground cave system that you can only explore on a boat over the lake.

2. Lake Chelan, Washington

Lake Chelan, Washington

Lake Chelan is located in the northern part of Washington state – 3 hours from Seattle. The idyllic lake has depths of 1,500 feet with blue water that rivals some of the bluest in the Caribbean. With more than 300 sunshine days each year, it is also a great destination for jet skiing, speed boating, paddle boarding, and kayaking. Lake Chelan is also a haven for wine lovers, with several wineries that overlook Lake Chelan and serve more than 20 different grape varieties. Tour the gigantic North Cascades National Park, which is home to remote backcountry camping sites, extensive alpine forests, and over 300 glaciers. You can take a day away from the lake and visit the peaceful villages of Stehekin, Mason, and Chillan nearby.

1. Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake, is similar to Lake Tahoe as both are four-season destinations. Only two hours from LAX, Big Bear offers an excellent weekend getaway away from the city. Activities and adventures available include hiking and swimming in summer and snow tubing/skiing in winter. In addition, Big Bear Alpine Zoo and Big Bear Lake Village offer a charming small-town vibe with cabins and accommodations to match. Big Bear Alpine Zoo is an animal sanctuary offering rehabilitation to orphaned/injured animals before deciding if they should be released back into the wild.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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