Lake vacations are available year-round in the United States, and even in the arid Southwest, you may be able to find one close to your home. The best estimate is that there are between three and four million lakes in the United States, ranging in size from backyard ponds to natural marvels like Oregon’s Crater Lake.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota, actually has approximately 14,000 lakes, making it the state with the most lakes with official names in the continental United States. Second place goes to Michigan, and third to Florida; among the smaller states, Maine stands out with approximately 6,000. However, with an estimated three million lakes, Alaska far outdistances the competition. Lake Clark, close to Port Alsworth, is one of our favorite places in Alaska because it offers many opportunities for wilderness exploration, whether you’re interested in going kayaking, fishing, or wildlife watching for grizzlies and caribou.
State of New York and State of Vermont on Lake Champlain
Most lakes conjure up images of summer getaways, with the exception of Lake Tahoe, which is a famous destination for winter sports, and Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, where windsurfing continues well into the autumn. After all, Henry David Thoreau famously sought out the wooded Massachusetts pond Walden to get away from it all and think.
Lake Champlain was a strategic location on land and dordle water for three important American wars: the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. Mount Independence and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum on the Vermont side, as well as forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point on the New York side, all serve as reminders of the lake’s long and often terrible past. Staying in the adjacent Sagamore, a historic resort on the coast of Lake George just south of Ticonderoga, is another option for those who want to stick to the New York side of the state.
Superior Lake, Lower and Upper Michigan, and Wisconsin
As the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior is large enough to contain all of the water from the others. Salmon, trout, walleye, smelt, whitefish, herring, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and many other game species are abundant because of the lake’s three-state location. Duluth, Minnesota, and Bayfield, Wisconsin are among the charter hubs, and fishing is always in season there.
Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and although other lakes may contain shipwrecks or submerged villages, only Crater Lake can claim to be a flooded volcano (and the ninth deepest in the world). If you don’t have a deep-sea submersible, you won’t be able to go very low in the ocean (1,943 feet). But there is a lot to take in from the ground, including Phantom Ship and other rock formations made of lava and cliffs. If you want to see Wizard Island, a cinder cone 763 feet tall formed when Mount Mazama last erupted over 7,700 years ago, up up and personal, try a boat excursion around the lake’s perimeter that also stops at Wizard Island.
Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago
Winnebago is the lake of choice for windsurfers and kite surfers in Wisconsin, particularly in the summer when the shallow, sandy bottom provides water temperatures that are reminiscent of the tropics (75 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). During the winter, the lake freezes over and becomes a natural ice rink where sail-powered ice races may be held.
Paddle your canoe or kayak on Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota and follow in the footsteps of early French trappers, merchants, and explorers. The lake is a part of the waterways that make up Voyageurs National Park, and it has over a dozen wilderness campsites that are only accessible by boat. Some of the most beautiful are along Lost Bay and among the Chief Wooden Frog Islands. Be on the lookout for a wide variety of animals, from otters and wolves to bears and bald eagles, as you explore the shoreline.
The Alaskan Lake Clark
Lake Clark is so remote that the only way to get there is in a bush or float aircraft. The 42-mile-long lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, a dense boreal forest, and roaring rivers. On the water, you may go fishing, kayaking, or animal viewing; on land, you can go on weeklong walks or camp out in the wilderness. The little town of Port Alsworth has a variety of amenities including a tourist center, kayak rentals, guide services, outfitters, a post office, and accommodation.
Tahoe’s high elevation, at 6,225 feet, makes it ideal for snow activities. There are 15 ski resorts surrounding the lake, and visitors can enjoy activities like snowshoeing through the woods, warming up in a lakeside café by the fire, and taking the Sky Express to the top of Heavenly’s highest peak, where they can take in a breathtaking view of the lake and its surrounding mountains.