A tropical beach vacation to an ocean has its place, mind you. But there are countless lakes across the U.S. that offer endless opportunities for adventure. From scenic swims in glassy water to kayaking through waters surrounded by canyons, US lakes offer something for everyone.
Check out these five different lakes across the U.S. that you’ll want to add to your bucket list:
One of the most beautiful lakes in the country, Lake Tahoe rests on the border of California and Nevada. With crystal clear water that is peaceful and still, this tranquil lake is simply stunning. The drive around the lake is approximately 72 miles and provides many pull offs to take in the views. Rent a boat or kayak to really explore the lake. There are many hiking trails around the lake — including ones that lead to waterfalls and enchanting smaller lakes nearby. For those looking to get some more adventure, hit Eagle Lake and Cascade Lake.
One of the five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is definitely worth a trip when visiting the Midwest. Lake Michigan’s waters touch the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It is the only Great Lake that lies completely within the U.S.—the others all cross into Canada. Lake Michigan is so vast, that standing on its shores can feel like standing on the edge of the ocean.
With the horizon extending so far in the distance it seems as if it could go on forever. Lake Michigan is great year round. It perfect for ice fishing in winter; a boat ride in spring, a swim in the summer, or checking out the fall foliage. Whether you enjoy the beautiful hikes along the epic sand dunes on the Michigan shores of the lake or take a bike ride along Lake Michigan on downtown Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, be sure to experience Lake Michigan and all of the many activities it has to offer.
Holding the title as the deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake should be added to any bucket list. The striking blue water of Crater Lake is some of the purest in the country as it is comprised of mostly rain and snow melt. Formed from the collapse of an erupting volcano, the ecological history of this lake makes visiting it even more fascinating as you learn about its incredible origin. Driving the Rim Drive around the lake or hiking the paths in Crater Lake National Park allow for magnificent views of this wonder or take a boat ride through the park’s boat vendor to experience it from an entirely different viewpoint.
While the water level has been getting alarming lower in recent years, Lake Powell is one to check out while you can. Located within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Powell is a water sports haven. Bordering northern Arizona and southern Utah it is a great spot to go boating, water skiing, or wakeboarding. Some might not realize that Lake Powell is actually not natural, but rather is a man-made reservoir that is part of the Colorado River.
If you’re looking for a solo adventure through the winding turns of the reservoir, opt for a jet ski. You can also navigate the waters on stand up paddle board, and kayak. Going through the narrow curves of Lake Powell makes for a beautiful paddle on a kayak. The slower pace can allow you to appreciate the tall canyon walls towering on both sides. The brilliant blue water against the gradient shades of white, brown, and red rock provides a striking contrast. It makes for a beautiful landscape reminiscent of the Greek islands. Depending on water levels there are parts of Lake Powell that are perfect for cliff jumping if you’re looking for a little adrenaline rush.
The lakes of North Cascades National Park are some of the most gorgeous in the country. Located in the northwest region of the United States in northern Washington, Diablo Lake and the other mountain lakes in this national park are not to be missed.
Known for its vibrant turquoise water, Diablo Lake is surrounded by rich, green forests. It makes the water all the more vivid. The water’s color is caused by eroding rock that dispels particles in the ice and water. Most make their way into the lake from melting glaciers. The best times to see the brightly colored lake is in the summer months, particularly July through September. However, sometimes if there are wildfires in proximity it can make for a hazy view. There are lots of other lakes to check out in North Cascades National Park with hiking trails of various lengths to reach them.
Whether you’re a up for a leisurely kayak or paddle board trip you can turn to a look. Or, if you are ready to get your adrenaline pumping while wakeboarding and waterskiing, that exists too. Just get Outdoors!