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Tahoe Needs A Minute: Here are 5 Amazing Lakes to Visit Instead

It’s no secret that Lake Tahoe is beloved in California and beyond. With its clear, deep, cyan-blue waters, endless sandy beaches, and year-round appeal for winter and summer recreation, it’s an incredible corner of the world. Lately, the area has seen a huge increase in tourism thanks to new full-time residents fleeing to the mountains and an influx of people keen to explore the stunning alpine lake.

The impact of these numbers has been a challenge for the Tahoe community, including the long-distance Tahoe Rim Trail, which is largely maintained by volunteers who find themselves constantly tidying up after tourists.

The issue has resulted in Lake Tahoe being included on Fodor Travel’s No List 2023. So, is the advice “don’t go to Tahoe in 2023?” Should vacationers really avoid Lake Tahoe, one of the U.S.’s most popular lakes?

I caught up with Anthony Porter, communications director from the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. He passionately wants visitors to continue to enjoy the lake’s natural beauty, but his main mission is to educate visitors on how to enjoy the area responsibly and leave no trace on the landscape.

“We try to advocate visiting on weekdays to break up the weekend rush and crowded beaches and parking lots,” Anthony tells Outdoors.com.

The litter left behind is one of the biggest issues facing Lake Tahoe. “Our drinking water is safe and healthy to drink; there is no need to stockpile dozens of water bottles when visiting Tahoe,” he says.

“The Tahoe Rim Trail Association continually maintains the trail and educates visitors on the most respectful ways to recreate in these beautiful spaces.”

Tahoe needs a minute, it seems. So, what other lakes in the U.S. have equal amounts of beauty and adventure as Lake Tahoe? 

Here are a five more amazing lakes to discover:

Crater Lake, Oregon

amazing-lakes-to-visit-instead-of-lake-tahoe
Image by Posnov

Crater Lake, Oregon is America’s deepest lake and one of its most alluring. Since it lies only five or so hours’ drive away from Tahoe, it makes it a fabulous alternative lakeside destination for a short weekend away, if you’re exploring the west coast.

Surrounded by the towering cliffs of the Cascade Mountain range, spend your days exploring the stunning lake, with miles of hiking and biking trails to discover. Formed by an ancient volcano some 7,000 years ago, Crater Lake’s natural formations, such as Wizard Island and Phantom Ship, are amazing sights to behold.

The water temperature is cool, but it is considered one of the cleanest lakes for swimming in the world.

Lake George, New York

amazing-lakes-to-visit-instead-of-lake-tahoe
Image by Matt Champlin

Lake George is a favorite among New Yorkers, just a few hours’ drive north of New York City. Replace the city buzz for the lake’s gorgeous scenery and laid-back vibes. The scenic drive upstate is well worth it.

True relaxation can be found in this region, known as the Adirondacks. It is home to many lakes, including the more well-known Lake Placid, but George has plenty of wilderness and beaches to explore around its own shores.

There’s never a dull moment at this lake, which is known as the “birthplace of the American vacation.” Grab a drink at a winery, brewery, or enjoy some live music at the Lake George Beach Club.

Moosehead Lake, Maine

amazing-lakes-to-visit-instead-of-lake-tahoe
Image by Cavan Images

Just three hours north of Portland, Maine, Moosehead Lake is found in the heart of the Maine Highlands, and it’s the largest lake in the state.  

From moose safaris to sea plane tours, there are endless ways to experience this beautifully untamed part of the north-east coast.  

It’s also famous for its fishing, hiking, and lake kayaking. It’s a great spot for photography, with special tours and rare wildlife sightings aplenty.

Flathead Lake, Montana

amazing-lakes-to-visit-instead-of-lake-tahoe
Image by DNY59

A massive glacial freshwater lake in western Montana, Flathead Lake is in fact larger than Lake Tahoe but much smaller in volume.

Surrounded by the Mission Mountains to the east and Salish Mountains to the west, the mild climate and glacial soil allows for plentiful wine production and blossoming cherry orchards.

Discover incredible walking trails through ancient pine forests. Explore the rugged beauty of Wild Horse Island, which is only accessible by boat, and home to a handful of wild horses.

Lake Chelan, Washington

amazing-lakes-to-visit-instead-of-lake-tahoe
Image by John Elk

With over 300 days of sunshine per year, Lake Chelan enjoys a drier climate than the western side of Washington, making it a year-round adventure haven for outdoors enthusiasts.  

A long, thin lake surrounded by mountain peaks, it almost resembles a fjord and has several sandy beaches dotted around its shores. The sparkling waters offer lots of activities, from watersports to boat tours. There’s even a parasailing company that will take you on a tour of the lake.

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  1. Wow– the mentioned lakes are breathtaking! The description really matches the nature of Lake Tahoe’s beauty!

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