The best US lake towns for a laid-back summer

Stef Zisovska
You can't beat the picturesque scenery

When the temperatures rise and you feel like your brain is boiling, there’s nothing better than to dive in for a refreshing swim. All over the country, there are lakes where you can spend a hot summer afternoon or even camp for few days.

If you’re a canoe fan, then don’t lose the opportunity to paddle the crystalline waters of a nearby lake. After you spend some time by one of these summertime gems, you might even consider about moving closer to the water.

Kick back and enjoy some carefree summer days by the lakes

Lake Chelan, WA

View of Lake Chelan from Lakeshore trail, near Stehekin – Author: CutOffTies – CC BY-SA 3.0

Lake Chelan is a beautiful, pristine lake fed by glaciers and you should visit if you like windsurfing, kayaking, fishing or swimming. Also, there are about 25 wineries in the area, so don’t hesitate to go wine tasting and enjoy some quality time with your friends. Another good thing about Lake Chelan is that the valley gets on average more than 300 sunny days per year, which makes it a perfect place to visit any time of the year.

Green Lake, WI

Green Lake, Wisconsin, from the west end

Do you like jet skiing, sailing or maybe golf? Green Lake is what you’re looking for. You can choose one of these activities or wet the hook and try to catch some panfish in the deep water. Organize a picnic for your family and take your kids snorkeling to explore the underwater world of the lake. Summer weekends are famous for classical jazz concerts in the park, and the local bars offer live music sessions on a regular basis.

Lake Placid, NY

Mirror Lake, looking north from the public beach – Author: Mwanner – CC BY-SA 3.0

Prepare your hiking boots and get ready for breathtaking views. You can choose different hiking trails here, anything from 5000 feet high peaks to an easy walk on Cobble Hill trail. Most of the trails here are mountain bike friendly, so if that’s what you want to do, you’re very welcome. Also, you can motorboat, raft, fish, or paddle on one of the rivers and lakes in the area. A scenic walk around Mirror Lake is another hiking option you can’t miss. If you want to visit events like horse shows, marathons, or BBQ festivals, summer is the best part of the year to do it.

Mammoth Lakes, CA

“Welcome to Mammoth Lakes, California” – Author: Nandaro – CC BY-SA 3.0

The best way to explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains is to hike and make some great shots of the spectacular landscapes. Mammoth Lakes is a large volcanic depression where you can look for craters, hot springs, granite domes, and quartz. Don’t miss out on a gondola ride at an elevation of 11,053 feet. You can use your visit to make the best photos ever, learn more about the geology of the region at the information center and enjoy the 360 degree view. Activities like biking, horseback riding, and boating are very common here, so if you recognize your hobby then start planning a long weekend. Summer events include bike races and an annual Fly-In, featuring experimental, classic and general aviation aircraft. Classical music lovers can enjoy the week long Bach Fest of concert music.

Lake Champlain, NY

Lake Champlain in Burlington Harbor during late May 2012 sunset – Author: Nagaraju.ramanna – CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are a history buff then this one is for you. The Lake Champlain region will give you the possibility to explore battlefields of the Revolutionary War, French and Indian War, and the War of 1812. Also, you can visit the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and the Underground Railroad museums. If you are not a history fan, just soak up the sun on the miles long shoreline, go hiking, paddle boarding or canoeing. What ever thing you chose to do, you won’t regret it.

If you can’t stand the summer heat and want to chill out for a few days, visit some of these magnificent nature playgrounds and have a great fun with the ones you love. Besides beautiful landscapes, these lakes offer tons of outdoor activities that are great for your physical and mental health.

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