6 American Lakes that are Better than the Beach


Discoveries USA Featured

While the US is certainly not lacking beachfront destinations, when planning your next vacation, looking inland will lead you to discover that freshwater coastlines are abundant, and packed with character and attractions you wouldn’t believe. SCUBA fanatics, hikers, and sunbathers alike will be amazed by the freshwater alternatives to their favorite salty shoreline.

1. Lake Powell

A favorite backdrop of movie producers, Lake Powell’s idyllic red rock landscape isn’t only visually unique, it's culturally unique. Winding across the border of Arizona and Utah, vacation on Lake Powell is one huge houseboat party. From basic models to luxury vessels, houseboats descend on the lake offering vacationers an ideal retreat. A week on Lake Powell means a morning dip is just a few steps from your bedroom and jetskis are just a hop, skip, and jump away from your sunbathing deck.

2. Crater Lake

When thinking of the best SCUBA in the world, one typically doesn’t think of Oregon. We’re here to fix that. Crater Lake, Oregon is home to a flooded volcano that also happens to be the deepest lake in the USA. Diehards will find that hiking 700 feet with gear is well worth the aquatic lava formations found beneath the surface. More laid-back vacationers will find sunset boat rides and shallow snorkeling spots make for a scenic getaway that won’t soon be forgotten.

3. Lake Michigan

With more than 16k miles of shoreline, Lake Michigan has a beach for every type of vacationer. Visit the Traverse City boardwalk, a year-round carnival that is sure to bring out your inner child. Chicago’s skyline offers rooftop bars with to-die-for views, and the picturesque town of Leland is nestled on the sliver of land between Lake Michigan and neighboring Lake Leelanau. Choose the destination that works for you and enjoy all Lake Michigan has to offer.

4. Lake Tahoe

Sitting on the California/ Nevada border is jaw-dropping Lake Tahoe. During the winter it is a top ski destination but the summer has plenty to offer as well. Cooler climates make catamaran cruises and long kayaking trips idyllic and activities like horseback riding, jet ski rentals, and foodie delights are all on the menu.

5. Finger Lakes

Let’s talk aesthetic. New York’s Finger Lakes are home to 100+ wine tasting rooms with spectacular views and crisp lakefront air. Mosey up highway 414 for a wide variety of views and booze. Camping out at one of the many shoreside campsites, cozying up in a quaint bed and breakfast, renting a boat for a lake day, and enjoying the arts are some of the amazing options you have when visiting these northeastern treasures, making this a true cultural destination.

6. Lake Kabetogama

If you’re looking for a true granola getaway, this is the spot for you. Moose, bears, and birds, oh my! call Minnesota home, and the best way to see them in their natural habitat is through canoe and kayak camping. Pitch your tent at one of the many water-access-only camping sites and enjoy a truly off-the-grid experience.

Enjoy this article? Share it with a friend

All featured products and deals are selected independently and objectively by the author. The Discoverer may receive a share of sales via affiliate links in content.

Discover the World’s Best Destinations, with your free weekly travel guide sent straight to your inbox.