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8 Best US Lakes For Families to Visit During Summer

Adorable girl on a pebbly beach in Lake Superior in the US one of the best lakes to visit with your family this summer
Photo Courtesy: Antonia Grant

An amazing summer vacation to one of the best US lakes for families awaits! Whether you’re looking to fish, sunbathe, or also hit the trails, the United States offers miles of pristine shoreline from coast to coast. Visit Lake Placid in New York to overlook water so crystal clear it’s almost mirror-like, or, head to Lake Tahoe in California for a mix of outdoor activities and nightlife entertainment. Families who love red-rock scenery will also treasure a stay in Lake Powell in Arizona, home to the famous Rainbow Bridge. No matter where you decide to visit, we’ve compiled a list detailing what to know before setting off on your adventure. Check out this list of 8 Best US Lakes For Families During Summer to plan your next vacation with kids! 

Lake Tahoe

A trip to Lake Tahoe will surely be packed with family fun! Straddling the California-Nevada border, it’s glimmering waters overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountains are one of the USA’s deepest, featuring activities for all interest types. In South Tahoe, find lively boutiques, restaurants, and bars near the Heavenly Ski Resort, a popular winter destination for families. During the summer, feel free to take a dip in Lake Tahoe’s warm waters at either Kings or Baldwin Beach, where families can also parasail, kayak, or rent a steamboat, among other water sports. To see the lake from a new vantage point, kids can also ride on a gondola from the Heavenly Village Center, where you’ll cruise upstream with a panoramic view. Once you reach the top, navigate nearby hiking trails easy for children, like The East Peak Trail. For even more stunning views, however, don’t miss Emerald Bay State Park!

RELATED ARTICLE: Summer Activities in North Lake Tahoe Kids Will Love

Lake Michigan 

Beautiful view of Lake Michigan, one of the Best US Lakes to Visit with your Family this Summer
Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Whitson

Lake Michigan is a great lake for your next family adventure. (Literally, as part of the Great Lakes, it’s the only one located entirely within the United States!) Shaped like a handprint, this unique formation spans Michigan’s West Coast for nearly 23,000 square miles. With all that space, you’ll definitely find countless activities for adults and kids alike; whether it’s a loop to spot Lake Michigan’s many lighthouses, or a visit to the Michigan Maritime Museum to learn more about them. Plus, between soaking up the sun at Grand Haven State Park, or that of Sleeping Bear Point Beach, you’ll find plenty of water sports to keep occupied either way! Little ones who love building sandcastles may particularly enjoy a visit to Sleeping Bear, known for its miles of dunes. By night, save room for a visit to one of Lake Michigan’s delicious fudge shops on Mackinac Island!

RELATED: Best Lakes in the Midwest for Families

Lake George

Boy and a girl in a orange towable tubing on Lake George
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

Families will love Lake George’s shimmering waters! From the stunning Adirondack Mountains to a modern downtown area, this New York destination is perfect for kids of all ages. Go for a swim, paddleboard, or rent a kayak along its 32-mile-stretch of shoreline! You can also visit Ushers Park Beach, popular for its calm waters and playgrounds. The Stone Bridge Caves, which are within driving distance, are also an easy hike for little kids. (Or, visit Fort William Henry to learn some history!) More family fun can be found at the downtown Lake George Village area, where kids can ride roller coasters and play carnival games! Children will also love The Around the World Golf Course, with U.S. landmarks as different holes. Bolton Landing is also a non-touristy alternative before enjoying dinner at places like Cate’s Italian Garden or The Huddle!

RELATED: Best Lake Resorts in the Northeast Families Will Love

Lake Superior

Family with a baby and two toddler posing for a photo in Lake Superior
Photo Courtesy: Chelsey Knealing

Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface! Flanked by Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, this massive lake is home to generations of spooky legends, shipwrecks, and adventures for little ones to enjoy. Luckily, there are also many wonderful places to explore Lake Superior as a family! In Minnesota, you’ll find lodges, shops, and outdoor adventures from Duluth to Grand Marais. Find amazing views of the lake and hear its history at Split Rock Lighthouse, for example. Or, check out the William A. Irvin ship in Duluth. In Wisconsin, Bayfield and the Apostle Islands gives families opportunities to explore Lake Superior by sailboat, kayak, or lake cruise. Take a ferry to Madeline Island for hiking, golfing, or relaxing on the beach! Kids will be in awe of this magnificent lake, described quite perfectly by Reverend George Grant “Though its waters are fresh and clear, Superior is a sea.”

RELATED ARTICLE: 11 Exciting Weekend Getaways from Minneapolis for Families

Lake Powell 

Girls in a boat in best Lake Powell in USA

Take a dip in Arizona’s family-friendly Lake Powell! Bordering Utah, this 2,000-mile shoreline brags eternal sunshine, breathtaking scenery, and countless activities to keep entertained. Houseboats, camping, and other expeditions are popular ways to tour this massive red-rock playground, nicknamed “America’s lost National Park.” To explore by sea, families can also rent kayaks, paddleboards, or even boats, available from access points onshore. Lounge on sandy beaches at Antelope Point in Arizona, or Wahweap if you’re on the Utah side. Located in Arizona’s Bullfrog Bay, Hobie and Stanton Beach are also popular with kids, featuring accessible swimming and nearby facilities. Aside from relaxing seaside, also take advantage of its endless nature walks! Within Glen Canyon National Park, older kids can hike Horseshoe Bend for panoramas of the Colorado River. For younger children, Hanging Gardens Trail is usually easier. And, a family photo at the iconic Rainbow Bridge is a must! 

Lake Placid

Mom and a son on a kayak in Lake Placid NY, one of the Best US Lakes to Visit with your Family this Summer.
Photo Courtesy: Sarah Einhorn

Lake Placid provides families with year-around fun! A world-famous New York ski destination, it’s an equally fantastic summer location with kids. Within this beautiful mountain town, find high-class dining, quaint shops, and plenty of outdoor fun! Enjoy a trip to Mirror Lake snow or sun, where kids can canoe, paddleboard, kayak, or swim lined by tiny picturesque cottages. At Lake Placid’s south end, lounge on its Village Beach, complete with soft sand, shallow water for kids, and a tennis court. Nearby, you’ll also find a pier to stroll and take in views of the amazing Adirondack Mountains. Or, take a longer, half-hour hike along High Falls Gorge to earn a mesmerizing view of the falls! Kids visiting Lake Placid may also be fascinated by its history, which once hosted the Winter Olympics. Stop at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum or the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex to learn more! 

Lake Winnipesaukee

Bridge on the Lake Winnioesaukee with lush green trees,  one of the best US lakes for families.

Unwind at the foothills of New Hampshire’s White Mountains at Lake Winnipesaukee! As NH’s largest lake, you’ll find plenty to experience throughout three waterfront villages, accessible by car or boat. Weirs Beach is most popular for families, boasting an arcade, boardwalk, and water sports of all sorts! Fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are all family-friendly ways to see Lake Winnipesaukee. With a 600-foot beachfront, picnic areas, and pristine waters, Ellacoya State Park is also great for little children! Teens may fancy a visit to historic village Meredith, where you’ll find quaint antique shops and galleries. Visit Moulton Farm to stock up on fresh produce and more homemade sweets! In Wolfeboro, hike the scenic Cotton Valley Rail Trail. Plus, no Lake Winnipesaukee visit is complete without ice cream! Try Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach, Town Docks in Meredith, or Bailey’s Bubble in Wolfeboro. Then, visit Weirs Drive-In Theater to catch a movie! 

Lake Table Rock

Table Rock Lake during fall and mountain in the background, one of the best US lakes for families.

Lake Table Rock is another gem on our list of best US lakes for families! Missouri’s 500-mile-long lake has scenery to soak in at every turn, overlooking the stunning Ozark Mountains. Adventurous families will find a perfect mix of outdoor activities here! Moonshine Beach, for example, is a great option for little children to splash in calm waters or build sandcastles while parents relax. For a more active approach, Table Rock State Park’s marina offers anything from paddle boats to fishing gear, in addition to numerous picnic areas and hiking trails. Explore mysterious geological formations at the Talking Rock Cavern, which you can take a tour of. Or, rent a bike to head to Dogwood Canyon, a sprawling natural area across the Missouri-Arkansas border. Of course, definitely, Silver Dollar City and Shepherd of the Hills Amusement Park are must-visits too, featuring zip-lining, obstacle courses, and more! 

Happy Lake-Inspired Travels!

All of these 8 Best US Lakes For Families During Summer guarantee amazing memories to last a lifetime. No matter where you choose to visit for your summer vacation, you’ll have a fantastic time at any of these destinations.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of 8 Best US Lakes For Families During Summer!

Thank You to Our Community

Two parents hold the hands of their young daughter on the shore of Lake Geneva, with brilliant fall colors in the distance.
Photo Courtesy: VISIT Lake Geneva

A special thank you to the Families Who Love to Travel Facebook community for voting on our Best US Lakes poll to help compile this list of 8 Best US Lakes For Families During Summer! Families Who Love To Travel is a group of amazing families who love adventure and exploring through travel. Join the Facebook community and the Instagram community to connect with other families who love the unique experiences travel has to offer.

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.
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