Lake experiences tend to be more pastoral than their oceanfront counterparts, and because lakes are generally found at higher elevations, they overlap many mountain experiences. As a result, they embrace year-round recreational activities that include snow- and ice-related vacation plans. On your next vacation, check out a map and find a nearby lake. Some of them may be as close as your front door, but wherever they are, they’re likely to add a touch of wilderness and a lot of fun to your vacation experience.
Table Rock Lake
If you’re in Ridgedale, Missouri, take a trip to Table Rock Lake, a man-made reservoir created when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Table Rock Dam in the Ozark Mountains between 1954 and 1958. With 800 miles of coastline, Table Rock Lake is host to a number of commercial public marinas (such as Bass Pro Marina at Long Creek) and private marinas (such as Bent Hook) that offer boating experiences ranging from rowboats to the latest personal watercraft. You can swim, water-ski, parasail or rest quietly on the shore, listening to waves lap the shore. It is acclaimed as one of the top bass fishing lakes in North America, with an abundance of bass, crappie, white bass, catfish and blue gill. Fish management in the area has led to a resurgence of largemouth, Kentucky, and small mouth bass of exceptional size, and the lake draws anglers from all over the country.
While vacationing in Peoria, Arizona, you can enjoy a Spanish-influenced lake experience with a visit to Lake Pleasant, located about 30 miles north of Phoenix. It was originally formed in the 1920s, with the construction of the “Carl” Pleasant Dam, later re-named the Waddel Dam. When the dam was rebuilt in 1992 (the original dam is now 100 feet underwater), it tripled the size of the lake, making its 10,000 acres of water a boat-lover’s paradise. Two paved boat ramps, 4 and 10 lanes wide rest next to a parking lot that accommodates 700 cars. You can sail into the sunset, water ski, ride personal watercraft and, if exercise is on your mind, canoe and kayak as well.
While fishing can be good on the shores of Lake Pleasant, the known ‘hot spots’ can only be reached by boat, which can be rented for the occasion. Several creeks and washes feed into the lake where schools of striped and largemouth bass, white and black crappie, channel catfish, bigmouth buffalo fish, tilapia and white bass can be found. If you prefer more landed activities, you can enjoy the scenery by taking advantage of hiking opportunities at a number of area campgrounds. The lake is open year round, except in the month of December, during which certain portions of it are off-limits in order not to disturb nesting eagles.
If you find yourself in the heart of Las Vegas, you’re a mere 30-mile drive fr0m Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. Lake Mead, located on the Colorado River, was formed by water impounded by the Hoover Dam. It extends for 112 miles behind that dam and holds about 28.5 million acre feet of water. The 1.5 million acre Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA), which is twice the size of Rhode Island, offers travelers every imaginable type of water recreation; sunbathing, swimming, boating, personal watercraft use and parasailing. You can also rent a houseboat for an extended stay. The area is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with peak usage in the summertime.
Deer Island Lake
Deer Island Lake is a four-season experience in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. During the winter, the area is replete with cross-country and downhill skiers, snowboarders and ice skaters. In the summer months, the cross-country trails turn into hiking paths and the waters of Deer Lake turn into a non-motor boating and fishing destination.
All in all, your lake vacation experiences will certainly keep you coming back for more. Not only is this type of vacation relaxing, it provides the entire family with fond memories that’ll last a lifetime.