Breezy summer days are just around the corner, and though it may be hard to imagine right now, we, and our RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers, will soon be heading to lakes from coast to coast.
I write often about our beloved Great Lakes and recently wrote about the “10 Clearest Lakes in the U.S.,” but it definitely caught my attention when the folks at TravelTrivia.com did a story about “5 Relaxing Lakes in the United States.”
So to help you plot out your summer travel plans, here are five of the dreamiest U.S. lakes to visit:
Lake Ouachita, Arkansas
There’s plenty to do at Lake Ouachita. Take a guided kayak tour, or even grab some scuba equipment and dive under the surface. The lake is full of catfish, striped bass, crappie, bream, and large-mouth bass. With a total of 93 campsites (including some full-service for RVs) located along the shore and throughout the national forest, there are also plenty of places to stay along the edges of the lake. Lake Ouachita is also close to Hot Springs Village, where you can find all sorts of fun things to do.
Flathead Lake, Montana
Flathead Lake stretches out across 188 square miles, making it the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi.
The region is perfect for any wildlife lover as Flathead Lake is home to several islands and numerous hiking trails, all of which contain an incredible variety of birds and other animals. Boaters can head out to Bird Island, where you’ll likely see herons, eagles, geese, and osprey. At Wild Horse Island, you’ll be able to hike along trails through forests and open meadows. The large island is a wildlife refuge for bears, coyotes, deer, bighorn sheep, and numerous bird species.
Flathead Lake is also great for fishing, and it boasts plenty of campsites – perfect for RVers. Don’t forget to support the locals and stop at one of the many roadside stands selling local fruits like apples, plums, and cherries.
Lake Travis, Texas
Lake Travis offers an impressive 270 miles-plus of shoreline. But what truly makes this gem stand out is its limestone bottom. That means that while other lakes can get a little murky and muddy, Lake Travis remains bright blue and crystal clear throughout the summer.
For the record, one of the most popular attractions is The Oasis Restaurant, which is located on a bluff 450 feet above the lake. The restaurant offers absolutely stunning views and live music that you can enjoy as you dine.
Adventurous types might enjoy Lake Travis Zipline Adventures, where visitors are able to ride the longest zipline in Texas, stretching over 2,800 feet across the lake. Tour guides also offer a variety of nature walks and hikes.
Lake Chelan, Washington
Lake Chelan offers plenty: a historic lakeside city, a quaint town, or the secluded wilderness. Perhaps the most charming feature Chelan offers is an evening farmer’s market, complete with lavender and gooseberry stands, activity tables for children, and a visiting barn owl.
You may want to consider visiting Manson, which is along the lake’s north shore. The small town features mountain views, numerous shops and restaurants, and easy access to orchards and vineyards. Enjoy a handmade pizza, boating at Old Mill Park, or set up to grill at the secluded Willow Point Park.
True nature fanatics will want to consider a visit to Stehekin. Located at the head of Lake Chelan,you’ll need to take a ferry, hike, or even travel on horseback. At just 90 full-time residents, Stehekin is a hidden gem nestled into the snow-capped mountains.
Coeur d’Alene Lake, Idaho
First off, bird watchers will love Coeur d’Alene Lake, where migrating bald eagle population visits every winter. Geese, swans, and osprey abound during the warmer months. But you don’t need to be a wildlife aficionado to relax on the coast surrounding Idaho’s second-largest lake.
Nestled beneath the mountains, Coeur d’Alene Lake boasts numerous hiking trails At City Park and Beach, visitors can find plenty of sandy beaches, as well as volleyball courts and additional trails. Coeur d’Alene Lake has plenty of camping options.
Downtown Coeur d’Alene also has a bustling art scene, with numerous fine arts galleries located within walking distance of one another. Try stopping in at the Gallery Northwest, run by local artists and dedicated to promoting artists throughout the region.