Vacations

Beyond the Beach: Lake Getaways

An alternative for those who want something different than a typical beach vacation this spring.

by Sam Boykin - February 27, 2017

If your family’s feeling less than enthusiastic about the prospect of another beach trip, consider something different this spring and plunge into a lake getaway. These four exceptional destinations offer sunshine and water — along with fresh activities and attractions that include everything from salmon fishing to vineyard tours.

Lake Superior

Covering the tri-state area of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Lake Superior is an expansive haven for those who love fishing and outdoor activities. The 131,700-square-mile lake provides ample room for salmon, trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass to thrive. While there are hundreds of great fishing spots, the North Shore area stands out for its many tributaries and streams, along with an abundance of public lands ideal for casting off the shore. Charter fishing also is available if you aren’t looking to go it alone. Surrounding Lake Superior, you’ll find hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through rugged woods and state parks. The 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail follows the ridgeline overlooking the lake along northeastern Minnesota all the way to the Canadian border.

Lake Oconee

Although located only an hour east of Atlanta, Lake Oconee feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of Georgia’s most populous city. The 19,000-acre reservoir is situated near the charming town of Greensboro, noted for its antebellum homes and quaint shops and restaurants. The AAA Five-Diamond Ritz-Carlton Reynolds is perfectly located along a 30-acre stretch of the Oconee shoreline. The luxury resort boasts 251 guest rooms as well as private lakeside cottages for those seeking a more intimate experience. Guests can enjoy a spa, fine dining, fitness center, and a decadent infinity pool. And it’s all steps away from the lake, where guests can rent Jet Skis or boats. Golfers will also find something worth the drive: nine world-class golf courses, including the Tom Fazio–designed National course, all of which are part of the Georgia Golf Trail.

Seneca Lake, ideal for sailing, is the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes.

Finger Lakes

The 11 Finger Lakes spanning Upstate New York’s rolling countryside host an array of lively attractions, including state parks, museums, vineyards, and historic landmarks. Visitors can explore historic destinations, including Greek Revival mansions  and the painstakingly restored 1816 Seward House, the former residence of one of the country’s foremost 19th century politicians. The Corning Museum of Glass provides a surprising look at the culture, technology, and history behind glass, including artifacts dating back 3,500 years. Outdoor enthusiasts can take to dozens of area state parks, many of which have hiking and biking trails, swimming beaches, picnic shelters, and boat launches.

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming, one of the country’s largest bodies of fresh water, has been a popular boating destination since 1871, when the Hayden Expedition used a sail-powered rowboat to explore it as part of a geological survey. A year later, the region around the 136-square-mile lake was designated the United States’ first national park. Bridge Bay Marina, situated on Yellowstone’s north shore, is dotted with motorboat and rowboat rentals, ideal for fishing excursions or exploring the waterways. Scenic cruises are also available. The hour-long guided trips go past the uninhabited, mile-long Stevenson Island and provide opportunities to spot local wildlife, including eagles, ospreys, elk, and bison. Of course, the lake has the added benefit of being adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. The park has an adventure for everyone, including backcountry hiking and camping, miles of biking trails, and horseback riding. And don’t miss Old Faithful, the iconic natural geyser that erupts hourly, shooting boiling water 185 feet in the air.

Sam Boykin is Senior Editor for Wells Fargo Lifescapes.

Photos courtesy of Michigan.org and Quinn PR

Additional Resources

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