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The Three Best US Lakes for Summer Swims This Year

April 8, 2014 at 4:17 PM | by | ()

People who live in proximity to the coasts have their summers planned out with visits to the Atlantic or Pacific, but those caught in the middle might find a trip to a local lake to be more accessible and more affordable. From Nevada to New York, there are hundreds of lakes to choose from, so be sure to investigate what lies within a few-hour drive of wherever you call home. Below, we feature three that we can recommend as great weekend getaways:

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Wisconsin brings up a lot of images that revolve around winter, but one trip to the Badger State during the summer will change all that. There's something about that long winter that makes the locals go all out in the summer. There are many options to choose from, including Lake Michigan, and we feature Elkhart Lake here because of its historical background involving Road America. Now an official track used on the NASCAR circuit, "Road America" was originally a street-racing track that ran through the town and brought popularity to the sport in the 50s. You can take a tour of the old route in between dips in the lake, spa treatments, and drinks at the lakeside bars. We recommend renting a room here for family lodging with the best views of the lake.

Lake Tahoe, California

We gave you a glimpse of what it was like to visit Tahoe in the winter with nearly a dozen ski hills in the area, but summertime is the prime season at the country's highest elevated alpine lake. If that's a cliched catch phrase of an accolade, so be it. The lake's position high in the Sierra Nevada mountain range puts its rocky terrain on display to go along with its scenic sight lines. For those who want to relive some pioneer history, Donner Lake is a short drive. There's an epic beginner-biking opportunity in the form of the Flume Trail, and all the hikes you can handle on both the California and Nevada sides of the lake. If you want nightlife, stay in South Lake Tahoe where you'll find the bars and casinos.

Grand Lake, Colorado

The town of Grand Lake's location at the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park is what makes it a paradise for adventure travelers. The fact that it is actually a full-service lake as well is just the icing on the cake. Fishing, sailing, hiking, and wildlife viewing are the classic summertime Colorado activities, finished off with a dockside brew. You can also drive all or part of Trailridge Road, the highest elevated continuously paved road in North America that leaves from the entrance to RMNP. It's a mouthful, but you won't be disappointed. Rent a cabin on the lake for the full effect.

[Photos: Osthoff Resort/Will McGough/Flickr]

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