An aerial view of the Sagamore in New York State.
An aerial view of the Sagamore in New York State.

Whether you have fond memories of lake vacations from your own childhood or want to create new memories with your family, a resort on the shores of a lake is a great way to do it. Lakefront vacations can offer endless amounts of fun for young and old alike—swimming, sailing, paddling, fishing and more. 

These lakeside hotels across the country go above and beyond when it comes to accommodations, guest amenities, and recreation opportunities. With so much to see and do, it may be hard to pull you and your family back home after a stay at one of these spots. 

Woodloch Resort

Hawley, Pennsylvania

woodloch lake view

Voted the #1 Best Family Resort in 2022 by USA Today, this Poconos resort on Lake Teedyuskung has more than 30 activities on its schedule each day. There’s no time to get bored between the bumper boats, playgrounds, pools, archery, arts and crafts, and more. Really, it’s more of a question of what doesn’t Woodloch offer its guests, because the family fun is taken to the next level with regular events like hayrides, scavenger hunts, bakery wars, magic shows, cover bands, and archery tag. An inclusive experience with a daily meal plan is on offer.

Lakeway Resort & Spa

Austin, Texas

Lakeway Resort and Spa

Make your way over to the Hill Country just outside of Austin for a vacation you won’t forget at Lakeway Resort & Spa. Perched right on the bank of Lake Travis, this hotel offers incredible views of the water and plenty of opportunities to enjoy it, from sailing to kayaking to paddle boarding. Back at the resort, parents will love the adult-only pool with a swim-up bar while your children will love the designated kids’ pool, which has its own water slide and splash pad. When it’s time to slow things down, gather around one of the fire pits for some s’mores.

The Sagamore

Bolton Landing, New York

Sagamore_aerial_view sailboat

If it’s a luxury lake escape that you’re after, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better than The Sagamore. This historic four-star hotel on a private island in upstate New York dates back to 1883 but is far from stuck in the past with its first-class amenities. For starters, there’s the 10,000-square-foot rec center with ping pong, video games, mini golf, Home Run Derby diamond, and more. Then there are all the activities outdoors, including a sand volleyball court and half-court basketball.  When the weather is right, take a dip in a zero-edge pool—or actually go out on the lake with a complimentary cruise on The Morgan, the resort’s replica of a 19th-century touring vessel. 

Flathead Lake Lodge

Big Fork, Montana

kids jumping off dock at flathead lake

This family-owned and -operated dude ranch sits on the shores of Flathead Lake over in northwest Montana. The stay is all-inclusive and the lodge has a kid-focused program, which makes makes for a stress-free getaway. There’s a real country summer camp vibe here, with activities such as horseback riding, sailing, mountain biking, water sports, archery, rock climbing, and fly-fishing lessons. Keep your energy up, because the entertainment continues into the night with events like their famous mouse races (essentially what it sounds like), live music, roping demos, and more. You can choose to stay in a room in one of the big lodges, or book a separate cabin or suite for your crew.

Lakehouse Hotel & Resort

San Marcos, California

Balcony of room at Lakehouse Hotel

Situated next to Lake San Marcos about an hour’s drive north of San Diego, Lakehouse Hotel & Resort brings upscale relaxation together with activities the whole family will enjoy. At the marina, you can rent boats, kayaks, and fishing gear. There are pools and hot tubs for more splashing and lounging. Even the room you choose can be part of the fun: The hotel’s Adventure Suite has a king bed for the parents and a bunk bed for the kids in the sunken living room. While you may be plenty busy on the property, remember you’re just a 20-minute drive from Legoland.

Sentral Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois

Guest room at Sentral Hotel Chicago

You don’t have to choose between a lake getaway and city living with a stay at Sentral Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Located right across Grant Park from Lake Michigan, Sentral is a great option for those who want a homier stay with its attractive furnished apartments. You’ll get the comforts of your own place, including a fully equipped kitchens and in-unit washer and dryer, as well as premium hotel-like amenities, including the indoor infinity pool and outdoor hydrotherapy spa. There’s even a game room for board game battles and an entertainment lounge for movie nights. 

The Abbey Resort

Fontana-On-Geneva Lake, Wisconsin

Abbey Resort - A-Frame 2

The Abbey Resort has been open since 1964 and is the only full-service resort on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. The resort has on-site boat rentals, complimentary bicycle rentals, an entertainment center for big-screen movie watching, and its own frisbee/disc golf course. When not doing any of that you can splash around in one of the outdoor pools, both of which are temperature controlled—one is adults only, the other for the whole family. If you want to mix it up, there’s also the indoor pool with a separate kid’s wading pool. When you need a breather, pop on over to the hotel’s 35,000 square-foot AVANI Spa for a rejuvenating treatment.

Cindy Brzostowski is a freelance writer covering food, travel, and other lifestyle topics.