Lake life novice? Don’t be surprised to find yourself scanning real estate deals after visiting one of these iconic waterfront towns.
Lake Geneva, Southern Wisconsin
This spot’s only a secret to those outside of Chicago, but stay at Lake Geneva (90 minutes from O’Hare) and you’ll realize why Gilded Age barons built their summer homes here: It’s gorgeous. The best way to take in the view of its clear water is from the 26-mile lakeshore path.
Lake Lure, Central North Carolina
Pretty enough to serve as a backdrop for movies like Last of the Mohicans, this man-made lake is just a half-hour from Asheville (and its robust craft brew scene). Take in the surrounding Blue Ridge peaks from a kayak or paddleboard, and once you’re back on land, mountain bike in Buffalo Creek Park.
Grand Lake, Northern Colorado
This lake is flanked on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park and sits more than 8,000 feet above sea level. So, yeah, it can get cold. Work up a sweat paddling past some of its four and a half miles of shoreline. Too tired to hike afterward? See some of the Front Range’s best scenery on horseback.