Chimney Corners Resort, Frankfort, Michigan
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Relaxing Lake Resorts for a Summer Escape

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Chimney Corners Resort, Frankfort, Michigan
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The Lure of the Lake

Spending lazy days at the lake might be the most American of vacations. Afternoons in a canoe, evenings making s'mores by the fire — trips to the lake are all about low-key fun. And while these getaways may feel like a thing of the past, there are plenty of lakeside resorts where you can still feel time slow down. Here are 21 to seek out, from polished complexes where you can also unwind at the spa or the links, to smaller family-focused spots with activities aplenty.

The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
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The Osthoff Resort

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Elegant but unpretentious, the sprawling, Victorian-era Osthoff has a little something for everyone. "The town is so tiny and the property so large, and all but the youngest kids can run around without too much adult supervision," says travel writer Johanna Read. Nearby golf courses include stunning Whistling Straits, a repeat PGA Championship host that sprawls along the coast of Lake Michigan. "There's a fabulous spa, cooking classes, and all the laid-back lake activities you could want."

The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
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The Osthoff Resort: Don't Miss

Rent a swan boat or an aqua cycle for an offbeat way to explore the water. More traditional choices including kayaks, sailboats, and pontoons are available, too.

DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Bismarck, Arkansas
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DeGray Lake Resort State Park

Bismarck, Arkansas
DeGray is just one of the many lakeside state parks across the country that have expanded to become low-key vacation destinations for local families. Save money by opting for a campsite or splurge on a lodge room. A full-service marina rents boats and has a bait and tackle shop for anglers; there's also a private beach, hiking, horseback riding, golf, and disc golf.

DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Bismarck, Arkansas
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DeGray Lake Resort State Park: Don't Miss

If a standard lodge room or campsite just doesn't sound exotic enough, try out one of the park's yurts for that "glamping" experience. Each tent sleeps up to six and has electricity, wood floors, bunk beds, a stove, and other amenities.

The Tyler Place Family Resort, Highgate Springs, Vermont
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The Tyler Place Family Resort

Highgate Springs, Vermont
The name hints at what makes all-inclusive Tyler Place special: It's truly a family destination, with something aimed at every generation, from grandparents down to grandkids. There are kids' clubs for all ages, lake sports galore, and organized sports and field days. Adults can kick back with cocktails and enjoy some jazz or even a cruise on the lake while the little ones are otherwise engaged.

The Tyler Place Family Resort, Highgate Springs, Vermont
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The Tyler Place Family Resort: Don't Miss

You can paddle or bike right up to the Quebec border. Explore small nearby villages or take a day trip to Montreal, just an hour away — but be sure to bring your passport.

Horseshoe Bay Resort, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
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Horseshoe Bay Resort

Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Texas Hill Country awaits at much-lauded Horseshoe Bay, about an hour outside of Austin. All of the traditional lake activities, from jet ski rentals to bass fishing, are available thanks to the resort's perch on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson. There are three Robert Trent Jones-designed golf courses, a kid's club with a climbing wall and massive indoor play structure, a spa, several pools, and two beaches. If you don't want a traditional hotel room, villas, condos, and a handful of private homes can be rented, too.

Horseshoe Bay Resort, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
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Horseshoe Bay Resort: Don't Miss

The resort is home to several exotic birds like Manny the Macaw and Mingo the Flamingo. These feathered friends are featured in complimentary shows and weekly "Squawk Talks."

Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke, Virginia
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Mountain Lake Lodge

Pembroke, Virginia
Best known as the main filming location for "Dirty Dancing," Mountain Lake Lodge still has plenty to offer visitors who aren't obsessed with the classic 1987 movie. There's a Treetop Adventure Course, 3D archery, a five-story water slide, and even an escape room. Of course, you'll also find slower-paced pursuits like hiking, bocce, corn hole, and horseshoes. Nicely appointed lodge rooms and rustic cabins are both available.

Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke, Virginia
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Mountain Lake Lodge: Don't Miss

The lodge hosts four "Dirty Dancing" weekends each year. "Fans can immerse themselves in the film's scenes, like the gazebo, Baby's cabin, and Harvest Dining Room, which looks exactly the same," says Renee Sklarew, a D.C.-based travel writer who has written extensively about Virginia. But she cautions that the lake where Johnny lifted Baby over his head is empty now because of natural springs that rise and fall.

Chimney Corners Resort, Frankfort, Michigan
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Chimney Corners Resort

Frankfort, Michigan
On northwestern Michigan's Crystal Lake, small, family-owned Chimney Corners has been offering guests the chance to slow down since 1935. Accommodations include beachfront or bluff cottages, apartments with lake views, and rooms in the historic lodge. Splash on the private beach, take a paddleboard or rowboat out on the water, play tennis or shuffleboard, go for a hike, or just enjoy the quiet.

Chimney Corners Resort, Frankfort, Michigan
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Chimney Corners Resort: Don't Miss

The resort is just minutes from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where plenty of recreational opportunities await. Tackle the Dune Climb, a must for any first-timer.

Lake Arrowhead Resort, Lake Arrowhead, California
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Lake Arrowhead Resort

Lake Arrowhead, California
Love the idea of a lake retreat, but want the security of a well-known brand? Lake Arrowhead Resort, part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, has all the polish and amenities you'd expect from a big chain, but the pristine views and laid-back charm of a lakeside resort. Fish from the dock, kayak, learn to water ski, or rent an all-terrain vehicle to explore the surrounding mountains. A full-service spa awaits for those who have had their fill of adventure.

Aztec Falls, Lake Arrowhead, California
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Lake Arrowhead Resort: Don't Miss

Go for a dip at stunning Aztec Falls, a nearby swimming hole in San Bernardino National Forest. There's even cliff diving for the adrenaline junkies in your party.

Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
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Fair Hills Resort

Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Family-friendly Fair Hills woos its many repeat guests by offering a slice of the simple life. A full slate of activities includes morning walks, swimming for the kids, golf scrambles, family campfires, talent shows and much more. Cabins are rustic but comfortable (and as the resort proudly notes, they don't have TVs — not that you'll be bored enough to need one anyway).

Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
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Fair Hills Resort: Don't Miss

Tuesday nights are legendary at Fair Hills: You can take an hourlong cruise of the lake, face plant into a classic smorgasbord dinner, and enjoy a full-fledged hootenanny, a resort tradition for 55 years.

Honey Creek Resort State Park, Moravia, Iowa
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Honey Creek Resort State Park

Moravia, Iowa
South-central Iowa's Rathbun Lake is home to Honey Creek Resort State Park, an all-inclusive property offering plenty of crowd-pleasing options. Stay in the thoroughly modern lodge, opt for private cottages with full kitchens, or roll up in your own RV. Some accommodations are even pet-friendly. Activities include biking, golf, paddleboarding, geocaching, hiking, and lawn and patio games. There's also a free concert series during July and August.

Honey Creek Resort State Park, Moravia, Iowa
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Honey Creek Resort State Park: Don't Miss

The new Aquapark is a kid's dream, featuring inflatable obstacles, climbers, and slides out on the lake. If the weather doesn't cooperate, there's a small indoor waterpark with a water slide and lazy river.

Fort William Henry Hotel, Lake George, New York
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Fort William Henry Hotel

Lake George, New York
"I was really surprised the first time I went to Lake George," says Terry Ward, a travel writer based in Tampa, Florida. "The surrounding forests and lakeside cabins made me feel like I was in Scandinavia or something. It was all so pristine and simple." Fort William Henry offers a range of accommodations, from luxury hotel rooms to motel rooms, and the area is packed with activities. Get out on the lake on a kayak or lunch cruise, take a long hike in the Adirondacks, or kick back on the pool overlooking the lake.

Painted Pony Rodeo, Lake George, New York
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Fort William Henry Hotel: Don't Miss

Tired of the same old activities? Ward recommends the nearby Painted Pony Rodeo for some Lone Star-approved entertainment. You can also indulge in a barbecue buffet packed with smoked ribs and chicken, corn, baked beans, watermelon, and more.

Grand View Lodge, Nisswa, Minnesota
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Grand View Lodge

Nisswa, Minnesota
This granddaddy of Minnesota's many lakeside retreats has been welcoming guests since 1916. Today, it stays relevant by catering to all ages, interests, and tastes. Accommodations range from boutique hotel rooms to cabins large and small. There's also a full spa, three golf courses, a kid's club, and a staggering number of activities from yoga and bingo to pontoon cruises and wine tastings.

Grand View Lodge, Nisswa, Minnesota
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Grand View Lodge: Don't Miss

A massive recreation facility includes an indoor and outdoor pool, hot tubs, a state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis, basketball, sand volleyball, a chip-and-putt golf course, outdoor games, a playground, and even an ice skating rink. Food trucks join the fun during the summer.

Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Greensboro, Georgia
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Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

Greensboro, Georgia
It might be a Ritz, but don't let that fool you, says Valentina Valentini, a freelance travel and entertainment journalist. The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee, about an hour outside Atlanta, "has that retro feel to it. It still has that Ritz-Carlton luxe, but it's more rustic and laid back." Love the links? There are five — yes, five — golf courses. Other attractions include a spa, a range of water sports, clays and archery, fishing, and a kid's camp.

Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Greensboro, Georgia
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Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee: Don't Miss

Valentini recommends the Live at the Lake Summer Series, which brings a series of musicians and bands for performances in June and July. Make a night of it with a barbecue dinner, and stay up for the fireworks display to cap off the night.

North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin, Stehekin, Washington
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North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin

Stehekin, Washington
When you really want to get away from it all, the Lodge at Stehekin on Washington's pristine Lake Chelan could fit the bill. You can't get here by car — most guests arrive via ferry, or the truly dedicated can embark on a 23-mile hike in. The reward for your effort? Dazzling views of the mountains, kayaking and fishing on one of the nation's deepest lakes, mountain biking and hiking, and all the splendor of the surrounding North Cascades National Park.

North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin, Stehekin, Washington
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North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin: Don't Miss

Hop on the historic Red Bus for a trip to nearby Rainbow Falls, a 312-foot waterfall accessed via a short trail.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club

Vergennes, Vermont
There's plenty of room to roam at the 700-plus-acre Basin Harbor Club on Lake Champlain. "The property invites exploring, with pockets of woods and quirky cottages tucked away," says Jen Rose Smith, author of the Moon Vermont travel guide. "Lake Champlain is the star of the show, though, and summer here is all about getting out on the water. If you take out a sailboat, stand-up paddleboard, or canoe, you'll have amazing views of the mountains." Those who prefer to stay dry can golf, hike, play croquet, or take a vineyard tour. A kid's camp is also available to entertain younger guests.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club: Don't Miss

Recruit the whole family for a game of Knockerball, which allows participants to smash, crash, and roll into each other while ensconced in the cushy safety of giant inflatable balls.

Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri
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Big Cedar Lodge

Ridgedale, Missouri
The rustic name belies the fact that the Ozarks' Big Cedar Lodge is nothing short of massive. This 4,600-acre playground on sprawling Table Rock Lake was built by the founder of Bass Pro Shops and offers every conceivable wilderness activity, from boating and horseback riding to shooting and fishing. You'll also find resort staples, including a spa and five golf courses. Stay in the lodge or rent a family-friendly cabin or cottage for a little more privacy — there are even couple-ready "glamping" tents with king-size beds and chandeliers.

Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri
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Big Cedar Lodge: Don't Miss

Good luck tearing away the little ones from the resort's Fun Mountain complex. It has go-carts, bowling, a ropes course, laser tag, a climbing wall, an arcade, a kid's club and more.

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York
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Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz, New York
Don't let the name fool you — Mohonk, a little over two hours from New York City, is less a "house" and more a Victorian castle set on 40,000 acres. A National Historic Landmark, Mohonk's pristine namesake lake allows for diversions like fly fishing, canoeing, and paddleboarding, but the resort's size also means more exotic activities like forest bathing, tomahawk throwing, and greenhouse tours. Afternoon tea and cookies are a delicious daily tradition.

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York
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Mohonk Mountain House: Don't Miss

Kids 4 and up can become full-fledged junior naturalists with a program of nature walks, fossil hunts, tree identification, and more.

Woodloch Pines Resort, Hawley, Pennsylvania
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Woodloch Pines Resort

Hawley, Pennsylvania
Voted one of TripAdvisor's top family resorts, all-inclusive Woodloch Pines excels at offbeat activities that have cross-generational appeal — in fact, there at least 30 scheduled every single day. Baking contests, scavenger hunts, drum circles, carnivals, multi-event "Olympics," cooking classes, live music, comedy shows, bar games — it's all here. So are traditional lakeside pursuits like paddleboarding, water skiing, boating and more, as well as a spa and golf course.

Woodloch Pines Resort, Hawley, Pennsylvania
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Woodloch Pines Resort: Don't Miss

On Friday nights, a zany Staff Show features all the employees who guests get to know and love during their stay.

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, Whitefish, Montana
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The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Whitefish, Montana
It's easy to get out on the water at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake: The classic wilderness-style resort has its own marina, with boat slips available for those who already have their own watercraft and plenty of rentals for guests who don't. Other amenities include a tiki bar, spa, private beach, and outdoor and indoor pools; close-by activities are diverse as zip lining, fly fishing, golfing, horseback riding, and rock climbing. Cap an active day with nightly s'mores over the fire pit.

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, Whitefish, Montana
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The Lodge at Whitefish Lake: Don't Miss

The jaw-dropping scenery of Glacier National Park and its famous Going-to-the-Sun Road is just a stone's throw away. The concierge at Whitefish can arrange a tour on one of the park's famous red buses from the 1930s.

Migis Lodge, South Casco, Maine
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Migis Lodge

South Casco, Maine
A Maine staple for more than a century, all-inclusive Migis has long been welcoming repeat guests who want to "steal away to rest." Despite its relatively small size — there are 35 cottages and eight lodge rooms up for grabs — there is a full slate of activities. Paddle on Sebago Lake, join a yoga or Pilates class, relax by a bonfire, or cut back with some karaoke after a lobster bake. A kid's camp is available for the little ones.

Migis Lodge, South Casco, Maine
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Migis Lodge: Don't Miss

Every Wednesday, guests get to sail, kayak, or even swim to Migis' private island for an indulgent cookout featuring filet mignon, burgers and hot dogs, jerk chicken, and plenty of sides and sweets.

The Pines Resort, Bass Lake, California
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The Pines Resort

Bass Lake, California
Nearby Lake Tahoe might be more famous, but Bass Lake is equally gorgeous — and it's a lot warmer for summer swimming. Drink it all in at The Pines Resort, which offers chalets, hotel rooms, and cabins hidden away in the pines. Amenities at the resort include a private beach, a driving range, boat rentals, tennis, and more; off property, there are giant sequoias, jeep tours, horseback riding, and historic train rides.

Yosemite National Park, California
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The Pines Resort: Don't Miss

The Pines is only 17 miles from iconic Yosemite National Park, and a regional bus that heads to the park stops right at the resort.

The Coeur d'Alene Resort, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
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The Coeur d'Alene Resort

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Coeur d'Alene fuses the charm of a small town, the beauty of an alpine lake, and the amenities of a world-class resort. A show-stopping infinity pool overlooks the water, but those who want a closer look can rent a pontoon, Jet Ski, or sport boat. Rafting, bike tours, and fly fishing are also on offer, and a "Bands on Boats" lake-cruise series will let you dance (and drink) the night away out on the water.

The Coeur d'Alene Resort, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
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The Coeur d'Alene Resort: Don't Miss

Golfers will want to take a shot (or two, we won't judge) at the world's only floating green, part of the 14th hole at the resort's well-groomed par 71 course. Its distance from the tee changes daily thanks to an underwater cable system.