LakeLubbers Home Lakelubbers Newsletter
#16 - July 2011


by Lisa Raub, Lakelubber

Lakelubbers' last newsletter explored the USA's Best Bass Lakes. This issue features America's Most Popular Vacation Lakes. You have your own favorites, and you're probably enjoying those favorites this summer. But what's the big picture? We looked at the most-visited pages on Lakelubbers, then used Internet search engines to reveal lakes with the largest number of vacation-related webpages.

Our search was complicated by lakes that share the same names - Lake Placid, Lake Geneva, Crystal Lake, and Lake George, for example. We excluded the Great Lakes because each one includes so many vacation destinations.

So what are America's most popular vacation lakes? These are the lakes that dominated our search, listed in alphabetical order by state. The 11 Finger Lakes together cover 208 square miles. Lake Tahoe, with 191 square miles, is the largest lake on our list; Lake Lure is the smallest, with just 720 acres (1.1 square mile). Follow each link for lake vacation information and photos!

- See also: Lakelubbers Newsletter Archive

Best Bass Fishing Lakes

Lakelubbers Guide
to 1,697 Lakes for
Vacation and Recreation

Featured Articles

1 - Lake Havasu

2 - Big Bear Lake

3 - Lake Tahoe

4 - Deep Creek Lake

5 - Lake Winnipesaukee

6 - Finger Lakes

7 - Lake George

8 - Lake Placid

9 - Lake Lure

10 - Lake Buchanan

11 - Smith Mountain Lake

12 - Lake Lovers Love Lakelubbers

13 - About This Newsletter


1 - Lake Havasu, Arizona/California

<<< Lake Havasu, Arizona/California

London Bridge at Lake HavasuLake Havasu is a 20,400-acre gem in the arid desert terrain of the Arizona/California border. The most recognizable sight around Lake Havasu is the London Bridge, moved piece-by-piece to this unlikely location in 1971. The lake stretches out about 45 miles along the meandering Colorado River that forms the border between the two states. Parker Dam, the genesis of Lake Havasu, was built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation between 1934 and 1938 for hydropower, drinking water, and irrigation water. Since then, Lake Havasu has become a recreational mecca for boaters, jet skiers, and sailing enthusiasts. Because too many boaters were getting lost or beached at night without navigation lights on such a large lake, the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club began to place navigation markers on top of lighthouses in the late 1990s. Today, Lake Havasu has 20 workable lighthouses that provide navigational aid to boaters, with 15 more planned. All except one are smaller replicas of famous North American lighthouses.

2 - Big Bear Lake, California

<<< Big Bear Lake, California

Located just 100 miles from Los Angeles, 3,000-acre Big Bear Lake sits in the middle of the San Bernardino National Forest at an elevation of nearly 6,750 feet above sea level. The lake was named in the mid-1800s for the grizzly bears in Big Bear Valley, where the California gold rush began. Big Bear Lake's first dam was built in 1884 to impound snow-melt water for irrigation, followed by a larger dam in 1912. Tourism followed, and the area's first hotel opened in 1888; the first ski resort was inaugurated in 1949. Today the tradition of tourism continues. Big Bear Lake is an aquatic playground, welcoming power boats, jet skis, canoes, and kayaks. Scenic hiking trails follow the footsteps of early settlers and turn to cross-country ski trails in winter. Mount San Jacinto rises 10,804 feet in the San Bernardino National Forest, providing spectacular views of the valley and mountains. Big Bear Lake turns into a winter wonderland when the weather turns cold, offering world-class downhill skiing and snowboarding. Bear Mountain is the #1 mountain resort in Southern California.

3 - Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

<<< Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the quintessential four-season destination, with winter vacations just as popular as summer getaways. Tucked into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and straddling the California/Nevada line, 122,000-acre Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the USA with a maximum depth of 1,645 feet. Lake Tahoe gained international recognition when it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley. Although Lake Tahoe is a natural lake formed about two million years ago, it is also is a multi-purpose reservoir for hydropower generation, water storage for agriculture, fish and wildlife protection, drought protection, and recreation. More than 80% of the Lake Tahoe Basin is under public ownership through the U.S. Forest Service and the State Parks of California and Nevada, providing an incredible array of outdoor activities. D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay State Parks provide six miles of spectacular shoreline with panoramic views. Picturesque Emerald Bay was recognized as a National Natural Landmark in 1969, and was designated as an underwater state park in 1994. With 600 inches of snow each year, 12 world-class alpine ski resorts, and spectacular snow-covered views, Lake Tahoe is a premier destination for winter vacation fun.

4 - Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

<<< Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Deep Creek Lake is the largest inland body of water in Maryland. Like all Maryland lakes, this 3,900-acre reservoir is man-made, and is a haven for many freshwater fish species, aquatic birds, and black bears. Deep Creek Lake was created by damming the Youghiogheny River for hydropower, filling to capacity in 1929. The lake slowly evolved into a popular recreation lake and tourist destination during the 20th century. The State of Maryland purchased the lake in 2000 from Pennsylvania Electric Company, transforming this western Maryland mountain reservoir into a summer and winter vacation destination. Deep Creek State Park offers a sandy swimming beach and hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult, and sharing beautiful lake vistas. The Park's Discovery Center features please-touch exhibits for both young and old on local flora, fauna, history, culture, and the lake's habitat. Currently, the Park is in the process of building an amazing forest canopy walkway that will give visitors a unique perspective of the forest's wildlife through the treetops. Hiking trails transform into snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobile trails in winter for year-round recreation.

5 - Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

<<< Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Summer at Lake Winnipesaukee

New Hampshire's Lake Region is well known for its beautiful four-season scenery: covered bridges, old red barns and church steeples, all accented by mountain overlooks. Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the state, spanning almost 44,600 acres with 385 islands dotting its surface, 274 of them inhabitable. Boating is a year-round activity, even in the winter when ice sailing takes center stage. Scenic lake cruises are available during summer months, including a floating U.S. mailboat that delivers mail to the lake's islands. Public beaches are scattered around the 240-mile shoreline, including Ellacoya State Park with a 600-foot long sandy beach and RV campground. The lake also boasts four castles near its shores: Kimball Castle, Roxmont Castle, Graystone Caste, and Castle in the Clouds (open to the public). When you visit, keep your camera ready for sightings of Winnie, Lake Winnipesaukee's monster.

6 - Finger Lakes, New York

<<< Finger Lakes, New York

Eleven long, narrow glacial lakes form the Finger Lakes Region of New York. The 11 lakes, from largest to smallest are: Seneca Lake (43,243 acres), Cayuga Lake (42,956 acres), Keuka Lake (11,584 acres), Canandaigua Lake (10,553 acres), Skaneateles Lake (8,960 acres), Owasco Lake (6,665 acres), Conesus Lake (3,420 acres), Otisco Lake (1,878 acres), Hemlock Lake (1,800 acres), Honeoye Lake (1,772 acres), and Canadice Lake (649 acres). These 133,480 acres of water serve to moderate the temperature of the entire area, allowing the Finger Lakes Region to develop a major grape growing industry. The region includes over 100 wineries, making it the largest concentration of wineries in the United States outside of the Napa Valley. The river gorges carved by glaciers provide scenic hiking trails, waterfalls, and white-water rivers. Autumn 'leaf-peeping' tours are popular. The Finger Lakes Region offers 17 state parks, 11 on the water, and a variety of city and county parks. Farmers markets, historical sites, golf courses, and every possible recreational activity can be found on or around the Finger Lakes.

7 - Lake George, New York

<<< Lake George, New York

Fishing Pier on Lake George

Sitting pretty at the base of New York's majestic Adirondack Mountains, Lake George's nickname is "Queen of American Lakes." Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1791 that "Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw." Surrounded by mountains, islands dot the surface of this 28,000-acre lake, and rock formations jut from the shoreline. A trip out on the lake is a must during warm weather, whether by speedboat, pontoon boat, kayak, canoe, or cruise boat. Miles of biking and hiking trails weave through the Adirondack Mountains along the lake's shoreline with breathtaking views. Prospect Mountain offers panoramic lake views and is accessible to hikers, bikers, and motorists. And when the weather turns cold, Lake George gears up for its annual winter carnival featuring an ice castle sculpture, Mardi Gras parade, outhouse races, giant ice slide, snowmobile poker run, bonfire on the beach with fireworks, and a polar plunge.

8 - Lake Placid, New York

<<< Lake Placid, New York

The most famous Adirondack Lake is 2,170-acre Lake Placid, the host of two Winter Olympics (1932 and 1980), bringing a variety of winter sports venues in the area into the wider public eye. Visitors arrive in all seasons and from all corners of the world to enjoy Lake Placid and its smaller sister, Mirror Lake. Whiteface Mountain treats sports enthusiasts to superb alpine skiing. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, bobsledding, tobogganing, dog sledding, or a leisurely chairlift ride up the mountain are great ways to experience the snow-covered beauty of the Adirondacks. The lakes are just as popular during warmer weather with boating, canoeing, kayaking, cruise tours, swimming, camping, golf, and autumn 'leaf peeping' drives. Lake Placid Village is a fun place to browse the talents of local artists and craftsmen. Another popular attraction, the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park, provides thousands of miles of wooded hiking, biking, and equestrian trails with panoramic summits.

9 - Lake Lure, North Carolina

<<< Lake Lure, North Carolina

Touring Lake Lure

Although small in size with just 720 surface acres, Lake Lure's picturesque setting at the base of western North Carolina's mountains has beckoned movie crews since the 1950s. Famous movies filmed here include Dirty Dancing (1987), Last of the Mohicans (1992), and My Fellow Americans (1996). National Geographic once named Lake Lure one of the 10 most beautiful man-made lakes in the world. Panoramic views over Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge from Chimney Rock State Park extend 75 miles on clear days. The Park offers five main trails that vary in difficulty, promising amazing views, incredible rock formations, and a maze of stairways that will amuse and challenge. And, whether your preference is speed boat, pontoon boat, bass boat, canoe or kayak, be sure to spend some time cruising the sapphire blue waters of Lake Lure.

10 - Lake Buchanan, Texas

<<< Lake Buchanan, Texas

Lake Buchanan is the oldest, northernmost, and second-largest of the Texas Highland Lakes, known as "Big Buc" to locals. Created by damming the Lower Colorado River, Lake Buchanan stretches out over 22,335 acres when full, but can drop significantly during periods of drought. Located about 60 miles northwest of Austin, visitors enjoy scenic drives and cruises around the lake. The eastern shore is rugged and hilly with granite cliffs, deep water, waterfalls and cactus, while the western shore has nice granite pebble beaches for swimming, fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and picnicking. The Lower Colorado River Authority maintains three parks on Lake Buchanan: Cedar Point Recreation Area, Black Rock Park, and Canyon of the Eagles. Every season offers its own spectacular sights. American Bald Eagles migrate south November through March, and Canyon of the Eagles nature preserve provides an eco-friendly location to view these magnificent creatures. April through June turns the lake area into a wildflower delight. And don't miss the Lake Buchanan Regatta and Dam Jam held every April.

11 - Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

<<< Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

Fireworks at Smith Mountain Lake

20,600-acre Smith Mountain Lake, "Jewel of the Blue Ridge," is located in the foothills of southwest Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Smith Mountain Lake is the home base of Lakelubbers. SML hosts special events throughout the year, including bass tournaments, fireworks on the water, a wine festival, fall chili and craft festival, charity home tour of lakefront homes, and a Christmas boat parade. Smith Mountain Lake State Park and Franklin County Park feature beautiful sand beaches and miles of hiking trails. The Parks, plus five golf courses, provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The paddlewheel cruise ship, the Virginia Dare, offers scenic lunch and dinner cruises. With 500 miles of shoreline to explore, Smith Mountain Lake welcomes all types of watercraft - speedboats, pontoon boats, bass boats, jet skis, canoes and kayaks. And watch for the Fall 2011 release of the new movie Lake Effects, filmed entirely at Smith Mountain Lake.

12 - Lake Lovers Love Lakelubbers

<<< Lakelubbers Homepage

Lake Lovers Love Lakelubbers! We cover the best vacation lakes in 50 USA states and 66 other countries. For 1,697 lakes (1,367 in the USA) we tell you why you might like to visit, describe lake activities and attractions, identify fish species and nearby parks, and more. We also provide detailed statistics like size, shoreline length, depth, and elevation above sea level. You can find nearby lakes easily, by entering any zip code or city on our homepage. There's more:

  • Lake Rentals - to rent a lake house for a weekend or a week, check our growing list of available vacation homes. Owners and real estate agents can advertise lake rentals for just $99/year*.
  • Lake Homes for Sale - If you want to buy a lake home, they start below $150,000. Owners and agents can advertise lake homes for just $99/year*.
  • Lakelubbers Blog - Our blog features "special" lakes - the largest, the most beautiful, unusual and interesting lakes, and more. The photos are stunning. You can subscribe to the blog to receive updates automatically by email or to your favorite RSS reader.
  • Lakelubbers on Facebook - Every other day, we write about interesting and unusual lakes on our fan page on Facebook: World's Best Lakes.Lakelubbers Baseball Cap Please visit it, "Like" it, and invite your family and friends to do the same.
  • Lakelubbers Baseball Cap: If you love lakes, then Lakelubbers Baseball Cap is made just for you. Order one today for $14 postpaid to anywhere in the USA ... and you'll be the envy of your neighborhood.

* The FIRST listing on each lake gets a 50% discount.

13 - About This Newsletter

<<< Lakelubbers Homepage

Lakelubbers covers the world's best lakes for vacation and recreation. This newsletter is published nine times per year by Raub's Internet for Business LLC, 325 Waterside Drive, Moneta, Virginia 24121 USA.

Copyright © 2007-2011 Raub's Internet for Business LLC. All rights reserved.

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