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- A lake trip makes it easy to savor the great outdoors and crystal-clear, freshwater views.
- We rounded up the best lakefront hotels in the US, from rustic lodges to family-friendly resorts.
- Average prices range from $169 to $350 per night, and every hotel boasts easy water access.
Though travel is picking back up thanks to vaccine rollouts, travelers continue to prioritize outdoor vacations within easy driving distance of major hubs. Renting RVs for scenic road trips, outdoor camping or glamping adventures, and hotels in or near national parks and mountain resorts continue to be popular options.
Lakefront getaways are an especially appealing vacation for enjoying the great outdoors and there's something especially idyllic them. Like the best memories from summer camp, lake getaways conjure images of paddling in calm, crystal-clear waters surrounded by forests and wildlife, and plenty of fresh, crisp air. A lake trip can be a relaxing romantic retreat or an outdoorsy family adventure.
We rounded up some of the best lakefront hotels spanning the US including charming inns with cozy fireplaces and wide porches, as well as mountain resorts with all sorts of activities including biking, hiking, fishing, golf, and more.
These are the best lakefront hotels in the US, sorted by price from low to high.
Set on the edge of sparkling Whitefish Lake in Montana, and adjacent to a 30-acre nature preserve, this plush hideaway also makes a great base to explore Glacier National Park, about an hour away by car.
Spend the afternoon on the private beach and swimming area, or rent kayaks, paddle boards, Jet-Skis, and sailboats at the hotel's marina. There's also lakefront pool and hot tub where you can soak up the stunning mountain scenery.
Inside, the rustic-style main lodge features wood-burning stone fireplaces and comfy leather seating, and there's a cozy library stocked with board games. The swanky Boat Club restaurant turns out stellar local fare — think elk meatballs and bison sliders — in a gorgeous lakefront dining room, while the Boat Club serves a casual menu inside by the fireplace, or out on the seasonal lakeside deck.
Accommodations are located in two separate lodges, plus spacious condominiums set alongside the lake. Rooms in the Viking Lodge are classic in style with wood furnishings and gas fireplaces and have views of the surrounding forest (though not the lake). Studio suites in the Main Lodge measure 600 square feet and feature balconies and kitchenettes; request one with a lake view unless you want to face the pool.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Surrounded by the towering mountains of Pikes Peak and home to a 35-acre private lake, this grand resort offers a huge array of family-friendly activities. Laze on the sandy beach, play beach volleyball, or take out a complimentary kayak, paddleboard, or pedal boat to explore the lake.
There are four seasonal outdoor pools, one of them Olympic-sized, plus a kiddie pool and waterslide, as well as an indoor pool. Other amenities include outdoor basketball courts, indoor/outdoor tennis, and a Pete Dye-designed golf course, plus three restaurants.
The rustic-style resort blends warm wood and stone, best seen in the grand timbered lobby outfitted with a wood-burning fireplace. Rooms, however, are thoroughly modern, done up in a neutral tan and gray palette with balconies or patios. Entry-level Standard Double Queen rooms measure 430 square feet and overlook the hotel courtyard. Upgrade to a Deluxe room for mountain views. Wyndham Rewards members can use or earn points for their stay.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.Lakeway Resort and Spa in Lakeway, Texas
Twenty miles outside Austin, the busy highways give way to tranquil rolling hills and the pristine lakes of Texas Hill Country. Lake Travis, a reservoir on the Colorado River, is one of the most popular, given its proximity to the capital. Tucked into the hillside and directly overlooking the lake, this modern four-star resort is a favorite with families thanks to its huge range of children's amenities.
Multiple outdoor pools and a swim-up bar offer fantastic lake views, while a dedicated kid's pool features a water slide and a splash pad and nightly family-friendly movies. A free indoor Kid Zone includes bouncy houses, games, and a mini putt-putt. Texas Sailing and the Lakeway Marina are also located on-property where you can rent boats, Jet-Skis, kayaks, and paddle boards to explore the lake's 270 miles of shoreline.
TR Restaurant serves Southwestern cuisine in a rustic dining room with tall windows overlooking Lake Travis. The casual Back Porch bar, decked out with leather chairs and an antler chandelier, features an extensive craft beer list; head out to the balcony to sip a cold one while soaking up sunset views over the lake.
Contemporary rooms are decorated in a soothing palette of gray and cream, with swirling blue carpeting and punches of color in the local artwork dotting the walls. Entry-level Deluxe Rooms measure 350 square feet and feature hillside views; those with lake views come at a premium.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont
Nestled in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains, this family-owned retreat takes full advantage of its lakefront location, with more than half of its 130 rooms offering lake views.
Explore the 600-acre mountain lake by kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, or hop on a bike and ride around the shore. Other on-site activities include tennis, volleyball, and pickleball, and there's also an indoor pool, billiards room, and movie theater. The resort is home to a championship 18-hole golf course, where the Vermont Open Golf Championship has been held for over five decades.
Originally built in 1905, the resort has been thoroughly modernized but still has a homey feel with classic furnishings and lots of warm wood accents. The seasonal Lakeside Restaurant offers regional cuisine with lake views, while the cozy Steamboat Lounge serves pub fare and craft beers.
Rooms are tasteful, though not particularly stylish, with wood furnishings and red and gold accents. Entry-level Classic Guest Rooms feature two Double or Queen-sized beds with garden or golf course views but consider upgrading to a spacious Lakeview Terrace room for a private balcony and stunning lake views.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.Lake Pointe Inn in McHenry, Maryland
While many lake-fronting properties are squarely aimed at families, this adults-only B&B offers a truly tranquil lakeside experience. The romantic 19th-century inn stands on the northern edge of Maryland's Deep Creek Lake, just 50 miles from Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water, and surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and rolling lawns.
Soak up water views from the rocking chairs on the deep wraparound porch, out on the stone patio, or on sun loungers on the private dock. Complimentary canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards let you explore the lake's 70 miles of shoreline.
Mission-style wood furnishings and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired lighting complement the inn's Arts and Crafts architecture. The six rooms are individually designed in a similar Mission style and feature various layouts and amenities, from gas fireplaces to Jacuzzi tubs. Opt for the third-floor Savage Room or the second-floor Sam Leff for the best lake views from private balconies.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.Lodge at Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine
Set on the shores of the largest lake in Maine, this upscale nine-room lodge is surrounded by mountains and thick forest, offering plenty of outdoor adventures. The property can arrange canoe or kayak rentals, fishing trips for bass and trout, or guided hiking tours. And as the name implies, there are plenty of moose to be seen, along with bald eagles, beavers, and otters.
Decorated in traditional lodge style with lots of warm wood and stone, the property features amenities such as Jacuzzis and gas fireplaces in the rooms, along with private decks with lake views. The gourmet restaurant (reserved for guests) offers fresh Maine delicacies, including lobster and locally sourced cheeses, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing panoramic vistas.
Each room has a unique theme, like the Moose Room, decorated with a hand-carved moose headboard. All have lake views and balconies except the lowest-priced Trout Room, which faces the garden.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.The Landing Resort & Spa in South Lake Tahoe, California
A private beach, heated outdoor pool, and sprawling lakefront patio make this luxury boutique resort one of the top hotels in South Lake Tahoe. The property is walking distance to Heavenly Village, packed with shopping, dining, and entertainment options, and the Heavenly Mountain Gondola, offering panoramic views of the lake's turquoise waters and snow-capped Sierra Nevada range. If you fancy some gambling action, hop the free hotel shuttle to the Nevada-side casinos, just 10 minutes away.
Interiors take inspiration from the surrounding mountains with wood-beamed ceilings and tall stone fireplaces, but the contemporary furnishings and sleek design accents give the property a thoroughly modern feel. The on-site Jimmy's Restaurant serves excellent wood-fired California cuisine in an elegant dining room with lake views, but the restaurant's waterfront patio is the real draw, especially for the fabulous sunsets.
Rooms feature stone gas fireplaces, granite desks, marble bathrooms with heated floors, Queen- or King-sized pillow-top beds with goose-down linens, and balconies or patios. Note that entry-level rooms lack lake views: Superior King rooms measure 260 square feet but for about $10 to $20 more per night, it's worth upgrading to a far roomier corner Garden King. You'll pay a premium for rooms with lake views.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.
New York's Finger Lakes region is known for its wineries, craft breweries, and gorgeous glacial lakes. The largest, Cayuga Lake, is the setting for this collection of five beautifully preserved historic inns, located in the quaint 18th-century village of Aurora.
Among them is a magnificent stone mansion built in 1858 by Edwin Barber Morgan, the co-founder of the New York Times, and the 1904 Colonial-style Zabriskie House, featuring a three-story staircase and a 22-person wood-paneled dining room.
Choose from 54 rooms, or for a more exclusive stay, three of the houses are available for private rental. Decor and amenities vary depending on each inn, but all have been impeccably restored with original wood floors, sweeping staircases, and marble fireplaces, while lakefront lawns and wraparound porches let guests soak up the water views.
The lowest-priced rooms are in Wallcourt Hall, a former schoolhouse that also served as a workshop for tableware designer MacKenzie-Childs. The 16 rooms are decorated in a modern style with bright furnishings and contemporary artwork.
A more historic feel can be found in the period-style rooms of the Aurora Inn, some of which feature gas fireplaces and direct lake views. It's also where you'll find the property's signature restaurant, 1833 Kitchen & Bar, which serves a farm-to-table menu in a lovely wood-paneled dining room.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures can be found here.Our methodology for choosing hotels
In addition to the criteria outlined above, we also considered:
Location: Every hotel has a lakefront location that makes getting out on the water and accessing nature easy.
Past stays: We're familiar with all the properties on this list through our extensive travel reporting as well as from our own experiences.
Reviews: We also considered recent guest reviews and ratings on trusted traveler sites, such as Trip Advisor and Booking.com, to ensure that all guests have had primarily positive experiences.
Price: We considered a range of price points, but looked for hotels with average and low season prices starting under $350. These prices can surge during peak summer and fall seasons.
Amenities: We chose hotels that stand out when it comes to amenities and offerings, from included watersport rentals to pools and waterslides, to exceptional on-site restaurants.
COVID health and safety: These hotels all prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new cleaning policies in place in light of COVID-19.FAQs: Lake vacations
Where are the best lake houses?
Many popular lakes in the US, including some on this list, also have lake houses in the surrounding area you can rent. If you prefer a lake house to a hotel, check out our guide to the best lake houses on Airbnb.
When is the best time to take a lake vacation?
Summer and fall are the most popular seasons for lake vacations since the warm weather means you can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking, and more outdoor water activities. Many lake areas also boast stunning fall foliage. However, prices increase dramatically at many hotels and lake house rentals over the most popular summer weekends and during peak leaf-peeping seasons.
Winter sees far fewer crowds and many lake areas still have plenty to do, from nearby ski resorts to ice skating. The shoulder seasons, such as May and late October can be some of the best times to find lower prices.
Which states have the most lakes?
Perhaps surprisingly, Alaska wins out on most lakes. Minnesota and Wisconsin take second and third, both with over 15,000 lakes.
Other popular lake areas include the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes, Lake Tahoe, Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Powell, and more.
Is it safe to stay in a hotel during COVID?
The CDC has said that fully vaccinated people can safely travel in the US.
Additionally, most hotels have implemented strict new cleaning procedures to ensure guest safety and peace of mind. Though you will encounter other people in common spaces such as lobbies, restaurants, and pools, experts say hotels are safe, provided proper precautions are taken.More great outdoor vacations