By Alyssa Mammano
Lake Norman, North Carolina
Surrounded by eclectic small towns, Lake Norman is 34 miles of peaceful outdoor sanctuary. Miles of walking trails draw locals outdoors to enjoy the clean, crisp air of Lake Norman’s four distinct seasons. Visitors venture to this charming college town for its picturesque downtown dotted with family-friendly shops and eateries. An old-world ambiance is evidenced through brick roads and historical architecture that comes alive with street vendors. On the water, greenways lead to the perfect picnic areas and paddleboarding opportunities.
Lake Burton, Georgia
Nearly 3,000 acres of pristine lake views set the stage for luxurious waterfront living at Lake Burton. On the largest of the Georgia Power company-owned lakes, life is simple and slow. Residents take to the water for an amiable twilight cruise to watch the sun sink slowly into the rippling tide. Families venture to the quaint surrounding towns for vacations spent tubing and waterskiing. Abundant greenery and vistas of the towering Appalachian Mountains make Lake Burton an ideal retreat for summer living or a weekend refuge.
South Lake Tahoe, California
A rousing nightlife and action-packed summer can be found on the California coast of Lake Tahoe. Droves of summer homeowners and rowdy vacationers flock to the area for fun-filled social gatherings on the turquoise water. Sun-drenched days can be spent among the towering trees or at the nearby golf courses complete with sandy beaches. During the winter, skiing is a popular attraction and in the summer the trails turn to mountain biking paths. Some resorts even offer zip lining during the warmer months.
Priest Lake, Idaho
Serenity takes on a new meaning at Priest Lake, where cell service is out of range and the 800 local residents have owned family properties for generations. Just 19 miles of freshwater lake are canopied in endless Douglas firs and surrounded by prehistoric rock structures carved with Native American pictographs. A winding beach trail offers a view of the shoreline leading to hidden coves and plunge pools. The nearby golf course helps to pass the time not spent on the water.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Attracting celebrities, athletes and politicians to its unique mineral-rich waters, Hot Springs, Arkansas is a whimsical destination for art, music and film. The 143-degree waters have appealed to the likes of Al Capone, Babe Ruth and Bill Clinton, as well as the late E. Fay Jones, who was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and the area’s dean of architects. Adjacent to the famous bathhouses is the more remote Lake Hamilton. Surrounded by a quaint fisherman’s town, nearly all residents on the lake own fishing boats and spend the summer months on the water when temperatures hover around the high 90s.