With sites like VRBO.com, it’s easier than ever to rent a sweet place on a spectacular body of water. These five classic lakes offer the perfect blend of isolation and comfort.
Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
There are over 275 islands and 20 beaches to explore within spring-fed Lake Winnie’s 44,586 acres. STAY: Classic northeastern cottages. We found a three-bedroom on the water, with kayaks included, for under $2,500 per week.
Flathead Lake, Montana
Twenty-seven miles long and 15 miles wide, the West’s largest freshwater lake is clear, cold, and rimmed by the Mission Mountains. STAY: Log cabins and secluded lodges, like a two-bedroom with a big yard, mountain views, and a private boardwalk for $1,750 per week.
Crane Lake, Minnesota
Blueberries grow wild along the shore, moose wade the shallows, and loons call at dawn—it doesn’t look much different than it did 300 years ago. STAY: Rustic homes on granite shorelines, including a two-bedroom cottage with screened-in porch bordering the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park for $956 per week.
Lake Lure, North Carolina
This 718-acre reservoir is surrounded by the rolling valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains. STAY: From one-bedroom getaways to fully-loaded cabins. A one-bedroom with a hot tub and views of iconic 2,280-foot Chimney Rock runs $887 per week.
Lake Almanor, California
Sparklingly clear, with 52 miles of shoreline surrounded by the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade range, Lake Almanor—three hours northwest of Tahoe—is every bit as picturesque, but without the excessive crowds or prices. STAY: Chalets with mountain views. Look for a house on the eastern shore (the views are better), like a three-bedroom with two decks and a private dock for $1,200 per week.