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6 of Our Favorite Lakeside Lodges

Here’s how to live the lake life, without investing in waterfront real estate

Get a taste of summer lake life. (Courtesy of Migis Lodge)

Here’s how to live the lake life, without investing in waterfront real estate

Morning coffee on the dock. Fishing, swimming, and paddleboarding out your door. Sunset waterfront views. Lake living sure sounds nice. But the price tag can be hefty. Here’s how to get a taste of summer lake life—staying in cabins, tents, yurts, and lodges with direct access to a dock or a shore—without dumping your savings into a second mortgage.  

Migis Lodge, Sebago Lake, Maine 

From the porch of your private, well-appointed cottage at Migis Lodge, southern Maine’s Sebago Lake spreads out at your doorstep like a calm emerald pool. Borrow a canoe or sign up for crack of dawn waterskiing—all activities and meals are included here, like summer camp for adults. Cocktails are served on the lodge’s deck each night before dinner, when fresh Maine lobster is always on the menu. From $199.

Meek’s Bay Resort, Lake Tahoe, California 

Lakefront hotel rooms or house rentals on Lake Tahoe don’t come cheap, but there are a few choice campgrounds scattered around the lake. At Meek’s Bay Resort, on Tahoe’s peaceful west shore, you can pitch a tent or rent a knotty pine cabin steps from the water. A trailhead across the street from the resort leads to stunning high-alpine lakes. Camping from $20, cabins from $225. 

Blue Water Manor, Lake George, New York 

Blue Water Manor is a historic resort on upstate New York’s Lake George, with roots dating back to 1923. Now under new ownership, it’s been undergoing renovations to update the property. Stay for the night in a lakefront cabin with views of the Adirondacks and enjoy free paddleboat or canoe rentals, live music from a thriving local music scene, and a well-loved tavern serving up dishes like crab cake sandwiches and fish and chips. From $99.

Big Arm State Park, Flathead Lake, Montana 

Score a lakeside campsite under a forest of ponderosa pines or one of the park’s two rustic yurts at Big Arm State Park on Montana’s Flathead Lake. Nestled into Big Arm Bay, the campground is a gateway to Wild Horse Island, a 2,163-acre wilderness area on the lake’s west shore. You’ll be treated to plenty of wildlife spotting (picture wild horses, bighorn sheep, and bald eagles), plus trout fishing, swimming from the pebble beach, and hiking trails. Camping from $14, yurts from $50. 

Northern Lights Resort, Kabetogama Lake, Minnesota 

There really are over 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Check out Northern Lights Resort on the shores of Kabetogama Lake, which sits near the Canadian border within the boundaries of Voyageurs National Park. Rent a boat to fish for walleye, borrow a free canoe for an evening paddle, and sleep in one of 12 lakefront wooden cabins with names like Moose or Muskie. The place is built for families and requires week-long stays during peak summer months. From $155. 

Sleep’s Cabin, Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho 

Sleep’s Cabin is a family-owned landmark on Idaho’s biggest lake, Lake Pend Oreille, and a lovely spot to post up for a few nights. Five cozy cabins steps from the water include options like a one-bedroom log bungalow or a 2,000-square-foot family lodge, with access to a dock, an outdoor fire pit, and barbecues. Some of the cabins are historic properties dating back to the 1940s, but several have been updated with more modern amenities. From $95. 

Filed To: Lodging / Water Activities / Travel
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.


(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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