There are few water sports more thrilling than skimming over a big, beautiful lake on water skis to shake off the summer heat. The United States abounds with scenic lakes perfect for waterskiing. As for accommodations, book a stay at one of many cozy vacation rentals right beside the lake or tucked away in a nearby town. From New York to California, consider one of these gorgeous lakes for unforgettable summer fun.
1. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky
Located in south-central Kentucky, Lake Cumberland has over 1,255 miles of shoreline that border the crystal-clear waters. If you want to rent a boat or skis, the lake has four full-service marinas with an abundance of slips, fuel piers, and restaurants that are ready to launch you easily into a fun day on the water. If you are in Lake Cumberland in August, don’t miss the Lake Cumberland Raft Up. Participants have a blast attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the number of boats tied up to a single raft.
2. Lake Havasu, Arizona
Arizona isn’t all desert, and Lake Havasu is one of the top spots in the country for water skiing. On the California border in western Arizona, Lake Havasu is a man-made reservoir that features more than 450 miles of shoreline, and there’s plenty of outfitters along the way if you need equipment. From log cabins on the lake to condos in Havasu City, you can choose a vacation rental that suits your fancy.
3. Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is accessible from numerous cities including Chicago, Milwaukee, and Green Bay, making this an ideal destination when visiting other attractions in the area. Dozens of beaches line the lake, and it’s a snap to access equipment such as boats and skis from local outfitters. Known as the ‘Third Coast’, the best time to go water skiing in Lake Michigan is in late July and early August when the lake water is its warmest.
4. Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada
Lake Tahoe is North America’s highest alpine lake, but the summer water temperature is a comfortable 65 degrees. Often referred to as the “best lake in America,” Lake Tahoe has 25 beaches that stretch over a 72-mile shoreline in Nevada and California. Kiva Beach and Regan Beach on the South Shore, and Kings Beach and Sand Harbor on the North shore are impressive and less crowded than other beach areas. There’s plenty of launch areas for your boat as well as outfitters for renting skis.
5. Lake Texoma, Texas
Lake Texoma rests at the confluence of the Washita and Red River on the border of Texas and Oklahoma. Known as the Playground of the Southwest, it’s one of the largest lakes in the country. You can find numerous vacation rentals at one of the 12 marinas around the lake, such as the family-friendly Cedar Bayou Marina. When you’re not water skiing, visit the nearby wildlife refuges or throw a fishing line off the pier and catch a few bass or catfish.
6. Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado
Blue Mesa Reservoir is in southwestern Colorado near Gunnison and four-hours from Colorado Springs. This beautiful lake has nearly 100 miles of shoreline, making it a popular destination for all water sports, including water skiing. This lake has the largest lake trout and Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States, so bring your own boat and fishing pole or rent equipment at several marinas, then spend time catching your dinner as you lounge on the pier in the warm Colorado sunshine.
7. Lake George, New York
Lake George, located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, is one of the most popular boating and water skiing destinations in the region. There are numerous boat-launching points around the lake if you traveled with your own, or you can rent boat and skis at several regional marinas. You can choose a vacation rental on the lake or in local towns such as Bolton, Glens Falls, or Chester where restaurants such as the Algonquin serve up hearty American fare.
8. Lake Norman, North Carolina
Lake Norman in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a popular destination for boaters and water skiers, and you can readily rent equipment at the lake. A vacation at Lake Norman not only gives you access to fresh-air recreation, but you can also enjoy Charlotte’s big-city persona when it’s time to dock the boat and put away the skis. Book a vacation rental on the lake or stay in nearby downtown where you can enjoy the nightlife.
9. Lake Powell, Arizona-Utah
Lake Powell straddles the Arizona-Utah border and with over 250 miles of 80-degree water surface temperatures in the summer, the water skiing is unsurpassed. It’s easy to find a berth for your boat or a place to rent equipment while you’re there. A vacation rental at Lake Powell is a great central location from which to visit beautiful local attractions such as the Glen Canyon Dam, Rainbow Bridge, or Hole-in-the-Rock.
10. Table Rock Lake, Missouri-Arkansas
Table Rock Lake spreads 56 miles along the Missouri-Arkansas border, and it’s midway between Kansas City and St. Louis. Packed snugly in a forest, Table Rock Lake, unlike the more recognized Lake of the Ozarks, is quiet and serene. Kings River, on the west side of the lake, is the perfect place to enjoy skiing in a less-crowded space. When you turn the boat engine off and drift, you can hear the sounds of the birds echoing off the big rock bluffs.
11. Lake Lanier, Georgia
Lake Lanier is the largest lake in Georgia with nearly 700 shoreline miles. This gorgeous lake has over 45 parks, including Don Carter State Park, so there’s no difficulty choosing the perfect place to launch a boat or rent equipment. Atlanta is 30-minutes away, but two towns on the lake, Buford and Gainesville, have historic downtown areas where you can shop, eat, or find a cozy vacation rental. Before you head for home, take a day trip to a north Georgia mountain winery such as Wolf Mountain, or hike on the scenic Appalachian Trail.
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