When it comes to a family vacation, you’re always looking for an exciting new place to explore and spend time reconnecting with your kids. Lake vacations offer plentiful opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and soaking up the summer sun. Instead of booking a hotel, treat your family to a spacious New Jersey vacation rental, which often features great amenities that give you more value for your money. That said, take a look at the top lakes in New Jersey.

1. Lake Marcia

Find a refreshing place to swim in the cool waters of Lake Marcia that gets its water from natural springs. Located inside the High Point State Park, this lake offers swimming, boating, and fishing as well as many miles of hiking paths. Make sure to visit High Point Monument for stunning views, and on a clear day, you can see across three states. Stop by the NJDEP Interpretive Center to learn more about the area’s ecosystem and history through exhibits. Get fresh bread and pastries each morning from the Best Friend Bakery.

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2. Tomahawk Lake

Tomahawk Lake offers 200 acres of water to explore on kayaks or canoes. While staying in the area, make sure to check out the Tomahawk Lake Waterpark. This waterpark on the lake includes rides, obstacles, and a one-at-a-time water coaster, where little ones can get soaked. The park offers a dedicated child’s area and a mini-golf course for activities on dry land. Enjoy a good meal and amazing when you take the family to Andre’s Lakeside Dining. You can cool off underground with a tour at Sterling Hill Mining Museum.

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3. Lake Absegami

Enjoy a low-key trip with a vacation rental near Lake Absegami. This small lake offers boating, kayaking, swimming, and fishing. One of the best highlights is the hiking trails that wind around the lake and Bass River State Forest. Don’t forget to take photos of the Atlantic white cedar bog when you find it. Step back in time at the Historic Smithville and Village Greene and let the kids take a spin on the train. Stop by the Smithville Peanut Butter Company for all things peanut butter and take a couple of jars back to your vacation rental.

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4. Hooks Creek Lake

Kids love spending an afternoon exploring the crabbing bridge at Hooks Creek Lake. This small lake offers swimming and fishing for a relaxing vacation. Surrounding the lake are miles of hiking trails that meander past fresh- and salt-water marshes. Take a tour of the Sri Guruvaayoorappan Temple, and wonder if you’re in America or visiting an exotic land. When faced with a rainy afternoon, take the family to the Keyport Fire Museum to learn more about this profession and its history.

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5. Round Valley Reservoir

Chill out and hit the water at Round Valley Reservoir in Lebanon. It’s a hot spot for boating and has a couple of public boat launches along with a public beach. Stretch your legs on the Pine Tree Trail that runs for a mile through the gorgeous wooded land. Check out the native and non-native plants, flowers, and trees at the Hunterdon County Arboretum. Enjoy a family dinner at the Fox and Hound Tavern.

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6. Lake Nummy

Close to the Jersey Shore, Lake Nummy offers calmer waters than you find at the beach, but a strategically located vacation rental can give you the best of both worlds. This lake sits in the Belleplain State Forest so hiking is an option in addition to kayaking, swimming, and finish. The beach area includes concession for a cool drink and changing areas. While staying in the area, take the kids to the Cape May County Park and Zoo, or opt to visit the Morey’s Piers to ride the rides on the boardwalk one evening.

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7. Atsion Lake

Inside the Wharton State Forest, Atsion Lake invites your family to boat, swim, and fish in a beautiful wood setting. There’s a public beach on the lake with three areas for changing and using the restroom along with a concession stand and lifeguards. Bring a lunch from your vacation rental and toss some burgers on the grill at the picnic area. Take a tour of The Batsto Mansion and step back in time to the 1800s and then stop for dinner at Indian Mills Pizza.

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8. Lake Wawayanda

Lake Wawayanda offers clear water, where you can practically see the fish swimming under the surface. Located in the Wawayanda State Park, this lake has many trails for hiking when you prefer to be on land. At the beach area, there are changing areas, a concession stand and first-aid. At the beach, you can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes to explore the shoreline. On Friday or Saturday night, take the family on a retro adventure at the Warwick Drive-In Movie Theater.

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9. Swartswood Lake

As one of the largest natural lakes in New Jersey, Swartswood Lake provides opportunities for swimming, canoeing, boating, and more. Located inside the Swartswood State Park, this lake has a Visitor’s Center, where your family can rent pedal boats and kayaks. Take advantage of the sandy beach or walk the trails for a little fresh air and wildlife sightings. Spend an afternoon at the Spring Valley Equestrian Center, where you can take a lesson or go on a trail ride. Little ones love petting the animals at the Little Brushwood Alpaca Farm.

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10. Lake Hopatcong

In the northern part of the state and around 40 miles from New York City, Lake Hopatcong is the largest freshwater lake in the state, so visitors spend their days boating, waterskiing, and fishing. This lake offers a large public beach that includes lifeguards during the summer months. Grab a bite to eat at the beach’s concession stand, use the changing area, and let the kids play on the playground. Take the family to nearby Wild West City for a day of fun in a western-themed park that includes a petting zoo.

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