Kick off your Memorial Day weekend at one of the best lakes in the United States. A day of remembrance for our fallen heroes, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer. Look forward to swimming, hiking, kayaking, and more. Book a stay at a lakefront vacation rental for an unforgettable getaway. Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite lake locations.

1. Lake Isabel, Colorado

clouds over a colorado lake

Nestled in the San Isabel National Forest in the Wet Mountains, this 40-acre lake was developed solely for recreational purposes, and you can find plenty of things to do in this Rocky Mountain paradise. If you love to bird watch, this is the place. No motorized boats are allowed on the lake so the noise level is low and the birds are plentiful and fun to find. The lake offers kayak, paddle boat, and rowboat rentals so all you have to do is bring your gear and relax. Located at 8,600 feet, there are many vacation rental choices that give you privacy, the comforts of home, and the solitude of nature at this beautiful lake.

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2. Center Hill Lake, Tennessee

center hill lake
Source: Flickr/Daoud Alahmad

You can catch the beauty of the three scenic waterfalls that feed into Center Hill Lake as you travel for an hour or so along the highway from Nashville. Sixty-four miles of this lake twist and turn through Edgar Evans State Park where you’ll find birds, butterflies, and lots of places to commune with nature. The nearby town of Smithville offers amenities to entertain after a full day of swimming, waterskiing, boating, or fishing at the lake.

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3. Big Hill Lake, Kansas

big hill lake
Source: Flickr/usacetulsa

Big Hill Lake is considered to be the Little Ozarks of Kansas, and it’s one of the clearest lakes in Kansas. It’s just five miles from Cherryvale where you can find a variety of rentals in which to rest your head following a busy day of recreating. There’s something of appeal for every family member, from boat launching ramps to a playground to a ball field. The beach has a convenient change house, and if fishing is your thing bring along the largest fishing creel you own because the bass, catfish, and crappie are begging to jump in.

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4. Jackson Lake, Wyoming

jackson lake
Source: Flickr/Don Graham

Near Jackson Hole at the foot of the Tetons, this is a natural lake that is deep and cold and filled with salmon, cutthroat, brown and brook trout and pike. If you prefer to fish from shore, there are numerous inlets and tailwaters. The lake accommodates motorized boats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and inflatables and there are four launching locations so you never have to wait long to put yourself on the water.

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5. Lake Lanier, Georgia

lake lanier
Source: Flickr/Lisa Bongiorno

Lake Lanier is home to the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club as well as world championship and Olympic canoeing competitions, so you are good to go for all types of water sports. Many visitors love lounging on a houseboat while soaking up the sun or being a little more adventurous on a jet ski. The waterpark, Lanierworld, offers a variety of activities and entertainment, or you can spend some time riding horseback, playing golf, or getting a massage at the spa.

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6. Lake Havasu, Arizona

lake havasu
Source: Flickr/lovz2hike

This lovely lake offers more than 60 miles of waterways where you can sit on the beach, go boating, take a cooling swim, or fish to your heart’s content. Being in Arizona, there’s a golf course within in spitting distance of wherever you are, so be sure to bring your clubs if that’s your game. Historically, take time to check out the London Bridge; yes, the very one from London that was dismantled in blocks and reassembled in Lake Havasu in 1971.

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7. Lake Tahoe, California

lake tahoe
Source: Flickr/Brian Shamblen

The summer season comes alive as Lake Tahoe launches its official summer boating season. Activities include tours of Vikingsholm Castle in Emerald Bay and the Gatekeeper’s Museum in Tahoe City. On the west side of the lake at Homewood, stop by the annual splash-in, a family-friendly event that features a beach party and barbecue followed by the exciting Parade of Seaplanes. You can head to Sugar Pine Point State Park for some hiking or just sit quietly lakeside soaking up some rays.

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8. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

coeur d'alene
Source: Flickr/Sarah Ivey Rock

Coeur d’Alene sits on the banks of this gorgeous lake and offers some indoor activities for the entire family including an indoor water park, a neat regional museum, and a Downtown Art Walk. The lake itself invites you to get wet waterskiing, boating, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or fly fishing. You can pull on your favorite pair of hiking boots and head up to the Coeur d’Alene National Forest and check out the trails, or play a round of golf on one of their stunning golf courses.

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9. Lake Travis, Texas

lake travis

You can have lots of fun in the 80-degree Texas sun at Lake Travis on Memorial Day weekend. The boat season officially kicks off and the locals break out the bicycles for the annual race through the city, then head over to the lake for a foot race around the lake’s southern perimeter. Even if you don’t bring your own boat to the lake, you can charter a two-hour, half-day, all-day, or sunset excursions on a sailboat. If you’re feeling adventurous, go take a flying leap off the 10 to 40-foot cliffs at Pace Bend Park in Spicewood.

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10. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

lake geneva
Source: Flickr/Bernd Brägelmann

Not far from Chicago, Madison, or Milwaukee, Lake Geneva is a perfect holiday weekend getaway. The lake’s shore spans 21 miles and has several old mansions that have survived the centuries. You can take a lake cruise, relax, and enjoy the scenery, or hit the water in a kayak or canoe, or waterski or jet ski across the cool surface. The Pottawatomie Trail offers a scenic and pleasant hike around the lake, or you can head over to the trails at Big Foot State Park.

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