Magnificent Chautauqua Lake, a 13,000-acre area located in western New York, is surrounded by rolling farmland and forested areas. It’s the perfect place to decompress from life, reconnect with family, and surround yourself with the serenity of nature. Better yet, there is a wide selection of vacation rentals on Chautauqua Lake, largely due to the small towns on the outer edges of the lake. Here are our top 10 picks for where to stay in the Chautauqua Lake area, depending on what kind of a vacation experience you are hoping for.

1. Chautauqua

chautauqua lake
Source: Flickr/Joseph Brent

Look no further for vacation rentals than Chautauqua itself. This town offers you and your family a quaint place to relax and reconnect, as well as quick access to the lake via Pendergast Point, located on the south side of Chautauqua. Chautauqua is a great place for wildlife viewing, a family-friendly activity that teaches the kids about the wonders of the great outdoors.

2. Stow

stow
Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

Stow is a very tiny town on two intersecting roads. Stow has several vacation rentals to choose from, and is an ideal location with respect to the lake. Staying in this town puts you within walking distance of Tom’s Point, boasting plenty of shoreline lake access. As part of the Chautauqua Lake Wildlife Management Area, the Stow area puts you within easy access to plenty of shores to explore, as well as picnic areas to share a family meal.

3. Maple Springs

maple spring
Source: Flickr/Chad Cooper

Located on the east side of the lake, Maple Springs has it all: lake access, Midway State Park, and a tavern or two. Getting a vacation rental here is a great option if you and your family would like some privacy, but would like to be within easy access of beaches and nature areas.

4. Willow Brook

long point state park
Source: Flickr/Adam Baker

Soak up the sun on the grassy banks of the lake at Long Point State Park, or take your kids hiking on one of many nature trails. Even better, opt for a rental at Willow Brook. Willow Brook is right next to Long Point State Park, making it easy to take the family on a leisurely walk through the woods. Long Point has boat rentals and lake access, so making it out on the lake is only a matter of minutes.

5. Bemus Point

bemus point
Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

If you are interested in being close to great restaurants, bars, and people, rent a vacation house at Bemus Point. Take the family out to eat at The Italian Fisherman, which overlooks the lake, or spend a little grown-up time at the Village Casino. Bemus Point also has access to a ferry for a fun family day trip across the lake.

6. Cheney Farm

cheney farm
Source: Flickr/Mary Madigan

Teach your kids about the joy of roughing it at Cheney Farm, part of the Chautauqua Lake Wildlife Management Area. Cheney Farm includes lake access and various camping areas. If you are not interested in camping, though, rest assured — there are vacation rentals in the area near Cheney Farm as well.

7. Jamestown

jamestown
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

If you’d rather not disconnect completely, Jamestown, a large town at the southern tip of Chautauqua Lake, is a great destination for your vacation. Here, you can take your family on an interesting tour of historical sites, and then spend an afternoon on the lake. Travel just a few miles afield to get to the rural beauty of the lake or enjoy the wildness of the state parks…or stay in town for shopping, dining, and nightlife.

8. Lakewood

lakewood
Source: Flickr/Chad Cooper

Spend time on manicured lawns and beautiful parks when you stay in a Lakewood vacation rental. Just a few miles from Jamestown, Lakewood offers quick access to a night in the city or an afternoon enjoying the serenity of the town. Grab a meal to go at one of the many in-town restaurants, and enjoy it at the Lakewood beach park. For a fun day on the water,  rent a kayak for a family adventure.

9. Celoron

memorial park
Source: Flickr/Adam Moss

Celoron lies just close enough to Jamestown to walk to it, but it is far enough away to offer more open spaces for a rest from the frenetic urban pace. Head to the Lucille Ball Memorial Park on the lake to enjoy the view, gives you a place to enjoy the view. If you’d like to bring your boat on your vacation, Celoron is a great place to stay due to the easy access to boat launches.

10. Mayville

george trail
Source: Flickr/Andy Arthur

Located at the northern tip of the lake, Mayville has rural beauty, wide open areas, and a large number of vacation rentals, making it the perfect place to relax. Take your kids for a walk along the lake, or enjoy a lakeside dinner. The Chautauqua Gorge State Forest is a short drive to the west, and has incredible hiking trails. If you enjoy hiking, this is the best place for you to look for a vacation rental.