6 Best U.S. Lake Beaches

Cannonballs! Sailboat races! And...sand castles! We’ve teamed up with the travel gurus at TravelingMom.com to bring you six wonderful freshwater destinations that offer everything you love about lakes—with beaches to boot. 

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Lake McConaughy, NE

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Lake McConaughy, NE

Where To Sleep & Eat

Camping is king here. Make your reservations with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission up to one year in advance. If you prefer beds to sleeping bags, try North Shore Lodge for simple cabins that sleep up to eight people (starting at $120 for four).

For dinner, don’t miss Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge. It’s in Paxton, 30 minutes east. The 80-year-old restaurant serves awesome burgers and steaks, but the real draw is the 200-plus big-game trophies and mementos from founder Ole’s worldwide safaris. 

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Lake Erie Islands, OH

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Lake Erie Islands, OH

Where To Sleep & Eat

Lodging options include private cottages, hotels, charming bedand-breakfasts, and lake-view campsites. The Lake Erie Shores and Islands website can help you find ideal accommodations for your family.

For a special treat, visit The Chocolate Cafe & Museum, where kids can choose from more than 30 flavors of local specialty Toft’s ice cream. Can’t make a decision? Ask for samples first! 

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Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

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Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Where To Sleep & Eat

Rent a lakefront cottage in a hue of yellow, green, pink, or blue at the Naswa Resort (rates start at $259 per night for a two-bedroom house). It’s been owned by the same family since 1935 and has a 1,000-foot private beach.

Grab a stool at the lunch counter at Union Diner—it’s an authentic 1951 Worcester train dining car converted to a 1950s-style diner. The owners pride themselves on their ability to re-create classic fare with a modern flair. Some favorites: the big breakfasts; lobster stew; and the Sweet Mr. Ziffel Burger, topped with Gouda and homemade bacon jam.

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Lake Lure, NC

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Lake Lure, NC

Where To Sleep & Eat

The Esmeralda Inn (rates start at $219 per night) offers an outdoor Jacuzzi for stargazing and a S’mores Survival Kit for memory-making fun at the outdoor fireplace.

The cinnamon rolls at Medina’s Village Bistro in Chimney Rock are also not to be missed.

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Big Bear Lake, CA

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Big Bear Lake, CA

Where To Sleep & Eat

Big Bear lodging choices range from camping and cabins to condos, hotels, and vacation home rentals. Start your search at Big Bear Vacations.

For a tiny town, Big Bear has a surprising number of incredible restaurants serving all types of fare. The best (and biggest) breakfast is at the laid-back Grizzly Manor Cafe, a favorite with locals. Dine on authentic Indian food at The Himalayan Restaurant, which also offers “baby plates” with toned-down versions of chicken tikka masala and chow mein.  

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Elkhart Lake, WI

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Elkhart Lake, WI

Where To Sleep & Eat 

Choose one of Elkhart Lake’s waterfront resorts: the charming Victorian Village (rates start at $147 a night) or the stately Osthoff (rates start at $290), with its world-class spa and kid-friendly summer programming. A more rustic option is camping at nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Whether or not you’re a guest there, the Victorian Village has budget-friendly dinner options like the Friday night fish fry, a local favorite. 

TravelingMom.com is an online family travel magazine with more than 60 contributing writers from around the world! To read more about their experiences at these 6 lake destinations, click here.