It has been variously estimated that there are probably millions of natural lakes of various sizes in the continental United States and Alaska. However, the Environmental Protection Agency approximates that there are only about 123,439 natural lakes of significant size in the country (2.5 acres and above).
These bodies of water play a crucial role in the regional and global ecosystem, regulating the weather, as well as being a source of water and food for humans and animals alike. More than that, they are vital to local economies through their role in transportation, agriculture (irrigation), mining (of precious metals and minerals), and starting from the 20th century, tourism. The Brookings Institution estimates that the five Great Lakes alone (Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior) supply 90% of the country’s fresh water and impact the lives of approximately 35 million people.
Every year, millions of Americans spend their holidays near lakes. These lakes offer a wide range of outdoor activities to tourists, including fishing, boating, watersports and hiking. Moreover, lakes are usually densely populated by flora and fauna - a great source of attraction for urban dwellers.
In addition, areas surrounding larger lakes are typically blessed with temperate weather, great scenery and calm and relaxing surroundings. It should come as no surprise then that a number of these areas have evolved into major tourist destinations, coinciding with the development of townships, golf courses, hotels, resorts, etc. Some of them have even attained world class status, owing to the high standard of comfort, convenience and recreational activities accorded to visitors.
For individuals, couples and families looking to spend their next holiday near the water, beaches are no longer the only choices. In fact, a great many prefer the peace and tranquility of lake resorts compared to the frenetic pace of popular beaches on the West and East coasts.
In line with that, we have compiled below a list of the ten most luxurious lake resorts in the country that may help you decide on your next vacation destination.
10 Tamarack Lodge, Lake Michigan: Up to $803/Night
Located just five miles away from downtown Traverse City, this family-friendly lakefront resort offers guests with a blend of a glorious stretch of white sandy beach, the pristine blue waters of the Grand Traverse Bay, dozens of retail outlets, fine dining choices from over 100 restaurants and vineyards within walking distance.
First time visitors will be amazed with the rustic atmosphere of the lobby, complete with a large stone fireplace that harkens back to the days of old.
With a wide range of activities designed for both couples and families, along with well-equipped private beachfront suites facing Lake Michigan, guests can look forward to a memorable vacation at the Tamarack Lodge.
9 Geneva On The Lake Wine Country Villa & Resort, Seneca Lake: Up to $806/Night
Located next to the South Main Street Historic District inside the Finger Lakes Wine Country, Geneva On The Lake was once described as "one of the 10 most romantic inns" in the country by the American Historic Inns.
Built in 1914 inside a lush 10-acre area, the villa was modeled after Villa Lancellotti in Lazio, Italy, which once served as the official residence of the Sardinian King, Charles Emmanuel IV. Predictably, the building features a strong classical design, Ionic Greek columns, Venetian windows and terracotta roof tiles.
With its beautiful landscape gardens, pool, private dock and wine tours - among a great many other attractions - Geneva On The Lake will charm you with its beauty.
8 Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson: Up to $1,000/Night
Located in Horseshoe Bay on the south eastern shore of Lake LBJ, the luxurious lake and golf resort sits inside an affluent community of about 3,000 locals. With a private airfield, three championship golf courses, 16 tennis courts, four swimming pools, and a host of other amenities, this is a destination tailored specifically for the inner executive within you.
The 249-room and suite resort also offers a 51,000 sq. ft. meeting space and 12,000 sq. ft. ballroom for company retreats, along with three excellent in-house restaurants.
7 Stonewater Cove Resort and Spa, Table Rock Lake: Up to $1,110/Night
If swimming at the pool, kayaking at the lake or trekking inside the nearby Mark Twain National Forest doesn't tickle your fancy, perhaps you’d like to consider a private moonlight cruise, a fishing trip, or even, a helicopter tour?
In the event you get tired of the luxurious Signature 3 Bedroom suite, maybe you can take a short walk across the landscaped pathways to the wooden and glass treehouse for a massage and spa session?
Whatever your preference, this astounding lake resort has got you covered.
6 Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, Lake Oconee: Up to $1,599/Night
This swanky, smoke-free lakeside resort, built inside the 10,000-acre Reynolds plantation, offers a serene and relaxing getaway to visitors trying to escape from the pressures of modern life. Guests can expect a laid-back atmosphere, an unparalleled level of service, excellent cuisine and luxurious accommodations. For those in need of a little excitement, the acclaimed 99-holes championship golf course (designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus himself), or the guided fishing trips, are among the dozens of activities available daily.
5 Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid: Up to $1,599/Night
The site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, tucked between the Adirondack High Peaks on the west and the shimmering Lake Placid on the east, is without a doubt one of the most beautiful resorts anywhere in the world. The scenic vistas, especially at dawn and sunset, are breathtaking. Walk, hike, row, cycle, drink, paddle, eat, play and be merry. Whether you’re dining at the Artisans Restaurant or Maggie’s Pub with your friends and family, or toasting some marshmallows by the campfire under a beautiful moonlit sky, your stay here will be a memorable one.
4 Sagamore Resort, Lake George: Up to $2,000/Night
This storied full service luxurious resort by Lake George, affectionately called the Queen of American Lakes, has a rich and colorful history that dates back to 1882. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the resort offers an award-winning 18-hole championship golf course, a luxurious spa, a fine dining restaurant, a marina, eight tennis courts and much more. Replete with a castle and the legend of a blonde phantom, Sagamore Resort is the choice destination for the well-heeled.
3 Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Crescent Lake: Up to $2,545/Night
With porthole-like windows reminiscent of houses from Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, the New England yacht club-inspired resort was built in 1990 and is now roundly considered as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ most upscale destination. Featuring a dizzying number of daily recreational activities, both on land and sea, the resort offers comfort, luxury and convenience in equal measure. Backed by a club level concierge service and shuttle buses to local attractions and shopping outlets, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort promises fun and adventure for the whole family.
2 The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe: Up to $5,000/Night
The modern 170-room wood and granite lodge is built to blend seamlessly with the existing panoramic green and white landscape. Featuring ski concierges, slope side pools and a signature 17-room spa, the Ritz-Carlton is a study in beauty, functionality, experience and service. Employing sustainable eco-friendly management practices, the resort is the perfect family winter getaway.
The Ritz is also just a gondola ride away from The Village at Northstar, Lake Tahoe’s most exclusive and well-known shopping, dining and recreational spot.
1 The Broadmoor, Cheyenne Lake: Up to $6,000/Night
The almost century old Broadmoor is the premier lake and golf resort in the world. Kings, presidents, prime ministers and Fortune 500 CEOs regularly visit The Broadmoor, if only for its critically-acclaimed world class championship golf course. However, Broadmoor is so much more than that. The resort provides a premium level of service, luxury and privacy to each and every one of its visitors. Augmented by gourmet meals, super luxurious rooms and suites, and a comforting and serene ambiance, it is easy to understand why Broadmoor is held in such high esteem by many.