Your Guide to a Fun Weekend at the Lake

Spending a couple of days relaxing by a beautiful lake really does make for a wonderful weekend getaway. Whether you are driving just an hour from home or taking a long road trip, getting to the lake is actually half the fun, especially if traveling as a family. Road trip snacks and games can make the travel time fly by. Upon arrival, stake out the perfect scenic spot to park your car and unload all your lake gear.

Where to Stay?

Some lakes have classic lakeside resorts or lodges you can stay in. This puts you right in the middle of the action for water activities. Cabin or condo rentals are another popular option when it comes to lake vacations. For a more rustic experience, rent a spot at a lakefront campground and camp in a tent or RV. What better than falling asleep to the soothing sounds of lapping waves?

On the Water

Of course, the main reason to go to the lake is for all the fun water activities. Swimming and floating on inflatables are classic ways to spend sunny days. Many lakes also have rental options for things like kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and even powerboats. The folk at Canyon Sports say that paddle board rental is an awesome way to explore the lake from a standing vantage point. It also makes for a great workout. Just practice water safety and have properly fitted life jackets for kids. Don’t forget to also apply sunscreen and drink lots of water if out in the hot sun for any length of time.

Lakeside Recreation

Away from the water, lakefront areas offer tons of other recreational opportunities too. Many have hiking or biking trails winding through the nearby woods. Parks offer playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas. An evening campfire is a classic way to end a day at the lake, complete with s’mores, of course. Lakes with public beaches may even host outdoor movie screenings as night falls.

Exploring Towns

Most major lakes have small tourist towns located right on their shores. These quaint downtowns offer souvenir shops, casual lakefront eateries, mini golf, and more. You can stroll the streets, ducking into boutiques and galleries selling local art and crafts. Grab an ice cream cone and people-watch from a bench. Lots of towns also have go-kart tracks or other family fun attractions.

Lake Views

To really appreciate the natural splendor of the area, you’ll want to take in stunning views of the lake itself. Driving or hiking to lookout points high above the water provides breathtaking panoramic vistas. For a unique perspective, find locales where you can watch the sun rise or set over the lake’s surface. Golden hours make for incredible photos capturing the lake’s tranquil beauty.

Rainy Day Backups

Unfortunately, stormy weather can sometimes put a damper on outdoor lake plans. But most lake towns have indoor attractions to enjoy when it’s raining. You may find mini bowling alleys, arcades, movie theaters, museums, or indoor water parks. Shopping at local boutiques is another popular rainy-day activity. Or cozy up somewhere with a good book and local craft beer or wine.

Packing Checklist

To make the most of your lake getaway, be prepared with all the right gear and supplies:

  • Swimsuit and beach towels
  • Sun protection
  • Beach chairs and umbrella
  • Cooler with drinks and snacks
  • Floats, water toys, fishing poles
  • Hiking shoes, backpack, binoculars
  • Rain jackets, just in case!
  • Chargers and back-up battery packs for phones/cameras
  • Camping equipment if you’ll be roughing it


With a little planning, a weekend at the serene lake will leave you relaxed, recharged and already dreaming of your next lakeside getaway.

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