Top 10 lake vacations

Grab your swimsuit! Here are the most irresistibly enjoyable, summer-fun-filled lakes in the West

Christina Lake, B.C.
Photo by Erin Kunkel; written by Darren Davidson

Best for a private hideaway

All your life, you’ve longed for your own personal lakeside retreat. But you haven’t inherited money, you haven’t issued an IPO. What to do? You rent your lakeside paradise for a week or two. Christina Lake, British Columbia, is seemingly created for people who want to rent their own lakeside cottage/cabin/luxury home. Resorts are nonexistent (although there is a scattering of nice, small B&Bs). But what Christina has is a broad range of properties for rent, from quirky but comfortable cabins to a few seven-figure estates.

Christina’s charms extend beyond real estate, though. The lake is serenely lovely, set in the Monashee Mountains, near the Canadian Rockies. August lake and weather temps belie the north-of-the-border location: 71° (or, as they have it up here, 22° C); daytime averages around 82°. If you’re looking for a lake with sweeping, sandy beaches where you can get so warm that you have to make regular plunges into the water, this is it.

One potential drawback—the lake’s somewhat remote location, more than two hours north of Spokane—is in some ways a plus. Things aren’t crowded here. True, in summer the population soars from its year-round 1,500 to 6,000, but that won’t faze anybody familiar with, say, Lake Tahoe. And with the north half of the lake embraced by Gladstone Provincial Park, it’s easy to find quiet moments, when you can fantasize about living here permanently.

Stay: For rental cabins and homes, which cluster along the lake’s eastern shore, a reliable agency is Christina Lake Vacation Rentals (christinalakevacation.com). If you want someone to coddle you, the Sunflower Inn Bed & Breakfast (from $131 U.S.; sunflowerinnbb.com) has three great suites with good lake views, a private beach, and a dock.

Extra:  Cast your vote for the best lake vacations in America!

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