Top 10 lake vacations

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

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Lake Crescent, WA
Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Ted Katauskas

Best for throwback fun

Lakes don’t get much more old school than Crescent, in Washington’s Olympic National Park. Lake Crescent Lodge is one of the great national-park hotels, with a wood-paneled dining room—President Franklin Roosevelt ate here—and a sunroom where parents and young children play games of Uno and Jenga.

As for the lake itself, it’s a gem: second-deepest in Washington and, locals claim, clearer than Western rivals Crater and Tahoe. There are biological reasons for this—such as an almost complete absence of water-clouding nitrogen—but what will count more is all the fun you can have on and around Crescent. The lodge rents canoes, rowboats, and tandem kayaks; you can fish for two species of trout found nowhere but here. (You do, however, have to put the trout back.)

Stay: Best (and only) choice is 1916-vintage Lake Crescent Lodge. Singles and couples cocoon in the eight upstairs lodge rooms (all have lake views); families go for the four Roosevelt Cottages, each with a working fireplace and situated steps from the water. If they’re booked—and they often are—the 13 Singer Tavern Cottages lack fireplaces but have Dutch doors that open to let in lake breezes. Lodge rooms from $115, Roosevelt Cottages from $259, Singer from $224;


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