8 Perfect Summer Lake Towns

Accessible, easy on the wallet, and just as refreshing as the ocean, our money’s on the classic American swimming hole this summer. Where will you be cooling off?


Jackson Hole, Wyoming, near Jackson Lake

Framed by the Grand Tetons and situated just north of posh Jackson Hole, Jackson Lake is a pristine glacial stunner. Soak in the views from a four-wheel cruise down the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway on its eastern edge. For a more immersive take, Jackson Lake Boat Rentals provides six types of watercraft, from sea kayaks by the hour to deck cruisers by the day (307/543-2831, full-day rentals from $79 per person).

Where to Refuel: The Bear's Den restaurant serves all the hearty fare you'd expect at a Wyoming ranch; favorites include Campfire Chili with cheddar cheese and Mom's Meatloaf. At Flagg Ranch, right off Hwy. 89 (two miles south of Yellowstone), 800/443-2311, entrees from $9.

Where to Stay: It's nothing fancy, but Signal Mountain Lodge is the only waterfront resort on the shores of Jackson Lake. Each of its rustic log cabins has semi-private balconies and views of the Tetons. Inner Park Rd., Moran, Wyo., 307/543-2831,, from $131.

Newport, New Hampshire, near Sunapee Lake

Sunapee Lake is quintessential pastoral New England, with a handful of beaches made for swimming and a revolving lineup of outdoor concerts all summer. Its focal point is the lively marina scene at Sunapee Harbor; other highlights include the Fells Historic Estate & Gardens, an 84-acre estate with gardens dating back to the early 20th century.

Where to Refuel: One Mile West specializes in New England favorites like Atlantic haddock fish and chips; try the signature Brook Rd. BLT, which adds pepper-crusted sirloin to the tried-and-true bacon-lettuce-tomato combo. 6 Brook Rd., 603/863-7500,

Where to Stay: Dexter's Inn's estate-like grounds are immaculate, with an outdoor pool, tennis court, and views of the lake. 285 Stagecoach Rd., 800/232-5571,, from $110.



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