The deep blue Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idahois 25 miles long and is framed by pine-forested hills. Here, a view of a waterfront house during sunset.
A sunset over Tubbs Hill in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The best way to soak in the experience is by kayak; guides at ROW Adventures will point out wildlife like eagles and osprey along the way as you paddle (four-hour excursions from $67 per person).
A bridge over water in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce
Children sit on a dock overlooking the water of Flathead Lake in Bigfork, Montana.
If the mountain-ringed lake captures Big Sky Country's raw beauty, the town of Bigfork, with its popular concert series, makes for an artistic counterpoint.
Surrounded by the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado's largest natural lake couldn't be more picturesque. These folks are enjoying lunch on a dock at the lake.
A sailing trip on Grand Lake.
The Grand Tetons make for a majestic backdrop to Jackson Lake.
Another perspective of the Grand Tetons from across Jackson Lake.
The Minnesota town of Bemidji best captures the Norman Rockwell glow of a summer lake town, with clean beaches, quirky annual traditions, and a packed social calendar.
Lake Bemidji looking calm and tranquil on a summer day.
Sunapee Lake in New Hampshire is quintessential pastoral New England, with a handful of beaches made for swimming and a revolving lineup of outdoor concerts all summer.
A view of the MV Kearsarge (a dinner boat) from the Newbury/Sunapee town line across Lake Sunapee. The Burkehaven lighthouse is visible behind it.
A lighthouse on Lake Sunapee.
Boats on Sackets Harbor, an under-the-radar gem along Lake Ontario in New York.
Sackets Harbor at sunset.
Long a weekend getaway for Chicagoans, Saugatuck's independent shops, trendy restaurants, and LGBT presence are starting to gain the town national attention. This photo of the town was taken from atop Mt. Baldhead.
A photo of the Saugatuck chain ferry, which runs from downtown to Oval; it's the only hand-cranked chain ferry on the Great Lakes (adults and children ages 3 and up $1).
We've picked eight easygoing, American lake towns, where you can find simple, affordable pleasures.