1. Lake Erie
Explore the shores and sparkling waters of Lake Erie, the warmest of the five Great Lakes. Thanks to shallow depths and high temperatures during the summer months, Lake Erie is a popular for on-the-water sports like boating, swimming, and sports fishing — a favorite pastime. During your visit, be sure to look out for the lake’s iconic resident Bessie, an alleged 30- to 40-foot-long "monster.” Once voted number one on USA Today’s Reader Choice top 10 freshwater beaches, the lake offers a variety of rental accommodations, from casual waterfront resorts to charming cottages. Be sure to explore Presque Isle State Park, a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula with a shoreline perfect for lounging in the sun and capturing Instagram-worthy shots of its beautiful coastline.
Stay here: Book a cottage, hotel room, or suite at the family-friendly resort Lakeview On the Lake that provides spectacular views of Lake Erie. Or meet up with loved ones at the Clements Lake Erie Cottages for charming accommodations with beautiful sunset views over the lake.
2. Lake Wallenpaupack
In the heart of the Pocono Mountains, the man-made Lake Wallenpaupack covers 5,700 acres and is 13 miles in length with 52 miles of uninterrupted shoreline, giving you plenty of places to explore. The area also offers an array of kid-friendly attractions and activities, ensuring you’ll never run out of things to do. Spring spurs great fishing, boating, and action on lakeside trails, and summer sun fuels swimming, jet skiing, and paddle boarding excursions. Away from the water, museums, riding stables, and family parks are available as additional entertainment options. After a full day of exploration, rest and recharge at one of the area’s boutique hotels or cozy cabins.
Stay here: Reserve a luxury suite at the Silver Birches, a lakeside resort that offers kayak, pontoon boat, and other rentals. Other nearby accommodations include East Shore Lodging or family-friendly Tanglwood Resorts or Loch Highlands.
3. Canadohta Lake
Get to know the great outdoors at Canadohta Lake, one of Pennsylvania's largest natural lakes. The spring-fed beauty sets the scene for hiking, biking, walking, boating, and year-round fishing. Spend your nights relaxing and unplugging with a bonfire or take a boat ride under the evening stars. Travel back in time with a visit to the Drake Well in Titusville, the centerpiece that sparked the first boom of the American oil industry. Bringing your own equipment? You’re in luck! Many rentals in this area come with a rowboat and fishing dock.
Stay here: Rent a cottage for the entire family at Pier 66 Lake Front Cottages.
4. Conneaut Lake
Experience the charm and friendliness of Conneaut Lake, the state’s largest natural lake, spanning 929 acres. Enjoy peaceful waterfront serenity and if you’re feeling daring, take a thrilling ride on "Blue Streak", the classic wooden roller coaster at the area’s popular amusement park Conneaut Lake Park. Additional water sports include fishing, swimming, and water skiing. Groups of all sizes will have no issue calling their cottage rental here their “home away from home.”
Stay here: Find privately-owned cottages and rental homes through Conneaut Lake Resort Rentals.
5. Edinboro Lake
The tranquil and picturesque Edinboro Lake is perfect for the Happy Traveler in need of a break from the usual hustle and bustle. A college town for most of the year, Edinboro transforms into a resort community every summer. While the lake is on the smaller side, encompassing just 250 acres, it is still perfect for water activities like boating, swimming, and fishing. While staying in Edinboro, you are just a short drive from Presque Isle State Park, Erie Zoo, Presque Isle Downs and Casino, and Hurry Hill Farm Maple Museum. Wrap up your busy day with a lakeside stay at a rustic log cabin.
Stay here: Rent a cabin that can accommodate up to six adults or a family of seven at Edinboro Lake Resort.
6. Fairview Lake
Aspiring bass fishermen should head to Fairview Lake to sharpen their skills while on vacation. Legend has it Mike Iaconelli — the only angler to have won the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year, and B.A.S.S. Nation Championship — caught his very first bass as a boy at this 169-acre natural lake in Pike County. Surrounded by vacation homes and near Costa's Family Fun Park, Fairview Lake is ideal for family-oriented getaways.
Stay here: Relax just steps away from the shoreline with Martins Lakefront Cottages.
7. Lake Ariel
Get away to a peaceful lakefront cabin and surround yourself with the slopes of the Pocono Mountains and its densely wooded areas. Lake Ariel boasts plenty of on-the-water outdoor recreational activities, including fishing, swimming, and non-power boating. Landside, you can relax on-shore or explore several miles of backwoods trails and boardwalks. Those looking for more action can drive into nearby Scranton for modern entertainment or visit Claws ‘N’ Paws, the local wild animal park, to pet an alligator and feed the giraffes.
Stay here: Overlook the lake from your cabin rental at Lake Genero.
8. Lake Harmony
Lake Harmony is a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts, featuring clear mountain water perfect for thrilling watersports. At two and a half miles long, the natural glacier lake allows power boats for boating, water skiing, and jet skiing aficionados. Additionally, fishing in Lake Harmony is top notch, with healthy populations of bass, rock bass, sunfish, bluegill, trout, and perch. Local attractions include the H2O Indoor Water Park, Pocono Raceway, and miles of hiking trails at Hickory Run State Park — all activities ideal for family escapes. Relaxed accommodations include lakeside lodges, down-to-earth villas, and duplex cottages.
9. Lake Nockamixon
Make an overnight trip out of your visit to the Nockamixon State Park. The 1,450-acre Lake Nockamixon is a rest stop for migrating waterfowl and a destination for boaters, anglers, and wind-surfers alike. Complement your getaway with some action on land, from hiking, biking, and horseback riding on more than 50 miles of trails. Located on the south side of Lake Nockamixon are 10 modern cabins, available for rentals throughout the year. Additionally, explore Buck County’s quaint charm with a drive to nearby Quakertown for some antique shopping and pass through the Knecht’s Covered Bridge that’s been standing since 1873.
Stay here: Experience the rugged outdoors with a cabin at Nockamixon State Park.
10. Raystown Lake
Raystown Lake is the only lake within the state where you can stay in a houseboat and live on the water during your vacation. At an impressive 8,300 acres and 30-miles long, the largest lake in PA is a favorite destination for fisherman, boaters, beach-goers, kayakers, and all water enthusiasts. It offers plenty of opportunity to breathe in fresh air, walk through the forest, and enjoy the surrounding unspoiled shoreline scenery.
Stay here: Snuggle up in a cozy cottage, bungalow, or yurt at Lake Raystown Resort Lodge.
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