Nothing beats the feeling of a cool breeze wafting off a big, tranquil lake. Campers can experience lakeside camping — along with boating, fishing and waterskiing — at lakeside Good Sam Parks across North America. Find Good Sam Parks near quaint, out-of-the-way lakes or vast bodies of water with big marinas. Wherever you go, you’ll want to hit the water.
Lake Michigan, Petoskey, Michigan
The sprawling shores of America’s Great Lakes are often called “America’s Third Coast.” For vacationers, finding a spot along the endless miles of shoreline might be difficult. Looking for a safe bet? Choose Petoskey, a four-seasons community in Northern Michigan. From beautiful fall foliage, to morel mushrooms in the spring, to top-notch skiing and snowboarding in the winter months, Petoskey has it all. Winter activities are truly spectacular in the Petoskey area.
Feel like staying in town? Petoskey’s Gaslight District is the place to shop, walk, dine and enjoy. Walk through the pedestrian tunnel to the beautiful waterfront park, where you can watch the boats come into the marina or visit the Little Traverse History Museum.
You can also visit the Crooked Tree Arts Center, bike the Little Traverse Wheelway, take in a musical performance in Historic Bay View or play outdoors. trout, yellow perch and whitefish. Use the ramp for your own boat, or simply go kayaking and canoeing on the sprawling lake. The park’s 30 concrete sites have ample room for slideouts with table on site. Take a day trip to glacier for spectacular sights, then relax the evening away at your site’s patio.
Brings out the golf clubs, the bikes and the fishing gear. Play a round on the links and then go morel mushroom hunting. Or bike along the North County Trail and then walk on the beach and watch the sunset. Take a boat from Traverse Bay, which empties out into vast Lake Michigan.
Stay: Petoskey RV Resort
Lake Michigan, Door County, Wisconsin
Jutting off of Lake Michigan’s western shore, Door County has been nicknamed the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” for its quaint villages and charming coastlines. But this remarkable region hosts attractions that are quintessentially Wisconsin. Peninsula State Park features an 18-hole championship golf course, camping sites, hiking trails and bicycle paths. Snow on the ground doesn’t mean an end to the frivolity. Instead, prepare to bust out the skis for groomed ski trails, snowmobiling and sledding. Bring the kids to family-friendly White Cedar Nature Center, which hosts a number of hikes, nature-based arts and crafts, and outdoor skills workshops to keep the kids’ minds off the TV remote control and into the beauty of the surrounding forest.
Whitefish State Dunes, on the other hand, offers more than 860 acres of ground on the Lake Michigan shoreline, including a mile of sand beach and the tallest sand dunes in the Badger State. Visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking and fishing in the summer and snowshoeing in winter.
At the end of a busy day, there often is nothing better than a nice adult beverage, and Door County has offerings for you. If beer is your thing, make sure to check out Door County Brewing Company. The Baileys Harbor brewer, established in 2012, has made a tremendous reputation for itself as a brewer of distinctive beers. The taproom serves up a number of selections for the sophisticated beer sampler, including farmhouse ale, a pale ale, a smoked imperial stout and a witbier.
However, if it’s the smashed grapes you are about, there are many that are worth your attention, including Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery, Orchard Country Winery & Market and Red Oak Winery. Take your pick of these Midwest vintages.
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is a 45-minute drive from Reno and offers ample opportunities for boating, parasailing, water skiing, stand-up paddleboarding and even pedal boating. The largest Alpine Lake in the United States. Covers 191 square miles, the lake gives visitors plenty of room along the shore to relax and enjoy the freshwater. Travel over to the Nevada side of the lake to enjoy the casinos of Stateline, Nevada, for world-class dining and gaming.
Stay: Tahoe Valley Campground
Lake Mead, Boulder City, Nevada
Located east of Nevada, Boulder City is surrounded by several of the Southwest’s most popular attractions. Hoover Dam sits just 7 miles to the east, and Las Vegas lies 25 miles to the west. For boaters, the area’s main attraction lies just to the north, where lake mead awaits with its 247 square miles of water, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States. Several marinas in the area offer boaters all they need, from rentals to fishing gear, for great times on the water. Try your hand at kiteboarding, waterskiing, wakeboarding and boat wake surfing, which involves riding a board on the wake of a boat.
Lake Havasu, Arizona
Lake Havasu stands out as one of the most vibrant stops along the Colorado River. Formed by the Parker Dam, the 19,300-acre reservoir attracts visitors from around the world for boating and fishing in the shadows of rugged desert mountains rising over the shore. Lake Havasu City attracts festivals that include the Lake Havasu Spring Break Party in March, the International Jet Ski World Finals in October and Lake Havasu Rockabilly Reunion in February. Quirky attractions here include the London Bridge — transplanted from England brick-by-brick in 1967 — and lighthouses that line its shore (although they look decorative, they serve a vital function of protecting boaters from the shore). Come for the great boating and fishing, stay for the party in one of the restaurants and bars in town.
Stay: Campbell Cove RV Resort, Lake Havasu City