Rich with lazy lounge days, quaint downtown areas, and surrounded by beautiful nature, the small-town lake life is a simple pleasure and worthwhile experience.
From the changing seasons of Burrillville, Rhode Island, to the outdoor activities in Lakeway, Texas, here are some of the best small lake towns in the United States that are worthy of a visit.
Located alongside gorgeous Lake Travis, Lakeway, Texas, has more than a few water-related activities to do in the area. From fishing to sailing, there is a little something for everyone who visits the area.
Pro tip: visit in the summertime because this area is known to get very hot during the summer months, from the high 90s to low 100s.
Mount Dora, Florida
Since people tend to flock to Florida Beaches, Mount Dora is often ignored. Well, it is their loss since Mount Dora has a lot to offer.
Known as the “Festival City,” due to the sheer number of monthly festivals it hosts, such as the Mount Dora Craft Fair, there is always something to do in Mount Dora. There is also boating, golfing, and numerous parks to stroll through.
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Located between Norfork Lake and Bull Shoals Lake, Mountain Home, Arkansas, is one of the United States’ must-see treasures. A stunning destination for fall travelers, the Arkansas wilderness will not disappoint.
With the changing color of the leaves, jump in a kayak and enjoy 360-degree views or hop on a hiking trail to see everything up close and personal.
There really is no bad time to go to Sandpoint, Idaho. Whether a person is looking for a sunny day boating on Lake Pend Oreille or hitting the snowy slopes of the Selkirk Mountains, Sandpoint offers it all!
There is also amazing hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities to enjoy.
Laconia, New Hampshire
A small town with around 16,581 people, Laconia, New Hampshire, is a great lake town for those who prefer peace, quiet, and tranquility. Whether a person visits in the sunny months of summer or the brisk months of autumn and winter, Laconia won’t disappoint with its gorgeous foliage.
Situated between Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Winnisquam, this sleepy town wakes up when the annual bike week rolls through.
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Known as “the crawfish capital of the world,” the best time to travel to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, is during the small town’s annual Crawfish Festival. Held in May, the festival is just one of the reasons to visit this town of 8,262 people.
Situated on Lake Martin, this town gives people an authentic cajun experience, complete with the Bayou Cabins, an iconic bed and breakfast, delicious local food, and kayaking through the swamps.
Oswego, New York
“The Port City of Central New York,” Oswego, New York, is a gorgeous area filled with stunning mountain scenery with Lake Ontario and Oswego River in the backdrop. It is the perfect lake town for outdoor lovers.
During the summertime, festivals liven up the town and the numerous restaurants around the quaint downtown area.
Burrillville, Rhode Island
The historic town of Burrillville, Rhode Island, is a must-see for people with kids. The sandy shores of Spring Lake Beach allow for all-day fun-in-the-sun, and the downtown area is full of fun activities, such as the 90-year-old arcade.
Spring Lake isn’t the only lake in the area, though. People can also enjoy Crystal Lake and the Pascoag Reservoir. This town is also home to the infamous haunted Conjuring House.
Clinton, Tennessee, is the textbook definition of small-town charm. With a population of 9,964, the locals welcome people to enjoy everything their town offers, including the Clinch River Antique Festival.
After exploring the downtown restaurants and the antique shops around town, Norris Lake is only minutes away to relax and enjoy.
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
The small lake town of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, should not be overlooked. Known as the “City of Natural Lakes,” Santa Rosa is home to the Blue Hole, a hotspot for scuba divers.
This hole is 81-feet deep and one of the most popular diving locations in the entire country.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is a great place to take the family, filled with outdoor activities that will keep everyone busy all day long. There is horseback riding, ziplining, hiking, biking, a petting zoo, and all of the lake activities offered by Lake Geneva.
Pro tip: visit in October, after peak tourist season has come to an end.
A tiny town in the mountains, Whitefish, Montana, has something to do all year round! In the winter, people can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and even hiking the Nordic trails. While the summer offers activities down at Whitefish Lake.
The town also offers lovely farmer’s markets, farm-to-table restaurant meals, and a 36-hole golf course.
Devils Lake, North Dakota
Known as the “Perch Capital of the World,” people flock to Devils Lake, North Dakota, for its premier fishing and hunting. Of course, these folks are sure to schedule their trip for the summer months as the lake freezes over during the frigid North Dakota winters.
For those who want something to do other than fishing, Grahams Island State Park offers 1,000 acres of wilderness to hike through and explore.
Monticello, New York
Located in the picturesque Catskills region, Monticello, New York, is a small town with a whole lot to do. Whether it’s eating at the Italian-inspired steakhouse Cellaio, camping in the forests, hiking the town’s many trails, or enjoying some fun activities on Bailey Lake, Monticello will not disappoint.
And, in October, the town hosts an Oktoberfest.
Lake Arrowhead, California
The “Alps” of Southern California, Lake Arrowhead is a place people should think about visiting during the summertime. Alive with bustling activity, vacationers can go boating in the lake or head into the village and have their pic of restaurants.
After a fun day on the water, Lake Arrowhead Brewing Co. and The Grapevine winery are popular places to relax!
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Called “The Oldest Summer Resort in America,” Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, is a must-see town in the hot summer months. Located on the 72-square-mile Lake Winnipesaukee, vacationers can enjoy a lazy day at the lake or hike up Mount Major for a bit of activity.
The town also hosts a slew of music festivals, farmer’s markets, and fishing derbies.
Meredith, New Hampshire
A small town of just over 6,000 people, Meredith, New Hampshire, is a quaint area with a lot to do. Located on Lake Winnipesaukee, it is recommended to visit the area in either the summer or fall.
This way, people are able to enjoy lake activities like paddleboarding or the stunning colors of the surrounding trees while browsing through the local farmer’s market.
The Northern California town of Lakeport is a hidden gem in wine country. Enjoy the small-town during their off-season when prices go back down, including over 30 wineries! Not only that but there are numerous other activities to enjoy.
Find a boat to take out in Clear Lake, birdwatch in the trees, or enjoy the restaurants downtown has to offer.
Big Bear Lake, California
No matter what time of year people venture up to Big Bear Lake, California, there is always something to do. The small village offers numerous restaurants to enjoy, while the surrounding mountains will be bustling with people looking for winter activities, mountain biking, or hiking, depending on the month.
The lake also offers boating during the summer months.
Osage Beach, Missouri
The set of Ozark, Osage Beach, Missouri, and the Lake of the Ozarks is nothing like the drama in the show. Full of ice cream parlors, restaurants, and a wide array of shops, the tiny town of 5,080 people is full of charm and activities.
It is the perfect place to visit during the summertime, as boats and other water sports are go-to activities during those hot months.
When a town of 1,733 people has a festival called “Moosemania,” outsiders should want to go and visit! Greenville, Maine, sees hundreds of moose during the springtime, making it the perfect time for tourists to visit.
Located on the aptly named Moosehead Lake, Greenville offers everything from lake activities and hiking trails in the summertime to dog sledding and snowmobiling in the winter.
While Galena, Illinois, offers some of the most beautiful scenery around, including the picturesque 25-acre man-made Lake Galena, there are other activities to do in the small town.
Venture to Galena in October to enjoy the colorful fall leaves and one of the historic town’s best attractions, Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours. The tours have haunted pub crawls, a shuttle bus ghost tour, or a haunted vineyard tour.
Located on Flathead Lake, Bigfork, Montana, has a lot to offer non-locals. If people find themselves in this small-town during the summer, sailing, fishing, kayaking, and more are available.
The winter months offer something different, with the snowy Rocky Mountains allowing for any and all winter activities. Downtown is also quaint, with numerous shops, family-owned restaurants, and even a local brewery, Flathead Lake Brewing Co.
South Haven, Michigan
Serene, quaint, and beyond picturesque South Haven, Michigan, is one of the country’s small lake towns that shouldn’t be overlooked. Located at the mouth of the Black River on Lake Michigan, this town has a lot to offer.
Aside from lake activities, there are multiple wineries located in town, museums, and orchards to explore while enjoying all of the natural wonders of South Haven.
Located near Keystone Lake, Frisco, Colorado thrives in the wintertime. Unlike other lake towns, locals recommend venturing to this tiny town during the colder months to enjoy ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other snow activities.
After a day in the snow, Frisco’s downtown has numerous restaurants to warm back up in and curl up with some hot chocolate!
Bayfield, Colorado, is gorgeous, with so many natural wonders it might be difficult to know where to begin. There are numerous hiking trails throughout the mountains, fishing and kayaking in Vallecito Lake, and the Tour of Carvings.
After a long day of exploring, the town’s historic downtown is enough to keep anyone busy. With cute shops and yummy restaurants with homestyle cooking and live music.
For wine lovers, missing out on exploring Chelan, Washington, is a mistake. This small lake town is iconic for its Wine and Jazz Festival, showcasing some of the best wine around and international jazz artists.
Located on Lake Chelan, the small town is full of quaint restaurants, bakeries, and shops to browse after a nice relaxing day fishing and boating.
Lake George, New York
With a population of 3,413, Lake George, New York, is beyond a small town. But that is one of the many reasons to visit, especially during the summer months. It’s during the hot season that the town is bustling with activity.
Whether it’s going to the rodeo, enjoying time on Lake George, or attending the local farmer’s market, there is always something to do.
Summersville, West Virginia
A population of 3,368, Summersville, West Virginia, is a small lake town full of charm and activities. Summersville Lake is a haven of activity during the summer, with people boating, fishing, swimming, and rock climbing.
With 60 miles of shoreline, Summersville offers the perfect atmosphere for family fun and games right on the water.
Lake Placid, New York
There is little more wonderous than Lake Placid, New York, in the fall. With all of the beautiful autumn colors and the brisk temperature, it is a small lake town worth exploring.
Located in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is the center of the tiny town that attracted both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, including the iconic Miracle on ice.