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10 Great Lakeside Retreats (PHOTOS)

Posted: 08/16/2012 7:00 am

Whether their waters are glass-like or rippling towards the shore, lakes have a calming effect and make for an ideal vacation base.

So launch your canoe or settle into an Adirondack chair and get ready to take in the glistening views.

From rustic luxury in the woods of Maine to down-low waterside cabins in Washington, these 10 lakeside retreats are sure to mellow you out all summer long.

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  • Lake Quinault, Washington

    Surrounded by the temperate Quinault Rain Forest, <a href="" target="_blank">Lake Quinault</a> straddles Olympic National Park to the north and Olympic National Forest to the south. With so much natural beauty, it's tempting to quit your day job, head in, and hide away for life. But even if you can only visit for a few days, <a href="" target="_blank">Lochaerie Resort</a> on the lake's north shore has the perfect solution: private rustic cabins. While part of the one-, two-, and three-bedroom structures' charm is the Depression-era architecture, each cabin is tastefully decorated and comes well equipped with a fireplace, a kitchen, and stunning lake views. Rates start at $130 to $145 per night, depending on the season.

  • Cayuga Lake, New York

    What could be more relaxing than porch sitting by a calm lake? Porch sitting <em>and</em> drinking a glass of fine wine, of course. And you can do just that at the <a href="" target="_blank">Inns of Aurora</a>, which include the recently restored Aurora Inn and the E.B. Morgan House, set on Cayuga Lake in New York State's <a href="" target="_blank">Finger Lakes</a> region. Amenities are ready-made for a perfect weekend getaway and come in the form of in-room dining, massages, fireplaces, and broad lakeside porches. Plus, special wine dinners and cooking classes that feature local bounty from area farms and vineyards are available. Rates start at $150 per night.

  • Table Rock Lake, Missouri

    Tucked away from Branson, MO's bustling music scene, <a href="" target="_blank">Table Rock Lake</a> is a hidden treasure that snakes and twists through the Ozark Mountains like a Chinese dragon. While the lake is technically a reservoir (made by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers), it delivers big in the nature and outdoors departments. Near Branson, <a href="" target"_blank">Bavarian Village Resort</a> offers multibedroom duplexes, cottages, and cabins priced right, starting at $40 to $60 per night depending on the season. Further out in Shell Knob, <a href="" target="_blank">Stonewater Cove Resort and Club</a> combines seclusion and rugged adventure with a bit of luxury in the heart of Mark Twain National Forest.

  • Lake Champlain, Vermont

    Does a relaxing vacation with the kids sound like an oxymoron? At <a href="" target="_blank">Tyler Place Family Resort</a> on the shores of Lake Champlain in northern Vermont, it's anything but. While children of all ages get the benefits of a summer camp, their parents can laze in lakeside Adirondack chairs, play tennis, take yoga classes, or rekindle romance over candlelit dinners and dancing. Accommodations range from private cottages to multiroom suites, all with living rooms, screened-in porches, and separate bedrooms for parents and children. The resort is only open from Memorial Day weekend through mid-September, and all-inclusive rates start at $105 to $386 per night per adult and $87 to $123 per child.

  • Twin Lakes, California

    In Mammoth Lakes Basin, Twin Lakes delivers an authentic mountain escape in California's Eastern Sierra. The

  • Lake Huron (Mackinac Island), Michigan

    Forget cars. Forget your worries. And forget the present. Staying true to its Victorian roots, Michigan's Mackinac Island in Lake Huron will surely transport you to a slower pace of life. While many inns and resorts capture the island's turn-of-the-century essence, two stand out for their tranquil lakeside settings away from the bustle of town. <a href="" target="_blank">Hotel Iroquois</a>, overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, is best known for its views and waterfront dining. Individually decorated rooms come with king or queen beds and cost $215 to $290 per night; <a href="" target="_blank">discounts up to 50 percent</a> are offered on certain dates. Built in 1904, the Tudor-style <a href="" target="_blank">Inn at Stonecliffe</a> sits high on the island's west bluff and offers bed-and-breakfast-style rooms and more modern suites, in addition to classic lawn games like bocce and croquet for guests. Rate starts at $119 to $194, depending on the season, and <a href="" target="_blank">discounts and packages</a> are available.

  • Lake Austin, Texas

    One of seven reservoirs on the Colorado River, Lake Austin in Austin, TX, is popular for <a href="" target="_blank">paddlewheeling</a> and pampering. Touted as one of the top spas in the country, <a href="" target="_blank">Lake Austin Spa Resort</a> will help you destress while attending to your health and well-being, all within a tranquil lake setting. Three-night packages start at $1,720 per person and include upscale accommodations, three gourmet meals per day, and unlimited fitness activities. <a href="" target="_blank">Specials</a>, such as free nights or companion discounts, are available.

  • Moosehead Lake, Maine

    Only in Maine can you pair a moose safari with rustic elegance. At <a href="" target="_blank">The Lodge at Moosehead Lake</a> in Greenville, you get the very best the state has to offer, from lodge-style accommodations and local cuisine to mountain views and forays into the <a href="" target="_blank">wilderness</a>. Rooms don't skimp on luxurious trimmings and are outfitted with fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, pillow-top mattresses, and private decks. Prices, including a hearty breakfast, range from $219 for lodge rooms to $695 for carriage house suites, depending on the season; <a href="" target="_blank">specials</a> are available.

  • Bear Creek Lake, North Carolina

    Bear Lake, officially named Bear Creek Lake, is actually a reserve. But no matter what you call it, the leisure set is drawn to its glassy waters come summertime. Set in the Great Smoky Mountains near Tuckasegee, NC, it sits at an elevation of 2,500 feet and offers corresponding mountain views. To maximize the ideal natural setting, camp lakeside in a <a href="" target="_blank">yurt</a>, a wood-framed canvas structure perched on a platform. Fitted with king beds, a satellite TV, and outdoor decks, camping is taken to a whole new level. Two yurts are available, one that sleeps two and another that accommodates up to four people; rates start at $145 per night. The management company, <a href="" targer="_blank">Sundog Vacation Rentals</a>, has other rental properties on the lake, as well as occasional specials.

  • Lake Superior, Minnesota

    <a href="" target="_blank">Grand Marais</a> in northern Minnesota makes for the perfect cool getaway. Not only does the town nearly reach the borders of Canada, but it is set on Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, with average temperatures of 40 degrees (though harbor waters can warm up enough for summer swimming). But when the chill strikes, there are plenty of ways to warm up, such as by a fireplace or in a hot tub at one of the area's hotels. In town, <a href="" target="_blank">East Bay Suites</a> offers anything from studios to three bedrooms and can accommodate various guest arrangements. Prices vary, but <a href="" target"_blank">current offers</a> list rates starting at $179 per night for a studio that sleeps four. A bit further down the lake on a beach, <a href="" target="_blank">Lutsen Resort</a>'s luxury condos, historical lodge, seaside villas, and log cabins have something for everyone. Lodge rooms range from $59 to $119, depending on the season; villas cost more, though<a href="" target="_blank"> specials</a> are available.

-- By Anne Banas

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