Diving into crystal clear waters; spending the days exploring hidden coves by canoe or kayak; hiking in the woods; waiting at the dock for the first stars to appear...a visit to a lake resort is one of the best getaways for those looking to get out into nature. Be it for a last-minute summer trip or a cozy fall or winter escape, here are Indagare’s favorite lakefront hotels in the U.S., from Austin to Alaska.
Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to discuss whether one of these hotels is right for you.
On a forested peninsula overlooking Upper Saranac Lake, The Point is an 11-room playground for Adirondack adventure. Its original log cabins—which used to host the Rockefellers—all showcase traditional rustic-chic décor, with cozy fireplaces and white-pine walls. Expect easy days boating on the lake or hiking nearby trails. Come dinner time, guests have the option of enjoying each other’s company over a seasonal menu in the Great Hall or a more casual menu in The Pub, dining in your room or choosing another location on property.
On the shores of Judd Lake, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge provides a wilderness escape that’s conveniently under an hour’s flight from Anchorage. Customizable activity-scheduling allows guests to craft their own experience during their stay, from eFoil boarding or mountain biking on-property to heli-based excursions for glacier-trekking, skiing, accessing Alaska's only via ferrata route and more—plus a unique offering called “Kings and Corn” where guests ski corn snow during the day and fish King salmon at night. A newer offering is the flight-seeing tours in a classic otter plane, which can venture even deeper into the mountains and over to Katmai National Park for bear-viewing. The lodge’s top accommodations are four private cabins, each with floor-to-ceiling windows and personal decks—perfect for enjoying the water views.
Lake Tahoe is one of those mystical destinations whose very name brings images of cerulean waters surrounded by snow-capped mountains to mind. Visitors looking for a spot to stay, however, will find few accommodations actually on the lake. One exception we love: The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, with a front row view of shimmering Lake Tahoe and a private beach. There are elegant nods to the hotel’s woodsy location—hand-carved trees etched into the lodge’s stone walls, for example—but design skews more contemporary than rustic, with muted tones and an emphasis on natural light. There are also two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom villas available.The outdoor pool (open year-round) is just steps away from the waterfront, where Adirondack chairs line the beach. In the summertime, golfers will love its 18-hole, George and Tom Fazio-designed course, and guests can enjoy the lake aboard several Mastercraft motorboats. And in colder months, skiing is just minutes away at Heavenly.
No other resort in the Adirondacks matches The Sagamore for lake views, iconic architecture and luxury resort offerings—pool included. From its own island in Lake George, the historic property is a family favorite where the majority of activities (and guests) cluster along the waterfront. Fishing is available from several docks, and guests can swim and use floaties in roped-off sections, one of which has a lifeguard on duty to ensure kids are safe. Don’t miss joining for one of the hour-long cruises aboard The Morgan, the hotel’s 72-foot yacht, which offers complimentary excursions twice a day. And if you're thinking of a longer stay, consider the First House, the former home of the resort's original innkeeper that has just opened as a four-bedroom standalone house with a full kitchen, private front porch and patio with a fireplace overlooking Lake George.
This 40-room boutique hotel is equally suited for those looking for a fun lakeside escape as for a serious spa-goer in search of a wellness weekend. That’s thanks Lake Austin Spa Resort’s 25,000-square-foot spa and multiple fitness and water-based activities every hour, with everything from morning meditation and yoga to aquatic fitness classes and spa treatments, plus activities like hiking and boat cruises. Plus, for those looking for a more exclusive experience, Lake Austin Spa Resort now offers private instruction. Most rooms—done in warm hues with stripes and floral prints—have private front porches, and many come with private gardens as well. Opt for a room with lake views, which look out to Lake Austin and to bluffs shrouded in oaks, sycamores and maples.
In the Finger Lakes, The Lake House on Canandaigua is a 125-room haven for design lovers in search of a laid-back, beautiful long weekend (or more). Brother-sister cofounders of Brooklyn Home Company—responsible for redesigning some of the borough’s most beautiful, and highly valued brownstones—opened the resort in summer 2020, adding signature touches such as hand-crafted hardwood beds and sculptural chandeliers. In late spring 2021, the Willowbrook Spa officially opened on property, making the Lakehouse a wellness destination as well, offering unique treatments inspired by the stunning natural surroundings of its location on Canandaigua Lake, which is the main draw of the property: Paddleboarding and kayaking, fishing and captained sunset cruises are all on offer.
On a hill above Maine’s largest lake, with mountains in the distance, Lodge at Moosehead Lake is a bed-and-breakfast-style resort with rooms and suites. All rooms and common spaces received a facelift in 2022, with new décor and furniture drawing on the soft colors of the lake and a less “camp-like” feel. (We recommend checking out the Lily Bay room, which has been completely renovated with a new luxury bathroom and shower.) Eight of the rooms look out over Moosehead Lake, most with private decks. The inn’s owners pioneered “moose safaris” in the region, working with expert guides to bring guests on excursions deep into Maine’s forests. Other popular activities include pontoon rides and moonlight canoe trips.
Centered around a small cove on the southeastern shore of Lake Champlain, Basin Harbor offers a relaxed, family-friendly getaway under an hour from Burlington. Open since the 1880s, it’s grown into a veritable village of its own, with 74 private cottages—each distinct in floor plan and design—hugging the coastline (for the most privacy, the Loon Lodge and Cornell Cottage are furthest removed from the others). There is a food truck on-site offering Basin Harbor-cue and a sushi bar on the lodge deck, which is open for dining. Golf, tennis, biking and volleyball are several of the activities for landlubbers, while boating, tubing and wakesurfing beckon guests to the lake.
Surrounded by 1,000,000 acres of pristine state-protected land and set on a lake about 20 miles from Denali National Park, Winterlake Lodge is one of the best wilderness lodges in Alaska’s Interior. Housing only 20 guests at a time, its six standalone wooden cabins are simply, yet comfortably furnished, and some come with private decks. Winterlake Lodge offers all of the expected lake hotel activities (kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, etc.), and with every three-night booking, also includes one helicopter-based excursion for adventures further afield, from ice climbing and glacier-trekking to visiting the lodge’s dog-mushing school, home to six new sled dog puppies, set on a nearby mountain glacier. In 2021, the lodge added High Mountain Camp, a basecamp reachable via a 15-minute helicopter ride (that has a bike rack), where guests can enjoy a chef-prepared lunch before heading out on hikes or bike rides above the tree line.
At the end of a two-mile gravel road in the Adirondacks, Lake Kora is an ultra-private resort that’s only available for takeovers. The former “Great Camp” for New York Lieutenant Governor Timothy Woodruff during the late 1880s, it’s now ideal for a multigenerational family visit, open to groups of 14 to 34 people through October. Cottages range from loft-style cabins to a three-bedroom house on its own island, reachable only by boat. Guests have unlimited access to myriad lake and water activities, as well as to the resort’s expert culinary team, who make fully customizable meal plans for each group of visitors.
has been a beloved family retreat since it opened on the shores of Sebago Lake in 1916. With 3,500 feet of shoreline and nearly 135 acres of pine woodlands, it's a one-stop destination for lakeside activities and rustic relaxation. Ideal for groups, its 35 cottages range in size from studios to six-bedroom houses, and reservations are all-inclusive. That means meals—served inside the main lodge, al fresco at the aptly named Cookout Point or on a private island—and activities like tennis, sailing and wakeboarding sessions are all accounted for.
Rising on a gentle slope above Lake Placid, Lake Placid Lodge balances its rustic Adirondack Craftsman-style aesthetic—lots of stone and pine—with laid-back, family-friendly luxury. Thanks to its location in the state’s High Peaks region, many of the Northeast’s best hikes are within easy reach, some even directly from the property. And with Lake Placid right out the back lawn, kayaking, swimming and more water activities are all on offer—as is relaxing on the dock’s Adirondack chairs.
Michigan’s Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island—in Lake Huron, near the point where it meets Lake Michigan—has welcomed guests since 1887, and still offers travelers a feel for Gilded Age summer family travels. The hotel’s massive front porch—spanning nearly 700 feet—sets the genteel mood, which continues with activities like tennis, lawn games and horseback riding, plus the brand new Woodlands Activity Center which includes a greenhouse, 18-hole mini golf course and more. Kids love the 220-foot-long serpentine-shaped pool and water slide as well as the individually designed rooms and suites, with their bright, bold colors and fanciful bedding straight out of a fairytale (fans of The Greenbrier in West Virginia will feel right at home). Meanwhile adults will enjoy the new adults-only infinity pool and the pool bar offering cocktails and small bites.
The Chatwal and its restaurant The Lambs Club have long been an institution for the Midtown professional set. Now, 100 miles northwest, The Chatwal Lodge recently opened on 30 acres of protected land (home to nesting bald eagles) overlooking Toronto Reservoir Lake. The new lodge's 10 suites have vaulted ceilings, reclaimed-wood walls and arched windows (ideal for those lake views), along with private patios or lakeside decks. Expect action-packed days spent horseback riding, fly fishing and kayaking, coupled with plenty of relaxation with Ayurvedic spa treatments, meditation and simply sitting back to admire the views. Also in store: a farm-to-table restaurant, wine cellar and cozy library stocked with books on the Catskills.
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Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to discuss whether one of these hotels is right for you.
Originally published August 14, 2020. Updated July 11, 2023.
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