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8 Amazing Lakeside Hotels in the U.S.

Rustic national park locales, topnotch wellness spas, concierges at the ready to organize horseback rides and rock climbs—America’s best lakeside hotels will make you feel like you're at adult summer camp. Get into the adventurous spirit and check into one of these outstanding waterfront properties.

An avid Italophile, Laura is always on the hunt for the next great travel trends, luxury hotels, best places to eat and drink, and hidden gems. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications. She also co-wrote "New York: Hidden Bars and Restaurants," an award-winning guide to the city's speakeasy scene.

See recent posts by Laura Itzkowitz

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Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY

A National Historic Landmark set in the Hudson Valley, this Victorian grand lodge built in 1869 is big on history and bigger on recreation. Just check out the property's period furniture and black-and-white photograph collection of past guests (including five presidents). But even if you're not a history buff, the place has so many activities to entertain, you can’t possibly get bored. Go swimming, fishing, or boating on Lake Mohonk; relax in the 30,000-square-foot spa; or take a hike or horseback ride through the property’s 85 miles of trails. A new hiking menu lets you choose your own adventure, from a survivalist trek to a mindful journey modeled on the Japanese concept of forest bathing.

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Mission Point, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, on Lake Huron, is called the “Jewel of the Great Lakes” for good reason: the Caribbean-like aquamarine water, car-free roads, abundant natural beauty. Occupying 18 acres, the 242-room Mission Point Resort is one of the island’s best hotels, with spacious rooms that include hot tubs, a pretty lakeside lawn where you can kick back on Adirondack chairs, and throwback amenities like a observation tower and museum recounting the island's history and an old-fashioned movie theater complete with velvet seats. Don't miss the hotel's recently updated Lakeside Spa & Salon and the new tasting room.

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Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Nevada

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better location on Lake Tahoe than at the Hyatt Regency, the only hotel on the lake with a private beach. After a $20 million renovation, the property has a new look: the 421 rooms and public spaces now echo their forested surroundings with alpine materials like flagstones and untreated pine, while the restaurants run the gamut from a cabin-like café to a bar and grill right on the pier. There's plenty to do here no matter what season, be it taking laps in the lagoon-style pool, cruising the lake on one of the hotel’s private boats, or skiing in winter.

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Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid, NY

The only hotel on the shores of Lake Placid, this Relais & Châteaux property looks like a Gilded Age mansion, wrapped in dense forest and flanked by mountains and rivers. Stone fireplaces, antique rugs, and plenty of plaid in guest rooms make you feel like you're living in a real-life mountain lodge than an actual hotel—and provide an unmistakable sense that you're in the heart of the Adirondacks. In summer, guests are welcome to take the hotel’s canoes or kayaks out on the lake, while in winter, exploring is done by skis or snowshoes; no matter the temperature, all are invited to end the night with s’mores by the bonfire. Prefer to spend the night inside? Take a seat at the farm-to-table Artisan restaurant for a taste of local produce, like caramelized scallops or duck confit ravioli, then follow-up your meal at Maggie's Pub with a convivial pint and round of pool.

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Photo by Nicole Geils, courtesy of Visit Anchrage Alaska


The Hotel Alyeska, Girdwood, Alaska

This massive ski-in, ski-out mountain lodge is exactly what Alaskan dreams are made of, from the rustic wooden beams and native artwork to the views of majestic glaciers and unparalleled access to wildlife sightings like bears, caribou, moose, elk, and bald eagles. After hours spent mountain biking or hiking the surrounding temperate rain forest trails (in summer) or carving the slopes of Alyeska (in winter), hit up the hotel’s Sakura & Sushi restaurant for some of the freshest salmon and oysters you’ll find in the Pacific Northwest. Better yet, take the aerial tram to the mountaintop for panoramic views and elevated Alaskan cuisine at Seven Glaciers Restaurant (so named for the amount of glaciers you can see from it).

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Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, TX

This Texas Hill Country retreat just outside Austin is worth a visit for the 25,000-square-foot spa alone. In addition to over 100 different treatments (from river-rock massages to salt scrubs and organic facials), the wellness-focused property also offers lakeside yoga classes, feng shui lessons, meditation sessions, nature hikes, and stand-up paddle boarding on the lake. After taking a much-needed snooze in your shabby-chic cabin, take a self-guided tour of property's the large organic gardens, which provide fruit, vegetables, and herbs for the hotel's farm-the-table restaurant.

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Lake McDonald Lodge at Glacier National Park, Montana

Staying at this 1913 historic lodge, set on the shores of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, feels like stepping back in time to the Wild West—think log cabin-style digs outfitted with hickory chairs, taxidermy, and stone fireplaces. Russell's Fireside Dining Room, which serves up American classics alongside walls of hunting trophies and serene lake views, is just as atmospheric. Whether you bunk in the main chalet-style building or book a cabin in the forest, prepare to get off the grid: WiFi is limited, and televisions are only available in suites.

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Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie, Washington

While technically not lakeside, this craftsman-style lodge, set on a rushing river and waterfall, is ideal for both travelers hoping to take in the romantic natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and fans of Twin Peaks. (The property appeared as the fictional Great Northern Hotel in David Lynch’s cult TV series.) Originally constructed in 1916, the property was redone in 1988 with floor-to-ceiling windows, flagstone slate floors, and rustic-luxe décor, while rooms all have wood-burning fireplaces, Jacuzzi bathtubs, and (in most) private balconies.

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