AMERICA’S LIVELY, LOVELY LAKESIDE HOLIDAYS
DO YOU PREFER FRESH WATER TO SALT WATER? TRANQUILITY TO SUN WORSHIPPING? CANOEING TO SURF BOARDING? HIKING TO SANDCASTLE BUILDING? THEN FOLLOW US TO ONE OR MORE OF AMERICA’S GREAT LAKESIDE RESORTS.
THE GREAT LAKES REGION
Where better to start your adventure than in the region with the world’s largest freshwater system – an area with five massive Great Lakes that offer more shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii combined, at least 35,000 islands and, in Minnesota alone, 10,000 inland lakes?
Along these lakes – Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario – are countless resorts, stunning scenery, charming small towns and numerous outdoor activities. And then there are the majestic lakefront cities such as Lake Michigan-fringing
Chicago, Illinois, where you can jet-ski, sail, kayak, paddleboard, play beach volleyball or listen to great music in the waterfront Millennium Park.
North on Lake Michigan is the charming Wisconsin town of Sheboygan, where
Blue Harbor Resort attracts guest with its 54,000sq-ft entertainment area and water park. Head farther north, into the
Door County peninsula, and you can relax
on one of 32 beaches, visit eight wineries and five state parks, or tour some of the delightful small towns such as Sturgeon Bay, Fish Creek and Baileys Harbor.
Tour boats, motor boats and houseboats are all available to rent in Minnesota’s 218,000-acre Voyageurs National Park, situated on five lakes, and, in Michigan, two great bases for a holiday are Mackinac Island’s recently-renovated
Mission Point Resort, which overlooks Lake Huron, and the popular landmark
Grand Hotel. Accessible only by ferry or a short plane ride, the island – a popular holiday destination since the late 19th century – is best explored by horseback or bicycle as no cars are allowed.
Also in Michigan, a great waterfront option is the highly-rated, waterfront Tamarack Lodge, sited in Traverse City, which is listed among the Best Coastal Towns in America. It’s an ideal base for visits to wineries and the massive sand dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as well as for hikes around Torch Lake, the state’s second-largest inland lake. And if you are heading along Lake Michigan to Detroit, check out what is claimed to be Michigan’s first and only 16-passenger pedal-powered boat as well as the Detroit RiverWalk bike tours and kayaking from nearby Belle Isle Park.
Sandusky, Ohio, which sits on the banks of Lake Erie, is home to the legendary Cedar Point theme park – a regular winner of the Best Amusement Park in the World title – and Hotel Breakers, a beachfront property that is steps away from the park.
CEDAR POINT THEME PARK IS A REGULAR WINNER OF THE BEST AMUSEMENT PARK IN THE WORLD TITLE.
At nearly 69 square miles, New Hampshire’s largest lake, Winnipesaukee, contains more than 240 habitable islands, some of which can be seen or visited by everything from a 19th-century paddlewheeler to the world’s oldest floating post office. Along the mainland shore are such picturesque places as Weirs Beach, which has arcades, boardwalks and a public beach; Meredith, a restored mill village featuring antique, art and craft galleries; and Wolfeboro, known for its picturesque, historic Main Street.
Cinema buffs might want to head instead for Big or Little Squam Lake, the locations for On Golden Pond, the 1981 film winning Oscars for both Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn. Its sites can be viewed from the Experience Squam Cruise, which departs from Squam Lakes Science Center. If overnighting, check out the family-owned, award-winning Squam Lake Inn.
Searching for solitude, wildlife and pristine beauty? Then head for Maine’s Moosehed Lake, at 40 miles (65 kilometres) long and 24 miles (32 kilometres) wide, the state’s largest glacier lake. Tempting places to overnight include Greenville’s Blair Hill Inn, set in a 19th-century mansion complete with a spa, and the AAA Four-Diamond The Lodge at Moosehead.
Lake Lure, south of attraction-filled Asheville, North Carolina, is bestknown by film buffs as the place where charismatic dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) taught Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (Jennifer Grey) all the right moves in that 1987 evergreen flick Dirty Dancing.
You can stay in suites named after the two stars at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa as well as in the cottages they stayed in, and practice your own Strictly Come Dancing moves at the September 13-14 Dirty Dancing Festival. In addition to boating, swimming and fishing, there’s the beautiful Flowering Bridge and spectacular views from a nearby giant outcropping known as Chimney Rock. It’s featured in another memorable film, The Last of the Mohicans, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis. Want to get away from the Hollywood buzz and a full-service resort, then enjoy a more rustic experience in lodging beside Tennessee’s Central Hill Lake or Kentucky’s 27,700-acre Dale Hollow Lake, both set in state parks and both offering a range of water and land activities.
In Louisiana, Lake Charles shares its name with a city renowned for its colourful Cajun and Creole culture, beautiful old homes and a number of museums, including one displaying the South’s largest number of Mardi Gras costumes. Infamous French pirate Jean Lafitte reputedly hid part of his treasure in the area; now it’s the inspiration for the Louisiana Pirate Festival, scheduled this year for May 2-5. A swashbuckling Lafitte lookalike and his fellow pirates arrive by boat, invade the town, take the mayor hostage and force him to walk the plank before he topples into the lake. (You wonder if this is part of his job description when he runs for office.) Other