3 Mountain Lakes for Ultimate Summer Fun

Lake Dillon, Colorado [Joey Reuteman Photography]

In my experience, summer translates to spending time on and in the water. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where I spent plenty of summers water-skiing on local lakes and ferrying to the various islands in the Puget Sound. I’ve also spent hours of beach time visiting my grandparents on the southern Oregon Coast.

It’s easy to get on the water in the west. Whether you like to paddle, fish or simply float with a cold beverage, the following splendid lakes provide you with a summer experience to remember.

Lake Dillon, Colorado

Joey Reuteman Photography

Bordered by the towns of Dillon, Silverthorne and Frisco, Lake Dillon is a glittering blue gem in the Rocky Mountains. Lake Dillon is a big body of water with 3,233 acres of surface acres for boaters to enjoy. Swimming isn’t allowed here, in part, because the water is so cold, but there’s plenty to do on top of the water.

Touted as the “world’s highest deep-water marina,” Dillon Marina is located in the northern portion of the lake and provides endless opportunities for summer fun. They rent a variety of boats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, and offer sailing lessons and dining at the popular Pug Ryan’s Tiki Bar.

Anyone can get out on the water here, even those who don’t want to pilot their own craft. There are a handful of boat tours to book at Lake Dillon including historical tours, sunset or sailing outings or fall happy hour floats. There are also special events such as Women & Wine on the Water held on Wednesdays throughout the summer.

The size of the lake means that spending all day here is an easy way to sail away a summer day in the mountains of Colorado.

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Photo courtesy of Go Tahoe North

Lake Tahoe is the second-deepest lake in the United States and straddles the border between California and Nevada at more than 6,000 feet above sea level. Oregon’s Crater Lake is the deepest, but Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and at 22-miles long, 12-miles wide and with 72-miles of shoreline, it provides a lot of room for year-round recreational activities.

Photo courtesy of Go Tahoe North

Getting on Lake Tahoe is a favorite of nearly everyone who visits during the summer, and there are numerous ways to access these beautiful waters. This lake has multiple marinas as well as cruises and charters available.

One of the most unique ways to enjoy the lake is by taking a Sunset Paddle or Full Moon Kayak Tour offered by the Tahoe Adventure Company. These two-hour paddles are capped off with hot drinks, snacks and stargazing on the beach. There’s no better way than to embrace the Lake Tahoe summer.

Go Tahoe North has a comprehensive listing of Water Activities available on Lake Tahoe including a helpful list of marinas.

Redfish Lake, Idaho

Photo courtesy of Visit Idaho

There’s a reason that Idaho is known for their fishing—there are fishing holes around every corner. Lakes like Redfish boast an array of opportunities for people who’ve been fishing their entire lives and those who are interested in picking up a pole for the first time.

Redfish Lake Marina lets visitors or guests of the Redfish Lake Lodge take out their own boat or rent a boat for an unforgettable day on the water. Travelers can spend the day taking in the unspoiled grandeur of the Sawtooth National Forest and fishing for landlocked salmon or trout. Booking a guided fly fishing outing is an excellent way to explore the area.

For more information on the vast fishing options in Idaho’s lakes and rivers, go to VisitIdaho.org.

Categories: The Heidi Guide