There are more than 240 fresh-water lakes in the United States that are at least 10 square miles.
No matter what state you are in, there are plenty of lakes to visit and vacation for the weekend.
If you have never planned an overnight lake trip, there are certain things you should do.
Continue reading to discover the most important and fun things to do on your next lake vacation!
1. Set up Home Base
The first thing that you should do on your lake vacation is to set up your home base.
This is the place that you will be camping. All of your resources and belongings will come with you to this spot. Make sure everyone knows where the campsite is located before wandering around.
Use a map and compass. If you bring your children, you can use this as an opportunity to teach them about directions!
Try to get items unpacked and set up before the sun goes down. It is much easier to build a tent when the sun is shining as opposed to doing it in the dark. You may also want to coordinate sleeping arrangements so that the hard parts are done.
Not all lakes allow people to stay overnight. If the lake you are at doesn't allow this, you can look for local camping sites.
2. Gather Sticks and Build a Fire
If you are on a beach that allows bonfires, you will need to gather sticks and logs to light one up!
There are multiple reasons to start a fire on your vacation. Not only does it help keep you all warm throughout the night, but you can also toast marshmallows! There's always room for a sweet treat after a day of water, sun, and fun.
Some people use their bonfires to cook dinner over, while others use them to keep the bugs away. Whatever your reason for starting a fire is, it's sure to have other benefits.
If you don't have any chopped wood, you can go into the woods (if there are any nearby) and gather sticks. Try to look for old and dried out logs. These will produce less smoke and burn much easier.
3. Hop in the Lake
Sitting under the hot sun can become overwhelming. The best solution for the heat is to jump into the lake.
You can dive off of a dock or jump in from the boat, but no matter what, you will be able to cool down. Swimming in the lake can be nice and relaxing since lakes typically have warmer water than oceans and are easier to swim in.
Going in the water on a floating seat can be extra relaxing. Lay back on your float and absorb the sun while you float. Just don't forget to tie a lie and connect yourself to the boat so that you don't float away!
Some people recommend getting floating mats. These mats make it possible to "walk on water" and have fun with family and friends.
4. Fish for Dinner
There is nothing better than a delicious, fresh-caught fish for dinner that you cook yourself.
Even if you aren't a fish eater, you can still go fishing. Many people will clean their fish and cook them over the fire. Be careful if you decide to do this. You will want to be mindful of small bones and proper cooking methods.
The best part about fishing is that you can do it with as many people as you want. You can also do it from the shoreline or off of your boat.
You can also go fishing for the fun of it.
Fishing is a fun and relaxing activity. It offers a chance to focus on one activity, that isn't technology. Take this time to absorb nature and watch the environment around you. Look down in the water for different kinds of fish and try different catching tactics.
5. Explore the Area
There are many areas to explore when you go to the lake for the week.
Taking a stroll up and down the shoreline can be nice and relaxing. It is a healthy activity to do, and you can discover new areas at the beach. On your walk, you may find new pathways that lead to smaller and more private beaches.
Most lakes have pathways surrounding them. You can use your bike or rollerblades on these paths to get in more exercise. No matter how much you think you know the lake, there is always an area left undiscovered.
6. Play Games With Friends and Family
Going to the lake doesn't just involve relaxing and sunbathing.
You can play fun games with your family and friends on the beach between trips on the boat. Try getting a frisbee or football to toss around. Both of these are perfect for in the water as well, if the weather is hot.
Another game that you can play with everyone is beach soccer or volleyball. These sports get everyone involved and don't require much more than a ball. If you forgot your ball at home, you can always play tag or make up a game.
7. Take a Boat Ride
One of the best things to do on your weekend vacation at the lake is to go on the boat.
Many places let you rent boats for a couple of hours if you don't have access to one. If you want to go tubing on the lake, you may have to purchase pontoon boat accessories.
Water sports like tubing and jet skiing require extra equipment that you must prepare for.
If you don't want to rent a boat but still want to go to the lake, you can go canoeing or kayaking. If you have never gone before, you can get a tandem option that allows two people per kayak.
8. Play in the Sand
If there is a lake, there is likely going to be sand.
Do you remember building sandcastles and asking to get buried in the sand as a child?
You wanted to do those things because they were fun, and they still are. Get your family together and have a sandcastle contest that will be rated by a judge. This is a fun way to get creative, and you can even split into teams.
Other things that you can do in the sand are playing volleyball and running along the shore. While running down the shore, don't forget to look for cool seashells and little crabs.
Your going to have to eat while on your lake vacation, and one of the best methods to cook is with a barbeque.
Grab the hotdogs and burgers and throw them on the grill. You will have plenty of time to eat good food with enjoyable company. Most parks and lakes have barbeques onsite that you can use. You may want to bring coals or a grill if you are unsure about what they offer.
Barbequing is the ultimate way to eat in the summer and you don't have to worry about going hungry.
10. Relax and Unwind
Did you know that people who live in coastal areas tend to have stronger mental and physical health?
Just living near the water can have a positive impact on your mood. Going to the beach can be an even greater one.
If you want to relax and unwind from the hectic world, you can do so under the sun. Fall asleep to the sound of waves and nature or sunbathe for the golden tan. You can even relax by reading a favorite book or hanging out with friends.
Enjoy Your Lake Vacation
There are many things that you can do while you are at the lake.
Although it may seem like you can get them all done in a day, it is better to take a weekend lake vacation. There is more to do than sit in the sun and go on the boat.
The lake can be a fun experience for groups of friends and families that want to bond. Once you have all of the responsibilities taken care of, you can start toasting marshmallows and go fishing.
Don't forget to look for the big dipper and shooting stars at night. Without all of the light pollution, you will be able to see so much more!
Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about going to the lake and making the most of your vacations!