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The Most Beautiful Lake House Rentals in America

They’re in demand—and for good reason. For stunning scenery and complete serenity near you, it’s hard to beat these relaxing lakeside getaways.

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Summer DeckJacquelineSouthby/Getty Images

Lake life for the win

Lake life is having its moment! Ideal for socially distanced outdoor getaways, lake retreats are enticing fans new and old. If you’ve been thinking of searching “lake house rentals near me,” you’re definitely not alone. If you’re searching for “lakes near me” for a staycation, that’s great too. According to Vrbo’s new 2021 Travel Trend Report, vacation destinations near lakes have seen an uptick in popularity throughout the pandemic, especially in areas with fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help. Take your pick from rentals with cozy cottagecore design, stunning modern architecture, and classic lakeside cabin decor. It just might be the most scenic, quiet, and relaxing getaway you’ve ever had. If you’re also looking for “RV parks near me” check out this list of the best ones in every state.

Indian Lake luxury: Central City, Pennsylvaniavia airbnb.com

Indian Lake luxury: Central City, Pennsylvania

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Looking for a room with a view? You’re in the right place—this recently built custom home offers superb views of sparkling Indian Lake from nearly every room. Relax indoors in front of the two fireplaces, take advantage of the gourmet kitchen, or try the Japanese soaking tub and steam shower. Actually, why choose? You’re on vacation—do it all! Outside, there are myriad spots to enjoy the scenery, including by the fire pit. Plus, kayaks are included with the rental, so you can get out and explore the placid waters. Here’s a day-by-day guide for the perfect family weekend in Pennsylvania.

Private ridgetop cabin: Rhinebeck, New Yorkvia airbnb.com

Private ridgetop cabin: Rhinebeck, New York

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Even if you live in the heart of the city, you don’t necessarily have to go far to find the perfect lake cabin rental near you. This private home with gorgeous western views is just two hours outside of Manhattan. Perfect for unplugging, it’s an idyllic spot to curl up with a good book while gazing over 130 acres of postcard views, including a historic farm and crystal-clear lake. Explore the eight miles of hiking trails, take a dip in the wading pools of the upper cascades, bike to town, or simply relax while listening to the serene sounds of the 90-foot waterfall on the property. If you’re looking for an over-the-top vacation, check out the most extravagant Airbnb listings in every state.

Family-friendly fun: Sebago Lake, Mainevia vrbo.com

Family-friendly fun: Sebago Lake, Maine

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Perched on the western bank of tree-lined Lake Sebago, this updated three-level home is an ideal escape for summer lake trips and fall leaf-peeping excursions. Sebago Lake is Maine’s second-largest lake and also one of its deepest and prettiest. This pristine lake covers nearly 30,000 acres prime for fishing and outdoor exploration. Spend leisurely afternoons outside on the waterfront—swimming in the lake, relaxing in an Adirondack chair by the fire pit, trying out the home’s kayak, or watching your kids play on the tree swing and your dog romping on the beach. Want to bring Fido on more water adventures? These are the most dog-friendly beaches in the country.

Soaring clifftop views: Burlington, Vermontvia airbnb.com

Soaring clifftop views: Burlington, Vermont

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You’ll be greeted by expansive vistas of mountains, water, land, and sky at this modern three-story, two-bedroom townhouse located atop a 100-foot waterfront cliff. With nothing between you and the lake, you’ll have some of the most magnificent views in the state of Vermont. If you can tear yourself away from the stunning scenery, it’s a five-minute stroll to beautiful Waterfront Park, an epicenter for outdoor activities and dining. If this is your vacation vibe, you’ll also love these mountain towns that look like they’re straight out of a storybook.

The perfect New England experience: Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshirevia tripadvisor.com

The perfect New England experience: Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

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Enjoy panoramic views extending far into Lake Winnipesaukee’s tranquil waters throughout this perfectly situated lakeside home. Early birds can take in the rose-hued sunrise from the glass-paneled deck that gazes over the lake toward the mountains; sunsets paint the sky from the balcony on the other side of the house. During your stay, enjoy boating, swimming, or sailing on the lake, and in the winter, enjoy the area’s skiing options. Here are more of the most beautiful lakes in every state.

Cozy cottage vibes: Lake Norman, North Carolinavia airbnb.com

Cozy cottage vibes: Lake Norman, North Carolina

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If you’ve been dreaming of finding a charming cottage lake cabin rental near you and you happen to live in North Carolina, look no further! This charming refurbished cottage on the Lake Norman waterfront has a large screened-in porch that runs along the entire length of the cabin with both a comfy couch and swinging love seat to watch the lake from a shaded vantage point. Clapboard walls, vintage trim, and wide, dark wood floorboards are all Instagram-worthy, as is the new sunny dock. The quiet water is perfect for a relaxing swim or kayak paddle. Don’t miss these other cute cabins for a secluded summer getaway.

Family-reunion central: Lake Wylie, South Carolinavia vrbo.com

Family-reunion central: Lake Wylie, South Carolina

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For a luxurious lake house that accommodates the entire extended family, check out this vacation rental on Lake Wylie. With eight bedrooms spread across four floors, there’s plenty of space for everyone; plus, there’s a massive game room with everything from ping-pong to arcade games. Outside, you’ll find a large pool that lets you float in style while you check out the spectacular view. The house even comes with a pontoon boat and jet ski that you can rent to explore all the highlights of the man-made, 12,500-acre lake that’s an easy jump from the city of Charlotte. Check out these affordable private travel experiences perfect for the pandemic.

Rustic charm: Lake Arrowhead, Georgiavia airbnb.com

Rustic charm: Lake Arrowhead, Georgia

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Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and boasting 540 acres of crystal-clear waters, Lake Arrowhead is the largest man-made, privately owned lake in Georgia. This impressive lakefront cottage offers an expansive 1,200-square-foot private dock where you can either watch the rippling water, catch a technicolor sunset, jump into the water, or launch a kayak, hydrobike, or canoe. Speaking of water activities, fishing is stellar here, with bass, bream, and catfish filling Lake Arrowhead’s waters. Looking for a travel destination that’s a little closer to home? Try these top Airbnb rentals under $200 in every state—including yours!

private retreat: Norris Lake, Tennesseevia vrbo.com

A private retreat: Norris Lake, Tennessee

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Bordered by huge swaths of undeveloped shoreline, pine-rimmed Norris Lake is popular with paddlers, equestrians, cyclists, hikers, and swimmers, but its secluded nature means it rarely, if ever, feels crowded. This three-bedroom lake home offers the amenities that make a vacation on the lake feel special, including plenty of private deck space, a private hot tub, a covered boat dock/swimming platform, and a fire pit. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, grouse, wild turkey, and other wildlife that call this pristine natural environment home. If you love the great outdoors, bookmark this list of the best hiking trails around the country.

Million-dollar views: Lake Martin, Alabamavia vrbo.com

Million-dollar views: Lake Martin, Alabama

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Constructed in 1926, this reservoir—which covers 40,000 acres and encompasses 800 miles of shoreline—was once the largest man-made lake in the world. Now, it’s the place to go when you’re looking for a lake house rental near you to celebrate summer with your crew. This five-bedroom, five-bathroom house is set in a quiet cove of Lake Martin, where you’ll get great swimming away from the lake’s busier boating areas. And trust us when we say that you can’t beat the unobstructed, east-facing views across the lake. Grab the beverage of your choice, pull up a lounge chair on the deck, and enjoy! If you need a new swimsuit for your trip, check out the best bathing suits for every body type.

Luxury living: Hot Springs, Arkansasvia vrbo.com

Luxury living: Hot Springs, Arkansas

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As you walk into this lovely lakefront home on Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, the first thing you’ll notice is the water view from nearly every room in the house. Even when you’re indoors, you’ll feel as like you’re floating right on the water. But when you actually want to launch into the water, you can do so from the boat dock or use one of the provided paddleboards. Or, of course, you can simply enjoy the vistas from the covered patio. Don’t miss a dip in the hot springs nearby. Discover more of the best natural hot springs in the United States.

Beach-house vibes: Lake Travis, Texasvia vrbo.com

Beach-house vibes: Lake Travis, Texas

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One of the most popular swimming destinations in Texas, Lake Travis is a magnet for anyone daydreaming about floating on crystal-clear waters under bluebird skies. The lake is fed by two springs and is framed by an abundance of cypress and oak trees, and this gorgeous waterfront ranch is the ideal setting to enjoy the quiet lake life. There are several walking trails around the property, a fire pit by the water, and a cliff for launching yourself into the lake on a hot Texas summer day.

Missourivia vrbo.com

Windows (and views) galore: Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

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This spectacular six-bedroom home is tucked away in a quiet part of the lake. It feels secluded and private but you’re still only 15 minutes from shopping outlets, movie theaters, and restaurants. The back of the home has floor-to-ceiling windows which give guests a gorgeous lake view. You can break out the fishing poles and kayaks to enjoy the water or explore the wooded area on the side of the house for deer and bird watching. Looking for another adventure while you’re in the area? Find the best day trip in Missouri—and every other state.

A serene hideaway: Keystone Lake, Oklahomavia vrbo.com

A serene hideaway: Keystone Lake, Oklahoma

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This four-bedroom rental is just 20 minutes from downtown Tulsa, but with its unobstructed water views, it feels like a world away. Its shared dock makes it perfect for fishing and swimming, and the two full-service marinas nearby make it easy to go boating and waterskiing, too. Looking for more serene scenery? These are the most scenic nature getaways in America.

A friendly cottage surrounded by wildlife: Winona Lake, Indianavia airbnb.com

A friendly cottage surrounded by wildlife: Winona Lake, Indiana

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At 570 acres, Winona Lake is a petite piece of paradise that’s perfect for fishing, boating, swimming, kayaking, and sailing. Anglers will find an abundance of perch, bass, and bluegill in the lake’s watery depths. And this charming renovated cottage is the perfect place to kick back after a day in the sun. With a large deck and lawn that rolls down to the water, it’s perfect for watching wildlife such as sandhill cranes, herons, pelicans, and swans. Plus, the quiet neighborhood is great for biking and walks. There’s also access to the Greenway Trail a mile away, which takes you to the Village of Winona, named one of Airbnb’s “most hospitable cities.”

Steps from the water: Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohiovia vrbo.com

Steps from the water: Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio

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For the ultimate cottagecore retreat, head to the Edgewater Cottage, a beachy rental that hugs the shore of Grand Lake St. Marys, which is known for its beauty and privacy. Plus, it’s super affordable, so you can really relax, knowing you’re not breaking the bank on your vacation. Watch the stars as you chill out in the hot tub, and enjoy the sunrise from your bed as the lake catches the pastel hues of the reflected daylight for a blissful start to the day. Don’t miss Ohio’s other hidden gem.

Steps from the water: Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohiovia vrbo.com

The best lakefront patio: Magician Lake, Michigan

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This pretty corner of southwest Michigan is home to a series of resort lake communities known as the Sister Lakes. There are 10 pocket-size lakes in a six-mile radius, but if you ask the owners of this vacation rental, they’ll tell you Magician Lake is the most scenic. Stay at this six-bedroom house and you’ll get views from the patio, which touches the water’s edge, that can’t be beat. The lake is ideal for swimming, boating, and fishing, and the home comes complete with a fire pit, floating lily pad, sandy beach area, and pier.

Chalet on the shore: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsinvia airbnb.com

Chalet on the shore: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

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Located in Door County, one of the most gorgeous peninsulas in the country, Sturgeon Bay is often called “the Cape Cod of the Midwest.” This 80-mile-long strip of land juts into Lake Michigan and offers 300 gorgeous miles of shoreline, charming cottages, cute lake towns, an abundance of lighthouses, and multiple state parks. Right in the heart of all the charm and scenery is this adorable three-bedroom lakeside chalet crafted from reclaimed ships and decorated with vintage nautical pieces. Highlights of the vacation rental include a private pier, a rowboat, kayaks, fishing gear, bicycles, and a fire pit.

Natural beauty with deluxe details: Cedar Lake, Minnesotavia airbnb.com

Natural beauty with deluxe details: Cedar Lake, Minnesota

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Just a quick hop from the Twin Cities brings you to Cedar Lake, where you’ll find this eye-catching three-bedroom lake cabin rental with oversized windows and a spectacular view. Enjoy fishing year-round from the dock and private beach, get some exercise on a paddleboard, or spend your days relaxing on the wraparound deck. The surrounding area boasts wineries, breweries, the historic charm of New Prague, and the family-friendly beaches of Canterbury Park.

The perfect combination of rustic and modern: Swan Lake, Montanavia tripadvisor.com

The perfect combination of rustic and modern: Swan Lake, Montana

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Get the best of both worlds at this lovely and luxurious rental that combines rustic details like reclaimed wood and high-end amenities like a 70-inch flat-screen TV, a two-sided fireplace, and stainless-steel appliances. But the showstopper is the 24-foot-tall of windows that overlooks the water and Montana’s majestic mountains. Bonus: This rental is just an hour from Glacier National Park and its 1 million acres of lakes and glacier-carved mountains. If you’re heading here, you won’t want to miss our guide to a Glacier National Park road trip.

Frisco, Coloradovia vrbo.com

An outdoor adventurer’s paradise: Frisco, Colorado

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Sometimes the perfect lake house isn’t a house at all. That’s the case with this two-bedroom lakeside condo that has a perfectly positioned deck facing the Dillon Marina. It’s the perfect home base to explore this Colorado gem. Not many mountain destinations (especially ones that are almost at a two-mile-high elevation) are home to a variety of water and lake activities. But Lake Dillon allows you to enjoy water sports such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding—all with a stunning mountain backdrop.

A pool with a view: Lake Powell, Utahvia airbnb.com

A pool with a view: Lake Powell, Utah

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One of the largest man-made reservoirs in the country, Lake Powell has winding, narrow waters with red rocks that shine in the distance. Formed by the dammed Colorado River, this reservoir is a prime location for waterskiing, swimming, and boating—all with the backdrop of Southern Utah’s stunning canyon landscapes in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This four-bedroom ranch strives to bring the natural world right to its doorstep. You’ll get to enjoy unobstructed views of Lake Powell from the large flagstone patio and the fabulous heated pool, which is built right into it. And don’t forget s’mores at the fire pit for nighttime fun! Here are more vacation homes with jaw-dropping views.

Romantic lake cabin: Tumalo Lake, Oregonvia vrbo.com

Romantic lake cabin: Tumalo Lake, Oregon

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When you think of a cozy and romantic lakeside cabin, you likely picture something like this Tumalo Lake beauty in your mind. And the home’s features don’t disappoint, with a wraparound deck and private outdoor hot tub. Once inside, you’ll enjoy gorgeous views through the large windows, as well as lovely touches like a wood-burning stove and radiant heated floors with Italian tile. And the location can’t be beat. Tumalo Lake is just 12 miles west of downtown Bend and situated on 640 private forested acres surrounded on all sides by the Deschutes National Forest. Outdoor activities abound with limitless trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing right out your door. While you’re there, don’t miss breathtaking Tumalo Falls just three miles away.

Lake Chelan, Washingtonvia tripadvisor.com

The perfect place for wine lovers: Lake Chelan, Washington

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Location, location, location! This unassuming four-bedroom rental has the prettiest 180-degree water views from the backyard patio and deck. Fire up the Texas-style barbecue and you may never want to leave. But when you hear what’s around you, chances are you’ll pull yourself away for a few hours—it’s also within walking distance to seven wineries!

Lake Tahoe, Californiavia airbnb.com

Sandy shores right outside your door: Lake Tahoe, California

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It’s the best of both worlds: At this lakeside retreat, you get a lake and a beach all in one! Located right on Kings Beach, this three-bedroom condo offers guests VIP access to Lake Tahoe—complete with a stellar view of the aqua waters and the surrounding snow-kissed Sierra Nevada mountains. Talk about a picture-perfect backdrop for your getaway. Have your morning coffee on the back deck while you take in the scenery, then sink your feet into the sand or rent a watercraft for the day. Here are another 50 of the best beach house rentals across the country.

Source: 

  • Vrbo: “The 2021 Vrbo Trend Report”

Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is a freelance travel writer and editor with more than 27 years experience who reports on travel trends around the planet for Reader's Digest. Winner of a Lowell Thomas Gold Award for excellence in travel writing, she started her career as an editor at both Frommer’s and Fodor’s travel guides, then went on to write about travel for many publications including Family Traveller, Parents, and Working Mother magazines. More recently she has been a contributing editor at Saveur, Islands, and Caribbean Travel and Life and a senior contributor at Travelocity. A New Jersey native, ice cream addict, and a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, Klurman lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, son, and rescue dog.