There’s a reason lakes take the cake in the summer time. Sparkling water, gentle waves and the absence of jellies and crabs make a perfect low-key vacation spot for families with bitty bums in tow. Flip through the gallery to discover 13 fresh bodies of water to dip your toes in this summer.

Smith Mountain Lake – Virginia

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Smith Mountain Lake in southwestern Virginia covers 32 square miles between Roanoke and Lynchburg, giving visitors easy access and “city lodging” with less than an hour’s drive from either of these two launching pads. Prefer to stay on the water? Rent a lake house and wake up to watersports, nearby golf courses, and the Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s miles of hiking trails. 

Online: dcr.virginia.gov

Photo: Virginia State Parks via flickr 

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Where will you make a splash this summer? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey