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.

Payette Lake – Idaho

Eight square miles of glacial water at an elevation of about 5,000 feet above sea level in the mountains of Idaho? Who knew? But it’s true, and Payette Lake is as beautiful as locals claim (and non-locals discover). With part of the lake protected in the Ponderosa State Park, Payette Lake is often uncrowded, leaving you plenty of space to boat, swim, fish, and play in its cool waters. And if everything else hasn’t convinced you, try this on for size: Payette Lake comes with its own “Loch Ness” monster lore, known fondly as “Sharlie.”


Photo: Gabby Cullen

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

—Shelley Massey