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Lake Norman, NC

Posted by on in Lake Reviews

When the spring breezes start to blow warm and fragrant, it’s time to get out the fishing rods and head to the lake.

Lake Norman, located in Troutman NC, is perfect for anglers wishing to while the day away catching crappies or sun fish from boats or banks. But Lake Norman offers so much more than just great coves and inlets to fish.

Tagged in: cool lakes
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Lake Phobia

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No, lake phobia isn't a pond in the village square or a secluded fishing hole in the local state park. It's not a new horror flick either, although someday it might be.

Lake phobia is a real psychological disorder known as limnophobia, an irrational and persistent fear of lakes.

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Fall Fishing at Turkey Lake, Florida

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If you’re vacationing in sunny Florida this fall, don’t forget to take your fishing pole. Florida is an angler’s paradise any time of year, offering some of the best saltwater and freshwater fishing in the world. And if you’re in Orlando, one of the nicest fishing holes you can visit is Turkey Lake.

Tagged in: fishing Florida
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Campfire Stories

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What turns an evening by the campfire into an unforgettable experience? For me, it takes a forest lake, a chilly night, a crackling fire, lots of friends and family, plenty of hot dogs and marshmallows for roasting and, of course, campfire stories.

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6 Ways Boaters Can Keep Lakes Clean

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There’s little appeal in cloudy brown water covered with scum or floating islands of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans. And the smell of gasoline? It’s much less inviting than the scent of fresh water surrounded by clear sky and parkland. Crystal water, blue skies and gentle, steady breezes—those are the attractions that keep most of us returning again and again to freshwater lakes.

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Kid-Friendly Lakes

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Now that school’s back in session, kids need outdoor fun on the weekend more than ever—to get fresh air and exercise, to blow off steam after being cooped in the classroom all week, and to socialize with other children their age.

Kid-friendly lakes can be ideal weekend retreats, offering something for everyone in the family.

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5 Fun Charity Fishing Tournaments for Fall

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If you're itching to go fishing this fall, why not combine a little angling with giving and participate in a charity fishing tournament? Here are 7 big tournaments slated for September and October. One of them might be near you!

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Planning a Leaves & Lakes Getaway for Fall

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Soon, the long days of summer fun will give way to another hectic school year. By October, you’re sure to be in need of another break! So why not start planning your fall getaway now?

Although every year is different depending upon fluctuations in the temperature, the foliage in New England usually begins to turn by the beginning of October. If you time it right, you and your family could enjoy a relaxing lake weekend this fall, surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful autumn foliage.

Tagged in: fall leaves New England
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Escape the City Heat with a Swim Vacation

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Feeling the city heat this summer? Why not cool off with a swim in a beautiful lake? Some of the hottest cities in the US are located near some of the nation's best swimming holes.

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Keeping Safe When It’s Hot Outside

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If you’re like I am, you enjoy nothing better in summer than camping or picnicking by the water, taking a lakeside hike, or spending a day on the boat—fishing, cruising, taking an occasional swim in the water.

But when temperatures soar, it’s not always safe to be outside.

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Looking for a cool place to hang out by a lake this summer? These US cities have the lowest normal daily mean temperatures during the months of June, July and August—and plenty of beautiful bodies of water, too.

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Hiking Poles: Are They Worth the Expense?

Posted by on in Travel Tips

During a weekend hiking trip in college, an old man I met on a trail near Carter Caves, Kentucky gave me my first hiking staff, a length of branch he had carved by hand. It is beautiful and currently leans by our fireplace. But I have never used it.

Hiking canes, sticks, poles (whatever you call them) have always seemed awkward and unnecessary to me. Lately, however, after reading about the numerous benefits of hiking poles, I’ve begun to think they’re not such a bad idea after all, especially for people who hike a lot.

Tagged in: hiking ti tips
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A Lake Called the Fourth of July

Posted by on in Vacation Destinations

Washington State’s Lincoln County is an ideal spot for people who love the great outdoors. It has boating, camping, hiking, geocaching, hunting—and lots of wildlife just for viewing. Lincoln County is also home to a variety of really good fishing lakes.

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1. The ILBBQ Festival, Lake Placid, NY, July 4-6

The I Love Barbecue Festival at Lake Placid, New York, begins on Thursday, the Fourth of July, and runs through Saturday, July 6. Some of the nation’s best teams will be there, competing for the title of Grand Champion and $10,000 in prize money, including Purple Turtle Catering Company, I Smell Smoke, Philly Pigs, Hog Heaven BBQ, Lost Nation Smoke Company and Jack’s Downhome BBQ, headed by Jack McDavid, the former host of the Food Network’s Grillin’ and Chillin’.

In addition to the BBQ competition, the celebration includes live music, a motorcycle parade and, of course, lots and lots of great food, including pulled pork, ribs, brisket and pork butt—all set on Lake Placid in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of New York. Other nearby lakes include Saranac Lake and Oseetah Lake.

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Preserving Lake Vacation Memories

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Easy ways to think outside the scrapbook.

Like me, you probably routinely preserve fond memories of your favorite lake vacations in photos, tucking them away in scrapbooks or digital albums only to look at them when it’s time to add more.

You may also collect souvenirs and postcards on your trips, or keep travel logs, which you then store away in keepsake boxes once you return home.

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Low taxes. Good weather. Beautiful beaches. And lots of things to do year round.

Those are just a few of the good reasons so many retirees head to Florida once their 9-5 days are done.

But the Sunshine State isn't just about ocean sand and surf. It’s also the perfect go-to place for lake enthusiasts.

Tagged in: Florida Florida
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Valentine's Gifts for Lake Lovers

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This Valentine’s, celebrate the day with the perfect gift for your lake-loving sweetie.

Flowers and chocolates? They’re okay, but if you’re shopping for lake enthusiasts this Valentine’s Day, why not select presents that are really apropos—you know, gifts that float, glow and/or bounce on water! They could be just what your lake-loving sweethearts want, and add some serious fun to your Valentine’s Day celebration.

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Three Romantic Lake Getaways

Posted by on in Vacation Destinations

Planning a Valentine’s Day trip for two or a romantic vacation, just because? For lake enthusiasts, nothing could be more ideal than a quick getaway to a lake resort. And these three lakes have just what couples want: beautiful settings; amenities with charm; and lots of activities sure to please lake lovers and other outdoorsy folk.

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Travel & Health

Posted by on in Travel Tips

Your bag is packed, your plane is booked, and your mail is on hold at the post office for the next couple weeks. You've put work out of your mind for your upcoming and highly anticipated vacation; but have you remembered to check everything off your list? In the hustle and bustle of preparing for travel, we often put our health on the back burner before we travel, throughout the duration of the trip, and once you return home. Here are a couple tips for maintaining great health on your travels.

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Featured Destination: Lake Wappapello, Missouri

Posted by on in Lake Reviews

If you live in or near southeast Missouri, you’ll love Lake Wappapello. It’s easy to get to (it’s right off Highway 172 in Lake Wappapello State Park). And it’s also one of the nicest lakes in Missouri for a lake vacation.

Spend a day at Lake Wappapello or spend a week. You won’t run out of things to do. If you like swimming and sunbathing, fritter the day away at Allison Cove. Prefer to spend your time on the water instead of in it? Lake Wappapello has three concrete boat launches, one at Asher Creek Campground, another on Marina Road, and another at Allison Point. It also has a courtesy dock at Old Marina Launch. Bring your own boat or rent a personal watercraft from Breakin’ Waves Rentals.

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Eight Day Hiking Essentials

Posted by on in Travel Tips

Don’t Hit the Trail without These Hiking Must-Haves

The hiking trail around St. Mary’s Lake in southern Maryland isn’t an easy one. Substantial portions of the 7.5-mile trail are rutted, steep or overgrown with thick briars.

My friend and I began our hike at about 9 AM, little realizing that the temperature that day would skyrocket into the upper nineties well before noon. Not only was it hot, but it was also extremely humid, and there was no breeze.

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Looking for an outdoor vacation that’s fun for the whole family? Then be sure to check out the U.S. National Park System. National parks throughout the U.S. offer lots of fun activities for children as well as adults, especially during the summer. These three are among the most beautiful.

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Fishing 101: Caring for Your Catch

Posted by on in Fishing

Battered and fried over a campfire, roasted whole on sticks, baked in hobo packets on hot coals—no matter how it’s fixed, freshly caught fish can be the highlight of a meal enjoyed after a day of successful fishing, that is, if the catch is properly cared for before cooking.

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Preparing for a Long Hike: Food & Other Essentials

Posted by on in Travel Tips

Going backpacking? Then be sure to prepare beforehand. Whether you intend to spend one day or several hiking the great outdoors, if you plan ahead, you will have a more enjoyable experience. And you’ll definitely have a safer one.

One of the major ways you can prepare for your hike is by carefully assembling the food and other items that you will need to take with you.

Tagged in: backpacking hiking
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It’s Spring Flower Festival Time!

Posted by on in General

This spring, stop and smell the flowers—at a spring flower festival.

From daffodil days to azalea fairs, there are lots of celebrations from which to choose, especially in the southern, eastern and midwestern portions of the U.S.A.

Tagged in: festival spring spring
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While there are numerous locations throughout the US that offer camping and other outdoor activities, one of the most popular places to spend a week or weekend is at one of the many magnificent lakes throughout the country. If you're looking for breathtaking views Lake Isabella, located in Kern County California, might just fit the bill.

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At just 16 acres, Long Branch Lake, located in Pipestem Resort State Park in Pipestem, WV, may be small in comparison to other area lakes, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less beautiful or interesting. In fact, if you’re looking for a lake vacation filled with freshwater fishing, hiking, paddleboating, or skimming serene waters in a canoe, you’ll love the Long Branch.

Tagged in: West Virginia
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Once a private home built in 1865, the TC Smith Historic Inn is an exquisite Bed and Breakfast Inn located at picturesque Lake Geneva, WI. Located just to the north of downtown, it gives it's guests the opportunity to experience everything Lake Geneva has to offer without the hassle driving. For over a quarter century this family owned and operated Inn has welcomed guests and offered it's hospitality. The rooms have an authentic 19th century feel with furnishings and a fireplace in each room that date back to the time period giving the TC Smith Historic Inn. Contact them at (262) 248-1097.

Tagged in: Lake Geneva Wisconsin
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Why Lakes Are the Perfect Getaway

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There's nothing quite like the peace and calm that you experience while sitting on the shore of a lake, staring out into the rippling waters, and thinking about absolutely nothing. With the economic times the way they are, any outing that can bring about this serenity is most welcomed, especially if it's one that costs you next to nothing. Here are a few reasons why lakes are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the perfect getaway.

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J. Strom Thurmond Lake happens to be the largest Corps of Engineers Lake that is east of the Mississippi. Located in a reservoir between the South Carolina and Georgia border, it was created back in 1951 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also happens to be the second largest artificial lakes located on the east side of the Mississippi River, while being one of southeast’s most popular lakes for public recreation.

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Vacation Beautiful Wisconsin

Posted by on in Vacation Destinations

For outdoor lovers, adventure is just a short drive from Milwaukee and Chicago to southeastern Wisconsin. Home to beautiful Geneva Lake and other renowned bodies of water like Lake Como and Shawano Lake, southeastern Wisconsin affords visitors lots of excitement. On its scenic lake shores, there’s cycling, hiking, golfing—even ziplining. On the water, there’s even more fun available, from fishing and swimming to parasailing and water skiing.

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Good Reasons to Choose California’s Sierra Nevada

Posted by on in Travel Tips

Stretch out beside a picnic lunch and watch a bald eagle slice the air. Hurtle through whitewater down the Merced River, safely tucked into a raft alongside an expert guide. Or circle a cool mountain lake on horseback. These and more outdoor delights await those who choose California’s Sierra Nevada, either for an exciting outdoor vacation or as a permanent residence.

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3 Super Cool Towns

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Longing for small-town life with an edge? Then you won’t want to miss these unique vacation spots.

What do Lewisburg, West Virginia; Ely, Minnesota; and Cayucos, California, have in common? Each was the number one pick by voters in Budget Travel Magazine’s Coolest Small Town competition. The contest, which allows online visitors to select their favorite small U.S. town, doesn’t reward the quaint or the cute. Although they’re small, these towns are nothing like Mayberry. They’re hip little burgs with personality plus. Although each has a population under 10,000, they’re packed with fun things to do. So if you’re looking for an exciting small-town vacation, check out these cool U.S. towns.

The next time you’re looking for a great vacation spot, think small.

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Apache Lake, Arizona

Posted by on in Lake Reviews

If you love water sports, like to fish and enjoy the great outdoors, make your next vacation a lake vacation, and spend it at Apache Lake. Located in Tonto National Forest, the Apache is 17 miles long. It’s one of four artificial lakes in Arizona that are situated on the Salt River.

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The Loneliest Place on Earth
In Mono Basin National Forest, in a remote area east of the Sierra Nevada sits one of the most unusual lakes in California. In fact, many people call it one of the wonders of the world—Mono Lake. Mark Twain called it "the loneliest place on Earth."

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Tomlinson Run Lake, WV

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Tomlinson Run Lake, located in WV’s panhandle, sits in the midst of Tomlinson State Park, 1,398 acres of rolling forest that’s home to the lake as well as Tomlinson River, which empties into the Ohio.

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Dewey Lake, Kentucky

Posted by on in Lake Reviews

If you live in or near Prestonsburg, Kentucky, you'll love vacationing at Dewey Lake. It's easy to get to (it's just off Interstate 64E in Jenny Wiley State Park). And it's also one of the nicest lakes in Kentucky for a lake vacation.

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Visit any of these three West Virginia lakes, and you're just a short drive from unique sightseeing opportunities - Cranberry Glades, Cass Scenic Railroad, and Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park.

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Big, Fresh, Beautiful ... Klamath Lake, Oregon

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At 20 miles long and eight miles wide, the Upper Klamath (also known as Klamath Lake) is Oregon’s largest freshwater lake. It’s also one of the biggest natural bodies of water west of the Rockies. Visitors love Klamath Lake for its gorgeous weather and teeming wildlife. It also offers incredible water sport opportunities and excellent fishing.

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Visit Crater Lake, Oregon

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If you're a lake enthusiast who loves to hike, camp, fish, take pictures, or just appreciate nature, put Crater Lake at the top of your must-visit list. It's well worth the trip. Crater Lake is one of the nation's most unique bodies of water. Located in Oregon's Crater Lake National Park, it's approximately 60 miles NW of Klamath Falls, the county seat, and 80 miles NE of Medford.

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Golf is a wonderful sport; those who enjoy the game would love to play golf over many other activities. The beauty of golf involves so much more than the game itself; it is often the setting of the golf course that can make a particular game decidedly enjoyable. For example, a lakeside golf course offers many of its own challenges, but also offers the golfers a beautiful, serene view to enjoy.

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Lake Side Honeymoon Destinations

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There is just something about a lakeside area that is beautiful, even idyllic for a honeymoon destination. Resorts and cabins along serene waters are often designed specifically to cater to your romantic getaway, and you can choose to be as secluded as you like for private times, but a bustling city or a quaint little town is usually not too far away.

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Lake Michigan is one of Michigan's Great Lakes, and it borders the entire western edge of the state. With a shoreline of this magnitude, you will find interesting destination points all along the edge of the lake. These destinations are not only in Michigan; Lake Michigan also borders the eastern coast of Wisconsin, as well as touching Indiana and Illinois.

Beaver Island
Beaver Island is a large island set in Lake Michigan off the northwest coast of the state of Michigan. Historically, this island had been an English monarchy; today it is a popular tourist site. The people of the island call it "America's Emerald Isle," and it is a center for tourism. There are several smaller islands that surround it, and this archipelago is known for beautiful trails for hiking, excellent fishing, and an idyllic setting for shopping, sunning, and camping.

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The Finger Lakes are located in the beautiful wine region of central upstate New York. While this area is known for its expansive vineyards and wineries, there are a myriad of activities for the entire family to enjoy.

Educational Outings
Families with young children may want to pepper their vacation with visits to a few places that will offer some educational experience while still being fun and interesting for everyone involved. One such place would be the Corning Museum of Glass. Here, you and your family can learn about the history glass, which spans the last 35 decades, and you can even try glass blowing yourself....

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Four Unique Lakes

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The United States boasts an astronomical number of lakes. Some are very small, offering shoreline area for a hundred or so cabins and homes, while others span multiple counties. It is easy to find a vacation destination on a lake if you know where to look; however, if you are looking for a unique experience, consider one of these lakes for your next getaway...

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Lake Tahoe is a vast, beautiful lake that serves as a popular vacation and resort destination for families all over the country. It is located along the border of California and Nevada, with shorelines located in both states. The ideal feature of this lake and the areas along its shores is that there are so many amazing activities during each season, that it becomes a great place to visit no matter what part of the year it is...

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If you are considering a vacation and would like to find a peaceful water front destination, a lake can be so much more relaxing and idyllic than the ocean or even a river. The still waters are often rife with local species of fish, and you will enjoy a day of blissfully quiet boating and leisure.

New York's Finger Lakes
People often forget that there is more to the state of New York than the busy streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. In upstate New York, you will find the serene area that surrounds New York's Finger Lakes. Serene and idyllic, these lakes are nestled in the heart of wine country. In addition to access to a myriad of vineyards, they display some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. Vacationers here enjoy endless camping, hiking, swimming, and boating, while exploring the miles of scenic waters and shoreline...

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Warm lake getaways in chilling winter months

Posted by on in Lake Reviews

If you are looking for a quiet place to get away during the chilling winter months, a cabin at a lake in a warm climate may be just the ticket. Take the family away to a cabin on a quiet lake, where you can boat, fish, and even swim, forgetting for a while the snow and ice that is in your own back yard.

Great Lakes of Georgia
Georgia is a beautiful state with a mild climate year round. The Great Lakes of Georgia are scattered throughout the state, and offer great experiences camping, hiking, or just rocking on the front porch watching the peaceful waters. Lake Hartwell, in the northeastern part of the state (on the border of South Carolina and Georgia), promises a beautiful vacation that promises 1,000 miles of beautiful shoreline, cabins to rent or to buy (because you may want to come back often), water sports, and a beautiful golf course.

Lake Lanier (aka Lake Sidney Lanier), southwest of Lake Hartwell, is another vast and breathtaking lake. In addition to the many outdoor activities you will enjoy here, you may want to join the community at a few area establishments for an entertaining poker night. A calendar of events shows frequent planned activities, like sailing races and jet ski competitions. You may want to participate or simply rent a pontoon boat and tool around the lake on your own.

The Highland Lakes in Texas
There are six lakes that make up the Highland Lakes in central Texas. Known for their water sports, fishing, wild flowers and wildlife, these lakes are popular vacation spots for families inside and outside of the state. Buchanan Lake is one example of these lovely bodies of water. This lake is 30 miles long and 5 miles wide at its widest part, promising 124 miles of shoreline. You can spend the day on the water, and the lake is close to three communities where you may wish to take the family for an evening in dining and shopping.

As you travel down the Colorado River through Texas, the next lake after Buchanan Lake is Inks Lake. Only 55 miles from the booming city of Austin, this lake offers the best of both worlds: seclusion and peace on a beautiful lake and the lively nightlife of the city. The Inks Lake State Park is 1200 acres of woodlands borders the lake, offering hiking and a million photo opportunities with Texas wildlife.

Florida Lakes
The state of Florida is one of the first states that comes to mind when you are thinking of taking a warm weather vacation. If the ocean front is not for you, look into one of the many lakes scattered throughout the state. For example, Lake Apopka offers cabin rentals, as well as rentals of fishing and pontoon boats. For families looking to "rough it", there is plenty of camping as well.

Whether you choose Florida, Georgia, or Texas, a getaway to a restful lakeside cottage may be just what you need to refuel and get through the remains of your winter. It is a wonder what a peaceful lake vacation can do for your family or for you and your significant other.

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Easy Tips for a Hassle-Free Family Lake Vacation

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Planning a family lake vacation soon? Apart from wanting to find a lake, you might also want to know about simple but helpful tips that will make that particular outing less stressful. These are simple yet practical pieces of advice that will make things easier not just for the outing planner (which is you) but also for the rest of your party. After all, occasions like these ought to be remembered for the fun times had by everyone and not as a way of recalling mishaps and disasters that could have been avoided.

When you find a lake for your family lake vacation, do check out the surrounding areas and make sure the following are present: garbage cans, park benches and emergency toilets. These are fairly common among many lakeside areas across the nation, but make sure that this is one of the first few things you scope out as soon as you find a lake. This will make bathroom emergencies last shorter and setting up that delicious spread easier, for it will lessen the load you have to carry in the car just so everyone can eat. If you must bring additional surfaces, try to get ones that are foldable for easy storage and set up.

Before you even find a lake for the family lake vacation you have been planning, do make sure that you have an emergency "anything goes" kit containing any or all of the following: band aids, mosquito repellent, allergy medication, an assortment of medicines for any general condition, baby wipes, cotton balls and gauze, cleaning solutions, among others. Any emergencies and mishaps can be easily fixed, and your toddler with the scraped knee can still join in some of the fun after being bandaged up. Antihistamines are also great for those who have food or environment allergies, so stock up on it, too.

There should also be a "family lake vacation fun kit" in your car consisting of lightweight and easy to set up sporting goods equipment (badminton or volleyball, for example), some playing cards, crossword puzzles, a transistor radio, visors, Frisbee and the like. This fun kit will be well-appreciated by both the active and the passive crowd for when excitement is the name of the game or when they simply want to kick back and chill in the lakeside. In terms of clothing, make sure the kids wear comfy and easy clothing that will go easy in the dryer should they be decorated with grass, food and soil stains during the outing.

When you plan something as fun as this, make sure you leave the gadgets at home to encourage friends and family to interact and have fun with one another and not simply roam around on their own. After all, the reason for the vacation is to bond with one another and become a lot closer. A family lake vacation is indeed a lot more fun and hassle-free when you keep these suggestions in mind as you find a lake perfect for such an occasion.

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Six of the best fishing lakes east of the Mississippi

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Dreaming of a lake where the fish are always biting? Stop dreaming - go where the champions go! Jordan, Champlain, Clark Hills, Monroe, Okeechobee, and Smith Mountain are six east coast lakes that host at least one major fishing tournament per year - and for good reason. Cast your line in any of their waters, and you’re sure to get more than a nibble.

B. Everett Jordan Lake, North Carolina
B. Everett Jordan Lake near Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, covers almost 14,000 acres. Its waters are filled with logs, rocks, and submerged logs - the perfect environment for a variety of game fish, including largemouth bass, crappie, striper, striper hybrids, bream, catfish, and white perch. Each spring, the Carolina Bass Series holds open tournaments there.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission stocks the lake with stripers as well as with striper hybrids called Bodie bass. April through December is striper season. In May, the peak of the season, even novice anglers can pull in three to five-pound bass or larger.

Lake Champlain, New York
A regular stop on the ESPN Bassmaster Tournament circuit, Lake Champlain in upstate New York offers great year-round fishing. Cast off from shore, wade in the shallows, or use a boat. There are plenty of options when you fish Lake Champlain and plenty of species from which to choose.

Trout and salmon fishing begins in April and lasts through May. May is also the start of pike and walleye season. In summer, the bass begin to bite, and you can fish perch and sunfish any time of year. Ice fishing is allowed, too.

Clarks Hill Lake, Georgia
Also called Lake J. Strom Thurmond, Clarks Hill is an enormous man - made body of water north of Augusta. It covers more than 71,000 acres and has 1,200 miles of shoreline.

Clarks Hills maintains a good habitat for many freshwater fish. Routine practices, such as felling trees along the shore, keep conditions just right for several species, including largemouth bass, bream, crappie, catfish, stripers, and Bodies.

At Clarks Hill, anglers have plenty of elbow room, too. Numerous recreation areas surround the lake, and there are many fishing piers.

Frequent tournaments occur at Clarks Hill. Forest L. Wood (FLW) Outdoors, for instance, sponsors Bass Fishing League events there annually.

Monroe Lake, Indiana
About 10 miles southeast of Bloomington is one of the best walleye fisheries in Indiana, Monroe Lake. Monroe Lake is a great spot for year - round fishing, with abundant numbers of walleye as well as largemouth bass, blue gill, and yellow perch. Other species include crappy, Bodies, and catfish. During cold winters, ice fishing is permitted as well.

The largest lake in Indiana, Monroe covers over 10,000 acres. It’s a popular locale for water skiing and boating, too. In October 2010, the National Guard FLW College Fishing Tournament held its Central Regional Championship there.

Lake Okeechobee, Florida
In the language of the Hitchiti Indians, "Okeechobee" means big water, and Lake Okeechobee is certainly that. Forming the headwaters of Florida’s Everglades, it holds a trillion gallons of water and covers 730 square miles.

Once, the Big O was a spectacular locale for fishing. Today, it’s still a good place to cast your line and is a routine stop on the Bassmaster Tournament trail.

Thanks to a number of recent factors, however, including work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Lake Okeechobee may soon reclaim its spot as the nation’s premiere sport fishery.

In a 2010 interview with the Miami Herald, FWC biologist Corey Lee said, "We’re seeing eight to 10-inch bass everywhere. There’s a lot of crappie, the highest numbers we’ve seen in five years."

What does that mean? Great fishing, particularly in the next few years.

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia
Smith Mountain Lake, a 20,600-acre reservoir 40 miles from Lynchburg and Roanoke, leads the state in producing trophy - sized stripers. Blass bass are its most popular species, however, followed by stripers, sunfish, and catfish. The lake also supports a limited number of crappie and musky.

Numerous public boat ramps and marinas are located in adjacent Smith Mountain Lake State Park, which also has picnic areas, campgrounds, cabins, a handicapped-accessible fishing pier, and hiking trails. A golf course is nearby, too.

Smith Mountain Lake is part of the ESPN Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.

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