Take in panoramic lakeside vacation views at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. (Photo: Marriott International)


Outdoor Bliss and Hidden Gems Await at 4 Luxe Lakeside Escapes

Lakeside vacations have always been popular, especially for families, but they’ve taken on a luxury twist as travelers seek immersive connections with nature during the day and deluxe accommodations at night.

This “lakecation” trend is soaring, and these destinations boast water-focused activities, stunning settings and lavish spots to lay your head — everything you need for a sumptuous lakeside escape.

As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.

Lake Oconee, Georgia

It may not be the first place you think of for a lakecation, but that’s what makes this Georgia destination, just over an hour drive from Atlanta, such a hidden gem. Lake Oconee is a peaceful retreat where everything revolves around the water.

You can cruise across the lake with Oconee Classic Boats in a classic wooden Hacker-Craft boat or reserve their 30-foot Runabout Triple Cockpit Model, which seats up to nine guests, for a family adventure. Water sports enthusiasts can rent Jet Skis and wake boats from Young Harris Water Sports Boat Rentals.

With The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee as your home base, you can enjoy all the activities the lake has to offer — non-motorized gear like paddleboards and kayaks are included in the resort fee. Then come back to your lavish, charming cottage by the lake or suite with a water view for a truly unparalleled lakeside escape.

Orlando, Florida

Birds-eye view of JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes featuring many pools, fountains and waterslides
Find your luxury outdoor oasis at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. (Photo: Marriott International)

A welcome respite from the bustling theme parks, Grande Lakes, Orlando, offers the perfect lakecation. Home to both The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, this luxury resort area is sprawled amid 500 green acres, but the real stars are its eleven private lakes and ponds, where you can book guided angling expeditions and even take fly-fishing lessons with Captain Mark Benson, the expert who leads Grande Lakes’ guided fishing program. Not only will he teach you to fish, but he’ll share insider stories of the local waters, which he’s been fishing since he was a young boy.

Located on the grounds of the resort, Shingle Lake spans 48 acres and is a beautiful spot to explore by kayak or canoe. Because the property borders Shingle Creek, considered the northernmost headwaters of the Florida Everglades, Captain Benson can also facilitate a two-hour eco-tour for you to experience the serenity of a whole different side of Orlando — one filled with more than 72 species of birds, including the largest population of bald eagles outside of Alaska.

Edmonton, Canada

Edmonton Canada skyline from the river
Explore Edmonton’s great outdoors through its countless waterways. (Photo: Getty Images)

Looking for an unexpected lake destination? Head to landlocked Edmonton, Alberta — yes, really — where you’ll learn the locals’ secrets to taking advantage of the hundreds of surprising lakes and beaches that dot the region.

The concierge at JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District will help you plan your lake visits, from directions to gear, whether you want to head out to local Kirk Lake, Kulawy Lake or Guinevere Lake for some fishing or just immersing yourself in the tranquility of the natural surroundings.

You can also opt for day trips to Muir Lake or Wizard Lake for great fishing and paddling, and some birding, too. And if you simply desire a leisurely stroll around one of the lakes, the resort will give you a trail map and point out spots to sit down and admire the views and the wildlife. Back at the hotel, downtown Edmonton’s only luxury spa awaits, as do the singular comforts and thoughtful amenities in your plush room.

Austin, Texas

Boats floating along Lake Austin with the Austin Texas skyline
Paddle and float through the rivers and lakes of Austin, Texas. (Photo: Getty Images)

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including ways to enjoy the water. Thanks to the numerous waterways bisecting Austin and the surrounding Texas Hill Country, it’s easy to kayak, swim and boat in the state’s capital. Canyon Lake Jet Ski and Boat Rentals has everything you need for extreme water sports or relaxing pontoon rides on Canyon Lake, one of the prettiest and deepest lakes in the city. The Texas Rowing Center can get you into Zen mode with rentals for paddleboard yoga on Lady Bird Lake, a favorite activity of Austin residents.

W Austin understands that the only thing that could make all of this even better would be sharing the experience with your best furry friend. The resort’s signature Pets Are Welcome (P.A.W.) program means that your four-legged family member will be treated like a treasured guest — you can enjoy long walks around Lake Travis, the city’s largest lake, together before returning to your luxurious hotel room. Choose a beautiful lake-view room to keep the memories fresh … and make new ones.