14 Fun New York Lakes to Rent a Lake House For the Perfect Lake Vacation for Your Big Family

    Thanks to thousands of miles of shoreline, New York State boasts many of the country’s best lake vacation destinations. Places that offer swimming, fishing, and boating in the warmer months, and a quiet retreat when the temps go down.

    Here are fourteen of New York State’s most popular spots for the perfect lake vacation.  The following lakes were chosen for the number of activities they offer and the availability of vacation rentals for big families.

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    Copake Lake

    Just east of the Hudson River, about 120-miles north of midtown Manhattan, Copake Lake has recently become one of the area’s hottest real estate markets for second-home buyers. The Lake has two separate marinas, both of which rent boats, jet skis,  and kayaks. Along with several beaches, the area around Copake Lake has numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic waterfalls.

    Lake Clear 

    Located between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, pristine water earned Lake Clear its name. Its proximity to the St. Regis Canoe Area makes Lake Clear popular with kayakers. For anglers, the Lake also boasts a wide variety of fish species, including Atlantic Salmon, Largemouth Bass, and Pumpkin Sunfish. 

    Skaneateles

    Skaneateles Lake

    Because of its high altitude, Skaneateles Lake holds the title of “The Roof Garden of the Lakes.” Located 23-miles west of Syracuse in New York’s Finger Lakes region, Skaneateles Lake’s pristine, blue-green waters are perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking. For boat owners, the Lake has four public launches within six miles of downtown Skaneateles. Powerboat, sailboat, PWC, canoe, and kayak rentals are also available at the Skaneateles Marina.

    Skipping Stones

    Owasco Lake

    Also a member of New York’s Finger Lakes, Owasco Lake attracts anglers year-round thanks to an abundance of Perch, Walleye, Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, and Salmon. With an average depth of only 95-feet, Owasco Lake waters warm up nicely in the summer, making it ideal for swimming and boating. 

    Lake Ontario, Broadway Rd.

    Lake Ontario

    The smallest and easternmost of the Great Lakes – Lake Ontario – divides Canada and the United States along New York State’s northwestern border. Dozens of state parks, beaches, and historical attractions line Lake Ontario’s 220-mile shoreline on the U.S. side. The Lake also feeds the Niagara River, as well as Niagara Falls, which is just 15-miles from its southern shore.  

    Lake George New York vacation rentals

    Lake George 

    Beautiful lake views, lots of nearby attractions, and a unique variety of outdoor activities make Lake George a perfect family vacation destination. Downtown Lake George has several arcades, a wide range of eateries, and miniature golf on almost every corner. The Minne Ha Ha, an authentic sternwheel steamboat,  offers daily tours of the Lake. The nearby Great Escape Amusement Park features rides for all ages and an excellent water park. 

    Buffalo, New York

    Lake Erie 

    About 15-miles south of Niagara Falls, the second smallest Great Lake – Lake Erie – borders New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan on its southern border, and Canada on its north side. New York’s lakefront stretch has several large, full-service marinas, dozens of well-maintained beaches, and many historical sites. 

    Lake Oneida New York vacation rentals

    Oneida Lake 

    Once known as the “Coney Island of Central New York,” Oneida Lake boasts over 50,000-acres of surface area and roughly 77-miles of shoreline. One of the Lake’s first attractions, the Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, features old-fashioned rides and vintage arcade games. Verona Beach State Park, situated on the Lake’s eastern shore, has over 40-campsites, a mix of nature trails, and a gorgeous beach. 

    Lake Champlain New York vacation rentals view of lake

    Lake Champlain

    Located in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Champlain runs north to south for almost 125-miles along New York’s border with Vermont. Local attractions include Ausable Chasm, High Falls Gorge, and the Natural Stone Bridge & Caves. At the Lake’s southernmost tip, Fort Ticonderoga offers a glimpse into the Lake’s strategic importance for early settlers.   

    Sand Island

    Great Sacandaga Lake

    Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Fulton County, towering pines, pristine waters, and fresh Adirondack Mountain air make the Great Sacandaga Lake a popular destination throughout the year. Numerous public boat launches, beaches, and campsites line the Lake’s 125-mile shoreline. Snowmobile races, ice-fishing, and cross-country skiing bring visitors during the colder months. 

    Lake Chautauqua New York shore

    Chautauqua Lake

    Just eight miles south of Lake Erie in New York’s westernmost corner, beautiful Chautauqua Lake offers a quieter, more laid-back experience than its larger neighbor. Along with typical lake pastimes,  the Chautauqua Lake area also boasts more than 20 wineries, numerous lakeside eateries, and world-class golf.

    Seneca Lake big family vacation rentals New York, view of lake

    Seneca Lake

    Visitors to Seneca Lake often stop at nearby Seneca Falls – the model for the town of Bedford Falls featured in the 1946 classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” As the largest Finger Lake, Seneca Lake has several locations for kayak, powerboat, and jet-ski rentals. There’s also a number of free boat launches located around the Lake. 

    Keuka Lake New York vacation rentals view of lake

    Keuka Lake

    Also, one of New York’s Finger Lakes, Keuka Lake (a.k.a. “Crooked Lake”), derives its name from its “Y” shape. As part of Keuka Lake State Park, Keuka Lake features camping, a boat launch, several docks, and many quiet hiking trails.

    Canandaigua Lake New York big family vacation rentals,  view of lake

    Canandaigua Lake 

    Humphry Bogart called Canandaigua Lake (another Finger Lake) his summer residence for many years. Today, visitors to Canandaigua Lake enjoy lake tours on the  Canandaigua Lady – a 19th-century replica paddleboat. At the north end of the Lake, the charming little town of Canandaigua has a pier, several scenic overlooks, and available watercraft rentals. 

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    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa is the mother of four including twins. She is the owner of SixSuitcaseTravel, a travel site for big families of 5, 6, 7, 8. She enjoys helping other big families build life-long travel memories. Her family's travel bucket list includes Yellowstone, London, and anywhere in the Caribbean.