Jagged mountain scenery, large swaths of forests, and dark-blue waters are all part of Idaho’s lakes’ iconic landscape. Whether it’s hiking through its dramatic landscape or catching salmon in its waters, Idaho’s lakes have everything you need for a memorable family vacation. So, make sure you stop at any of the following destinations for a vacation filled with adventure and entertainment opportunities your whole family will enjoy.
There are many beautiful lakes for you to enjoy in Idaho. The following lakes were chosen by the number of activities they offer and the availability of vacation rentals for big families.
Located on the Idaho-Utah border, Bear Lake’s turquoise-blue waters has lead many to refer to it as the “Caribbean of the Rockies.” Swimming, kite flying, scuba diving, wakeboarding, fishing, and water skiing are just some of the activities families can practice along its 48-mile shoreline. And just to make your vacation planning easier, both boat ramps and rentals are available within the lake.
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Some family vacations are best enjoyed far from the crowds. And here is where Harrison Slough’s quaint location comes handy. Protected among walls of pines yet within range of Coeur d’Alene’s touristic attraction, Harrison Slough offers a wonderful view of the Lake Coeur d’Alene without compromising your family’s privacy. Sandy beaches and marinas dot the whole area – indeed, most lake houses have a boat slip of their own. So, whether it’s snagging chinook salmon or cruising the lake at high speeds, get ready for a trip filled with water sports and adventure.
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Though barely 8 square miles in area, Henry’s Lake has earned itself a big reputation among anglers. Thanks to its nutrient-rich waters, large catches are the norm rather than the exception. Species like Yellowstone rainbow-cutthroat can grow up to 12 pounds and even trout bigger than 18 pounds are not uncommon. But don’t worry if your fishing gear isn’t up to the challenge. Henry’s Lake’s marina has boat ramps, a modern fish-cleaning station, boat rentals, and all the fishing tackle you need to take a wall-hanger home.
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Island Park Reservoir
Beautiful pine forests and scenic views of the Centennial Mountains serve as the backdrop for one of Idaho’s best getaway locations. Located 30 miles north of Ashton, Island Park Reservoir is one of the Gem State’s most popular outdoor destinations. Swimming, boating, and water skiing are just some of the water sports practiced on its waters. The lake’s large stocks of trout and salmon keep anglers busy year-round – with ice-fishing being very popular during the winter.
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Lake Cascade is a beautiful wildlife oasis located in Central Idaho. The fourth-largest lake in the state, Lake Cascade provides a range of recreational opportunities throughout the year. Lake Cascade’s waters are a favorite destination for water sports fans – particularly because its prevailing winds make it well-suited for sailing. Anglers can also expect to catch plenty of Rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and Coho salmon both during the summer and winter.
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Lake Pend Oreille
Located in the northern Idaho Panhandle, Lake Pend Oreille is both the largest and deepest lake in the state. Since its shoreline is largely de-populated, most of the lake is surrounded by thick ponderosa pine and red cedar forests.
Elk, deer, and gray wolves are just some of the wildlife that visitors can sight in the lake. Anglers will find plenty of largemouth bass, trout, and northern pike in the lake’s water. But if you get an itch to explore, you can rent everything from fishing tackle to sailboats at any of the lake’s many boat launches and local companies.
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Payette Lake’s 5,330 acres of pristine, glacial waters are home to several prestigious events – including the Payette Cup Regatta held in June. And once you’ve seen its spectacular mountain scenery, it’s easy to know why. The lake’s clear waters offer a perfect location for swimming, sailing, canoeing, and jet skiing. Plus, nearby boat rentals guarantee that visitors have everything they need for an unforgettable afternoon of water sports.
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Dubbed “Idaho’s Crown Jewel,” Priest Lake is a year-round family vacation hub filled with abundant fishing, spectacular backdrops, and a myriad of entertainment options. Boating, fishing, swimming, snowmobiling, and hunting are but a few of the attractions awaiting visitors in Priest Lake.
Cruise the lake’s waters on a rented boat at full speed or spend a quiet afternoon sharing the grilled fish you snagged out of its waters. Whatever you chose to do, your vacations are bound to be out of the ordinary.
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Beautiful and quiet, Idaho’s scenic lakes make the perfect backdrop for your next family vacation. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your backs, gather your clan, and get ready to have the time of your lives seeing the wonders that Idaho’s lakes have to offer.