The ideal southerner loves iced tea, preferably a little sweet and sipped on the dock of a gorgeous summer lake, spending full days barefoot unless dinner calls for flip-flops, and they happily live life at a slower pace. Collected by Southern Living Magazine, here are a handful of can’t-miss southern lake visits to brighten up your year. Whether you crave the speed of water sports, prefer the solitude of a mountain lake, or count down the moments to the daily floating hour, you’ll find a place to dive right into some of summer’s greatest pleasures.
Located downstream from the large homes and powerboats of Lake Austin is the quieter, more memorable southern lake named Lady Bird Lake, which allows only non-motorized boats. Imagines as a reflection to this music-loving town, Lady Bird boasts its own venue at Auditorium Shores, a wide riverbank slope that hosts concerts. Discover Lady Bird’s hidden local secret: a side trip on the lake’s famous tributary, Barton Creek. Rent a kayak from Rowing Dock and discover the small dam that holds Barton Springs Pool.
There’s not enough hours in a single day to contain the amount of fun had at this luxurious state resort set in the middle of 2,000-acre Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park. Book a room at the lodge on the lake’s shore, cruise the waters of Stonewall Jackson Lake on a pontoon boat, or tee it up on an Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course.
Started by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, this heavenly lodge property is located on a nearly 60,000-acre lake just outside Branson, Missouri.Big Cedar Lodge’s gentle call of the wild fills all 81 cabins, 3 lodges, 4 restaurants, and 100 boat slips. Guests can choose between cottages, cabins, and handsome hotel rooms in one of three ridge-side lodges. Access is incredibly easy―the brand-new $140-million Branson airport is just 10 miles from the lodge.
This quintessential southern lake experience is known as one of Alabama’s prettiest patches of fresh water―Lake Guntersville. But the small city holds a few shopping and dining surprises that could have easily been plucked from much more urban areas such as Birmingham and Huntsville. Though, you’re here for the lake and its calming qualities will ease you through this relaxing weekend.
Lake Santeetlah’s 76 miles of shoreline are mostly protected as national forest.Enjoy the silence via canoe, sea kayak or stand up paddleboard. Afterward, head to the lakeside bar and dock at Blue Waters Mountain Lodge. Editor’s tip: For lakeside camping with a few amenities–hot showers and flush toilets–Cheoah Point Campground has car campsites for $20 a night.
Known as a popular second-home lake to Birmingham and Montgomery residents, this southern lake, Lake Martin, holds a population of full-time lakeside dwellers. On the weekends, boats raft up at Chimney Rock, a prominent cliff-jumping spot near the dam, inviting you to partake.
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