Friends in bikinis running on beach

Summer is here, and with it comes the opportunity to enjoy America’s beautiful lakes. One of my favorite summer activities is going to a pristine lake. Whether I just hang out on the beach or take a ride in a pontoon, it’s always a summer highlight. So, what are some fun things to do at the lake this summer?

Before we get to that, did you know that there’s actually a Lakes Appreciation Month? It’s true. The North American Lakes Management Society (NALMS) has named July the official Lakes Appreciation Month. The designation is to “focus attention on the value of lakes and reservoirs to society and the threats they face.” NALMS also states that their mission is to “forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs…for today and tomorrow.”

One fun fact about lakes is that the lowest lake in the world is the Dead Sea, on the edge of Israel and Jordan. The surface level is 418 m below sea level. That’s incredible. Also, the Great Lakes, which are shared between the U.S. and Canada, contain roughly 21% of the world’s freshwater supply.

So, what are some engaging activities that you can do on the lake this year? Read on for a list of 10 fun things to do on the lake this summer.

10 Fun Things to Do at the Lake:

  • Swimming in the cool waters

    I grew up a swimmer, but some lakes are just too cold for my taste. That said, many people love a refreshing dip into crisp, cold water at their local lake. Just check temperatures before you jump in, because if it’s too early in the season, those temperatures could be dangerously cold.

    Little kid swimming in the lake.

    Little kid swimming in the lake. Getty Images.

  • Camping near the shoreline

    Water often attracts special wildlife that you won’t find anywhere else. That makes camping near a lake a very special experience and different from the typical campground. When you’re camping, make sure you check out the nature that blossoms around the lakes and wetlands, too.

    Campsite with orange tent.

    Campsite with orange tent. Getty Images.

  • Fishing

    When I was a little kid, I wanted to go fishing. My dad was not a fisherman by any means and was pretty clueless about it. So, he had a friend of his take us fishing, and it was so fun, even though I didn’t catch anything. That said, fishing is a great summer activity on the lake.

    Father and son fishing on boat

    Father and son fishing on boat. Getty Images.

  • Paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing

    If you’re looking for an activity to help keep you in shape, paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing are all great exercise. All of those activities are harder than they look, too, so they can be challenging. But, in the end, you’ll have a good time and get in a real workout. Many lakes have places were you can rent a paddleboat, kayak or canoe, too.

    Couple kayaking together.

    Couple kayaking together. Getty Images.

  • Water sports

    One of my cousins absolutely loves jet skiing. It’s always fun to hear him talk about the experience. I’m not much of a water sports enthusiast, but I can appreciate those who do partake. You don’t even have to have your own boat or jet skis, as they are often available for rent nearby.

    Young man riding jet boat on a summer day at the lake.

    Young man riding jet boat on a summer day at the lake. Getty Images.

  • Have a picnic

    It’s always a charming activity to have a picnic by the lake. Invite some friends or family over and bring some delicious food to enjoy while looking at the water. Oh, and make sure to have ice cream. That’s a must.

    Picnic by the lake. Basket with berries, bread with ik.

    Picnic by the lake. Basket with berries, bread. Getty Images.

  • Take a hike

    Hiking near a lake can be extra lovely, as the water can offer glorious scenery to really make your hike memorable. As aforementioned, lakes often attract nature that you don’t find anywhere else, so hiking around the water can be a unique experience.

    Woman with a dog standing on pier by the lake

    Woman with a small yellow dog standing on pier by the mountain lake. Getty Images.

  • Party with friends

    Parties by the lake are always fun. So, get out a grill and invite a bunch of friends down to the beach to enjoy a day or night of partying by the water. But, don’t get wasted, because drinking and swimming can be a deadly combination.

    Happy friends doing selfie swimming in the sea with sail boat in background - Focus on right man face

    Happy friends doing selfie swimming in the sea with sail boat in background. Getty Images.

  • Sunbathing

    Here’s my top choice, even though you’ll likely find me doing it in the shade: sunbathing. If the water is too cold of you’re just not up to more challenging activities, you can get some sun and lay on the beach. But, remember the sunscreen.

    Women relaxing at the lake.

    Women relaxing at the lake. Getty Images.

  • Lakeside games

    Lakeside games are definitely a thing, and there are many quirky games that you can play by the lake. A few enjoyable lake games include water balloon fights, bean bag tosses, horseshoes and more. Pick a game and dig in.

    Family on dock splashing feet in lake

    Family on dock splashing feet in lake. Getty Images.

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