The lake is a great place to get away whether you are making a long drive or it’s just up the road because there are so many fun things to do at the lake.
Many lakes at least on the west coast are public and don’t allow for things like a lake house, so recently my family undertook the purchase and remodel of a houseboat which is extremely cool.
Most people are not going to have the luxury of including a houseboat as one of their lake activities so this post is geared around water based fun for everyone.
If you enjoy camping, nature, sunsets, drinks, beautiful weather, water, or being on a boat then we have something for you.
You might be saying, but I don’t own a boat and I do not plan on adding the expense of a boat to my life.
Well, the good news is you don’t need a boat to enjoy almost everything at the lake but almost every lake also has some sort of boat rentals available.
Most of those marinas will rent you paddle boards, kayaks, or jet skis as well. Basically what I am saying is that you can have a great lake vacation without a lot of long term commitment, but don’t forget the sunscreen.
8 Best Things To Do at the Lake
1. Fishing Regardless of Experience
You don’t have to be a master angler to be able to enjoy your location next to the water and cast out to try and catch a fish.
I say try, because if you haven’t fished then there is no guarantee. keep in mind that fishing is a patient person’s activity and until you catch something there aren’t a lot of social media posting opportunities.
However, I highly recommend at least giving it a try. All you need is a pole, bait, hook, line and a license. You can get yourself all situated for less than $50 and a make a whole day or several out of it.
You can make this a one stop shop at most Wal-Mart’s or sporting goods stores, including the license.
When it comes to fishing there are a couple of things to consider to maximize the fun. Get your license, it’s cheap easy and the fines can be substantial.
Second, bass fishing is a little more involved and is harder from the shore so keep it simple. You don’t want to eat the fish out of every lake and some have signs marking catch and release only.
Nearly every lake has catfish and they are fun to catch and fight, and you can find them in dark coves and at the bottom.
2. Camping in Nature next to the Lake
Water attracts wildlife and nature tends to blossom in the area in and around a lake. Now, that might not be true if your local lake is manmade like this one, but most of the time it is the case.
Our local lake has wild donkeys in addition to the other naturally occurring wildlife. Many lakes allow for camping in places along the water or on designated beaches, just do your homework in advance.
Keep in mind that with significant drought in large parts of the country you may have to scrap your bonfire plan and find a new way to warm up your s’mores at the lake.
3. Paddleboard or Kayak for Fun and Exercise
First off, if you haven’t done either of these lake activities, they are harder than they look, but they have become a mainstay of lake fun recently.
In almost any list of fun things to do at the lake you are going to see paddle boarding because it is fun and it is a great workout. Most lakes with a dock or marinas will offer rentals even if the lake otherwise does not allow boating or swimming.
I have see people with waterproof speakers rocking their favorite music while they get some sun and just take some time for themselves.
I would recommend you find out information in advance because some places have restrictions due to Covid and you don’t want to show up and not be able to enjoy your day.
4. Water Sports (Requiring Boats or Jet Skis)
Power watersports are the primary attractions to many lakes and they are what support the economy that revolves around the lake.
Again, you don’t have to have your own boat or jet skis as they are available for rent at your local lakes that allow those types of water activities.
Ok, what can you do on a boat? Well you can do any of the thing listed above but you can go wakeboarding, tubing, water skiing or just generally zooming around the lake (safely of course which includes life jackets).
Boats are fun, they are also a lot of work if you want to have your own. Renting a boat is usually very simple, although it does require multiple adults to legally do some of the water activities.
If you don’t want to worry about all the extra, get on a jet ski. They are so much fun (but can also be very dangerous) and in some states you can still wakeboard behind one.
Riding around on a jetski will be exhilarating and it will probably make your back hurt later. Most skis can old two people comfortably so even thought the rental is probably expensive you can share the cost and memory of scooting around the lake.
If you l don’t like any of my other things to do at the lake do some jet skiing.
5. Party - Mingle with Friends
Lake activities often include alcohol and friends already, but be very wary of doing any activities while intoxicated.
Water is amazing, but so many things can happen and a family day of fun things to do at the lake never includes tragedy.
So, enjoy your drinks and down time but be safe and be smart. Always have a DD to avoid trouble and to make sure the lake creates good memories. With that said, I will skip the wine and have a beer or whisky, so cheers!!
6. Hike with the Family
Hiking may or may not be on your list of fun lake activities but the water can provide beautiful scenery to really maximize your visit.
Obviously it depends on the weather and environment around the water but this is one that really gets missed. You say you aren’t a hike? Well how about a walk or a stroll, your lake probably has paved roads or sidewalks around right.
Turn on your music and enjoy watching others canoeing, kayaking, etc. Hiking might not be atop your list but if you are spending a few days camping at the lake or the water is too cold for a sane person to go in this really is a nice option.
7. Lake Day Trip Family Fun
Going to the lake does not have to b a major ordeal that brings out the crazy in everyone’s personality, many of these lake activities can be done as part of a day trip.
For some, just the drive and getting away and seeing the water while grabbing some food or snapping some pictures is enough of a lake trip.
On those days when you can’t think of what to do and you are googling posts about free or cheap activities think of the lake.
Lake life is really rejuvenating due to Covid and there is a whole new generation being exposed. Take a day trip and find a little piece of your heart that truly appreciates the lake.
8. Swimming with the Bluegill & the Kids
Here is a newsflash, kids like to swim and it is pretty cool when they get to see fish. Most of the larger fish are going to be away from shore, but almost every lake has Bluegill or Sunfish that live near the shore.
They are great for beginning fishing and for just looking at. I don’t know if it was legal but when I was a kid we had a large fish pond in my back yard and we took some bluegill that we caught in a local lake and put them in the pond.
Bluegill aren’t a meal, but if all you want to do is swim a bit and see some fish this really hits the nail on the head.
The lake has so much to offer you, and chances are you have only hit the surface.
This is a great opportunity to take advantage of one of the best assets that many places have as well as expose your family to new and exciting things.
I challenge you to choose one of the things on the list and go do it! I would love to see pictures and new ideas that you come up with. And like I said before, don’t forget your sunscreen!!