Taking a lake house vacation isn’t that much different than going to the beach. It still offers most of the same waterfront views and water based activities, and sometimes it can even provide more experiences than those by the sea, owing to sheltered conditions or archaeological finds. This article gives a few tips on planning and enjoying an affordable, and memorable, lake house vacation.
Choose the lake house wisely. Not only should affordability be factored in but consider the space available. For two people, a small lakeside cabin might be ideal but for a large family, you’d soon be getting in the way of one another. The more people, the more space needed, so err on the side of additional space rather than less so that everyone has a space to get away to when they need to unwind most. Also, consider where everyone is going to sleep and account for personal preferences when it comes to people sharing rooms. If you’ve asked extended family members or friends to join you, ask them about their preferences for being accommodated; don’t assume. Other things to bear in mind when selecting the lake house include:
- The amount of other people in the area
- Acceptance of children at the property (or not)
- Acceptance of pets (or not)
- Proximity of convenience stores
- Ease of getting there and access to the lake house
- Equipment provided for use on the lake or for activities (such as canoes, kayaks, boats, life jackets, etc.)
- Activities available in the area, including play equipment for children
- Catering facilities, including dishwasher, microwave, etc.
- DVD player, games consoles, Wi-Fi, TV, etc… or not!
- Whether the house comes with cleaning or you have to do that yourself (note: some places will charge a cleaning fee or bond to ensure cleanliness)
- Safety and security.
Bring the comforts of home. Unless you own the lake house, rentals may or may not have everything you need to comfortably enjoy your stay. It’s a good idea to check the list of items provided in the rental price (many places will list this on their website but if not, ask by phone or email). Some of the more common things that might not be included in the price can be a grill, cooking utensils and cookware, sheets and additional blankets, etc., although some houses will be fully kitted out and all you need to bring is your personal belongings. Ask, otherwise you may find yourself in the local drugstore buying sheets and towels and asking for the directions to nearest laundromat before you can even settle in!
- Don’t forget to pack bathing suits, towels, sunscreen, bug spray, bug candles, a sweatshirt for wearing at night, and other outdoor necessities as well.
- Bring a few pampering items, such as shower or bath gel, tealight candles, and bath bombs for extra luxury!
- Take books and periodicals that you’ve been meaning to read for a long time. Here is your chance at last! Also, bring along some vacation mystery and adventure books for the kids; they’ll be in the mood for reading such books at the lake house.
- Bring your bikes if you enjoy riding bikes and know of trails in the area.
Make the time spent at the lake house one of interaction with family and friends. Aim to balance the things you want to do alone with activities that involve family members and friends who have come along to the lake house with you. Spend time playing outdoor games together, doing water activities together, and eating meals together. Visit the local attractions as a group or in pairs, so that you have someone or a group to share the sightseeing with.
- Should rain hamper your plans to spend the day outside, you can listen to music, play board or card games, do puzzles together, talk, or simply relax.
- Look for lake houses with game rooms and amenities such as pool tables, ping pong tables, air hockey, or football.
- Consider having barbecues on the lake front beach (if permitted) and maybe even a campfire (again, if permitted), at least once during your stay.
Take advantage of the water. Most lakes are suitable for doing a range of activities in, and sometimes the calmer waters of some of the smaller lakes can be a great place to learn certain water activities before trying these in larger lakes or the open sea waters. If you’re stuck for ideas of ways to use that lovely lake water, here are some suggestions:
- Go swimming, snorkeling, or simply relax on an inner tube
- Rent a boat (or use one provided with the house) and go out on the lake; if you like fishing, do that too
- Kayak or canoe across the lake. In some places you might be able to discover archaeological or geologic spots of interest such as pictograms or rock formations (check the guide book for your area)
- Fish from the shore or from a pier
- Ride a jet ski, go water skiing, wind-sailing, surf-sailing or parasailing, etc.
- Enter a local triathlon if you’re already at peak fitness
- Go for waterfront walks. Some places will have wetlands, nature reserves, guided boardwalks, etc., if there are points of interest
- Or – simply pull up an Adirondack chair and relax in the sun with the view of the water. You might also like the meditate with the lake as your focus.
Benefit from the dock or pier at the lake. Use it as a quiet spot to read a book, or use it as a diving platform or fishing perch. You could also skip rocks from it or view the wildlife. For those who love to paint, draw, or take photographs, the lake view at different times of the day can make for fascinating subject matter over the time spent there.
Preserve the memories of your stay. Make a log book, journal, or scrapbook of each day’s activities, and if you can, take plenty of photos to share once you return. If you return to the lake house regularly, these memories will build over the years and make for lovely reading through the generations.