Summer Escapes! The Great(est) Lakes

Testing the waters across New England, we uncover nine beauties worth their salt—or lack thereof.
Vermont's Lake Willoughby, framed by the twin peaks of Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor. (Photograph by Bob O'Connor)

Vermont’s Lake Willoughby, framed by the twin peaks of Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor. (Photograph by Bob O’Connor)

The coast is fine, if you’re into jellyfish, lugging around your own shade, and paying peak-season superpremiums for overnights. But we’re thinking that this is the summer to bag the ocean in favor of New England’s other liquid attractions—namely, its lakes. Well, certain ones of them, anyway: For every shimmering pool, there’s a dozen mucky swamps with pesky phosphorous “issues.” (You’ll want the former.) So to very literally test the waters, we dispatched our reporters to search out the best inland destinations within driving distance of Boston. They came back with these nine freshwater gems, and, for each, an itinerary for the perfect stay. Lake neophytes, rest assured: You’ll never miss the salt.

CONNECTICUT

Lake Waramaug: The Classic

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Squam Lake: The Anti-Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee: The All-in-One

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

MAINE

Rangeley Lake: The Wild One

Damariscotta Lake: Maine Without the Pain

Photograph by Bob O'Connor

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

MASSACHUSETTS

Long Pond: The Best of Both

Photograph by Bob O'Connor

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

VERMONT

Lake Willoughby: The Looker

Lake Champlain: The Big One

Silver Lake: Mayberry Redux

Photograph by Bob O'Connor

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

Plus: The Case for the Lakes