Five of the Best Lake Communities in the U.S.
From the Carolinas in the east to Arkansas in the south all the way to the western wonder of Northern California, the country is home to some gorgeous lake towns. Within many of those towns are master-planned communities that were strategically built to take full advantage of all that lake living has to offer.
Here, we’ll explore five of the best lake communities in the U.S., each offering a distinct style, unique natural beauty, and an impressive array of amenities to stay active while enjoying pristine lakes and outdoor recreation.
For the past six decades, Hot Springs Village has been one of the most sought-after communities in Arkansas for retirees and families from across the U.S. As the nation's largest gated community, many of the community's year-round recreational activities take place on the water. Spread across 26,000 acres in West Central Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains, the expansive lake community features 11 lakes and two beaches for swimming, boating, and fishing. Other amenities include nine signature golf courses, a 13-court tennis center, a 14-court pickleball facility, 30 miles of hiking trails, a fitness center, and much more. Homebuyers can choose from a wide selection of homes on the golf course, overlooking the mountains—and of course, with beautiful lake views.
Located about one hour northeast of Sacramento in the historic Gold Rush foothills of Nevada County, Lake Wildwood’s natural beauty comes to life through a lush green backdrop that’s complemented by a private shimmering lake. The picturesque 320-acre lake is rated among California’s best bass-fishing lakes, and its deep blue waters are ideal for skiing, sailing, paddle-boarding, and kayaking—or just a leisurely pontoon boat cruise at sunset. This northern California lake community also features an 18-hole championship golf course, tennis and pickleball courts, marina, swimming complex, and fitness center.
This four-season destination in the family-friendly resort town of McCall, Idaho is surrounded by thousands of acres of unspoiled high-country wilderness. Among the community highlights are boating on the glacial waters of Payette Lake and fishing the nearby rivers and alpine lakes, as well as its convenience to alpine skiing and snowboarding, hiking and camping, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting. Residents of this private lake community have direct access to boating, fishing, water skiing, wind surfing, and jet skiing on Payette Lake, with boat and slip rentals available at Shore Lodge Marina. Homeowners enjoy amenities including the new 17,000-square-foot lakefront clubhouse with 350 feet of private lake frontage.
Located in the foothills of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina, the quaint town of Seneca was named one of “America’s Top 100 Places to Live.” It’s home to great Southern food, boutique shops, natural beauty, and one of the country’s top lake communities: Crescent Communities on Lake Keowee. Surrounded by miles of national forests and state parks, with 300 miles of shoreline, Lake Keowee is recognized for its pristine, emerald green waters, gorgeous mountain views and tranquil coves. Along with scenic views of the mountains, waterfalls, and steep cliffs, Lake Jocassee offers outstanding boating and fishing among its 75 miles of shoreline. Both of these community lakes are perfect for all water sports, including sailing and prime bass fishing.
Man-made with some of the world’s most stunning waterfalls, the 720-acre Lake Lure is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Taking full advantage of this pristine body of water is Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure, a gated community encompassing 3,000 acres of lakefront property with resort-style amenities and award-winning golf. With 21 miles of shoreline, community members enjoy boating, kayaking, fishing, and a private white sand beach. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails to explore and experience the beauty of the lake and mountains. Real estate in this top lakefront community offers unique qualities and scenic views of the mountains, golf course, or lake.