The best lake vacations in the South

Cool off and unwind at one of these top destinations.


Summers in the South mean endless iced tea, crickets and cicadas calling, and evening thunderstorms to lull you to sleep. With high temps and blissfully long days, what better way to cool off than a revitalizing dip in a lake? Vacasa offers lake house rentals across the South with great amenities from private docks to hot tubs. They’re the perfect place for you and your loved ones to splash, fish, kayak, and boat the summer away.

Ready to jump in? Here are some of the best lakes in the South for getting away and getting together.

dock on Lake Murray in South Carolina

Lake Murray, SC

It’s no wonder that Lake Murray made the list of best lake vacations in the South—it is the “jewel of South Carolina,” after all. Known as a getaway for city-dwellers in the state’s capital, Columbia, it’s also an excellent choice for anglers. Lake Murray is home to high populations of bass, perch, and more, so be sure to bring your poles with you. A number of local companies are ready to assist you with a boat rental (or you can bring your own) so that you can find your perfect catch of the day.

Lake Murray vacation rentals and cabins

waterfront vacation rental on Norris Lake with boat dock and firepit

Norris Lake, TN

When it comes to beautiful lakes, this gem is certainly worth mentioning. Not only is it one of the cleanest lakes in Tennessee, but its brilliant blue-green waters are surrounded by forests and mountain views. In fact, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the most-visited park in the U.S.) is a day-trip away. Or you can enjoy a hearty helping of Southern Appalachian heritage in the nearby cities of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Norris Lake vacation rentals and cabins

beautiful canyon lake, texas with clear waters

Canyon Lake, TX

Let’s face it: with a state as big as Texas, it’s bound to have a lake make the list more than once. Our first stop in the Lone Star State is uniquely history-rich Canyon Lake. And just what makes this area so special? The amazing Canyon Lake Gorge, where a guided tour will take you past dinosaur tracks, fossils, lagoons, and waterfalls. After a day of adventuring, reward yourself with a glass or two from Texas Hill Country’s amazing wine scene.

Canyon Lake vacation rentals and cabins

Two white adirondack chairs look out over Lake Anna in Virginia on a sunny day

Lake Anna, VA

Family-friendly Lake Anna offers the perfect balance of activity and tranquility. You could spend an entire getaway enjoying the peaceful hikes in nearby state parks, kayaking on the gentle waters, and the comfort of your cabin rental. On the opposite end, you’ll find a boardwalk with mini-golf and an arcade, plus nearby wineries and golf courses for the adults in your group.

Vacation rentals in Lake Anna

one cloud in blue ski over lake travis

Lake Travis, TX

Texas-sized luxury homes and stunning scenery await you at Lake Travis. Located just 20 miles from Austin, this 60-mile-long lake is a haven for boating, jet skiing, water skiing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Treat yourself to a stay in this high-end destination, and discover for yourself why we think it’s one of the best lake vacations in the South.

Lake Travis vacation rentals

the waters of Lake LBJ glisten in the sunlight

Lake LBJ, TX

Last, but certainly not least, we have Lake Lyndon B. Johnson—known by locals and vacationers alike as Lake LBJ. The most popular of Texas’s six Highland Lakes, this happening spot is the perfect place to spend a long, sunny day with friends before heading into town for some Texas barbecue, and maybe even some live country music.

Lake LBJ vacation rentals and cabins

You might also like...