4. Lake of the Ozarks: Sunrise Beach, Mo.
Though its attractions now include go-cart tracks, outlet shopping malls, mini-golf courses and water parks, Lake of the Ozarks also boasts more than 1,375 miles of shoreline backed by forested hills.
See also: Great lake vacations on the Great Lakes
If you're looking to stay in one of the lake's more scenic and tranquil areas, book a lodge in Sunrise Beach. Established in 1931, the same year the construction of Bagnell Dam formed the lake, the village (pop. 431) still feels rural. Locals will tell you — and who can argue? — that it's the prettiest town on the lake.
5. Shagawa Lake: Ely, Minn.
Remote Ely, in northern Minnesota, draws walleye fishermen and those looking to simply laze at a lodge on Shagawa Lake.
Feeling more energetic? Visit the impressive, live denizens of the International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center. Or rent a canoe or kayak for a day-trip paddle through nearby Burntside Lake and into the sublime, motorboat-free Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Christopher Hall is a freelance journalist specializing in travel, food and architecture.