5 Great Summer Getaways
Fill up on fun by the water.
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Times are tough, and the weather’s warm. Sounds like reason enough to hop in the car and head for the water. Challenge a river’s raging current, bob on a lake, cruise a canal or come face-to-face with thundering falls. Whether your preference is wild or mild, there’s plenty of bang for your buck at these five drivable destinations—and not a beach tag in sight.
Lake Naomi Club, Pennsylvania
Nicknamed “The Other Hamptons,” this Pocono Mountains resort community is private. But homes are available for rent, along with the opportunity to purchase a temporary membership ($165/family for the weekend, $240 for a week). A membership includes access to all amenities, including dining, golf, tennis, pools and other recreational facilities. A 25,000-acre state forest is adjacent to the property.
Stay here: Rent a cabin or luxury home that accommodates up to 14 people at Lake Naomi Club from Lake Naomi Real Estate (800-537-1479, lakenaomi.com, lakenaomiclub.com; $450 and up weekends, $900-$4,000/week). The club is built around three private lakes, including the 277-acre Lake Naomi, one of the largest in the Pennsylvania mountains, and has five sandy beaches for sunning and swimming. Three Olympic swimming pools—one indoors and two outdoors—provide more water fun. Catch (and release) bass, trout, pickerel, panfish and walleye from the property’s stocked fishing pond.
Eat here: Try to score a seat by the window overlooking Lake Naomi in the pretty dining room of the Waterfront Clubhouse at Lake Naomi (lunch $9-$16, dinner $16-$25). Lunch specialties in the Grill Room include tuna wakame and a crab sandwich. For dinner, try the duck confit and juniper-infused ravioli, Jail Island salmon, or fettuccini Gorgonzola with grilled chicken. There’s live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings.
To-do list: Play the challenging greens of the Timber Trails Golf Course ($20 weekdays, $30 weekends for 18 holes), or try the 18 soft-surface tennis courts ($5/person doubles, $10/person singles for 90 minutes). Take a guided kayak tour with a nature specialist on Lake Naomi, or rent a canoe, kayak or rowboat ($20 for two hours) for a solo excursion.
Steal some grown-up time and let the young ones play at the Kids Klub (ages 4-13) or Kub Klub (potty-trained 3-year-olds), both of which offer age-appropriate activities for $95/week.
Niagara Falls, New York
Carved out of the earth 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls, the world’s second largest, has long been considered one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights, its three falls plunging from heights of up to 20 stories. Hardly the tacky, one-off cliché it’s been labeled by some travel snobs, this majestic wonder holds a powerful and legitimate attraction for couples and families.
Beyond Niagara Falls State Park (716-278-1796, niagarafallsstatepark.com) and its miles of gorge-side trails, you’ll find charming small towns, interactive historic sites, and a full-scale casino. Be sure to bring your passport if you want to hop the border to the Canadian side. It’s well worth it.
Stay here: You won’t find any heart-shaped bathtubs, but you will find a totally romantic atmosphere at the Barton Hill Hotel & Spa (100 Center St., Lewiston; 800-754-9070, bartonhillhotel.com). Elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites run $200-$360 a night at this upscale boutique hotel—some with whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and river views. And the service is extraordinary.
Other destinations featured in this article ...
• Winvian in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
• Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
• St. Mary’s County, Maryland