Summer is in high gear, so maybe it’s time to take the watersports show on the road. We have 20 potential destinations for families and their boat.
Torch Lake, Michigan
The crystal-clear turquoise waters of this sandy-bottom lake will make vacationers think they are in the Bahamas. At 18 miles long, glacially formed Torch Lake is Michigan’s second longest inland lake and is part of the Lower Chain, which includes Intermediate Lake, Lake Bellaire, Clam Lake, Lake Skegemog and Elk Lake. Torch Lake offers plenty of resorts and lodges on it or nearby, for families who want to tow the boat along for a watersports vacation.
For quiet outdoor beauty and watersports fun, head to the northern Wisconsin resort town of Minocqua and its surrounding area, known as “Nature’s Original Water Park.” Lake Minocqua is a smallish lake that covers 1,360 acres (2.13 square miles) and is a part of the Lakes Region of northern Wisconsin. Lake Minocqua is connected by canal to a group of lakes that includes Tomahawk Lake, and the area includes many lakes and rivers, such as Eagle River, for endless water for all watersports. Make sure to catch the Min-Aqua Bats waterski show, performed three times a week from mid-June through the end of August. Lodges and motels are abundant in the area.
Lake Delton, Wisconsin
Located next to family tourist destination the Wisconsin Dells, Lake Delton is centrally situated between Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. It’s a smallish lake that covers 267 acres, but there is plenty to do in this family resort town once the on-water session is done, including tons of attractions. A must-see for any watersports family is the Tommy Bartlett Show, which features a waterski show on Lake Delton three times a day from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The 8:30 p.m. show under the lights is spectacular. There are ample motels, lodges and restaurants on Lake Delton or in the Wisconsin Dells.
Oasis in Iowa
Lake Okoboji, Iowa
An oasis in northwestern Iowa, this natural, glacial body of water features six beautiful blue lakes that cover 15,000 acres. The three main lakes of Okoboji include Big Spirit, West Okoboji Lake and East Okoboji Lake. All the lakes include plenty of fingers and coves for calmer conditions. Several locations, including Parks Marina, offer lessons in watersports, and there are boat rentals on Lake Okoboji, for folks who don’t want to tow their boat.
Brainerd Lake Area, Minnesota
Minnesota, which boasts “Land of 10,000 Lakes” on its license plates, is a hotspot state for watersports thanks to its multitude of ideal, calm waterways. Waterskiing was invented by Ralph Samuelson on Lake Pepin in Lake City in 1922. However, the Brainerd Lake Area in northwest Minnesota is especially notable for watersports, as it has more than 500 lakes and includes the 14 interconnected lakes of the White Fish Chain, which offers plenty of open waters and coves and many resorts and lodges on the water. C&C Boat Works, located in Crosslake near Brainerd, offers lessons in wakeboarding and wakesurfing, and the Brainerd Ski Loons, a local waterski club, perform a few waterski shows throughout the summer for the public.