Let nature be your vacation guide

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes / The Dallas Morning News /


Published Apr 21, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

The simple pleasures of family life can be found at lakeside retreats. Here are five places to enjoy gentle breezes and a book on the porch:

• Lake Powell. Page, Ariz. Spectacular red-hued rock formations rise from the water’s edge. Sunny days fade into star-filled nights on this vast blue lake created when the Glen Canyon Dam stopped the waters of the mighty Colorado River. A houseboat holiday on Lake Powell promises adventure, unparalleled beauty and a host of opportunities for hiking, rock climbing and exploring. With more than 2,000 miles of shoreline and scores of inlets and cozy coves, family members of all ages will depart with memories to last a lifetime.

• Flathead Lake Lodge. Big Fork, Mont. Combine a dude ranch experience with the joys of a lake holiday on this 2,000-acre family-operated getaway near Glacier National Park. Kids will love trail rides, joining the junior wrangler program, swimming, water-skiing and sailing on the lake, arts and crafts, and spending the night in a tepee. Parents should be prepared to join their kids for the family rodeo events.

• Lake of the Ozarks. Osage Beach, Mo. Visit Lake of the Ozarks, one of the state’s largest and most scenic lakes, and enjoy hiking, horseback riding and biking through oak and hickory forests. Climb to the bluffs for views of the lake, where water enthusiasts enjoy beaches, fishing and boat-based water sports. Stay in one of the park’s rustic Outpost Log cabins, a spacious yurt or your own tent.

• Big Cedar Lodge, 10 miles south of Branson, Mo., on Table Rock Lake. Families will find a picturesque lodge tucked into the Ozark Mountains’ wooded hillsides. Stay in charming lodge rooms or quaint cabins and cottages spread throughout this 800-acre retreat. From water-skiing and kayaking to horseback riding and bass fishing, there is plenty to entertain each member of the family. Kids ages 4 to 12 can join the fun at the kids adventure club, where they’ll learn skills such as fire-building, stargazing and canoeing.

• Broken Bow Lake. Broken Bow, Okla. Located in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains and with 180 miles of shoreline, the whole gang will love canoeing, boating and fishing on this scenic lake. With rich green forests as your backdrop, spend a day mountain biking or bird-watching, then take time to visit the nearby kid-friendly Beavers Bend Wildlife Museum.