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Lovely Lakes

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These farflung lakes—from Croatia to Argentina, Switzerland to California—are the ultimate in summer refreshment. Step into these shimmering waters: Here's one situation where you can take the idea of traveling deeper quite literally.
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Croatia
Croatia’s oldest and biggest national park, Plitvice is a four-season playground known for its pristine forests, stunning waterfalls, and dozens of turquoise lakes. To see it all, trek along the wooden pathways that twist through...
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Av. Ezequiel Bustillo Km. 25, R8401 San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina
Called Argentine Switzerland for its wooden chalets and alpine setting, this area is home to some of South America’s best spas. The Latin America travel specialists at Blue Parallel arrange yoga classes with views of lakes and the Andes. Guests...
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Rivaz, Switzerland
Lavaux in Vaud, Switzerland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to 830 hectares of vineyards just 20 minutes by train from Lausanne. Slanted dramatically, these fields stretch about 30 km along the banks of Lake Geneva producing mostly Chasselas...
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Diablo Lake, Washington 98283, USA
In the summer, take at least a couple of days to drive the North Cascades Loop — four hundred miles of alpine splendor just to the northeast of Seattle, just south of the Canadian border. At Diablo Lake, pull off the highway and check out the...
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Oregon, USA
If you have never had the opportunity to see Crater Lake in person, nothing can quite prepare you for the intense azul waters reflecting the sky. The deepest lake in the US, it is made up completely of collected water from melted snow and rain...
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Lake Maninjau, Tanjung Raya, Agam Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia
This is what I think of when travel comes to mind. I think untrammeled territory, wide open country, bits and pieces of the world I've never seen before, people doing things I didn't know they still do or ever did, and a big, booming landscape....
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San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chis., Mexico
On the border of the state of Chiapas (Mexico) and Guatemala, there is a national park, Lagunas de Montebello. It contains numerous lakes and cenotes, mostly spring fed from waters deep in the mineral depths of the earth. Each body of water is...
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Jökulsárlón, Iceland
This lake filled with giant, translucent chunks of iceberg is one of Iceland’s most distinctive and photogenic sights. Featured in high-profile movies, including two of the James Bond series and Batman Begins (as well as many local TV...
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SH 47, National Park 3989, New Zealand
These days New Zealand’s landscape may be best known from scenes in The Lord of the Rings, but set aside your preconceptions of Mt. Doom: Mt. Ngaurahoe (Doom’s butt double in the films) and the craters surrounding it are gorgeous. The Tongariro...
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Garibaldi Lake, Squamish-Lillooet D, BC V0N, Canada
With aqua blue lakes, it is hard not to be tempted to hike into Garibaldi Lake Campground and explore the area of Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk. With phenomenal views, it is worth the work of getting there. Even though a day hike to Panorama Ridge...
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Lake Bled, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Bled (and the lake by the same moniker) is the most Fairytale-esque town I've ever experienced. The people are almost jarringly friendly by American standards, the island church is as beautiful as it is quaint, and the castle perched on the cliffs...
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Sierra Buttes, California 96125, USA
One of the most spectacular views in the central high Sierra (about one hour's drive north of Truckee, CA) is surprisingly accessible. This wasn't always the case. The first time I saw these lakes--near to far, Young America, Upper Sardine, Lower...
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Phewa Lake, Pokhara 33700, Nepal
We weren't quite lucky to see the snowcapped covered mountains in the lovely lakeside village of Pokhara since we visited during monsoon season. But it was a perfect way to start our introduction to the area and cross over to the trail leading up...
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Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua
Guests at Jicaro Island Ecolodge, a nine-casita resort in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, can kayak around the lake's 365 islets which formed when the Mombacho volcano erupted thousands of years ago. Early morning is the best time for spotting birds...
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Sun Moon Lake, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555
In 2012 CNN News named Sun Moon Lake on the world’s “10 Breathing Cycling Rides.” The lake is Taiwan’s largest alpine lake, and visitors have the opportunity to cycle around the 29-kilometer perimeter of the shimmering turquoise waters. You can...