Our Favorite Water Skiing Spots in America!
Did you know that water skiing was invented in 1922? Ralph Samuelson was the inventor who was 18 years old at the time and experimenting with different materials and techniques for skiing on water. In addition to inventing the sport he brought some early attention to the sport, though he failed to patent his idea for water skis, and sadly didn't enjoy the commercial success of his invention.
Cypress Gardens in Florida is a place made famous by the new sport, thanks to Dick Pope who did know how to profit from the attraction and when you think of water skiing, images of bikini-clad bathers in Florida may come to mind, but there are bodies of water in all 50 states where you can enjoy water skiing and water sports of all kinds. Find one here to dive into!
Lake Michigan is the best-known lake in Michigan, but while its more than 1,600 miles of coastline has gained it the nickname of the Third Coast, the often choppy water is not ideal for water skiing. Torch Lake and Elk Lake are the hot spot for skiers, both beautiful and protected in spots. The western shoreline of Torch Lake is welcoming and Spencer's Bay on Elk Lake is "the best-kept secret," according the Waterskiing magazine.
In PA, Beltzville State Park in the southern foothills of the Pocono Mountains is a popular destination for water skiing. The fun goes on from sunrise to sunset in the zoned areas along the south shore. Another state park with an assortment of recreational options is Lake Augusta, which is a "seasonal lake that averages six feet in depth" with "unlimited hp motors permitted."
On Lake George in New York water sports are a way of life. Whether you want to water ski, wake board, wake skate or wake surf, if you can do it on a lake, you can find a place to do it on Lake George. Take advantage of the choice of equipment providers, many who offer certified instructors who will get you up to speed on skis and having a good time. All this water sports fun takes place in a vibrant recreational community, surrounded by the Adirondack mountains, and mostly from June through September.
In the early days of water skiing, Winter Haven in Florida was known as the water ski capital of the world because of the water ski shows at Cypress Gardens, which was Florida's first commercial theme park opened in 1936. Water ski records were established and movies filmed featuring water shows and celebrities like Esther Williams. Cypress Gardens became part of Legoland in 2011, but Winter Haven remains a mecca for water ski fans for the easy access to the chain of lakes like Lake Roy, which is nearby to Lake Eloise, where many a water ski event has been held and champion heralded.
Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri is really a reservoir created by damming the Osage River in 1929, harnessing the power for electricity, but also resulting in miles of relatively tame water perfect for fishing, duck hunting and cozy cabin retreats. The 50s and 60s brought resorts and power boats and the Ozark Water Ski Thrill Show wowed visitors from the 50s to the 70s with increasingly innovative ways to ski on water. The area still draws visitors who love life at the lake and offers numerous marinas and boat rental facilities along with everything else you would expect from a major vacation destination.
Languorous Lake Tahoe joins California and Nevada in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of the United States. It is a large, freshwater lake with year-round recreation, including biking, boating and bar hopping. Water ski in the summer and ice skate in the winter on the largest alpine lake in North America formed millions of years ago and known for its clarity and panoramic beauty. Lake Tahoe has a number of water ski schools and places where you can book a lesson or rent everything you will need for a day on the lake.
Clear Lake in California is a place associated with water skiing in the early 1950s when the sport was just finding its footing in the world of sports. A water ski pioneer named Bob Maher honed his skills slalom skiing the 100 miles of shoreline with narrow outlets to tuck into. In the north the water is a bit more bumpy, attracting ski racers, but everyone comes because it's "insulated and isolated" and because the numerous public boat ramps are free.
Lake Norman in North Carolina is known as a water sports paradise with canoes, paddles boats, sail boats and power boats all coexisting on a lake that sees year-round action thanks to the warm climate. Whether you are looking to join a sailing regatta or motor down the 34 miles that make up the largest man made body of water in North Carolina, Lake Norman has something for everyone. The nine mile wide lake is sometimes call The Inland Sea and is fed by the Catawba River and drains into Mountain Island Lake.
Lake Chelan in Washington state is the largest natural lake in the state that spans more than 50 miles with shorelines dotted with vineyards and villages worth exploring. It brings with it an advantage of easy access to other smaller lakes as well as the Columbia River, so you can find a waterway with the conditions perfect for your favorite water sports. You will find a few public boat launches as well as outfitters ready to rent you boats, water skis, tubes, boards, kayaks and all the gear you need.
Lake Havasu City was a planned community with a unique feature that attracts thousands of visitors each year. That feature is the London Bridge that was purchased from the City of London in 1969 when they replaced their bridge. It was then dismantled, shipped across the pond and rebuilt in Havasu! In addition to the bridge, Lake Havasu attracts spring break revelers as well as water sports lovers of all stripes who come to compete in or watch competitions like the Jet Ski finals, fishing and boating tournaments and the annual Hot Air Balloon Fest & Fair. Of course, water skiing is a big draw due to the glassy waters and the fact "there are no size restrictions or speed limits on the lake."