Enjoy these family nature destinations

The simple pleasures of family life can be found at lakeside retreats. Here are five good places:

1. 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.

Contact: 1-888-896-3829; pagelakepowelltourism.com; antelopepointlakepowell.com.

2. 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.

Contact: 406-837-4391; flatheadlakelodge.com; visitmontana.com.

3. Lake of the Ozarks. Osage Beach, Mo. Visit Lake of the Ozarks, one of the state's 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 boating. Stay in one of the park's Outpost Log cabins, a spacious yurt or your own tent.

Contact: 573-348-1233; lakeof theozarksstateparkmarina.com.

4. 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. Kids ages 4 to 12 can enjoy the kids adventure club, where they'll learn skills such as fire-building, stargazing and canoeing.

Contact: 417-335-2777; big-cedar.com.

5. 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.

Contact: 1-800-528-7337;brokenbowchamber.com/visitors_tourism.html.

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