Crab Orchard Lake, Illinois. In the most aesthetic section of Illinois – known as “Little Egypt” – Crab Orchard is in the hills of the Shawnee National Forest. Call the Visitors Bureau at 618-529-4451.
Kinzua Dam, Pennsylvania. On the north side of the Allegheny National Forest, the Allegheny River leads like the Yellowbrick Road to Kinzua, arguably the best skiing on the entire system. Call the Warren Chamber of Commerce (814-723-3050).
Gun Lake, Michigan. It's rural, half an hour south of Grand Rapids and enveloped inside the Yankee Springs State Recreation Area. If boaters are out of hibernation, there are at least 20 other lakes within 15 minutes of Gun Lake. Call the Gun Lake Water Ski Association at 616-795-1828.
Lauderdale Lakes, Wisconsin. There's nothing like being on the southern Wisconsin water when the buds sprout and the mercury touches 70 for the first time. This chain of three lakes is just over the trees from Lake Geneva. For information about launches and accommodations call the Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce at 414-723-5788.
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