Owning a lakeside home means unlimited access to nature and endless recreational possibilities—in, on, and near the water: sailing and powerboating (with little risk of being lost at sea), waterskiing, freshwater fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, and the simple pleasure of lounging on your private dock and basking in the sun. When northern winter comes, lace on your skates, go ice-fishing, perhaps, or relax by the fire—aprés-ski style. Or merely contemplate the serene vistas around you. All of the homes in this Luxury Defined collection offer spectacular views of their lakes, with exquisite creature comforts for resident and guest alike.

Shorefront Cottage on Lake Joseph in Ontario, Canada

Lake Joseph in the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario is the scenic location for this shorefront cottage with a two-slip boathouse.

This custom-built timber-frame cottage is on the shores of Lake Joseph in Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. The 5,000-square-foot residence has an open-concept design with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout to take in the views across the water. Many of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and outdoor access. The master suite has a private lakeside deck as does the unique “Muskoka room,” a screened-in entertaining space with a fireplace. Outside, granite pathways wind through the wooded grounds to a two-slip boathouse with accommodations and a waterside deck.

The Muskoka Lakes offer everything for water lovers, from boating and waterskiing to swimming in quiet coves. It’s a land of 80 lakes; the largest are Muskoka, Rosseau, and Joseph. There are plenty of natural wonders too, including the geological and biologically diverse Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve. “The Muskoka Lakes area is often referred to as the Hamptons of Toronto and is just two hours from the city. It really is a magical place,” say Joe Quinn and Michele Curry of Chestnut Park Real Estate in Toronto.

Southern Manor in Denver, North Carolina

This gracious Southern manor is characterized by panoramic views of Lake Norman, a lake so large that it is often referred to as an inland sea.

This stately brick manor house in Denver, North Carolina, is ideally positioned on the 520 miles of shoreline along North Carolina’s Lake Norman, with main-channel views for miles. Designed for year-round entertaining, all four levels of the residence have lake-view verandas. The light-filled living spaces are appointed with hardwood floors, high ceilings, and seven distinctive fireplaces. An elevator serves all floors, from the lake-level entertainment area to the roof terrace. The amenities include a media room, bar, gym, “pet shower,” indoor and outdoor pools, and a newly built dock with two slips and lifts.

Residents will “enjoy fantastic island-inspired living on desirable Lake Norman,” states Susan Dolan of Ivester Jackson Distinctive Properties in North Carolina. “This estate is characterized by its panoramic views and is located a convenient 30 minutes from Charlotte.

Contemporary Aerie Above Lake Maggiore in Minusio, Ticino, Switzerland

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The splendor of Lake Maggiore is on show throughout this chic contemporary villa near the historic Swiss town of Locarno.

This contemporary villa in the hills of Minusio, near Locarno, immerses the visitor in the breathtaking panorama of Lake Maggiore, with walls of glass facing directly onto the lake and the home’s exquisite gardens. Alfresco relaxation, entertaining, and dining takes place on lake-facing terraces with a heated outdoor pool. The main residence has three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Guests can also stay in the romantic cottage on the grounds. Other conveniences include a garage and three parking places.

“The beautiful town of Locarno is surrounded by the Alps on one side, and Lake Maggiore on the other,” notes Kevin Quast of Wetag Consulting in Ticino, Switzerland. First settled in 800 B.C., it is renowned for its Roman, medieval, Renaissance, and Belle Époque architecture, including the magnificent 12th-century Castello Visconteo.

Conrad Point on Flathead Lake in Lakeside, Montana

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Conrad Point is an exclusive wooded retreat with a private 200-foot pebble beach on Montana’s Flathead Lake.

This wooded retreat, on more than an acre in exclusive Conrad Point, has a 200-foot pebble beach on Flathead Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States. “The home is just as exquisite as its location,” says David Fetveit of PureWest Real Estate in Lakeside, Montana. Executed in wood, stone, and soaring walls of glass, the main house includes a deck which takes in the views of Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort and the peaks of Glacier National Park. Other highlights include a recreation floor with a 1,500-bottle wine cellar, theater, game room, gym and sauna; a two-bedroom guest house; and a dock with multiple covered boat lifts.

“The main water source of Flathead Lake comes directly from Glacier National Park some 30 miles to the north, which is why the water is so pristine and so blue,” Fetveit adds. “There are no large resorts in the area, the land is either privately owned or protected. You can boat all day and might only see one or two others.”

Lake Vichuquen Estate in Talca, Chile

This picturesque property on 7.5 acres of idyllic gardens has 500 feet of private lakefront on Lake Vichuquen in Chile’s Colchagua wine valley.

This waterfront haven overlooks Lake Vichuquen in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. The idyllic 7.5-acre estate has nearly 500 feet of private shorefront on “Love Harbor,” the deepest part of Lake Vichuquen. There are two residences, a traditional lodge-style main house and a guest house, offering a total of 4,305 square feet of living space with seven bedrooms and six full bathrooms. The alfresco living spaces include a lakeside deck with hot tub. Surrounding the dwellings are lovely gardens with native plants and flowers, woodland, and lawns, which lead to the water’s edge. With no neighboring properties, the estate offers ultimate privacy. Nearby are the vineyards of the Maule Valley and Laguna Torca National Reserve.

About 160 miles south of Santiago, Lake Vichuquen is a serene 15-square-mile lake in the Colchagua Valley. The lake is bounded by pine forests, making it a popular for hiking and mountain biking as well as boating and water sports. This picturesque region of Chile is renowned for its nature reserves and vineyards.

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