Whenever I hear people talk about going to the lake in Hot Springs, they're usually talking about Lake Hamilton. But, for real relaxation and beauty, Hamilton's big sister lake is the place to go.

Scott Mills/TownSquare Media Lake Ouachita is the largest man-made lake in Arkansas. She stretches out over 27 miles from just east of Mount Ida to Mountain Pine. Between her shorelines there are over 200 islands and countless inlets and coves to explore. Unlike her more popular little sister, Lake Hamilton, Lake Ouachita's shorelines aren't congested with condo's or modern developments. Hers are lined with beautiful trees and rock formations.  Man made structures are few and far between out on this lake and even on the busiest of summer weekends you're sure to find a place to hide out and relax. As for places to stay and things to do on the lake, there are many options. Ouachita State Park is just north of Mountain Pine on the eastern edge of the lake and there are nine privately owned resorts that offer lodging. Most of the resorts have marina's with boat rentals. We chose to stay at Brady Mountain Resort on the south side of the lake.  They have cabins and mobile homes for rent, some with lake views and some hidden in the woods away from prying eyes.  They also have a full service marina where you can rent ski boats, party barges, jet ski's or house boats.

We rented a mobile home for the week with a view of the water. The price was reasonable and the trailer was very clean and had everything we needed. It was located in a small mobile home park filled with great people who gave up their large homes in the city to live in small trailers along the lake for the peace and tranquility the lake life offers.

The view from our front porch. Scott Mills/TownSquare Media

On the first and last day of our stay at Brady Mountain we rented a party barge from the marina and played out on the lake. Other than Magic Springs, this was the highlight of our kids trip. They explored shorelines, skipped rocks and jumped off the side of the barge over and over and over again into the crystal clear waters of the lake.

On days we weren't playing on the lake, we took the 15 minute drive into Hot Springs to enjoy some of the attractions the city has to offer. We toured Mid-America Museum, rode go-carts and played put-put golf at Funtrackers, took in the view from the mountain tower and spent a day at Magic Springs.

You truly get the best of both worlds staying at Lake Ouachita. The lake offers peace and relaxation while just 15 minutes away, Hot Springs has an abundance of things to do. That part of Arkansas is truly an area the entire state can be proud of.

On the last day of our trip, we invited some of our friends to come spend the day with us. As we sat around on the deck Saturday night, we laid plans for a group trip to this beautiful lake. Next time, we're thinking house boat.

Where did you go on summer vacation? Post your vacation stories in the comments section!