Contrary to popular belief, not all Californian’s live within 10 minutes of the beach and say “Dude.” For those of us residing further inland, much of summer’s splendor is found in the welcoming waters of Northern California reservoirs. In the midst of temperatures climbing into the triple digits, lake recreation offers an opportunity to cool off and take the boats and jet skis for a spin.
Both locals and visitors alike have favorite spots to back up their trailers and launch the dinghy.
Granite Bay, CA
Operated by the State of California, Folsom Lake offers an ideal spot for jet skiing and boating centrally located just 25 miles East of Sacramento. This large lake has six entrances and plenty of space for launching. Don’t be fooled, though: Summer days see this place get packed in a hurry. Arrive early in the morning and get on the lake and beat the afternoon heat. Check out the Granite Bay entrance for plenty of parking and multiple launch ramps. Also note that Folsom is a dry lake: no booze. Period. Making this an ideal spot to take the family and avoid the drunken fools.
Shasta Lake, CA
Located directly on Interstate 5, just north of Redding, CA Shasta Lake is finally full after a winter of steady rains. With 9 marinas located around the lake, there is plenty of opportunity to rent a houseboat or other watercraft if you don’t feel like hauling your own. The shape of the lake provides lots of fingers and open space to explore.
Tahoe Basin – California/Nevada
For those seeking respite in the cool waters of the Sierras, Lake Tahoe is an outdoorsman’s dream. Striking clear, blue waters butt up to breathtaking mountain views in a climate that typically never goes far above the 80’s. A few notes about Lake Tahoe: 2-stroke motors are not allowed, so older jet skis and some boats are a no-no. Also, due to problems with risk of Quagga and Zebra mussel infestion, boaters are required to have their watercraft inspected prior to launch. Inspection stations are located at each launch and will cost between $10 to $80 depending on the size of your vessel.
Lake Don Pedro
La Grange, CA
With over 160 miles of shoreline and 13,000 acre feet of surface area to explore, Lake Don Pedro offers plenty of space for recreationalists to space out and chill. Located in La Grange, CA, smack dab between Modesto and Yosemite National Park, Don Pedro is a popular choice for cooling off during scorching Central Valley summers. With plenty of shoreline camping, a ski slalom course and beautiful foothill vegetation lining the shores, Don Pedro is a little piece of heaven nestled outside of the heart of California ag land.