The gorgeous lakes in California are among the numerous breathtaking outdoor areas throughout the state that dazzle with picturesque natural features. Big Bear Lake, one of the most outstanding lakes in California, is a sanctuary that one can visit during the weekend as it is only two hours from Los Angeles, making it a short drive from LAX.
Relaxing beside a cold, clean lake is one of the best ways to escape California’s long, dry summers. However, to avoid becoming too accustomed to Big Bear, you may opt for other lovely lakes that will offer you almost the same experience as Big Bear Lake. Summer in Big Bear allows for swimming and hiking, while skiing and snow tubing during the winter. Here are the 20 distinctive places similar to Big Bear.
20. Grand Marais, Minnesota
Lakes have an inviting ambiance, and Grand Marais is no different as it is the perfect idea for your summer fun with lakes such as Poplar and Superior. There are a series of exciting activities that one can partake in and have an adventure. You can opt to hike, camp along the lake area, climb rocks, fish, or canoe, which are all great outdoor activities. If you are not in the spirit of outdoor activities, you can settle for a tour around the town to enjoy the vibrant art and restaurants. There is a lighthouse in this quaint town at Artists’ Point where one can pose to take home amazing photos.
19. Lake Powell, Utah
This lake has a lot to offer you, as one can go kayaking, swimming, or boating in the waters and enjoy the fresh cold water that hits their bodies. It is exciting to get the opportunity to enjoy the provided breathtaking cliff scenery that is relaxing. According to LA Times, Lake Powell is an excellent starting place for viewing the local sights such as Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Alternately, if you are looking for some relaxation and quiet, the lake is the perfect place to be as you get the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds coming from the waters. A trip to this lake gives you a chance to have a peaceful time away from your busy and stressful life.
18. Huntington Lake, California
Unfortunately, Huntington is a victim of a Creek fire in 2020 that scorched about 380,000 acres leaving behind tree trunks that are blackened on each side of California 168. When you decide to visit this lake, it is forty minutes further up California 168, over miles of burned tree trunks. Half the lake was heavily affected, but this did not wholly affect the lake’s appeal as the lake’s eastern side is spectacular. This lake is well known due to its chilly winds and sailing competitions during summer at 7000 feet.
17. Rangeley Lake, Maine
Are you seeking a relaxing vacation spot this summer? Then try out Rangeley Lake, which is in Maine, where the town is home to 1170 people, which means the chances of the lake being the lake congested are minimal. There are a series of activities to participate in when in Rangeley Lake, like camping nearby, kayaking, paddling a boat, or hiking in the state park of this lake. For some relaxation, you can enjoy Saddleback Mountain’s scenic views as you prepare for a tour around the antique stores, restaurants, and historic lodges.
16. Lake Elsinore, California
As the number four largest lake in California, Lake Elsinore, a freshwater lake, covers a surface of 3000 acres. The lake is renowned for its superb white-water kayaking, water skiing, Scuba diving, and windsurfing. This is the ideal vacation site for nature enthusiasts due to the clean waters, which make it simple for you to see the aquatic life in the lake. Additionally, numerous picnic spots around the lake allow guests to eat outside while enjoying the scenery. Nonstop fun awaits your arrival at this magnificent natural lake, so take the chance and take a trip.
15. Flathead Lake, Montana
During the summer, most places perk up, and Montana is no exception. This is the ideal place for outdoor activities aficionados as you can partake in activities like boating, hiking, and fly fishing. If you enjoy fishing, the lake is the place to be, and afterward, you can enjoy the mouth-watering grilled lake trout from the nearby restaurants. A concert series, the Riverbend, is always available for interested parties on Sundays, and from May to September, the Bigfork Summer Playhouse hosts live theatrical and musical productions.
14. Lake Arrowhead, California
Commonly referred to as the “Alps of Southern California,” Lake Arrowhead is a water-based vacation spot in the San Bernardino Mountains. According to Reddit, this lake is similar to Big Bear and Silverwood Lake, which feature breathtaking woodland backdrop. If you plan to launch a personal watercraft onto the lake, you must become a member of the Arrowhead Lake Association. Enrolling as a member gives you access to several put-in sites you will need. There is also the alternative o taking a tour onboard the lake Arrowhead Queen Tour boat that allows you to go into the deep waters. The lakefront retail and community area offer a variety of places to shop and eat.
13. Lake Keowee, South Carolina
South Carolina has quite great lakes, and Lake Keowee is one of these lakes. At around 29 square miles, Lake Keowee is a sizable artificial reservoir situated at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Only 25% of its 350 miles of shoreline have been developed, creating a pristine and remote environment. Several cottages along the shore are open all night and rent out floating rafts, jet skis, and boats. With the isolated environment, there is a high chance you will get to revel in some peace.
12. Donner Lake, California
Are you looking for a family-friendly lake for your summer vacation? You are lucky as Donner Lake is an excellent choice as it possesses multiple boats for recreation, among other things. The Sierra Nevada Mountains’ beauty of Donner Lake is located in the alpine hamlet of Truckee. As of the most popular watercraft used on the lake, jet skis, kayaks and sailboats are among the few, and this is because of the 35 mph speed limit on the lake. Several resorts and resort facilities surround the west and north beaches of the lake. A vast network of hiking trails and camping are available in Donner Memorial State Park, which is to the west. Visit the state park as this is the location of various possibilities to discover more about earlier settlers, including the tragic Donner Party, who traveled across these mountains in search of a better life in California.
11. Shaver Lake, California
Shaver Lake is an artificial reservoir. The Pacific Light and Power Corporation, known as Shaver Lake, was constructed in 1927 by the Pacific Light and Power Corporation, now known as Southern California Edison. According to Family Vacation Critic, this is part of the Big Creek Hydroelectric project, consisting of a network of power plants, steel penstocks, tunnels and steel of lakes. Shaver Lake’s leisure area is managed and owned by Southern California Edison (SCE), offering chances for people to go boating, fishing, sightseeing, and camping. The area surrounding the lake does not consist of any big resorts but rather private cabins and campgrounds.
10. Lake George, New York
There are almost 400 campsites on 44 private islands in Lake George owned by the state. Some of these campsites are available for as little as $28 per night, allowing you to enjoy the lake with your friends and family. Boat rentals, excursions to waterfalls, lake cruises, and parasailing are available outside of the main attractions within the lake. Nearby you’ll find one of the biggest amusement parks in New York, and you can also enjoy a drink at the world-famous Adirondack Pub and Brewery, which overlooks the lake. An hour’s drive south will take you to the serene Great Sacandaga Lake, away from the madding masses.
9. Lake Perris, Southern California
As one of the biggest lakes in Southern California, Lake Perris has plenty of area for fishing, boating, and kayaking. The lake supports these activities at its total capacity of 1,800 acres. Two hundred boats are allowed to launch each day of the year, with prior launch permits being advised in the summer. The lake features numerous attractions that are suitable for tourists of all kinds. Lake Perris is lovely and offers a beautiful setting for a day on the water because of its location among hills and rocky cliffs studded with oaks.
8. Folsom Lake, California
This enormous reservoir was created by the detention of the American River and is located at the backside of the once-vibrant golden town of Folsom in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. According to Planet Ware, the water is encircled by the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, which also offers several access points to the shoreline, hiking trails, and campers. For non-motorized boating activities, one should try Lake Natoma, which fully supports this. The 500-acre Lake Natoma has a five-mile-per-hour speed limit, frequently preventing powered boats from entering the water.
7. Bass Lake, California
Bass Lake, located in the Sierra National Forest and an hour’s drive from Fresno, is a well-liked spot for all kinds of water sports. Motorized boaters enjoy its five miles of length, and various sheltered coves make excellent places for swimming, fishing, and paddling a boat. Numerous hiking routes circle this lake, one being Way of the Mono Trail, an uncomplicated one-mile loop that highlights the region’s indigenous past and offers superb panoramic views. The Bass Lake region is warmer throughout the season, so it is a great choice anytime.
6. Silverwood Lake, California
Silverwood Lake is less than 90 miles from Los Angeles and San Bernardino Mountains. This is the same mountainous area as Big Bear Lake, which is also a well-liked spot for activities like fishing, swimming, and boating. For a family-friendly lake, Silverwood is an excellent choice as there are lifeguards present at the lake to ensure that everyone is safe. You manage to have fun swimming without fear of drowning as there are professionals on guard in case of anything. The lake is so beloved that the nearby state recreation area frequently fills during the busiest season, from April to October.
5. Ely, Minnesota
The entrance to the lake-filled Boundary Waters Canoe Area is located in Ely, 12 miles from Canada. The largest wilderness area in the nation, located east of the Rockies, is almost as big as Delaware. It is frequently mistaken for a lake district but is an inland sea dotted with islands covered in trees. According to Trip Advisor, this place is a fantastic place for canoeing and camping, with a plethora of linked streams, lakes, and waterfalls encircled by enormous white pines, ridges, cliffs, and prehistoric rock art. Take time off your busy life and have positive fun while connecting with nature.
4. Lake Berryessa, San Francisco
Lake Berryessa is one of the most extensive freshwater reservoirs in Napa County. This place allows for fishing, swimming, and non-motorized boating thanks to the abundance of hidden sandy beaches and coves. Anywhere along 165 miles of the lake’s shoreline, there are various campgrounds and Pleasure Cove Marina, where you may hire boats. The Morning Glory Spillway at Lake Berryessa is another thing to behold. When the reservoir fills up too much, this innovative water management device behaves like a giant drain plug and blows a whirlwind in the center of the reservoir. Even standing on Lake Berryessa’s coast, which is flanked by golden hillsides of Manzanita and oak, is worth the trip.
3. Lake Havasu, Arizona
If you like a leisurely, slow-paced encounter, check out Lake Havasu. Except it’s a party location. You can gamble at the casino, drink lots, and eat delectable food here. Given the temperatures can soar to 128 degrees, spending most of the time in the water can help keep you cool. Scuba diving, boating, and kayaking are permitted on the lake. This is ideal for youngsters looking to have fun with their friends.
2. Shasta Lake, California
The enormous reservoir in the state is Shasta Lake covering over 30,000 acres. It’s made up of sweeping fingers and river ways that assemble behind the massive Shasta Dam. It has spectacular vistas of Mt. Shasta’s snow-capped peak. These rise to an astounding 14,180 feet. Shasta Lake is a lakeside recreation center. According to Big Bear, this vast area begs for exploration, from houseboats, sailboats, bass boats, and jet skis to pontoons. Along the 370-mile shoreline are numerous coves where you can set anchor and fish for catfish, crappie, bass, and sturgeons. You can visit the Lake Shasta Caverns or the 602-foot Shasta Structure. It’s the second-largest structural dam in the nation.
1. Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is located at the height of 6.225 feet and is the greatest alpine aquatic lake in North America. It was created as a portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin around two million years ago. It is located west of Carson City on the border between Nevada and California. The lake is framed by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which makes the experience at the lake even more magnificent. Since it crosses the state lines separating California and Nevada, it is typically divided into a north and south section. There are luxurious resorts, campgrounds, and cabins near the lake, which most people highly appreciate.