Did you know that nearly half of the world’s coastal Redwood Trees (the world’s tallest living things) are located on California‘s northwestern edge? Yeah, we think that’s awesome too. On top of that, California’s pristine beaches hug the pacific coast all the way from northern Crescent City turf, way down to San Diego in the sunny south. This 840 mile-long stretch of coastline is peppered with surfers, boaters, whales, bluffs and spectacular sunsets. And we haven’t even mentioned the mountainous backdrop… or the sunrises.
Visit a big city like LA or San Francisco. Visit a small, cozy town like Ferndale or cool Mendocino, known for it’s great surf. California has a place and a water venue for everybody. So get out there and feel that California breeze!
Best Boating Lakes
Where you should launch your boat and hit the water in California really depends on what area you visit. But to get you started, we thought we’d name just a few of our favorite places to hit the water in California. They’re popular for a reason!
In our opinion, California’s best boating lakes include the following. Shasta Lake, Trinity Lake, Shaver Lake and (of course) Lake Havasu and Lake Tahoe.
Shasta Dam was constructed between 1935 and 1945 and the lake filled completely for the first time in 1952. When full, its 370 mile shoreline exceeds that of San Francisco Bay. At full pool, the expanse of the lake surface covers 29,500 acres. The lake elevation at the spillway is 1,067 feet.
Lake level is controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation for hydroelectric power generation, flood control, irrigation and environmental purposes. During the irrigation season surplus water from Shasta Lake is released and diverted down to California’s Central Valley. Shasta Lake’s outflow to the Bay-Delta contributes to the drinking water supply for about 20 million Californians. It supports such major crops as rice, barley, vegetables and nuts.
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest (USDA Forest Service) administers recreation activities on the lake surface and the land surrounding the lake. Shasta Lake is the core of the Shasta Unit of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area (NRA); a congressionally designated area recognized for its unique and varied recreation potential.
Boating is a popular sport on Shasta Lake and both Forest Service and commercial ramps are available. Each of the seven designated Forest Service ramps has a paved ramp, a lighted parking area, restrooms and garbage disposal facilities. A daily use fee is required. The ramps are usually open all year, however they may be closed when the parking lots fill up or when debris makes launching dangerous. When lake levels are down more than 75 feet, some ramps become inoperable or are moved to an alternate location. There are a few ramps designed with long enough paved ramps to accommodate launching when the lake levels go down below 75 feet drawdown. These ramps are located at Hirz Bay, Jones Valley, Sugarloaf, and Centimudi.
Welcome to Trinity Lake, one of Northern California’s pristine boating destinations located within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Trinity Lake is encompassed by miles of tree-lined shores to explore and countless secluded coves, perfect for claiming as your own houseboat rental base camp. You can also find some of the best water sport opportunities within the region, as well as world class trout and bass fishing along the 147 miles of shoreline. The Trinity Lake area also boasts excellent hiking opportunities with a wide variety of wildlife and geography throughout the region. Horseback riding and river rafting are also popular activities with visitors to the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Make a reservation with us today and find out why Trinity is known as one of Northern California’s favorite houseboating playgrounds!
Take a look out from Shaver Lake’s shoreline and see something rare for most recreational lakes, with trees and large granite outcroppings right down to the water on about 90% of the lake. The shoreline has numerous coves where people are able to anchor boats. They swim with the high Sierra vistas in the background. There are all kinds of watersports to engage in from ski boats to large deck boats to sail boats to jet skis, canoes, kayaks and more.
You have two options for launching your boat. The first is Shaver Lake Marina in Camp Edison campground. The second is Sierra Marina at the north end of the lake, past the dam. Both are full-service marinas with fuel and supplies and rental boats as well.
Lake Havasu City is centrally located along 60 continuous miles (30.16 sq. miles) of lake and river waterways and uniquely stays as a fairly consistent water elevation all year round. The City sees around 300 days of sunshine each year which means you can take your boating vacation at any time of year with warm air and water temperatures.
Lake Havasu offers many boat rental companies or you can use one of the many launch ramps cascaded around the lake. There are also a plethora of marinas and fueling stations. Many hotels, RV parks and campgrounds have their own docks and ramps for guests.
Lake Tahoe is considered one of the oldest lakes in the world and attracts over 2.7 million visitors per year. If offers an array of outdoor adventures and sports like hiking, biking, boating, fishing, golfing, skiing, river rafting and more.
It’s popularity is due to the beautiful scenery including views of the 7000+ foot mountain and stunning lake featuring postcard perfect shorelines. Visitors to Lake Tahoe say that the water is bluer than the sky and rave about the stunning surrounding hills and forests.
Lake Tahoe has a marina where boat rentals are available. Take the scenery and experience in from the lake itself, whether out for a cruise, paddle or trying out the boat tours to Emerald Bay. Crystal clear water and vistas abound!
California State Parks offer outdoor enthusiasts 279 parks, 1.59 million acres, 339 miles of coastline, 974 miles of lake, reservoir and river frontage, 15,000 campsites and 4,456 miles of hiking trails. Lots to see and do in this state. Better get started now!
Several State Parks in California offer boaters everything they need for a day on the lake! Launch ramps, campsites, sunshine… the works! Visit California State Parks for more information about boating opportunities or restrictions.
Fishing in California
Saltwater pier and surf fishing are two of the most popular types of fishing in California but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always try your hand at net fishing or deep-sea fishing. There’s even urban fishing opportunities in areas of LA! In California, there’s no risk of running out of awesome fishing locations.
Before you go, find out everything you need to know about California’s state fishing regulations, fishing license requirements, operator card requirements and local fishing reports. Visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website for more information.