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Lake & River Vacations
We have rented houses on lakes in MN. We could swim and boat
and not be right on top of a neighbor. I would like to rent
a similar house on a lake in Northern or Central CA for a
week. Specifically I want to rent a house right on the lake
with its own dock or beach. I want to be able to swim
(comfortably) in the lake. I probably would not want any
place in the High Sierras where the lakes are still very
cold in July. For me, Lake Tahoe is a little cold to swim
in. I would love to hear from anyone with suggestions of
good swimming lakes with vacation houses for rent on its
shore. Thanks so much!
Russian River - not a lake but sounds close to what you are
We have a cabin in a lake-centered community, Pine Mountain
Lake, located 2 1/2 hours from the Bay Area. It is in the
foothills of the Sierra about 1/2 hour west of the Hwy 120
gate to Yosemite. There are many cabins for rent, some
right on the lake, many not. (Ours is not on the lake - nor
for rent - work in progress!)
It isn't necessary to be on the lake as there are three
beaches for access by any property owners or renters. The
main beach (marina) has a nice slightly sloping grassy area
with big trees before you get to the sandy beach. The swim
area is roped off from the boating area and in the summer
there are usually several large inflatable floats located in
the swim area. There is a snack shack at this beach and a
water taxi that takes you to the other two beaches which are
smaller, less populated, and lower key. You can rent sail
and pedal boats. There are some powerboats on the lake
during limited hours and no jet skis allowed.
During the week it is usually pretty quiet and relatively
uncrowded even at the main beach. Weekends are a bit busier
and holiday weekends pretty crazy. It can be quite warm
during the days (90s) but always cools off at night. We
don't have AC and it doesn't bother us at all.
We have spent many a happy hour hanging out at the beach
with our three boys (now 11,15, and 18). The water by late
June/July is wonderfully cool but not too cold. Yosemite is
nearby and during the summer the high country is the place
to be to avoid crowds. There is also a modest pool and very
nice golf course. Relatively nearby are caves for exploring
and other Gold Country towns including Groveland, Sonora,
and Columbia. The latter is a great visit back in time
with wooden sidewalks and a wonderful old schoolhouse.
Google Pine Mountain Lake rentals for several realtors that
handle vacation rentals. Happy Swimming
Not all of these have rentals right on the lake, but you
could check them out and see what suits you: Lake Mendocino
(Mend Co) Twain Harte (but there are only about 5 houses
right on the shore) Lake Don Pedro (also has rentals of
houseboats) Lake Shasta (houseboat rentals are possible)
Lake Elsinore (southern Ca)
Pine Mountain Lake is nice. It's a gated community
surrounding the lake of the same name. Just off Highway 120
toward Yosemite, next to the town of Groveland, about 3
hours from the East Bay. Although it is at 3000', the lake
is fairly small so it warms up quickly and is quite nice by
July. There are numerous houses right on the lake that can
be rented. PML also has a common beach area, clubhouse,
golf course, its own July 4th fireworks, and is about 40
minutes from the northern Yosemite entrance.
Lake Siskiyou, near Mt Shasta, is my favorite lake to swim
in. The water is perfect, and there is a lovely view of the
mountain. There is a campground and cabins as well. It feels
cleaner than Sierra lakes-no muck or algae, very pristine.
No motor boats. They do rent floatation devices, and have
some floaties you can play on for money-but most of the lake
is just for swimming, non motorized boats. i love it there.
I may be looking for the impossible: an affordable (low-to mid-100's or less)
cabin rental by a beautiful, peaceful and swimmable (that is, not freezing)
natural lake within several hours of Berkeley. Ideally, the cabin, while
simple, would have some minimal separation of space between my spouse and I
and our preschooler. Nearby walking/hiking or similar mellow and
family-friendly activities would be great. I have looked at Pinecrest Lake and
the Yosemite area so far but have not yet gathered much other information.
BPN postings appear to be several years old. Also, someplace where one doesn't
have to reserve a year ahead would be nice! Am I being unrealistic? I'd love
to hear what others have discovered. Many thanks!
Our family just returned from the Pine Mountain Lake in Groveland.
Since it is near Yosemite maybe you already looked into it. It was our
second time renting there, and we loved it again. You can find a house
or a condo through vrbo.com or Re/Max rental and there are places that
match your price tag. The water is clear and warm, and the entrance is
gradual and sandy. Our 5 and 2 year-old loved it. They now have a
blow-up structure for more mature swimmers with trampoline and beam,
so it is fun for adults too. Late August and September should be fine
weather wise. Good luck!
I saw some postings regarding Soda Springs and Serene Lakes area for
winter but I'd like to see if there are any recos of the area for
I am looking to rent house where I can walk to beach pleasant enough
for crew of small kids, maybe some canoeing, not so crowded and
perhaps a little less expensive than Tahoe.
In Serene lakes I am drawn to sandy beach, maybe lunch at the Lodge I
see is there, hiking in the Royal Gorge. I am also drawn to being a
little bit closer drive from Bay Area.
Thoughts? Specific Houses for 2 families would also be excellent.
Dreaming of Summer
We have a place on Lake Drive in Serene Lakes (we don't rent it
out, sorry) but if you time it right, you can go during Serene
Lakes Days, where the beach is transformed into volley ball games
and bar-b-ques. It is a great hidden gem.
HOWEVER, you may want to stay away from Royal Gorge and the Lodge
which is owned by them. There is a lot of controversy with them
and the residents for land misuse. Visit www.saveserenelakes.org
to see what you will find if you want to do those things. The
locals will not like it if you go to those places.
The good news is that it is just a few minutes to Lake Donner, then
a couple of minutes into Truckee, it is just a few miles south to
get to Lake Tahoe, and less than an hour to Reno.
Serene Lakes has great walks around the Lake, and some hiking, but
can be isolated in areas. The lake water is freezing. The kids
don't mind it, but as adults, we don't go past our ankles. There
is only one real estate office in Soda Springs, so I would check
for a vacation agent in Truckee or Donner Lake area.
It is one of the most relaxing areas to get away from it all.
Bring bikes and hiking shoes and roller skates. The streets are
all in good to great shape. There are mosquitos - so bring your
We will be going to Yosemite & Mammoth Lakes this June with our kids,
ages 8 & 5. We know what to do at Yosemite -- any good ideas for
things to do in and around Mammoth?? Thanks.
Last summer we drove up over the Tioga pass and spent some
time on the eastern side of the Sierra. Our boys were 8,
11, and 14 at the time. We did not get down to Mammoth but
did go to June Lake - which was beautiful. So nice just to
spend an afternoon on the beach. Mono Lake is also
wonderful - both the lake area and the visitor's center. We
took the drive out to Bodie - which is a bonafide ghost
town. It is great fun to see plus it is often either the
hottest or coldest place in California shown in the weather
section of the newspaper - now my kids know about it!
We camp with several families with young children (0-5) every Labor Day
and we did
not make our reservations early this year. We were interested in a lake
within 2 1/2 hours of the Bay Area that might still have campsites. Do you
anything about Clear Lake or the Blue Lakes? Both are still available.
We're trying to
avoid the loud, drinking, boater crowd. Are these areas and the
appropriate for young children? Are there other lake destination within 2
that would be better?
my family has gone to the le trianon resort at blue lakes for 3 generations. it is a large,
flat, shady campground, at the less windy NW end of the lakes. it has many long term campers
(with fenced well amended sites), and most people are fairly quiet. but i haven't gone many
times since my kids (5 and 2) were born, because the lake has a very steep slope. the water
gets to 5 feet deep within 10 ft from shore. there is one gently sloped beach for small kids,
but it is very small (?25ft across). and it can get very hot (a bit hot for camping), but the
lake is on the cool side, not so comfortable for swimming if the temp is 90. there is a large
barbecue/dance floor area for parties (?reservations).
there is a 5mph speed limit on the entire lake, which is generally followed, so no
signed: love blue lakes, but not so much for small kids
We're looking to find a campground near a warm river this
summer. I've heard good things about Trinity and Yuba rivers,
but would love specific campground recommendations. We just want
to be inland, in warm weather, near water. Oh, and flush toilets
are a must.
Leaving summer fog behind
We've stayed at the Ripple Creek cabins (small trib to the
Trinity)- they have a website, so it's not camping, but it has everything else you wanted. The place is owned
by a Bay Area couple who are very friendly-- there is a local number to call if you want to get info that
way-- 510-531-5315. They have a swimming hole adjacent to the cabins on the Trinity which is divine in the hot
summer weather. They book up VERY EARLY as families tend to go year after year and stay in their favorite
cabin, so I would advise inquiring early if you are interested.
I can recommend Wellspring
Renewal Center for river camping. It is a beautiful place, with
50 acres along the Navarro River in Anderson Valley, about 2
1/2 hours north of the Bay Area. There is a great swimming hole
on the property.
They offer camping, tent cabins, rustic cabins, and houses for
lodging, and can accommodate groups or individuals. They offer
fresh, mostly organic food by arrangement for groups.
See their website for more information:
What is your favorite sierra campground on a lake? I'm looking
for a car camping spot that is right on a beautiful Alpine lake
and that allows swimming and doesn't have a lot of motorized
boats or hoardes of people.
Also, other suggestions of favorite camping spots with kids are
Huntington Lake above Fresno is loveley. It seems more popular
with sailboaters than motor boaters and according to an archived
post water skiing and jet skis are banned. There are I think four
different campgrounds around the lake, a swimming beach, a store,
etc. It's not primitive or isolated, but I wouldn't descibe it as
overrun, even during the big sailing event that brought me up there.
Pincrest Lake off of Hwy 108 is a nice place. You can book through the state park
systems's website and it's reasonable (about $25/night). There's a small store in town
and you can fish, boat, hike and at night you can watch movies under the stars! I've
been there before and highly recommend Pinecrest.
Pinecrest Lake is fabulous. 3 mile trail around lake (not stroller friendly); ice cream
shack at the end of the hike for bribery; outdoor movie ampitheatre showing movies like
Shrek; small grocery store; lake and swimming although no lifeguard; can rent small motor
boats and paddle boats and sailboats; nice bike trails (although hilly in some areas).
Our family loves it.
Wright's Lake! Used to be our family's best-kept secret, but in the last 10 years or so
has become pretty popular. You'll need to get reservations in advance.
Just up Highway 50 about 45 minutes east of Placerville. Bring your canoe though, no
motorized boats allowed.
Alternately, nearby is Silver Fork campground. NO reservations are taken and it's
getting popular too but not nearly the magnitude that Wright's Lake is. It's off of the
American River in the Sierras....not on a lake, but lots of hiking trails and slow parts
of the river to play in.
email me if you want more information. Happy Camping!
I'm looking for one or two cabins to rent for a week or two in
the spring or summer. When I say cabin - I mean like a log
cabin. Rustic. Two room maybe (for 3 adults and 3 kids) with a
fireplace or woodstove. Bar-b-que or grill or minimal cooking
facilities. The kind you bring your own bedding to. No TV, no
DVD. Just a step up from a tent-cabin. It must be near a lake or
river for exploring and swimming, preferably somewhere we can
take our kayaks or rent a canoe. I picture days of short hikes
through the woods, exploring by the water, sitting back and
hearing the wind rustle the leaves. No radios, no electronics.
Doesn't even have to have electricity. Singing around the
campfire kind of thing. But not in tents. It can even be part of
a resort or lodge setup and even offer meals, but I really want
the accomodations to feel like we've left home and we're
roughing it. We don't need entertainment or places to go nearby.
Just a cabin by a lake.
Take a look at Elwell Lakes Lodge in the Lakes Basin area. Very
rustic cabins walking distance to the most beautiful alpine
lakes you can imagine. I looked at them last summer and it
sounds just like what you are looking for. I believe they have
fishing boats for use by their guests. You don't have to bring
your own linens, but it is very rustic otherwise - one or two
rooms, minimal cooking facilities, old fashioned ''lodge'' with
games, books, etc. Of course, no TV or anything like that.
Have you tried any of the KOA's? We go the one in Manchester
Beach up north every year. They have luxury camping cottages
and the scaled down version of the cabins with just a bunk bed,
a queen bed and a porch w/ swing, a fire pit that has a BBQ
grill attached, they also have a community kitchen, playground,
and swimming pool, the bathrooms have showers but it isn't in
the cabins, more like a campground type restroom. We kayak the
Navarro or depending on the time of year, the Gulala (a little
bit of a drive). If you search the KOA database, you could
find a location that fits your needs.
These cabins are along a creek, so may not offer the swimming you want, but they
are rustic and wonderfully located. Bonanza King Resort is in the Trinity Alps--
about 6 hrs north. Phone (530)266.3305. The resort was recently sold so may have
a new name, but the new owners sound nice on the phone and prices are about the
same, reasonable! We spent a happy week there 2 summers ago. Blackberry vines
growing near the creek enthralled my then 2-yr-old daughter. We played in the
creek a lot. There are 7 cabins, not so close that you hear or see your neighbors, a
main house near animals, sandbox, play area, swing set, volleyball. We stayed in the
area the first few days just relaxing and taking walks. The cabin has a kitchen and
outdoor grill--we cooked all our meals. Having rested some, we ventured out with
the car--visited nearby Alpen Cellars, a homespun but topnotch vineyard in a
gorgeous valley, and a few interesting old towns. Also drove to another location for
swimming and fishing.
Regarding a rustic cabin, one place you might try is Lake Francis
(http://www.lakefrancisrv.com/), which is between Marysville and
Grass Valley. It might be a bit too ''resorty'' for you, but they
do have rustic cabins (no facilities in the cabin) as well as
nicer cabins and an A-frame cabin with a loft. About a quarter
mile from the camp area they have a little store, restaurant,
pub, and gameroom, and a pool, but they also have canoe rentals
on the lake. Might be a bit crowded for what you're looking for
also, but it would be a nice place with kids.
We used to go to Trinity Alps Resort when I was a kid, and
particularly enjoyed the rusticity. I think they've gotten rid
of the iceboxes, though.
Another cute place is Wellspring in Philo, which has rustic and
Have you looked at the cabins at Upper Angora Lake? I think
they will meet your needs. The lake is right there, with a
shallow beach perfect for younger children. For older kids
there are rowboats and kayaks to rent, and deeper swimming as
well. The cabins are pretty basic (I've never stayed in one,
however - I've only seen them from the outside and read about
them) and very popular with families. Angora Lake is west of
Tahoe, near Fallen Leaf Lake.
Am looking for a cabin to rent (big or small, simple or fancy) that is actually on the
lakeshore of any pretty lake that is big enough for fishing. A lodge/rustic resort on
a lake would also work. Ideally it's within a 3-4 hour drive from Bay Area, but please
recommend any others farther away also. Timing is flexible, just sometime this
summer/fall, for up to a week. Am from the Midwest, where this is not as hard to
find.... Please help!
hopefully goin' fishing?
Try Lake Berryessa. Steele Cove Resort has great cabins with kitchens for rent. It is a bit expensive but worth it since you are right on the water...
I am looking for a warm lake to take my 4 year old for a three
day weekend (camping or a cabin OK). Would love quiet beautiful
Has anyone been to Blue lakes near Clearlakes? Alternatively, any
great suggestions for camping or a cabin on the beach south of
Santa Cruz? Recommendation would be most welcome, many thanks, Eva
Lake Siskiyou is a gorgeous setting. The shallower water is warm
but the outer water is refreshingly cool. It has a roped-off area
(LARGE) for swimming and the rest of the lake has a max MPH of 5
or 10, so it's quiet and wonderful, and has a sand beach. The
campsites are set back from the lake a ways (so NO mosquitos!)
but the distance is easily bikeable. They have nightly movies in
an outdoor amphitheater. We've really enjoyed it!
It's a private campground, but we have been very pleased.
http://www.lakesis.com/ If you're interested, I'll dig out our
list of ''well shaded, lots of level ground, near toilets/showers''
We would like to take our 8-month old to a lake resort in the
sierras, ideally to a location no more than a 3 hour drive from
Berkeley. Alternatively, we might bite the bullet and truck up
to Tuolumne Meadows. Any recommendations on decent lake
resorts, or a solid campground near a lake we should try? We're
hoping to go the second week in June.
Not sure how much of a hike-in you want to do, but Lake
Margaret near Kirkwood is a hike-in of only a couple of miles,
if I remember correctly, and has easy camping right by the
lake. That said, most high-altitude places in the Sierra are
still covered in snow right now, and even mid-June may not be
completely melted out and dry. You may have to contend with
wet, swampy shores/campgrounds. Tuolumne Meadows will likely
not be accessible until July, as the road (Hwy 120) may not be
plowed until then. Check the National Park Service website for
updates on the Tioga Pass plowing schedule. You may need to
opt for a lower-altitude lake resort, something like Lake
Shasta, but I have never been there and really don't know how
cold the water/air temps will be, that early in the summer.
Check out Lake Alpine - it is just past Bear Valley at the foot
of the Sierras. It's a 3 hour drive from Berkeley (we have a
place near there) - BUT you have to be sure to time it right
and not get stuck on 580 down near Stockton/Dublin, or it will
add at least 1 hour.
There is national forest near there and many places to stay in
Arnold (about 30mins before Lake Alpine).
The great thing about Lake Alpine is its a no-motor lake, so
only canoes, kayaks, etc. - so you don't have to worry about
getting run over and great for little ones.
Good luck, and have fun.
We are heading off on our annual two-week camping excursion with our two
kids, ages almost 8 and almost 6 - the kids are real pros when it comes to
the wilderness and have been camping since before they could walk. This
year, we have added into the mix a little family boat, as my husband has
recently discovered the pleasures of lake fishing. So, I'd love
recommendations from fellow campers for the following: a peaceful setting,
where we could transport stuff from the car, via the boat, and camp
lakeside (this would be the ideal), or just some special lakes, in lovely
settings, that would provide the respite we need from noise, crowds,
technology. We are open to which direction we will be traveling in, and
are willing to do some serious driving to get far enough away to reach
peace. I'd also love ideas for special camping sites that don't involve
I recommend Huntington Lake. You go to Fresno, turn left and go east until
7,000 ft. The lake is beautiful and allows no jet skiing or water skiing so
the noise level
is very quiet. We would take a little 6 man fishing boat with a small
Here is more information.
We just spent a week camping at Lassen National Park ... our campsite
was near Summit Lake, which was like a lake out of
a fairy tale ... (see Lassen National Park
recommendations for the rest of this review.
Looking for recommendations for places to go camping w/lake swimming (relatively WARM
water, i.e. not Lake Tahoe)within a 2 to 4-hour drive of the Bay Area. We prefer camping
areas where there's some space between campsites -- looking for a little peace, quiet and
privacy. And of course, a beautiful natural setting. I've looked on the Web site, not much
I fear you may be seeking the impossible. Having just planned a California camping
summer vacation for our family I can recommend a really good book. It's Moon Publications,
Northern California Handbook. It includes SF Bay Area, Sonoma, Redwood coast (further
than 2-3 hours from SF). There's a long list of lakes in the index. I know you can get this
book at the Travel Store on Rose and Shattuck in Berkeley. Lake Berryessa has camping
(according to this book), Lake Pillsbury, near ClearLake has camping, swimming etc. Clear
Lake itself may be a good camping area. There are many more lakes north of Tahoe, east of
Redding, on the North Coast, but all of these are a longer drive. Have fun in your search,
and happy camping.
We go to Lake Melones in the gold country ... (see recommendation above)
I am due in October and must take a vacation this summer before
baby number 2 pops out. I'm looking to rent a kid-friendly
cabin for about a week (we'll be 4 adults and 2 kids). Ideally
it would be somewhere warm with good swimming, and not more than
4 hours away (I know I'm not asking for much!). Any ideas?
I wonder if anyone has any leads about possible cabin rentals
for this summer at Fallen Leaf Lake, especially on the west side
(where the road does not go through to the lodge)? I would be
VERY GRATEFUL for any suggestions.
My in-laws own a vacation home at Fallen Leaf Lake, and though
they don't rent their house out, I thought they might know
someone who does. They gave me the following info:
Eric Thaden is a local real estate agent specializing in FLL.
Try him at the following numbers:
530 541-7540 FL Properties
530 573-2873 (more recent number?)
800 322-6130 Chase International Tahoe
Re: Visiting Lake Comoanche (July 2002)
I was just reading a comment posted by your organization about Lake
Comanche, I am not sure how long ago the message was posted, but I
just wanted to let you know of a a beautiful a fun lake to take your
children to. It is Lake McSwain and it is located in Snelling it is a
little further drive than Comanche but well worth the trip. We take
our children there at least 5-10 times a summer. There are no Jet Skis
allowed on the lake and although there are boats allowed they are only
allowed in one area and they have a no wake policy so the only boats
you will see are fishing boats slowly trolling on the lake. No where
near the beach for swimming. The beach for swimming by the way is just
beautiful the water is always clear and the children can walk out
fairly close to the middle of the lake before it is even close to
being too deep. It is just wonderful. There is a secret however, when
camping the overflow camping area is the best spot (the only bad part
is that part is on a first come first serve basis) however we have
always gotten it when we go so it is not too crowded. It is very
family oriented and close to the overflow area are the bathrooms a
sand box with play equipment. Close enough for the parents to sit back
and relax at the campsite and kids at the playground it is about 25
feet away from the first 5 sites. Anyway just thought I would let you
in on one of my favorite family camping spots. I am not a member of
your group but it sounds like a great organization.
Andrea (Dec 2002)
We go to Lake Melones in the gold country by Angles Camp in Calaveras County (home of
the famous jumping frog). The lake is huge and winding, with over 100 miles of shore line.
The weather in summer is sunny and HOT with air temp 100+ and lake water 80+. It's a
heaven for fishing, boating and water skiing, but also a great place to just swim - the water
is clear, still, and warm. Many people rent a house boat and stay for a week or more.
http://www.houseboats.com/melones/index.htm> The perfect way to end a day on the lake is
with a short drive into the town of Angles Camp for ice cream at the wonderful Bistro of
Angles. The hike down slope to the lake can be steep, and the beach is gravel - so bring good
tough water shoes like aqua-socks. Most sites will accommodate RVs, but there are no
hookups. The two big camp grounds (on opposite sides of the road) are Big Oak and Iron
Horse. There is also Tuttletown camp, not far away. The camp sites are relatively far apart,
but most are exposed to the sun. Bugs are not a problem, but bring a canopy to cover up.
They have flush toilets and showers. They don't take reservations, so come early for the
best spots. Lots of boats and water craft are available for rent. The Marina can be reached at
We spent a week at Gray Eagle Lodge last summer in the Lakes
Basin Region of the Sierras and had a wonderful time. Thinking
of going back this year and wondering if anyone has
recommendations of other places to stay. Sardine Lake Resort?
Buckhorn Lodge? Yuba River Inn? Gold Lake Lodge? Elwell Lakes
Lodge? Gray Eagle would be perfect except that it's not right
on a lake....
Our family goes to the Lakes Basin area every summer. We always
stay at the Feather River Park Resort in Graeagle. It has
housekeeping cabins around a 9 hole golf course with a pool and
tennis courts. It's not far from the Feather River, so there
are a number of trails nearby that lead to the river. The only
catch is that families return year after year, so it's hard to
make a reservation. You should call after April 1, which is the
deadline for all of the ''regulars'' to send in their deposits for
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