Echo Lake is a glacial lake near Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County, California. Timothy Joyce wrote a book titled "Swimming Holes of California" that details the state's hidden gems. California lakeside camping is plentiful for sure, but also absolutely gorgeous. Bring fishing poles and surfboards. Possibly the most famous of California’s lakes, beautiful Lake Tahoe sits in the midst of the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range on the northeastern border of the state. Bathrooms: No Big Sur definitely boasts some of the best camping spots in Central California. Cost: Free In spring, the Bay Area’s backyard fishing hole can provide the best catch rates in California. And if you're willing to drive a little farther, lake options get even more plentiful. Note that in the 2020 season, many of the lakes below are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. https://www.outdoorproject.com/travel/californias-35-best-swimming-holes California’s eight magnificent national parks include Yosemite, home to Half Dome. Escape the summer heat at Cleo's Bath in Stanislaus National Forest. Lake del Valle is a water reservoir 10 miles south of Livermore. Bathrooms: Yes Here, you’ll find a gorgeous, peaceful, mountain setting, beautiful scenery and … #17 in Best California Beaches Malibu is one of Southern California's greatest treats. With a variety of beaches to choose from, chances are you’ll be able to find a stretch of sand to call your own. This is another spot that takes the fuss out of your swim-cation. Note, kids under 7 aren't allowed in the water park. Whether you want to take a dip in a secluded swimming hole, or join the masses at a lavish lake resort, here are some of the best spots to take a swim out in nature. Wanna road trip the USA? No list of swimming holes would be complete without listing one of the most popular destinations in our backyard. And unlike some other SoCal swimming lakes, this beach is open all week from July through Labor Day. Speaking of the Golden State’s mid-region, Pismo State Beach and Monterey State Beach are coastal gems. The most popular area is Watt Avenue so head there for a day of splashing good fun. A vacation destination for families statewide, this 7-mile long lake offers an endless supply of water sports that'll keep the whole family busy. As of July 14, 2020, swimming is permitted at Hume Lake. A short drive from Yosemite National Park, Bass Lake is teeming with activities​ for the fam. Emerald Bay is great for swimming and a little less crowded than other Lake Tahoe swimming areas. The lake is in Northern California and is a three and a half hour drive from San Francisco. But be warned, with separate fees for most of the activities, it's not cheap. Reviews on Swimming Lakes in Southern California, CA - Crystal Lake, Frank G Bonelli Regional Park, Blue Lake Park, Lake Hollywood Reservoir, Crystal Lake Camp Ground, Apollo Community Regional Park, Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, Jackson Lake, Bridge to Nowhere, Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area If you're hiking in summer, be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen, as it can get hot. As of July 14, 2020, swimming is open again at Big Bear Lake. This scenic swimming hole, with a 40 foot cliff dive, can be too much of a good thing, because it tends to draw a crowd. Cost: $10 per car, $10 per person for beach area (kids under 5 are free), additional fees for water park The lower Russian River has a gentle current and beaches where you can set up your towel for the day. Still, for the family that wants to a little taste of theme park in their lake excursion, this is the place for you. One visitor reports that she was swimming and looked up into the falls – to see three sets of evil, red eyes staring out. Did you know that there are some wonderful swimming lakes within spitting distance of LA? Shasta Lake is the largest reservoir in California at 30,000 acres wide. Make sure you keep your head above water as the salt can seriously sting your eyes. With camping nearby, you can even take the whole weekend to enjoy all this lake has to offer. With top-notch cabins and hotels nearby, this is an ideal large swimming lake to take some time visiting. Here's our guide to lakes where you can take your dog. Lake Gregory even has a water park. Lake del Valle is a water reservoir 10 miles south of Livermore. The middle falls are the largest, with the opportunity to jump off rocks into the water. And if swimming isn’t your thing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and camping are also available in the area. During the summer, visitors flock to its turquoise waters and sandy beaches for sailing and kayaking or tackle the Tahoe Rim Trail for views of the basin. With lifeguards monitoring the five-acre chlorinated swimming beach (and separate Water Play Area), you can be sure the family is safe and satisfied. The faint of heart need to stay away from the waterfalls at this location, which has some of the best swimming holes in Northern California. Distance: 86 miles from Hollywood Perhaps nowhere else in the U.S. are freshwater swimming holes more desired than in Southern California, and for good reason. The big draw is an inflated water park, plus float-a-boats by the hour, and a full beach, there's something for everyone here. Parking: Parking lot The solution? California is geographically diverse, with the Sierra Nevada, the Central Valley and the Mojave Desert making up for its main terrain. As with any swimming area, always check the current and only swim if you are confident! 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