Bathrooms: No Distance: 82 miles from Hollywood The shallow water heats up in summer, so while interesting, this isn't the most refreshing place to swim in California. It does get a little crowded, but let this speak for how nice it is to visit! It is home to some of the largest trees in the world, beautiful wildlife and a long stretch of coastline, as well as being home to over 30,000 lakes … As of July 14, 2020, Cedar Creek Falls remains closed. Considering this is the biggest lake in California, Sacramento River undoubtedly tops this list. No motorized boats are allowed on this popular swimming lake, leaving it clean and serene for some family fun. There are great amenities including bathrooms and changing areas, so it's the perfect spot to take a picnic and relax for the whole day. If you find yourself hanging out North of San Fran, definitely give this sweet swimming spot a go! Visit this spot after a hike in Yosemite Valley before heading home. designates Featured Story about this activity. Brandy Creek Beach, Oak Bottom Beach, East Beach, and more areas provide places to swim, occasionally rope swing, or bring the boat out. Parking: Varies  Bathrooms: Yes Malibu Creek Rock Pool, photo by James OBrien II/Flickr, 10 Waterfall Hikes Every LA Family Should Know, Hidden Gem Beaches: LA's Secret Seaside Spots that Only Locals Know, 9 Best Florida Beach Vacation Destinations for Families, Battleship Iowa: Open for Self-Guided Outdoor Tours. If we treat our public lands well (by not polluting them, destroying them or selling them off), they will reward us with deep-blue swimming holes and what might be the natural world’s best form of free therapy. Still, for the swimming inclined, park at The Pines Resort and enjoy the public beach out back. This is the perfect excuse to go for a road trip! The lake is two and a half times as salty as the ocean, so you'll be extra buoyant - it's impossible to sink! Bring fishing poles and surfboards. #17 in Best California Beaches Malibu is one of Southern California's greatest treats. Russian River. Parking: on-site The trail is clearly marked. Cost: $5 per car As of July 14, 2020, although the park is open, the rock pool remains closed to the public. 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. Cost: Free The Garden of Eden is an idyllic slice of paradise found in the Henry Cowell Redwoods just off Route 9. It's not exactly a shocker why this is such a popular spot. Distance: 98 miles from Hollywood The lower Russian River has a gentle current and beaches where you can set up your towel for the day. One of the most popular lakes in Northern California, Shasta Lake offers some of the best boating (including houseboat rentals!) Cost: All day – $12 per car, per day Swim hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and there is a … Speaking of the Golden State’s mid-region, Pismo State Beach and Monterey State Beach are coastal gems. Distance: 108 miles from Hollywood Paradise Beach is the most popular swimming spot along the river and is open year-round. This is a great excursion for a little adventure, combining a solid workout, beautiful nature, and a pristine spot for a dip. Don't let kids swim alone and watch out for changes in current and water levels. And when you get hungry, there’s a whole town mere steps away to enjoy. Swimming within the buoyed area is monitored by lifeguards daily in the summer months and on weekends only in fall and spring. The choice of good restaurants is narrow, but around the lake, there's a few if you know where to go. Cost: $10 per car Whether you want to have a picnic or take a dip, the kids will surely love the adventure of discovering this hidden gem. Echo Lake is a glacial lake near Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County, California. JUCY RV RENTALS  |  1800 650 4180  | jucyusa@jucyworld.com, JUCY Rentals | Mini RV Rental Specialists |, Top 10 Swimming Holes and Lakes in California. Pack a picnic and a good book because you'll want to stay here for a few hours! But be warned, with separate fees for most of the activities, it's not cheap. And if you're willing to drive a little farther, lake options get even more plentiful. Northern California has some of the most beautiful campsites in the country, but the summer heat can make campers lose their cool. Here, you'll find beautiful beaches big and small that are perfect for exploring, lounging or both. With lifeguards monitoring the five-acre chlorinated swimming beach (and separate Water Play Area), you can be sure the family is safe and satisfied. One of the top concentrations of the state’s lakes is in Voyageurs National Park. With various sandy beaches and coves, there’s sure to be a spot to enjoy some lounging, a picnic or a dip in the water. Likewise for Limekiln and Andrew Molera. Lake Anza is open for swimming between May and September, with a small entry fee required. Cost: $10 per car, $10 per person for beach area (kids under 5 are free), additional fees for water park Cost: Free California’s eight magnificent national parks include Yosemite, home to Half Dome. Wanna road trip the USA? Also known as the Pride of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay gets its name from the vibrant turquoise water. Parking: on-site The red dirt beaches are a lovely contrast with the emerald waters of this man made reservoir. Escape the summer heat at Cleo's Bath in Stanislaus National Forest. If there are too many people carry on up the river to find more peace and quiet. As of July 14, 2020, swimming is open again at Santa Fe Dam. Be aware of local regulations in terms of bringing dogs along and always clean up after yourselves before heading home. Tips for swimming in lakes and rivers in California. Bathrooms: Yes https://www.outdoorproject.com/travel/californias-35-best-swimming-holes Emerald Bay is great for swimming and a little less crowded than other Lake Tahoe swimming areas. The lake is just minutes away from Lake Tahoe and is one of the top places to go swimming in the area. If you're hiking in summer, be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen, as it can get hot. Be responsible and take all your trash home with you. flickr/marcomassarotto Probably the most famous of all of California’s lakes, Lake Tahoe is also one of the ritziest and draws well-to-do travelers from all over the world. The solution? Here, you’ll find a gorgeous, peaceful, mountain setting, beautiful scenery and … Note that in the 2020 season, many of the lakes below are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The earlier you start your day, the better. The water in the McCloud River is clear, deep, but quite cold. Situated in the midst of Tahoe National Forest, Mushroom Hole (fs.usda.gov/tahoe) lies near the Middle Yuba River. Cost: Varies Clean, with a full compliment of lifeguards and miles of public beaches, this regional park ensures the only thing you have to do is enjoy the water. Still, for the family that wants to a little taste of theme park in their lake excursion, this is the place for you. Parking: on-site Note that in the 2020 season, many of the lakes below are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. From local markets to boat rentals, popular restaurants to water skiing, you could spend a week on its sandy shores and still not do everything this swimming lake has to offer. As of July 14, 2020, Aztec Falls remains closed. As of July 14, 2020, swimming is open again at Big Bear Lake. This former San Diego party spot has thankfully been tamed by a newly-instituted demand for permits before you can enter, leaving it less crowded and more tranquil. More akin to a lakeside resort, this swimming hole is known for its incredible scenery and fun summer vibes. From wildlife to lifeguards, clean bathrooms to sandy beaches, you can enjoy nature here without having to rough it. Bring fishing poles and surfboards. Some of the top spots are Sunset Beach and a secret spot off Redwood Drive if you can find it! Speaking of the Golden State’s mid-region, Pismo State Beach and Monterey State Beach are coastal gems. Northern California Forests. The cool river runs through lush wine country in Northern California. 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 This is another spot that takes the fuss out of your swim-cation. Not a bad way to spend a day, and even better? Almost all of SoCal is desert, and during the long inland months of summer, daytime heat can easily rise to 115 degrees. Lake Tahoe, California Lake Tahoe is one of America’s great destinations—an outdoor adventure paradise backed by the Sierra Nevadas that’s beautiful in every season. The big bass swimming from wall to wall on this destination make it one of the best places to fish in California. California is paradise for dogs who like swimming, with dog-friendly lakes up and down the state. Bathrooms: Varies  A 5-mile hike, round trip, will connect you to the flowing waterfall of Cedar Creek with a crystal clear pool at its base. Parking: Parking lot Distance: 161 miles from Hollywood Whether it’s a swimming hole carved by granite or in a lake directly outside your tent, these ten campgrounds with swimming options are sure to provide some of the best aquatic adventures in the region.. Fabulous Utica Lake at sunset. It's a hot summers day, the whole gang is looking for something to do and you've got a giant blow up unicorn floatie that you've been dying to use. Lake del Valle is a water reservoir 10 miles south of Livermore. To get there, take the Watt Avenue exit off of Highway 50. California’s beaches are not limited to the Ocean – head up to the Sierras for many lakes, many of which are very lightly visited. Shasta Lake is the largest reservoir in California at 30,000 acres wide. Whiskeytown Lake. The best swimming hole in East Bay, Lake Anza is located in the hills behind Berkeley. The natural pool is deep and cool, and there is even a waterfall to splash under! Lake Gregory is where you go to mix all the fun of a raucous water park with the natural beauty lake life. Castaic Lake, located about an hour north of Los Angeles, is a trophy hunting lake. Make sure you keep your head above water as the salt can seriously sting your eyes. Running through the Sierra foothills in California, American River intersects with Sacramento River and is home to loads of wildlife, as well as having plenty of recreational areas for water sports! With lower, middle, and upper falls, you get to choose your experience. Distance: 270 miles from Hollywood 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 70-acre lake is perfect for the family that wants to pull up, unpack, and hit the water. Timothy Joyce wrote a book titled "Swimming Holes of California" that details the state's hidden gems. Swimming in wild places is as much an excellent summer activity as it is proof of the covenant between man and nature. 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. Lake Berryessa, Napa County. Distance: 86 miles from Hollywood Here's our guide to lakes where you can take your dog. Note, kids under 7 aren't allowed in the water park. Note: There have been issues with some toxic algae over the years, so be sure to check that the beach is open before you pack up the whole family. As of July 14, 2020, swimming is permitted at Hume Lake. Considering this is the biggest lake in California, Sacramento River undoubtedly tops this list. Parking: At entrance to 3 miles hike from trailhead to swimming hole 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. Parking: 1.3 miles hike from swimming hole 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. Lake Gregory even has a water park. It's one of the most exquisite places to while away a summer's day on Tahoe. Bathrooms: Yes Families looking to escape the heat (or fog) make the short trip into the Berkeley Hills for supervised swimming and the sandy beach. But wait—there's more! As with any swimming area, always check the current and only swim if you are confident! Distance: 33 miles from Hollywood Lake Anza. In spring, the Bay Area’s backyard fishing hole can provide the best catch rates in California. Bathrooms: Yes Bathrooms: No  Photo courtesy of Lake Gregory. And if swimming isn’t your thing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and camping are also available in the area. and scenery around. Showing 1 to 10 of 93: Sort ... Bass Lake, California 93604. It's free! And for good reason. While the water is often cold, few things compare with the feeling of drying off in the summer sun after a swim in a high-altitude lake. Bathrooms: Yes Did you know that there are some wonderful swimming lakes within spitting distance of LA? With camping nearby, you can even take the whole weekend to enjoy all this lake has to offer. This modest beach offers a healthy mix of everything you want from a lake outing. SoCal has a myriad of opportunities if you’re looking to spend a day out on the lake. One visitor reports that she was swimming and looked up into the falls – to see three sets of evil, red eyes staring out. The middle falls are the largest, with the opportunity to jump off rocks into the water. The most popular area is Watt Avenue so head there for a day of splashing good fun. The upper falls are generally colder and less crowded while the lower falls are your typical beach hang out. Lake del Valle is a water reservoir 10 miles south of Livermore. If you tire of wading in the water, there’s everything from paddle boarding and kayaking to boating and fishing. Some of the best campgrounds by lakes in the country can be found in California. It's a great place for swimming and picnicking, but this location is busy most of the time so if you're a low-key beach goer - be aware! Cost: Free Practice your favorite swimming stroke in California's Pyramid Lake, located in the Angeles and Los Padres National Forests. Try cooling off on a waterfall hike or at one of these Secret SoCal Beaches near LA instead! Expect crowds, though, because this favorite swimming lake draws them on hot summer days for boating, swimming, and its gargantuan picnic area. Parking: on-site California is geographically diverse, with the Sierra Nevada, the Central Valley and the Mojave Desert making up for its main terrain. Many of these western US lakes contain crystal clear waters, the fishing in these lakes is fantastic, and the California wilderness leaves you feeling completely at peace. The land of 10,000 lakes is perhaps the country’s best spot for a lake vacation. People can also … A California fishing license is required. And unlike some other SoCal swimming lakes, this beach is open all week from July through Labor Day. As of July 14, 2020, swimming is permitted at Bass Lake. No list of swimming holes would be complete without listing one of the most popular destinations in our backyard. The 'lake' is a man-made pool in Tilden Park perfect for swimming and lounging under a sun shade. The lake is in Northern California and is a three and a half hour drive from San Francisco. Northern California is full of swimming holes that are somewhat unknown to most people. Distance: 30 miles from Hollywood Check out our branch locations and vehicles and live JUCY! Located adjacent to the fishing lake, the lagoon is flanked by the bathhouse, swim office and a large lawn. It’s located just off Interstate 80 on the border between California and Nevada in the … With top-notch cabins and hotels nearby, this is an ideal large swimming lake to take some time visiting. A short drive from Yosemite National Park, Bass Lake is teeming with activities​ for the fam. 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. 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. There's a $5 parking fee at Splinter's Cabin Trailhead, unless you have a California Adventure Pass or Interagency Pass. Los Angeles kids grow up swimming at some of the country's most iconic beaches, not to mention an array of flat-out awesome public swimming pools. 70 sq miles of lake surrounded by mountains and parks is testament to that. 2. To reach the swimming hole, follow the signs for the Pinecrest Lake Loop Trail. DINING: Ducey’s Dining Room. 9. This secret swimming hole is worth seeking out with pretty views, National Forest surroundings, and rocks to chill out on for the day - bliss! The saltiest swimming hole in town, this easy-going lake is perfect to spend a day floating. This swimming hole is stunning - no wonder it's called Garden of Eden! Situated under a canopy of sycamore trees, this peaceful watering hole is the perfect place to cool off after enjoying the hiking trails with the family. Parking: A dozen spots, or street parking at entrance to 5-mile hike California’s eight magnificent national parks include Yosemite, home to Half Dome. You'll need to rinse the salt off your skin after emerging from the water. Distance: 250 miles from Hollywood Big Sur definitely boasts some of the best camping spots in Central California. Cost: $10 per car SWIMMING: The two main swim beaches (no boats allowed) are Falls Beach Picnic Area and Recreation Point; there are no lifeguards. Bathrooms: No 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. Bathrooms: Pit toilet  As of July 14, 2020, swimming is open again at Bonelli Park. Find swimming holes and lakes in California where you can all cool off. The go-to spot for tubing, Russian River is one to check out if you're in for an action packed summers day. This spot is hidden along the San Lorenzo River and is worth the 10-15 minute hike to find it. As of July 14, 2020, Lake Gregory remains closed to swimming, and the splash pad is closed, but kayaking and fishing are allowed. Big Sur definitely boasts some of the best camping spots in Central California. There’s even a steep gorge with porous rock walls just upstream, but be warned that park rangers are known to give tickets out to overenthusiastic climbers. Cost: Permit - $10.00 California lakeside camping is plentiful for sure, but also absolutely gorgeous. The boating, hiking, bird watching and fishing is amongst the best there is in California. For the less adventurous, be sure to take a picture in front of the Planet of the Apes Wall along the trail—so named because the movie was filmed there. As of July 14, 2020, swimming is open again at Silverwood Lake. Silverwood Lake is known for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the Inland Empire, and it’s great for boating, fishing, and water skiing. In order to reach it, you first have to hike around the Pinecrest lake for a mile and then the trail takes you farther into the rolling hills for three more miles. The infamous Cleo’s Bath is an extremely popular swimming hole. Still, if you want to wade in some cool water, take in a beautiful waterfall, or just get in a good hike, you can't do better than this oasis tucked into the San Bernardino Mountains. Likewise for Limekiln and Andrew Molera. Lake Anza is a man-made, freshwater lake in Tilden Regional Park. If you have a boat, bring it along, because you can motor it right up to the swimming area and take a dip. Witnesses say that you’ll see red eyes staring out after twilight. You'll need to work for it though, as it's a four-mile hike to reach the swimming spot. 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