By Kelli Wheeler

There’s aquatic fun for all ages and skill levels at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on
beautiful Lake Natoma off Highway 50. Learn to row, paddleboard, sail, or windsurf in a group or
private lesson. For a more leisurely day, rent a canoe, hydro bike, or kayak and stick around to
use the beach, picnic tables, and BBQ area. Other site offerings include birthday party packages,
youth day camps and beginning to advanced wakeboarding and waterskiing instruction.

Sacramento State Aquatic Center
1901 Hazel Ave.
Gold River, CA 95670
Hours of Operation:
Open year round generally 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. during non-summer months.
Check here for exact hours:

M-F: 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

M-F: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Entrance is free. Rental fees depend on activity (ranging from $9-14/hr) Classes start at $30 for a
3-hour class. Private lessons begin at $85 per person for one hour.
View Sacramento Local Directory listing

The Sac State Aquatic Center is a regional boating instruction safety center funded by the
California Department of Boating and Waterways in cooperation with California State University
and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. A main goal of the center is to provide
safe water sport instruction to enhance boating safety education in California. Advanced
equipment is only rented after a mandatory instructional class is taken.

Basic Sailing

Sailing at Sac State Aquatic Center

(credit: Sac State Aquatic Center)

Always wanted to sail? Take a 14-hour course designed for those with little or no sailing
experience. New boaters or those taking a refresher will learn boating safety, knots, rigging,
boat handling, docking, sail trim and capsize recovery. Upon successful completion graduates
will earn a free 2-hour rental of the Holder 14 sailboat. Cost $180


Always wanted to be a part of the crew club? Take an 8-hr novice rower course to learn boat
control, correct rowing technique, and safety in single person rowing shell (sculling – $120). For
more of a team atmosphere, take a sweep rowing course ($90) with students encouraged to join
one of the competitive rowing programs offered by the Aquatic Center.

Paddle Boarding (Stand Up Paddling)

Stand Up Paddling

(credit: Sac State Aquatic Center)

Learn the hottest new sport craze by taking a paddle boarding class ($30)! Have fun and enjoy
the water while getting a great whole-body low impact workout. After a 3-hour class (or private
1-hr class – $85) you can rent the boards anytime and go out and enjoy the open water.

Basic Windsurfing

Want the excitement and challenge of flying across the water? In this beginner’s 8-hour class for
the basic fundamentals of windsurfing, students will learn rigging, terminology, balance, stances
and sailing theory. Instructors will teach the latest techniques using a variety of sail sizes to
decrease fatigue and maximize learning. Cost $100


You don’t have to take a class to rent a canoe, but if you’re tired of paddling in circles this once-
a-month class on Sunday is for you. Take the $65 3-hour canoe clinic to learn how to paddle
straight and rescue yourself in the event of a capsize. Or for $14/hr take your own leisurely tour of beautiful Lake Natoma.

Hydro Biking

Hydro Biking at Aquatic Center

Photo Credit: Kelli Wheeler

Want an easy, fun way to get out on the open water that involves no skill? Hop on a hydro
bike – nearly impossible to tip, it pedals and steers with handle bars like a bike on two floating
pontoons. Fun for kids and adults, rent these for $12/hr pedaling instead of paddling at your
own leisurely pace.


For $9/hr you can rent single sit-on-top kayaks ($14/hr for double) and create your own aquatic
adventure. For a more thorough experience take a two-day course ($90) to learn three types of
kayaks and the proper paddling techniques, navigation and safety. For the more adventurous
novice kayaker a downriver paddle of the lower American River is offered ($100) or a 2 ½ hour
sunset paddle ($30).

Kayaking at Aquatic Center

Photo Credit: Kelli Wheeler


Don’t feel like getting in the water? Rent a bike for $8/hr and enjoy the leisurely 11.7 mile bike
trail around scenic Lake Natoma. Spot wildlife, see the Folsom Dam, and check out the view from the Folsom Bridge!

Kids Camp

Looking for a fun week of aquatic sports for your kids? All day youth programs are available
through August for kids ages 7-18 where they can learn sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking,
rowing, wake boarding, water skiing, and jet skiing. Basic camp starts at $290 with specialized
camps running $300+.

Beach, BBQ and Easy Eats

Pack a picnic for the beach and take advantage of both covered and sunny picnic areas and
BBQ’s. If you don’t want to pack food you can find a McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Quizno’s, across
Hazel Ave. on Tributary Point Dr. Some vending machines on site for drinks.

Kelli Wheeler is an author, family columnist and mother of two living in Sacramento. You can
read her humorous Momservations blog at and follow her on Twitter