Best Lakeside Getaways Near Sacramento

April 18, 2015 5:00 AM

Credit: CBS13

The lakes around here are wonderful any time of year. Your choices are many, and many may be in the valley or in the nearby mountains. All of them have multiple spots to relax, play, swim, or unwind. Bring sunscreen, your camera, and prepare to enjoy a good bit of nature. Visit all of them, or choose a favorite. This is a trip that you don’t want to miss out on.
Lake Natoma
7806 Folsom Auburn Road
Folsom, CA 95630
(919) 988-0205

Lake Natoma has great variety in its shoreline. It’s basically a fantastic urban wildlands interface. The lake is just downstream from the Folsom Dam. The Sacramento State University Aquatic Center is located here. Bring your own kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board, or rent one of theirs. Relax in the covered picnic areas, or find a spot along the shore. Swimming, snoozing, reading, or a nice walk along the paved bike trail, will fill your day with smiles, and calm your city bent nerves.

Folsom Lake
7555 Folsom Auburn Road
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 888-0205

Folsom Lake is big. It covers 17.89 square miles. The shoreline is diverse with all kinds of places to set up. Launch your boat at one of several spots. Water ski, fish, or just putt around. It’s a fine place for a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board too. Beals Point offers covered picnic areas, with great views of the lake and the dam. The cooling waters are most welcome on a hot Sacramento summer day. Come prepared to relax, in the water, on the shore, or catching a nap in your chair.

Silver Lake
32161 Kit Carson Road
Kit Carson, CA 95644
(209) 295-4251

Highway 88 in the Sierra has a lot to offer. Silver Lake is just one of the gems up here. The lake sits at 7,200 feet. There are two campgrounds to take advantage of. Kit Carson Lodge is on the east shore of the lake. Plasse’s resort is on the west shore. Finding a place to plop is easy. The lake shore is mostly easy to get to. The lake is perfect for kayaks, canoes, and fishing boats. You’ll need your camera, sunscreen, and goodies, but that’s about it. Relax on the shore or hike up on the granite. Nestle under the aspens or perhaps under a large pine tree. Picnic, wander about, and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful spot. It’ll remind you what relaxing is all about.

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Sly Park Lake
4771 Sly Park Road
Pollock Pines, CA 95726
(530) 295-6810

Pollock Pines is a short drive up US Highway 50. Sly Park Lake, also known as Jenkinson Lake, is a very popular destination for campers, boaters of all kinds, and anyone who enjoys a mountain setting without having to haul a lot of gear along. Picnic spots dot the shore of the lake. A well known mountain bike single track runs around the lake and off into the El Dorado National Forest. Bring a chair, that novel you know you need to read, some goodies to munch on and enjoy a beautiful lake as you let your worries drain away.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
3066 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
(530) 541-5255

Lake Tahoe occupies 196.6 square miles, at 6224 feet in elevation. Take a road trip around it and you’ll cover 72 miles. Drive through Nevada as you do it. The beaches around the lake are plentiful. Hitting the shores here is the definition of complete surrender to letting yourself melt into relaxing mode. Rent any kind of boat, eat at one of the fabulous restaurants around the lake, visit one of the historic mansions, paraglide, or book a ticket on a paddle wheeler. This is truly the gem in the crown of Sierra lakes.

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Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 41 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at