7 Lakes We've Visited in California (so far)

I'm an island girl at heart which means I'm a beach girl through and through. Can you believe I've lived in California for almost 22 years and I've barely (like 6 years barely) begun to explore the lake life? Sure, I've visited Big Bear Lake every so often - whether its for a staycation or just to stroll through the village and enjoy the area - but I've never actually stepped foot in the actual lake. It wasn't till we had Ella and my MIL had moved up to Gardnerville, NV (just outside of Lake Tahoe) that Lake Trips became an actual thing in my life.

So I thought I'd share all the different lakes we've been to so far. All very beautiful lakes, each with their own unique "personality".


1. Lake Tahoe (Sand Harbor)

Probably one of the most popular lakes and definitely one of the biggest. We love to visit in the summers as well as the winter. And because this spot is so popular, it's also almost always super crowded and their parking lots can fill up quick. So it's always best to go super early in the morning to find that perfect spot on the beach. Lake Tahoe's water is just so blue, cool and refreshing you can't not want to keep going back.

Lake Tahoe Sand Harbor circa Summer 2019

Lake Tahoe Sand Harbor Circa Summer 2018

2. Silver Lake

We've been to this one twice already and is one of our favorites. We love the coves we get to hang out in where the water is calm enough for the littles to play and we don't have to worry about crazy waves crashing up onto the shore. We also got to hike and do some boulder climbing.

Silver Lake circa Summer 2021

Silver Lake circa Summer 2020 (during the time when California was on fire)

3. Blue Lakes

Another beautiful and quiet lake but not kid friendly. Very limited "beach" areas for them to play. Mostly just dirt and rocks. But it's the perfect lake to go kayaking, paddle boarding... things like that. We took our inflatable boat out and got to explore other areas of the lake. We had gone in July of 2019 and it was cool to see that not all the ice from winter had melted yet.

circa Summer 2019

4. Caples Lake

Pretty lake. But probably my least favorite. The one time we've been, it wasn't busy at all. Which is a plus for sure. However, the minute we stepped foot onto the rocky beach, we were attacked by flies that bite. I never knew biting flies existed till then. One bit my toe so hard, it started bleeding. I'm not a wuss, I can handle bugs and blood. But I'd say it totally ruined it for me 😂. Nothing a lil bug spray couldn't fix. But still, bugs are annoying.

circa Summer 2018

5. Kirkwood Lake

This one is a good one if you're not into crowded lakes. It's definitely a lot more quiet and serene, perfect for fishing and just taking a boat or paddle board out. And just like Silver Lake, there were lots of hiking trails to explore as well as rocking/boulder climbing opportunities. Also great for camping. Lots of pesky mosquitos though. So make sure to have all things bug sprays handy if you plan to go to this lake!

circa Summer 2021


6. Big Bear Lake

Like I said earlier, I've never actually been IN this lake. But I love walking through the village of shops and restaurants. If you're not a fan of swimming or boating in lakes, it's still a cute place to visit year round.

And yes, these are are the only pics I could find of any of our trips up to Big Bear 😂. Ella wasn't even a year old yet in these photos. But I promise you, Big Bear is beautiful!

7. Silverwood Lake

And last but not least, Silverwood Lake... not too far from Big Bear Lake. I'd say it's kind of a hidden gem. I had never been here till just recently (like almost a year ago recent) and we decided to go here because we thought it wouldn't be as crowded as it is everywhere else. Because we were very much still practicing covid precautions and trying to avoid being in large crowds. Hence the mask wearing (yes we were outdoors but we were around a few people at times so we were just being safe). It's not as big a lake as all the others, but it's still a nice spot to hang out and chill. And there's picnic areas, too. But it can get pretty windy so check the weather before you plan to go!

circa Summer 2022

It's crazy looking back at all these pictures... mostly because my babies have gotten so big since!

Anyway, there ya have it! I highly recommend ALL of these places if you're ever in Cali and are wanting to get some lake fun in. Whether its's for vacation or just a weekend getaway... totally worth the trip. I promise!




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