Top 10 Donner Lake Family Activities

Escape the daily grind with a trip to Donner Lake. You and your family can enjoy a week or long weekend around this freshwater lake that sits at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Located in Northeast California, this lake has a natural dam made from debris left behind from glaciers called a moraine. Don’t forget to choose some of these Donner Lake vacation rentals that will perfectly fit for your fun-filled stay at Donner Lake.

1. Boating

boating on the lake

Source: flickr / Logan Ingalls

Gather the family and head out on the lake for a day of boating. Whether you want to sail or enjoy revving your engine on a power boat, your family is going to enjoy a day on the lake. Use the public boat launch to get your own boat in the water, or rent one from Donner Lake Marina for the day or afternoon.

2. Visit Fifty Fifty Brewing Company

Fifty West Brewing Company

Source: flickr / Katherine McAdoo

In Truckee, you and the gang can visit this local microbrewery and check out how they make beer. While visiting Fifty Fifty, enjoy a meal or bar snack at the attached restaurant. While there, you can try out the Donner Party porter or one of the other colorfully name offerings.

3. Swimming

West End Beach

Source: flickr / StubbyFingers

Pack the sunscreen and floaties, and take the family to West End Beach for a day of sun and fun. You can spend the day playing on the beach and splashing in the water. If you have a boat, anchor it and swim in the deeper parts of the lake.

 
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4. Visit the Old Jail

old jail

Source: flickr / teofilo

Take a visit to the old West with a stop at the Old Jail. From 1875 to the 1960s, this jail served as a way to lock up bad guys in the area. Rumor has it that Machine Gun Kelly cooled his heels in this jail after shoplifting at a local store.

5. Golfing

Donner golf course

Source: flickr / ceztom

What could be more relaxing on a lake trip then playing a couple holes of golf? The Tahoe Donner Golf Course offers some challenging holes for the practiced golfer in your group set against a breathtaking backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. For the less experienced golfers in your family, this course offers a clinic and lessons.

6. Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area

skiing at a hill

Source: Scott Hughes

If you’re lucky enough to bring your family to Lake Donner in the winter months, you can take them to this local ski area for a day on the slopes. Use your own skiing equipment, or rent what your family needs from one of the local outfitters.

7. Hiking

Donner Memorial State Park

Source: flickr / wikiwand.com

Gather up the family and tighten your boot laces for an afternoon of hiking at the Donner Lake National Park. At the state park, one of the local rangers can take your family on a hiking tour of the area. You can check out the cool Indian “Petroglyphs” close to the Rainbow bridge.

8. Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area

Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area

Source: flickr / Sarah Millar

When you’re at the lake with your family and the snow falls, the troops won’t want to spend any time swimming, so why not head out for some outdoor winter sports? This local ski area encourages all levels of cross country skiers with meadow crossings and steeper climbs.

9. Rock Climbing

rock climbing

Source: flickr / Jonathan Fox

For the daredevils in your family, the Sierra Nevada mountains offer the chance for some rock climbing at the nearby state park. The Donner Summit is a breathtaking rock climb that provides experienced climbers a challenge. A couple of local guides can help you navigate the route up to the Lover’s Leap.

10. Truckee River Winery

 Truckee River Winery

Source: vimeo.com

After learning more about craft beer brewing, take the family to the Truckee River Winery. This local winery has major events several times a year, so check out the event calendar when you arrive at the lake. After visiting the vineyard, choose a couple of items off the winery’s pairing menu. Don’t forget to buy a bottle to take home with you.

 
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