Shaver Lake is a beautiful area in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Surrounded by pine forests and just over an hour northeast of Fresno, the lake is at an elevation of 5,370 feet, making it an ideal year-round vacation destination. Whether you are bringing the kids here to fish, hike or bike in summer, or to experience the magic of sledding, there’s something for everybody. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and set up home-from-home in a fully-furnished Shaver Lake vacation rental. Whether you’re looking for a woodsy cabin or a luxury home, you’ll find it all here. Breathe in the fresh mountain air as you enjoy the stunning vista from your porch, and consider these ten fun family activities for an amazing trip.

1. Have Fun Boating

Swimming off the boat
Flickr/Bob n Renee

When the temperatures hit the 80s, pack the cooler with iced drinks and a picnic, and take a boat out on the lake to enjoy the cooling breeze. Cruise around to find a peaceful, private spot where you can anchor and jump into the fresh waters for a swim. Don’t forget to pack the inflatables and some sunscreen. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent one at Shaver Lake Marina in Camp Edison, or head on up to the Sierra Marina at the lake’s northern end. Both marinas offer full-service facilities and sell snacks, beverages, ice, and fishing supplies.

2. Go Fishing

Fishing

Make sure the family anglers pack their fishing gear, as the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project routinely stocks the waters with large, trophy-sized trout. The lake also has smallmouth bass, catfish, carp, and crawdads. If you’re keen to get the kids into the sport, take a trip with Dick’s Charter Fishing. Kids are Dick’s specialty, and he loves getting them hooked. He is also keen to point out local wildlife, such as eagles, osprey, and deer to make it a memorable day out for the whole family.

3. Go Hiking

Hiking
Flickr/Dan Hurt

The area has hiking trails of different degrees of difficulty, so fill up the backpacks with healthy snacks, tie on the boots, and get going. The two-mile kid and dog friendly Shaver Lake Trail is an excellent way to get started. The seven-mile Twin Lakes trail is also open to dogs and suitable for all skill levels, while the Dinkey Lakes loop trail is slightly more challenging. Travel out to the Rancheria Falls Trail, a comfortable 1.6-mile out-and-back trail that takes you to see the beautiful falls. Enjoy the view but be prepared to engage in a spot of bolder hopping if you plan to take a dip in the waters.

4. Go Mountain Biking

 Mountain Biking

If you have any mountain bikers in the family, they’ll be totally stoked to learn that China Lake Mountain Bike Park sits less than 20 miles to the northeast of Shaver Lake. This park is renowned as a premier location for mountain bikers throughout the summer season. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent a full suspension bike along with a full face helmet on arrival. The fun begins with an exhilarating ascent on a chairlift with your bikes attached. Take time out to enjoy the spectacular views from the summit before hurtling down the mountainside.

5. Ride a Horse Along a Mountain Trail

Horseback Riding

Take a guided trail ride through beautiful meadows and along mountain trails with Shaver Stable. This experienced team welcomes families and riders of all levels and takes care to match you up with the right horse. Feel safe in the hands of expert guides as you enjoy the vista from the back of your majestic mount. The stables are open May through September.

6. Try Geocaching

Geocaching

Get out the GPS and set out on a treasure hunt. The area has many established caches to hunt out by following clues and coordinates to discover hidden boxes. Some caches simply have a log for you to sign into to show you’ve visited while others contain real treasure, such as little toys or coins. Remember, if you take something from the box, replace it with an item of equal or greater value.

7. Ski and Snow Fun

Skiing

In winter the whole area becomes a beautiful playground, and you can often sled on the hills around your vacation rental. Serious skiers and boarders can make the 35-minute trip to China Peak Mountain Resort, a popular ski area with seven chair lifts and miles of groomed trails for every skill level. For those that just want to have fun sledding or tubing, the U.S. Forest Service’s Sno-Park program provides parking and snow play for all the family for a small fee. If you don’t have your own equipment, call in at Shaver Lake Sports just pass the Coldwell Banker office on the highway to rent or purchase all you need for some snow fun.

8. Disc Golf

 Disc Golfing
Flickr/Theodore Bonham

For something different, why not try your hand at downhill disc golf? The China Peak Mountain Resort features a fantastic 27-hole disc golf course that opens Saturdays and Sundays from July through September. Take plenty of water and sunscreen as the course is particularly challenging and novices can take up to six hours to complete. Buy tickets at the Adventure Center at the base and take the chairlift ride to the top at 7,000 feet. And don’t forget your camera as there are some spectacular views along the way.

9. Relax in the Hot Springs

 Mono Hot Spring
Flickr/Vlad Butsky

Take a trip to the Mono Hot Springs to relax in the soothing warm waters. There are around 12 open-air springs with temperatures as hot as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Wear grippy shoes to avoid a fall, as some of the concrete areas can get slippy when wet.

10. Shaver Lake Museum

Shaver Lake Museum
Flickr/Patrick Emerson

Bring history to life at the Central Sierra Historical Society and Museum in Shaver Lake. This open-air museum has preserved many historical treasures, such as a 1912 caboose from the S J & E Railroad. Watch the amazing Dolbeer Steam Donkey that used to drag huge felled logs from where they lay to the sawmill. Kids love pulling the handle to hear the whistle scream. Learn about the natural world and the people who inhabited the region from the original Mono people to the explorers and settlers. The museum is open May through November.