Home to California’s largest freshwater lake situated wholly within the state, Lake County borders Sonoma and Napa counties, and averages close to 300 sunny days annually. Lake County boasts incorporated cities, more than a dozen small communities, and over 1,300 square miles to explore. Lake County features wildlife, museums, parks, local events, and tons of water sports to partake in. When exploring Lake County vacation rentals, consider our introductory list of 15 things to do in this spectacular area.
1. Pedal Your Way Through Lake County’s Iconic Landscapes
Lake County is biker heaven. There are close to a dozen paved biker trails and smaller internal biker pathways spanning the entire county, weaving through key areas, around Clear Lake, and within the shadow of Mount Konocti. The Konocti Regional Trails range in difficulty from beginner to expert, and free trail maps are available at local bike shops.
2. Let The Dogs Out, or Lunch on the Green
What’s time spent at a vacation rental without your four-legged pal in tow? If you brought Spot along, introduce him to the other furry locals while mingling with their owners. Lake County contains several off-leash parks, at least two in Lakeport. Lakeport’s dog-friendly parks also offer swimming, fishing, picnicking areas, sports fields, playgrounds, and hiking.
3. Master Self-Defense, Self Control, and Self-Preservation
Self-defense sounds a bit off-topic for vacation rentals, but Lake County is home to a thriving martial arts scene. Local schools offer kid-friendly Ninja Boot Camps that emphasize manners, awareness of strangers, basic self-defense, anti-bullying techniques, and healthy fun. There are also family-centric classes for all skill levels
4. Catch the Season’s Cinematic Blockbusters
Movie night never goes out of style, even though drive-in movie theaters have. Don’t worry: Lakeport Auto Movies is a seasonal, retro-style drive-in movie theater with a full snack bar that plays G-, PG-, and PG-13-rated blockbusters three to six weeks after nationwide release. The theater’s management recommends bringing your own mosquito repellent. Lakeport Cinema 5 provides an indoor alternative, playing first-run movies, all ratings.
5. Feed Your Need For Speed at Lakeport Speedway
Lakeport Speedway treats Lake County and Mendocino County residents to all things motorsports. The annual season runs from March to October and includes just about every kind of motorsport racing you can imagine, such as legends, bombers, jammers, limited modifiers, and sprint cars.
6. Sight Lake County’s Winged Residents Up Close
Birding is big news in Lake County, home to hundreds of mesmerizing species, their admirers, and supporters. The local Redbud Audubon Society invites all to its guided bird walk field trips, held every third Saturday of the month, year-round. For self-guided tours, check out popular local birding sites, such as BLM Cache Creek Access Trail, Lakeside County Park, Borax Lake, Anderson Marsh State Historic Park McVicar Trail, and Boggs Lake Preserve.
7. Teach The Kids How To Tee Up
Arrange a family tourney at Tatonka Land Mini Golf. This 18-hole course and amusement park serve as a restored 1950s attraction, with hot dogs, chips, sodas, and (occasionally) snow cones to fuel your swing. There are also 10-minute zippy animal rides, although children are welcome on the course as well.
8. Gallop to the Beat of Enjoyment
The hardest part about horseback riding in Lake County is finding time to explore all of the local trails. Lake County Forest Preserves contains 65 miles of trails for equestrian use, and the trail distances in Cache Creek and Highland Springs exceed 70,000 acres. Locally owned Wedgewood Farms provides riding lessons and guided horseback trail rides for enthusiasts 12 and up.
9. Get a Leg Up On The Season’s Brightest Days
Lake County makes you want to jump up and walk everywhere, with its photogenic trails in and around Mount Konocti and Clear Lake. Similar to the biking trails, local hiking trails range in difficulty. For easy, fun trails, there’s Anderson Marsh State Historical Park, which has quick interconnected hiking trails on level ground. Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest and Glen Eden Trail teem with intermediate and advanced hiking trails full of steep climbs and undulating angles.
10. Jam and Shake Your Tambourine
Lake County has rhythm and isn’t afraid to show it. Local dance classes for kids and adults cover clogging, zumba, and jazzercise. Perfect your line dancing technique at the local senior center, open to all ages, or crash a dance-based cardio class at the local fitness center.
11. Go Jump in the Lake
Why settle for pools when there are lakes to swim in? Lake County is aptly named, boasting several open public lakes that welcome ardent divers, such as the Blue Lakes. The Blue Lakes, consisting of an upper and a lower lake, are spring-fed. This keeps their waters fresh and the algae levels low, which accounts for the lakes’ unnaturally cerulean color and clarity. According to insiders, the Blue Lakes are the less crowded alternatives to Clear Lake during the summer rush. The shore is a bit rocky, so wear hearty water shoes.
12. Reel in the Good Times
Clear Lake is prime crappie, carp, catfish, and bluegill territory. It’s also a fisher’s paradise, with roughly 100 miles of shore and 430,000 acres of surface. Fishing guide services for families abound within Lake County, and most offer instruction tailored to every skill level. Look for guides who are licensed, bonded, and insured.
13. Make Your Lake County Kayak Dreams Come True
Lake County’s residents and visitors obey the call to take up paddles, kayaks, and canoes every day. Who can blame them, considering Lake County’s assortment of idyllic water trails? Upper Blue Lake, Cache Creek Dam, and Island Hopping in (or at) the Narrows are three water trails locals return to again and again. They range from three to 10 miles and gush through the heart of Lake County’s most stupefying scenery. The Lodge at Blue Lakes and the Narrows Lodge Resort provide equipment rentals.
14. Channel Your Inner Picasso
Middletown Art Center welcomes your whole family to art classes and workshops. Learn to draw, paint, sculpt, make ceramics, jewelry, prints, and collages alongside your children. Special seasonal classes provide intensive instruction on the creation of art for niche-specific genres, such as graphic novel art. The atmosphere is laid back, welcoming, and fun. The center is also a gallery with year-round installations.
15. Brush up on Lake County History
Peruse Indigenous American artifacts, step into a pioneer schoolroom, peep into a Victorian-era parlor, or explore Lake County’s geological treasures at the Gibson Museum & Cultural Center, the Historic Schoolhouse Museum, or the Historic Courthouse Museum. Exhibits change throughout the year, but each one emphasizes Lake County’s colorful pioneer and Indigenous American past.
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