Lovely 18-mile-long Lake Nacimiento lies midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in Central California. Its pleasant Mediterranean-style climate, gorgeous scenery, opportunities for outdoor activities, and proximity to nearby area attractions make it a popular family holiday destination. From Lake Nacimiento vacation rentals, you can swim, fish, play water sports, explore nature trails, and go sightseeing. Here are the top things to do with children in and around Lake Nacimiento.
1. Go Swimming
The entire shore area of Lake Nacimiento is open for swimming, and its numerous arms and channels provide plenty of hidden coves you can discover. Lake Nacimiento Resort also has a spacious outdoor swimming pool. Nearby Lake San Antonio has a designated swimming beach with a lifeguard on its south shore. For a thrilling experience, take the kids to Ravine Water Park in Paso Robles, just a few minutes’ drive to the southeast, where the family can enjoy multiple water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and a special wading pool for young children.
2. Fish the Lakes
From the Lake Nacimiento Marina, you can rent power boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, and supplies for an unforgettable fishing experience. The lake is renowned for its record-breaking white bass and carp, and you can also angle for catfish, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. At Lake San Antonio, try casting from rocky points around the lakeshore or trolling at the mouths of creeks that feed into the lake. Commonly caught species include channel catfish, sunfish, crappie, bluegills, and various types of bass.
3. Play Water Sports
The miles of open waterways at Lake Nacimiento provide plenty of space for water sports. The calm waters of the mornings and late afternoons create perfect conditions for water skiing. Other popular water sports include wakeboarding, wake surfing, tubing, and jet skiing. Bring your own, or rent tubes, water skis, wakeboards, knee boards, and other equipment at the Lake Nacimiento Marina. Another enjoyable family-friendly activity is paddle boarding around the lakeshore.
4. Explore the Trails
Around Lake Nacimiento’s 165 miles of shoreline are numerous trails through breathtakingly beautiful hills and forests for beginning, intermediate, and advanced hikers. The area around Lake San Antonio also has 12 different hiking and cycling trails covering over 26 miles. The two-mile stretch of the Salinas River Walk in nearby Paso Robles provides an easy trail through lovely scenery that’s suitable for the whole family.
5. Observe Wildlife
Your hikes around Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio are perfect opportunities to view wildlife. People commonly observe deer along the lakeshore, near the hiking trails, and even in the campgrounds. Other animals that you can sometimes spot in the forests include mountain lions, bobcats, badgers, raccoons, and wild pigs. Lake San Antonio has a large wintering population of bald eagles, and the best way to observe them is on the county tour boat, where you can also view golden eagles, ospreys, Canadian geese, and white pelicans.
6. Ride Horseback
The Work Family Ranch, just a few miles east of Lake Nacimiento near the town of San Miguel, offers your family a thrilling opportunity to go horseback riding over the rolling green Central California hills. The facility offers morning and afternoon rides for adults and children eight years old and up. On request, you can go for longer rides or even multi-day campouts.
7. Have Fun at the Parks
Lake Nacimiento is part of the Greater Paso Robles Area, and the city has some parks that provide great entertainment for the kids. Centennial Park is a peaceful grassy area with walking paths, picnic areas, barbecue grills, and a playground. Its sports facilities include basketball courts, tennis courts, and volleyball courts. Barney Swartz Park has a large lake where you can go boating and fishing. City Park in the town center is a lovely spot of greenery that often hosts special events such as concerts, farmers markets, and festivals.
8. Visit the Museums
Several fascinating family-friendly museums sit near your Lake Nacimiento vacation rental. The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum highlights the agricultural, commercial, and cultural history of the local area through interesting artifacts and exhibits. The Paso Robles Children’s Museum, located in the Volunteer Firehouse, provides numerous interactive themed play areas for younger kids. The main museum and annex of the Camp Roberts Historical Museum on the National Guard base in San Miguel features displays on military history as well as local pioneer and Native American history.
9. Enjoy the Zoo
The Conservation Ambassadors Zoo to You in Paso Robles focuses on providing permanent safe habitats for wild and exotic animals from around the world that have been abandoned, abused, or injured. Its Zoo to You program takes animals to the classrooms of California schools where children can view the animals up close. You can also visit the animals at their home location by scheduling a fascinating private tour for your family. These tours give your children a chance to interact with some of the animals in a safe, close-up environment.
10. Marvel at Hearst Castle
The amazing Hearst Castle lies just a few miles west of Lake Nacimiento on the Pacific coast. Built by newspaper millionaire William Randolph Hearst, this awesome and unforgettable estate has a twin-towered main house and three guest cottages with a total of 58 bedrooms, 60 bathrooms, 18 sitting rooms, and 41 fireplaces. The main house, called Casa Grande, also has a library, a theater, a billiards room, and several other auxiliary rooms, all furnished and decorated with elaborate artwork that Hearst brought back from his world travels. The grounds feature a huge Neptune pool, a Roman indoor pool, and 127 acres of lovely gardens. The site is now a National Historic Landmark, and you can join tours of the houses and grounds hosted by the California State Park Department.
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