Water Adventures California

10 California Water Activities to Enjoy This Summer

With the season’s sweltering summer temps, we’ll use any excuse we can to spend as much time in the water as possible. Fortunately for California locals and tourists alike, the Golden State is abundant with refreshing water hotspots—from pristine lakes and endless oceans to quaint harbors, river ways and more. Regardless of your preferences, here’s 10 of the best California water activities to enjoy summer.

Photo courtesy Castaic Lake.

Jet ski around Castaic Lake

Settled in the Sierra Pelona Mountains is Castaic Lake—the largest state water reservoir project in Southern California that’s garnered a reputation as being a hub for water sporting activities of all kinds. From fishing to jet skiing and more, the local favorite brings in visitors of all kinds and is hailed for its unique natural habitat (composed of over 11,000 acres of parkland) that’s unlike anything else seen in SoCal. During the high season in particular, the Upper Lake is the go-to spot for all California water activities, such as sailing, power boating and water jet skiing. Admission is $12, and rentals are available in some areas of the lake. For more information, visit www.castaiclake.com.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Herronn/Surf City USA.

Surf the waves at Huntington Beach

There’s some debate as to where the actual surfing hub of the world is (Aussies claim its the Gold Coast). But for Americans and West Coasters alike, we know the real surfing capital of the world is found in the heart Los Angeles at Huntington Beach—quite aptly nicknamed “Surf City USA.” Between the wide array of nearby surfing rentals and the slew of surf competitions and events hosted at Huntington all throughout the year, the area is celebrated for its expansive shoreline and notably great waves. While surf board rentals are available just across the street from the pier in Huntington’s famous shopping center, visitors can also just easily perch themselves on Huntington Beach Pier and watch the world-class showcase of California’s surfers as they battle the Pacific’s waves on almost the daily. For more information, visit www.surfcityusa.com.

Photo courtesy Great Wolf Lodge.

Relax in style at Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge might not be an exclusive California resort, as there are actually dozens of Great Wolf Lodge locations settled all across the country. Even still, the indoor water park and resort does boast an expansive property location in Garden Grove, where visitors can immerse themselves in refreshing fun, all without ever having to leave their hotel room. Rates for the lodge vary. But if you’re looking for a kiddo-friendly space to visit and let the kids exercise all of their energy out, then Great Wolf Lodge is a must-visit when in the Anaheim area. Plus, to make up for holiday travel woes, during July 4th weekend Great Wolf Lodge will randomly select 100 families who Tweet their flight cancellation notifications using #GWLRescue and tagging @greatwolflodge. Each of the selected families will enjoy a complimentary one-night stay valid at any of the 18 Great Wolf Lodge resorts across the United States! For more information, visit www.greatwolf.com.

Photo courtesy Mission Bay Sports Center.

Blast off while Flyboarding in San Diego

In all honesty: flyboarding isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you were born with a naturally adventurous spirit, then it might just be your new favorite way to take in the sights of San Diego from afar. Located within the heart of Mission Bay, Mission Bay Sports Center provides water sport rentals of all kinds—but their selection of flyboarding offerings is especially great. We’ve probably all secretly dreamed of strapping on a jet pack and taking our adventures to new (literal) heights. But thanks to flyboarding, aquatic aviation has become a reality—and an especially popular one for SoCal adventurists. For more information, visit www.missionbaysportscenter.com.

Photo courtesy Tahoe Adventure Company.

Kick back on a kayak at Lake Tahoe

Those taken with “lake life” will find so much solace at Lake Tahoe—the Northern California destination loved for its pristine mountain ranges, lush forests, endless seaside beaches, and California water activities galore. Kayak rentals are an especially popular option for campers and lodgers alike. Whether its your first time visiting this California gem or you’re a regular just looking for a new way to see the gorgeous lake, kayaking along the waters of Lake Tahoe is the proven way to go. For more information, visit www.tahoeadventurecompany.com.

Photo courtesy Six Flags.

Refresh at Six Flag’s Hurricane Harbor

It’s strange that in a state dominated by water and water activities as California, you’d need a reason to visit the local adventure park or water resort for a refresh. But alas, even year after year, Six Flags has continued to dominate as one of the most popular adventure parks in all of the state—celebrated for adrenaline-inducing rollercoasters, fun fair vibes and, last but not least, the property’s famous Hurricane Harbor waterpark. Complete with water slides, wave pools and so much more, the hotspot is perfect for those looking to cool off after a long day at the amusement park. Daily tickets and season passes for Six Flags are available all throughout the summer. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com.

Photo courtesy Catalina Sailing Adventures.

Sail around Santa Catalina Island

California might feel like a refreshing, coastal retreat in itself. But if you’re looking for even more of a Pacific Ocean escape beyond the Golden State, a trip out to the world-famous Catalina Island might be just your speed. Visitors can hop on an ultra-quick ferry ride from Southern California to get to the secluded spot—and once there, the California water activities are endless (though many gravitate towards sailing, in particular). With private and public charters offered all throughout the island, sailors of all ages and experiences will be able to get in on the fun of seeing the Pacific Ocean from a new perspective—by sail boat, of course. For more information, visit www.santanasailing.com.

Photo courtesy Visit Mammoth Lakes.

Get fishing at Mammoth Lakes

When it comes to fishing in California, Mammoth Lakes is celebrated as one of the very best spots for it—and for good reason. Between the diverse fish population, pristine shorelines and backdrops of towering trees and rugged buttes, the Eastern Sierra hotspot always seems to leave visitors coming back for more. Fishing licenses are required in many season—and more information on hours, peak seasons, and more can be found at www.visitmammoth.com.

Photo courtesy Visit Newport Beach.

Paddleboarding in Balboa

Those looking to enjoy more relaxed and low-key California water activities will enjoy the chance to paddle board along on Southern California’s gorgeous waters. And while the water sport can be enjoyed out in the middle of the ocean, many professional paddle boarders and amateurs alike enjoy paddling in calmer, more enclosed water bodies—like those provided at Newport Bay’s Balboa Island. With its own public pier, visitors can actually launch their own paddle board into the bay for free—or invest in one of the many local rental offerings that come complete with a paddle board, paddle, life jacket (depending on age) and more. For more information, visit www.balboaisland.com.

Photo courtesy Visit California.

Adventure on the white waters of Lower Klamath River

When you think of California, you might not imagine towering pine trees, river valleys and endless miles of waterways primed for white water rafting fun. But while the West Coast gem might be known for its plentiful sunshine and beauty vibe, California actually has a lot to offer in the forest department, too—including opportunities to go white water rafting along the Lower Klamath River. Outfitters of all kinds in Northern California offer multi-day tours and other opportunities for families to get their adventure on and float (or rather, trek) along the unpredictable waters of Lower Klamath—one of the state’s most popular destinations for white water rafting excursions. For more information, visit www.klamath-river.com.

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