With more than 80 miles of stunning California coastline, it’s tempting to think all water adventures in SLO CAL are by the ocean. But with tranquil, welcoming lakes throughout the county, there’s no reason your time at the water has to end west of Pacific Coast Highway.
Ten miles east of Arroyo Grande lies Lopez Lake, a reservoir that offers 22 miles of shoreline and summer lake temperatures around 70 degrees. Stay a night—or two—at one of the lake’s campgrounds, or simply make a day trip of it. Fishing, boating, picnicking, hiking and equestrian trails await visitors who take the scenic drive out to the lake. Mountain biking, windsurfing, canoeing and bird-watching are also favorite Lopez Lake activities.
To the north is Santa Margarita Lake, a reservoir known for its excellent fishing and peaceful boating atmosphere. In addition to the developed area of the lake, Santa Margarita Lake also includes thousands of acres of protected open space. This stretch of land is home to countless plant and wildlife species, making it a great location for nature study.
For an in-town lake experience, check out Atascadero Lake Park. A walking path around the edge of the lake, a playground and paddle/kayak boats attract jet-setters to the lake year-round. Make a full day of a trip to the lake by strolling over to the Charles Paddock Zoo, located within the park.