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When it comes to watersports, wakeboarding is now almost as popular as surfing.
Many people find wake boarding far more accessible than surfing, and it’s just as much fun in the summertime.
If your balance is good, you can catch a lot of air with enough practice.
Now that you want to try it out, where are the best lakes in California for wakeboarding?
Every lake has its quirks, and not every lake in California is a great place to wakeboard.
Here are some of the best lakes that you can find in California for wakeboarding, so you don’t waste time boarding in less than ideal waters.
4 of the best lakes in California for wakeboarding
Located less than seven miles north of Redding, Lake Shasta is possibly one of California’s best places to wakeboard.
Lake Shasta holds a special place in wakeboarders’ hearts because its water stays smooth for the entire year.
The lake is so scenic that it’s also a favorite location to camp out and go boating.
While the water is always excellent quality, the best times to wakeboard in Lake Shasta are in the early morning or close to the evening.
Everyone will be out on the lake in the afternoon, so if you want the lake all to yourself, come when the sun is barely rising or setting.
To get to Lake Shasta, drive up Interstate 5 from Redding, and take exit #685 marked “Shasta Dam / 151.”
Drive West on Shasta Dam Boulevard for seven miles to reach Shasta Lake, Shasta Dam and the vista point.
Outside of any statewide registration requirements, you won’t have to pay any additional fees to enjoy Shasta Lake.
Lake Tahoe is one of the top wakeboarding destinations on this list, as it offers a different experience than others.
Lake Tahoe is a prime vacation spot, so you’ll also get a lot of non-wakeboarding traffic that might chop your water up a little bit.
However, if you have some wakeboarding experience under your belt, it shouldn’t be a problem for you.
If you want the smoothest water on Lake Tahoe, go there on a weekday.
All the other tourists go there on the weekends and go back to work on Monday, so the water is yours the other five days of the week if you can make it out there at that time.
Lake Tahoe straddles the border between northern Nevada and California. If you drive from the San Francisco airport, it will take you three and a half hours to reach South Lake Tahoe.
First, get on I-80 East until you reach US-50 East / El Dorado Freeway. Take the US-50 for 97 miles.
Turn right onto Lake Tahoe Boulevard, and celebrate the end of your journey with a picture of the gorgeous view.
If you go into the water from the California side of Lake Tahoe, you will need your California Boater Card.
If you cast off from the Nevada side of the lake, you will need a Nevada boater education card.
As of May 2019, you will need to pay $55 for a Tahoe In and Out pass if your boat is 17 feet or less.
If your boat is any longer than 17 feet, your cost will be $95. The Tahoe In and Out pass is good for one calendar year.
Canyon Lake is just inland of Lake Elsinore, and it’s a great place to wakeboard with its beautiful, glassy water and scenic views.
Unfortunately, because of those scenic views, Canyon Lake has become prime real estate for mansion owners who want to keep the lake quiet and peaceful.
The community leaders elected to keep Canyon Lake open to the public so wakeboarders can enjoy it, but the residents are fighting hard to make the lake private.
Canyon Lake is a great place to wakeboard in California, but you may want to come here before the residents succeed in taking access away from the public. For 73 miles.
If you want to drive to Canyon Lake, drive 81.5 miles east of LAX International Airport.
To get to Canyon Lake from here, take the following route:
- Merge onto the I-105 East and head this way for 16.7 miles.
- Go to the right lanes to merge onto I-605. Continue for 2.7 miles.
- When you reach exit 7A, move to the right three lanes to take the exit and merge onto CA-91 East. Keep going for 33.4 miles.
- Take exit 51 to get onto the I-15 toward San Diego. Keep going for 19.8 miles.
- Take exit 77 to go on CA-74 / Central Ave. The next turn will come up within a quarter-mile.
- Turn left on CA-74 East. Take Greenwald Avenue to Longhorn Drive.
Congratulations, you successfully navigated the labyrinth that is Los Angeles and arrived in Canyon Lake.
Before you can cast off on your wakeboard, you will need to pay a registration fee of $35 and an additional lake usage fee.
The amount you’ll have to pay for this fee will depend on how much horsepower your boat has.
If your boat has between 3-25 HP, you will need to pay $100 to use the lake.
If your boat has 26 HP or more, you will need to pay $225.
Canyon Lake’s fees are monstrous compared to the other entries on this list, but it lowers the number of people you’ll need to worry about chopping up the water while you’re on your board.
Lake Nacimiento is almost empty on weekdays.
Even on the weekends, the lake is relatively quiet, especially when you compare it to Lake Tahoe.
This lake is far away from civilization, which means that you only have a few people visit.
This lake is much lesser-known so that you can enjoy smooth waters without many interruptions.
It’s also 15 miles long, so you have plenty of room to explore that glassy water.
You can find Lake Nacimiento in the northernmost area of San Luis Obispo.
Driving here from San Luis Obispo Airport will take you only an hour.
Here’s how to get Lake Nacimiento from here:
- Get on the US-101 North and follow it for 31 miles.
- Take exit 231 to get on CA-46 toward Fresno for 0.2 miles.
- Take a sharp left to take CA-46 West for 500 feet. This road will change its name to 24th street, and again to Nacimiento Lake Drive in 1.2 miles.
- Continue onto Nacimiento Lake Drive for 7.1 miles.
- Turn left onto Gateway Drive then continue for 1.4 miles.
- Turn right onto Heritage Drive, then keep going until you find a good spot to cast off.
To wakeboard on Lake Nacimiento’s glassy waters, you will need to pay an all-day entrance fee of $15 per vehicle and boat.
When you live in California, you have excellent wakeboarding choices right in your backyard.
We made sure that these lakes were by far the best choices for your next wakeboarding adventure.
Now that you know where to go, take advantage of these fantastic waters, and have a wet and wild summer.
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