Pristine Lakes in San Diego for a Quiet Day Out

Lakes in San Diego

San Diego is home to 20 freshwater lakes and man-made reservoirs, most of which are renowned as fisheries and tourist attractions. Home to catfish, bluegill, koi and herons, lakes in San Diego are wi (Read More)ldlife and bird watching abodes. From taking a plunge into Lake Miramar to cycling along forested hills of Lake Lower Otay, lakes in San Diego are hotspots for kayaking and boating too.

Here is the list of 18 Pristine Lakes in San Diego for a Quiet Day Out

1. Chollas Lake

Chollas Lake
5.0 /5

Chollas Lake Park is a recreational park near San Diego, California. The Chollas Lake in San Diego served as a reservoir for the water supply for early days. The reservoir was constructed in 1901. The administration & control was taken over by the Parks & Recreation Department in1966. Later, in 1971, it was denominated as the youth fishing lake.

Timings : 6:30 A.M. to Sunset (Timings are subject to change)
Kids friendly : Yes

2. San Vicente Reservoir

San Vicente Reservoir
4.5 /5

San Vicente Reservoir is a deep and steep-sided, enclosed reservoir on San Vicente Creek. It is around 25 miles northeast of San Diego City. San Vicente Dam was constructed in the 1940s, and it was raised in 2016. When full, the reservoir has a depth of 306 feet. It is the largest reservoir in the City.

Timings : Winter Schedule - Nov to Apr
On Monday, Thursday, & Friday from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset (Fishing and general boating, no water contact activities).
On Saturday and Sunday - 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset (Fishing, general boating, and water contact like water-skiing, wakeboarding, etc.)
(Closed on Tue and Wed)
Summer Schedule : May to Oct
Monday from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
(Fishing and general boating, no water contact activities).
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset (Fishing, general boating, and water contact like water-skiing, wakeboarding, etc.)
(Closed on Tue and Wed)
Admission : No water contact :- Adults - $8, Seniors (aged 65 or above) - $4, Youth ( ages 8 to 15) - $2.50, Children (ages 7 & below) - free.
With Water Contact (Water-skiing, tubing, personal watercraft) :- Adults (16 yrs & above) - $10 per person, Youth ( 8 to 15 yrs) - $5.00, Children (ages 7 & below) - free.
Additional $7 per boat/craft for Private Boating.

3. Lindo Lake

Lindo Lake
4.5 /5

Lindo Lake is a small, shallow Lake in Lakeside, California. It is around 20 miles northeast of San Diego. There's a Lindo Lake County park offering recreational activities like fishing, bird watching, skating, etc. The Lake in San Diego is bifurcated into two basins, with the western part carrying most of the water and the eastern serving as an overflow area during heavy rains.

Timings : Daily from Sunrise to Sunset

4. Lake Hodges

Lake Hodges
4.5 /5

Lake Hodges is a lake and reservoir in Southern California. It is around 31 miles north of San Diego City and lies just south of Escondido, California. The total capacity of this Lake in San Diego is 30,251 acre-feet of water. In 1918, Hodges Reservoir was formed along with the construction of the Hodges Dam on San Dieguito Creek. Later, the dam and the reservoir was purchased by the City of San Diego in 1925.

Fishing tickets : Adults - $8:00 per person, Seniors (age 65 and above) $4 per person, Youth (ages 8 to 15) - $2.50 per person, and Children (ages 7 & below) - free.
Boating tickets : Private Boating and Watercraft, including Private Boat Launch, Double Kayaks (Single Kayaks are $2 per craft), Canoes - $7 per boat/craft, and Boards - $ 7 per board.
Wheelchair accessible fishing : Yes

5. Lake Murray

Lake Murray
4.5 /5

Lake Murray is a man-made reservoir in the state of South Carolina. Lake Murray is fed by the Saluda River, and it has a size of approximately 50,000 acres. The Lake Murray is named after William S. Murray, its chief project engineer. Other than serving as a source of hydroelectric power for the region, Lake Murray has become a popular recreational attraction. Fishing and boating are popular activities here.

Timings : seven days a week from 5:30 A.M. to sunset

6. Upper Otay Reservoir

Upper Otay Reservoir
4.5 /5

Upper Otay Reservoir, also referred to as Upper Otay Lake is a man-made reservoir in San Diego County, California. This reservoir is spread over 20-acre land. Upper Otay Reservoir was constructed as a hatchery for the breeding and introduction of Florida Largemouth bass in 1959. Since 1996, this reservoir has been open for public access. Pedestrian access is allowed for fishing here.

Timings : Wed, Sat, & Sun from sunrise to sunset (closed Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri)
Admission : Adults - $8, Seniors (aged 65 or above) - $4, Youth ( ages 8 to 15) - $2.50, Children (ages 7 & below) - free. (Cash or check only; bring the exact change)

7. Dixon Lake

Dixon Lake
5.0 /5

Dixon Lake is a compact, clear-water reservoir lying in Escondido City. It is around 40 miles north of San Diego City. Dixon Lake in San Diego is famous for producing the biggest largemouth bass across the world. The Dixon Lake dam was built in 1971. Dixon Lake is an apt site for hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, and kids play. Swimming is not allowed. The place has many trails to explore and several barbecue spots.

Timings : Open year-round from 6 A.M. to sunset (closing hours may vary as per season)
Recreational Destination

8. Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca
4.5 /5

Lake Cuyamaca, also known as Cuyamaca reservoir Aur Cuyamaca Lake, is a reservoir and recreational area in Eastern San Diego County, California. This 110 square meter reservoir is nestled amid the Eastern Cuyamaca Mountains. The Cuyamaca Dam is the second oldest dam in California, still in operation. The Lake Cuyamaca Recreation & Park District was formed in the mid-1960s. The recreational area of Cuyamaca Lake is administered by The Helix Water District and Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District.

Timings : Open for Fishing from morning 6 A.M. to sunset, and the tackle shop opens at 8 A.M.

9. Lower Otay Lake

Lower Otay Lake
4.5 /5

The original Lake Otay Dam was constructed by the Southern California Mountain Water Company. In 1906, The Lake Otay Reservoir was connected to the city of San Diego's water system. Due to heavy rains, the dam burst in 1916. Then, it was rebuilt in 1918 with the name Savage Dam.

Timings : Wed, Sat, & Sun from sunrise to sunset. (Closed Mon-Tue & Thu-Fri)
Admission : Adults - $8, Seniors (aged 65 or above) - $4, Youth ( ages 8 to 15) - $2.50, Children (ages 7 & below).
Dog Friendly : Dogs are allowed on-leash.

10. Discovery Lake

Discovery Lake
4.5 /5

Discovery Lake is a five-acre lake lying in a quiet residential area in San Marcos, California. There is a trail around the Discovery Lake that is multi-use, short trail apt for hiking, bicycling, jogging, strollers, wheelchairs, and having a walk with your pet. There are many other hiking trails in the area varying in length, difficulty, & elevation.

11. Diamond Valley Lake

Diamond Valley Lake
5.0 /5

Diamond Valley Lake is an off-stream reservoir lying near Hemet in California. It is a man-made reservoir that takes pride in being one of the largest as well as the newest reservoir in entire Southern California. Diamond Valley Lake reservoir is a drinking water reservoir owned and administered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. This lake reservoir plays a vital role in providing water to 18 million Southern Californians and is life-saving at times of drought.

Timings : Wed to Sun from 6 A.M. to 5 P.M. (Mon-Tue closed)
Admission : $5 - Reservation Fee & $3 - fishing fee per person.

12. Lake Poway

Lake Poway
4.5 /5

Lake Poway is a dam & reservoir in Lake Poway not only provides a source of water supply for the residents, but it also offers an amazing outdoor recreational area. Lake Poway Recreational Area sits amid the Poway hills since 1972. Lake Poway is a reservoir for domestic water supply. Hereby, swimming, wading, or any physical contact with water is prohibited. Personal boats or float tubes are not allowed at Lake Poway except with special permission. However, there are several fishing boats and pedal boats available for rent.

Admission : Free for Residents & Active Military with ID, and $10 fee for non-residents.
Timings : Open daily from 6 A.M. to sunset

13. Hendrix Pond

Hendrix Pond
4.5 /5

Hendrix Pond is a reasonable-sized, man-made pond, lying at the base of the slope, away from the main streets in San Diego, California. Hendrix Pond is situated opposite the Scripps Ranch Swim and Racquet Club’s Aviary site. The place is kids friendly and dogs friendly as well. You can enjoy a walk around the pond.

Entry Fee : Free
Hiking spot : Yes

14. Sweetwater Reservoir

Sweetwater Reservoir
4.5 /5

Sweetwater Reservoir is an artificial lake spread over an area of 960-acre in San Diego County, California. The Sweetwater Reservoir is formed by the construction of Sweetwater Dam in 1888 on the Sweetwater River. Only shoreline fishing is permitted in the Reservoir along the 2.5 miles belt on the southern side. Children under the age of 16 years need Adult supervision.

Timings : October to February - Sat to Mon from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and March to September - Sat to Mon from  7 A.M. to 5 P.M. (hours adjusted seasonally)
Admission : $5 per Adult, $2 per child (under 16 must be accompanied by an adult), and $3 per car for non-fishing visitors (only cash).

15. Barrett Lake

Barrett Lake
5.0 /5

Barrett Lake is a renowned recreational Spot for families. It is a small catch & release reservoir that is about 35 miles from downtown San Diego in Jamul, California. Barrett Lake was formed on the completion of the Barrett Dam in 1922. This reservoir was used as a water storage tank for around 72 years. It received water from the Morena Reservoir, along with some local fish species like bluegill, catfish, and bass. The San Diego city accomplished a deal with the owner of this land for allowing public access to this lake in 1994.

Open :  Wednesday, Saturday, & Sunday
Reservations : Boat Reservations: $ 80 + Ticketmaster fees as applicable; and Shore/ Float Tube Fishing Reservations: $ 20 + Ticketmaster fees as applicable; Mandatory via Ticketmaster

16. Lake Skinner

Lake Skinner
4.5 /5

Lake Skinner is a beautiful lake and recreational place in the rolling hills of Winchester, California. This place offers scenic views of nature with various recreational opportunities such as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, sailing, horseback riding, & more. For all the day trips, the Lake offers two shade shelters, picnic tables, and barbecue across the park for picnicking & gatherings.

Timings : Daily from 6 A.M. to Sunset 
Camping Hours: Sun to Thu from 6 A.M. to sunset and Fri to Sat (and the night before holidays) from 6 A.M. to 10 P.M.
Admission : Day use: $6 - Adults and $3 for children (ages 12 or below); Camping: $30-$50 per night; Fishing: $10 per adult and $8 per child; Boat launch: $7
Recreational Destination : Yes
Kids-friendly : Yes
Wheelchair Accessible : Yes

17. Lake Sutherland

Lake Sutherland
4.5 /5

Lake Sutherland or Sutherland Reservoir is approximately 45 miles northeast of San Diego City. When full, the reservoir has 556.8 surface acres. This Reservoir has a storage capacity of 29,508 acre-feet. The water activities offered at Lake Sutherland involve Boating, Row Boating, Canoeing, and more. Other recreational activities offered are fishing, hiking, picnicking, etc. The place features a water fountain, picnic tables, barbecue areas (gas barbecues are allowed in a specified area), and restrooms.

Timings : Open from Mar to Sep on Fri, Sat, & Sun from Sunrise to Sunset (Closed from October to February).
Admissions : Adults - $8 per person, Senior Citizens (ages 65 & above) - $4, Youth (ages 8 to 15) - $2.50, children (7 years & below) - free.
Wheelchair Accessible fishing : Yes

18. Lake Ramona

Lake Ramona
4.5 /5

Lake Ramona is a small, deep, clear-water reservoir situated between Poway and Ramona. It is around 37 miles northeast of San Diego City. This Lake in San Diego was formed in the 1980s as a reservoir to keep stock of the inexpensive water for local agricultural needs as well as emergency storage in case of shortage. You have to hike through the Lake Poway & Blue Sky Reserve to reach here.

Timings : Open round the year from sunrise to sunset.
Charges :  Free Fishing (license required)
Kids-friendly : Yes
Dog friendly : Yes

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