Beautiful Lakes in San Francisco for a Quaint Lakeside Getaway

Wildlife & Nature

Beautiful Lakes in San Francisco | Bay Area Lakes

Craved amidst the natural hilly landscape of the city, lakes in San Francisco offer fresh environments for family-friendly visits and opportunities to watch wildlife. Ranging from freshwater reservoirs where you can swim to tidal lagoons with colorful fish, lakes in San Francisco are delightful locations for hiking, camping, pursuing nature trails and boating in any weather.

Here is the list of 9 Beautiful Lakes in San Francisco for a Quaint Lakeside Getaway

1. Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa is a reservoir located in the Vaca Mountains of Napa County, California. Operated under a cooperative agreement by the Solano County Water Agency/Solano Irrigation District, the lake is fed by the tributaries of Putah Creek, Capell Creek, Pope Creek, and Eticuera Creek and supplies water to Vacaville, Suisun City, Vallejo, Fairfield, and Travis Air Force Base. Under the contract led by The Bureau of Reclamation, the lake and Monticello Dam, which are parts of the Solano Project, provide water for agricultural, municipal, and industrial purposes.

Location : Vaca Mountains, Napa County, California
Admission : Free
Parking : Oak Shores Day Use Areas: $5 per vehicle

2. Lake Merced Park

Lake Merced Park

Lake Merced is a freshwater lake system responsible for providing drinking water to the residents of San Francisco and the surrounding area. Once owned by Spring Valley Water Company (SVWC), which had monopolized San Francisco’s water, it is now managed by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks.

Located in : Fleming 9 Course
Hours : 7:30 am - 10:00 pm

3. Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt

Originally part of the San Francisco Bay, the wetlands and their shores surrounding Lake Merritt were occupied by the Ohlones. Located in Oakland, east of Downtown, the tidal estuary is named after the mayor of Oakland, Dr. Merritt, who donated land worth 155 acres and hence declared the lake a National Wildlife Refuge in 1869.

Hours : Monday-Saturday: 8:30 to 3:30 PM, Sunday: 8:30 - 2:00 PM
Parking : BART Customer Service Center at Lake Merritt Station in Oakland

4. Lake Anza

Lake Anza

Named after the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza, Lake Anza is a man-made reservoir in Tilden Regional Park of Berkeley Hills, California. Constructed in 1938, the lake stretches over a surface area of ten acres with its primary outflows as Wildcat Creek. The freshwater lake along with the sandy beach is a retreat in nature making it an excellent spot for picnicking, water recreational activities and hiking up through the Lake Anza Trail.

Location : Contra Costa County, California

Hours : Open 24 Hours
Admission : Child: $2.50 age, Adult: $3.50 age, Seniors & Specially Abled: $2.50

5. San Pablo Reservoir

San Pablo Reservoir

Managed by the East Bay Municipal Utility District, San Pablo Reservoir is a reservoir located in Contra Costa County, California. Set near El Sobrante, north of Orinda, the reservoir is 14 miles away from Oakland.

Hours : Open 6:30 a.m. February through April, open 6 a.m. May through August
Cost : $7 per vehicle entry fee, $5 per person daily fishing permit.
Distances : 14 miles from Oakland

6. Spreckels Lake

Spreckels Lake

Residing inside San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Spreckels Lake is an artificial reservoir designed specifically for model boating facilities. Better known as The Spreckels Lake Model Yacht Facility, it is named after sugar-fortune heir and San Francisco Parks Commission President Adolph B. Spreckels.

Location : Northern side of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park
Hours : 24-hrs
Restroom Hours: 8 am to 5.30 pm

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7. Lake Del Valle

Lake Del Valle

Lake Del Valle is the center-piece of Del Valle’s Regional Park, situated in Alameda County, California. The five-mile-long lake, along with the Del Valle Dam, is part of the California State Water Project. Located on the lake’s west side, The Rocky Ridge Visitor Center features exhibits and information about the natural history of Del Valle and surrounding wilderness.

Rates : Boat launch fees:
$5 per day for a trailered boat
$3 per day for a car-top
$2 per day per windsurf board and paddleboards
Pet Policy : $2 entry fee per dog

8. Lloyd Lake

Lloyd Lake

Named after the park’s commissioner, Rueben Hedley Lloyd, the lake serves as a reservoir for the nearby Rainbow Falls. Situated in Golden Gate Park of San Francisco, Lloyd Lake is a safe haven for both native and migratory birds in the park, including geese, pigeons, ducks, Campbell ducks, mallards, gulls, Northern Pintail, Steller’s jay, American Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser and Muscovy ducks.

Location : John F. Kennedy Drive and 23rd Avenue
Admission : Free

9. San Andreas Lake

San Andreas Lake

The reservoir San Andreas Lake finds its genesis in the San Andreas Fault of San Mateo County, California. The lake was originally classified as a sag pond when first discovered in 1769 by the Spanish Portola Expedition party. The area received its name from Portola’s chaplain and diarist, Father Francisco Palou, who named it San Andreas in honor of the saint’s feast day.

Location: San Mateo County

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