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Check out all 4 parts of our series on our favorite lakes: Part 1: West Coast Lakes, Part 2: Mountain Lakes, Part 3: Midwest Lakes, Part 4: Eastern US.
If you enjoyed our recent series of posts introducing you to our favorite beaches around the US, you will love the next adventure we are taking you on. In this series of posts, we will introduce you to our favorite lakes across the country. To kick things off, let’s explore some beautiful lakes in the West Coast region.
The West Coast is home to some dramatic scenery as well as a wide range of climate zones. Whether you are in Southern California, Washington State, or anywhere in between, you can find some stunning lakes surrounded by majestic vistas.
If you are visiting Los Angeles or live there and you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, head east to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Big Bear Lake is home to the Bear Mountain Ski Resort and Boulder Bay Park. It is a hot spot not only for skiing and snowboarding, but also for water sports, hiking, and other outdoor fun. Nearby Big Bear City (which is a small town, not a city) has plenty of amenities, and you can rent a boat at one of the marinas or head out on a boat tour.
You can camp in a tent or RV while visiting Big Bear Lake, or even with a horse!
At Big Bear Lake, you have everything you could want all in one place and reasons to visit in any season. But even with all the amenities, Big Bear Lake offers plenty of secluded spots that surround you with the beauty of nature. The large boulders also give the area a distinctive look that is unlike anywhere else.
You will discover the gem that is Mountain Lake in Moran State Park. This park is on Orcas Island in Washington State that is right near the border with Canada. You can reach the park by ferry. You can camp in an RV or tent; there are 151 sites in all. A few of them are even glamping sites.
The 5,424 acre park offers access to swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, and more. When you are taking a break from fun on the lake, you can discover beautiful waterfalls in the surrounding forest, or take in the views from the distinctive stone tower at the summit of Mount Constitution. The tower was constructed by the CCC during the 1930s, and is in the style of 12th century Russian watchtowers. So, there is some interesting history and architecture here.
While we are talking about the best lakes to visit in the West Coast region, there is no way we cannot mention Crater Lake.
No doubt, you are familiar with Crater Lake from photographs; it is the deepest lake in the US, and among the deepest worldwide. It takes its name from the fact that it is the caldera of Mount Mazama, a collapsed volcano.
While visiting Crater Lake, it may feel hard to believe that this was the site of such cataclysmic geological activity. Nowadays, it is a serene place to be; the waters are often still enough to produce stunning reflections of the surrounding terrain. Go driving, hiking or cycling, take a bus or trolley tour, or go fishing (no license necessary). You can stay at the famous lodge, or you can camp at Lost Creek Campground or Mazama Campground. There truly is no other experience quite like a stay at Crater Lake.
Crater Lake, Mountain Lake, and Big Bear Lake are just a few examples of the numerous gorgeous lakes that dot the West Coast region of the US. Add these lakes to your bucket list, but be sure to research additional ideas. No matter where you will be traveling along the West Coast, you should find yourself close to an unforgettable lake!