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The Most Romantic Lakes in California for Getaways
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The Most Romantic Lakes in California for Getaways

Nestled in between mountain ranges, lakes in California truly are an integral part of the magic of the great outdoors.

Palig Dzadourian

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5 min read

September 25, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

The Golden State is home to an abundance of natural wonders scattered across the land. Most people have a hard time keeping track of them all, even for California residents it can become quite overwhelming. Some of the most frequented places in the state are lakes. Usually nestled in between mountain ranges or found in lush green forests, lakes in California truly are an integral part of the magic of the great outdoors. A lot of lake getaways could very well be included in your next romantic itinerary with your loved one, so where to start?

Lake Tahoe’s stunning views are almost unmatched.

Northern California is where you’ll find most of the California lakes, as the landscape and weather allow for these bodies of water to form more easily than in other parts of the state. Norcal is also home to one of the oldest lakes in the Golden State and is just an all-around ideal place for lake vacations.

Lake Tahoe

Location: Sierra Nevada.
One of the most popular lakes in Northern California, Lake Tahoe is a strong competitor for being amongst the best lakes in California! This large freshwater lake holds no shortage of activities all year round, from being a ski resort in the winter to be one of the nation’s favorite lake getaway destinations for the summer.

A Tahoe getaway will surely reinforce your bond with your partner. There are endless amounts of things to do here, like playing in the water, trekking up to Mount Tallac, kayaking and so much more. For the less adventurous, worry not as Lake Tahoe can also be as relaxing as it can be exciting. The stillness of the water and the quietude of the Sierra Nevada Mountains will make for some unforgettable moments. Don’t forget to check out some of the most popular lakeside resorts in the state, one of them being the Tahoe Lakeshore Resort and Spa.

Fall in love with the beauty of Lake Shasta, where you will spend one of the most memorable weekends of your life.

Lake Shasta

Location: Shasta Lake.
Second in size to Lake Tahoe, Lake Shasta is well known for its beauty and splendor. Both a mountain and lake getaway, you would be getting the best of both worlds on your trip to Lake Shasta. 370 miles of shoreline with a backdrop of the breathtaking scenery reflecting in the still pristine water make for the ideal romantic setting. Boat rentals are a great option to spend some time with your beloved.

Many lake resorts are also available around Shasta Lake that will enhance your trip, such as Mount Shasta Resort which is full of fun things best experienced as a couple.

A trip down to the Jewel of the High Country is unlike any trip you'll take.

Tenaya Lake

Locations: Between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows.
This High Sierra Lake is sometimes considered to be the “ jewel of the High Country”. It is another amazing option for a lake getaway with your other half. Surrounded by granite domes and forests, Tenaya Lake is where you will spend one of the most memorable weekends of your life. Tucked away in a lesser-known part of Yosemite Valley, this is a very popular destination for kayaking, fishing, and even sunbathing. Sandy beaches can be found East of the lake where picnics and various other things can be enjoyed.

June Lake

Location: Mono County, Yosemite Valley.
June Lake, a high elevation lake mostly popular amongst trout fishermen offers stunning views all year round and is located 30 minutes East of Yosemite Valley. 

For couples on the lookout for water activities, the June Lake Loop is the way to go! The warmer months also make way for exciting hiking opportunities through high alpine meadows strewn with vibrant flowers and plants. If it gets a little chilly, don’t worry! You can warm up in one of the natural hot springs. Visiting June Lake is worth it any time of the year for a romantic getaway with a dash of adventure.

Mono Lake is one of the most unique-looking lakes in the state.

Mono Lake

Location: Mono County.
Mono Lake is a saline soda lake located in the Eastern part of the Sierras via Tioga Pass. This is one of the oldest lakes in the western hemisphere estimated to be 760 000 years old, and a hotspot for sightseeing in California. This specific lake getaway is perfect for couples passionate about nature. The stunningly beautiful appearance of the limestone (known as tufa) once submerged underwater is one of the main selling points of this destination. As Mono Lake is a saltwater lake, the water will make you float while you are swimming. It is an ethereal experience everyone should go through at least once.

Mono Lake may not be like your typical lake vacation, but visiting such a wondrous nature spot with your partner is sure to be among the best memories you share.

You can’t go wrong with a trip to Mammoth Lakes.

Mammoth Lakes

Location: Mammoth Lakes, Mono County.
Mammoth Lakes is truly unique in a state filled with lakes and stands out easily. The enchanting combination of pine forests, clear waters, and towering mountains are what makes it one of the most popular lakes in California. Mammoth Lakes is also great for outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking through stunning meadows, and scenic treks along the mountains.

While most people head to Southern California to bathe in the sun-kissed beach destinations, why not change it up a little? There are a few lakes in Southern California worth checking out as well, especially if you are tired of the usual beach dating scenes.

Big Bear is among the most popular lakes in California, and we all know why!

Big Bear Lake 

Location: Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino County.
One cannot omit Big Bear Lake from a list of lakes in Southern California, as it is one of the top destinations in this part of the state. If the jewel of San Bernardino County is where you’re headed on your romantic lake getaway, you will not be disappointed. There are many resort lodges to choose from if you wish to stay overnight to prolong the good times. Known to be one of the best places to fish, hike, snowboard, and zipline, do not miss out on the Big Bear Lake hype!

Lake Arrowhead is where you will leave your heart.

Lake Arrowhead 

Location: San Bernardino County.
Stunning views of the San Bernardino mountains and a cozy and secluded lake getaway paradise, welcome to the Alps of Southern California: Lake Arrowhead. The breathtaking scenery and wildlife of the area grant a peacefulness we may have lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Bringing your partner to Lake Arrowhead is one of the most romantic things to do. With many hotels and accommodations nearby, Lake Arrowhead is one of the best options for a small break from city life.

A lake getaway with an added touch of camping is exactly what adventurous couples need.

Lake Cachuma

Location: Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County.
The beauty of Santa Ynez Valley attracts large amounts of people in search of a relaxing outdoor getaway. Although Lake Cachuma is not a natural lake and is a man-made reservoir, there are still many things you can do around these parts. Couples can set up their tents on one of the four campgrounds available. The campsites are nestled among densely packed native oak tree forests, boasting spectacular views from every angle.

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