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Overview

Winemakers blend big reds. Fishermen sojourn to the shores of Clear Lake to snag the state's most enthusiastic bass. When the weather heats up, die hard summer camp lovers descend upon the lake in droves to frolic in the largest natural lake in the state (Tahoe doesn't count because it is split between two states). Toss in the cleanest air in California and you begin to understand why Lake County draws slews of devotees each year. Hugged by mountains, the region was first inhabited by Pomo Indians, then cowboys, before pioneers discovered the natural hot springs and began constructing resorts. Forest fires raged through the mountains, ...

Winemakers blend big reds. Fishermen sojourn to the shores of Clear Lake to snag the state's most enthusiastic bass. When the weather heats up, die hard summer camp lovers descend upon the lake in droves to frolic in the largest natural lake in the state (Tahoe doesn't count because it is split between two states). Toss in the cleanest air in California and you begin to understand why Lake County draws slews of devotees each year. Hugged by mountains, the region was first inhabited by Pomo Indians, then cowboys, before pioneers discovered the natural hot springs and began constructing resorts. Forest fires raged through the mountains, leaving mostly the lakeside dwellings intact. Today the largest towns are Clearlake and Lakeport, both of which boast antique shops, a couple traffic signals, and a smattering of services (namely fishing guides). A few communities — Middletown, Kelseyville, and Lower Lake — surround resorts. But the real draw here is the access to nature, the snail's pace, and the can of brew you'll enjoy on a boat.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer