You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to fall in love with Northern California’s lion share of lakes, rivers and streams. And, you don’t have to own your own boat to enjoy the ocean. There are thousands of ways to kick back and relax alongside the soothing sounds of water. My favorite? Taking it all in as I enjoy a good book. We’ve listed a few of our favorite waterfront spots below. Pick your poison. There’s something for everyone here!
1. Trinity Lake
Once known as Clair Engle Lake, this body of water became what she is today after the county built the Trinity Dam. Thus, her new name. It's the third largest reservoir in California. Its channels thread through the Trinity forest like feathers of an eagle taking flight.
2. Stow Lake
This looks simply magical, like a scene out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. But, you can actually find this gem tucked inside Golden Gate Park. When was the last time you enjoyed the water from a bridge like this?
3. Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is a gentle giant with what looks like a bit of an attitude in this shot. Taken on the shores of Ft. Bragg, we're blessed to be able to be only a hop, skip, and a jump from this massive body of ocean. The water calls to us here.
4. McCloud River
There are three sets of falls here. These would be what are known as the Lower Falls. McCloud is a lovely little town where biking and hiking are common occurrences in these parts. But, we'll just keep that to ourselves.
5. Tenaya Lake
If you're in Mariposa stop here! Gorgeous reflections and clouds over the lake make for a great photo as is almost always the case here. Yosemite's Tenaya Lake is located near Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, California is a great place to visit when you're in the neighborhood of Yosemite Park.
6. The Bay
This lone boat sits in the San Francisco Bay near the Sausalito shore. I'm not sure there's anything prettier than the sun against the water's edge. Sunrise or sunset, it really doesn't matter. These kind of photos are gold.
7. Mormon Creek
A gentleman named Judge Tuttle discovered gold on the banks of Mormon River in the mid 1800s. He built a log cabin alongside the bank and the town became known as Tuttletown. The creek runs through parts of Tuolomne County including Jamestown and Sonora.
8. Lake Jabu
Lake Jabu has also gone by the name Lake Lucille. Not a ton is known about her because she's pretty off the beaten path. Located in what some call "desolation wilderness" in the El Dorado National Forest, you'll have to really enjoy a good hike to see this spot.
9. Salmon River
The Salmon River is close to 20 miles long and finds its origin in the Trinity Alps. It has two forks that both are contained inside the Klamath National Forest. Like its name, the salmon are free-flowing here. There are no dams to hinder their path. They live as naturally here as intended.
10. Emerald Bay
The next time you find yourself in the Lake Tahoe area, stop by this little gem of a place. Some folks think it's a slice of heaven on earth. There are more photos taken of this body of water than a lot of other places in Northern California. And we can see why.
11. Smith River
The Smith River runs for about 25 miles and through three forests. It's at the most northern part of our state and a town is named after it. Smith River is the town that is considered the wettest in the whole state and averages 70 inches of rain annually compared to the 35 inches for the rest of the state.
12. Sempervirens Falls
Big Basin Redwood State Park is where you can find this beauty. A trip to the park calls for a visit to Sempervirens Falls. The park is a total of 3800 acres of old growth Redwoods and the falls gets its name from the formal name of the Redwoods or "Sequoia Sempervirens." You learn something new everyday, don't you?
So many choices! Why does it have to be this hard? We live in the most amazing part of the country and it’s probably a good thing to struggle with these kinds of questions, right?