Diamond Valley Lake plays a critical role in the well-being of Southern Californians. When major droughts befall the region, the reservoir is among the first emergency resources to be tapped for fresh water, and it can sustain Southern California's 18 million inhabitants for up to six months.
Otherwise, the lake is much more about having fun, and Diamond Valley Marina helps people do just that. Though bodily contact with the water is not permitted, visitors can rent a boat from the marina and cruise across the 7-square-mile body of water surrounded by red hills. The fishing alone is reason enough to make a visit to Diamond Valley, and many do every year to try and haul up the black bass, bluegill, rainbow trout, and catfish that live beneath the waters, brazenly breaking the clearly stated no-body-contact laws. Nonfishers, meanwhile, can be content with relaxing on a rental pontoon from the marina or hiking or riding horses on the trails that rim the lake edge.
Along the northern edge of Big Bear Lake sits Fawnskin Harbor, a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Captain John's Fawn Harbor & Marina calls this serene alcove home, housing boats and doling out rental watercraft. From the harbor's docks and moorings, visitors launch pontoons, speedboats, canoes, and kayaks toward Grout Bay, a bald-eagle nesting site that also teems with great blue herons, osprey, and beavers. The wildlife sanctuary can also be infiltrated via standup paddleboard, a Hawaii-born craft that delivers a challenging core workout. Tours on an electric boat cruise the boulder- and tree-ringed bay area while passengers explore the lake, learn local history, and glimpse the lake's namesake surreptitiously brushing his coat.
Cabins4Less creates homes away from home on the edge of Big Bear Lake. Their lakefront suites set the mood for adventure with rustic wood interiors and private decks, but maintain a sense of comfort by providing pillow top mattresses and kitchenettes. That dual approach to camping ensures that guests get to experience the beauty of the outdoors without its inconveniences.
Not content merely to provide lodging, Cabins4Less keeps its guests busy during daytime by renting out kayaks, which are free and pet-friendly, along with bikes and fishing poles. Thusly equipped, visitors can stroll or roll through the mountains or set out from the adjacent marina to paddle around the lake or catch some fish. A local bowling alley and restaurants make the nearby village a good place to wile away the time after friendly aliens flick off the sun's light switch.
If you wanted to skip a stone from one end of Lake Gregory to another, you'd have to have quite an arm. Nestled in the San Bernadino Mountains, the lake sprawls across 84 acres?that's 60 football fields?which means it's vast enough for every type of aquatic entertainment. An inflatable play structure dubbed Splash Island floats on its surface, welcoming youngsters to swim, climb, and zoom down a waterslide. Fishermen tour the lake to bait its trophy-sized trout, which are stocked twice monthly. Other visitors explore the waves on rental kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and aqua cycles, which are much more useful than a regular bike wearing water wings.
First String Sportfishing sails the open seas off of Southern California, taking passengers on both fishing voyages and educational marine tours. Its largest boat, First String, can hold up to 149 people for its whale-watching tours. On board the 93-foot boat, you’ll find two 9-ton fish holds, two radars, a large-screen television, and a dolphin-to-English dictionary. First String Sportfishing’s other boats depart for both Californian and Mexican waters on fishing excursions. These trips typically yield shallow-water rockfish such as Sculpin and Whitefish and larger varieties including yellowtail and barracuda.
While seated in a boat on Laguna Niguel Lake, visitors feast their eyes on the surrounding rolling hills and lush forestry while taking advantage of 44 acres of fishing spots. The staff constantly stocks the waters with new fish, sending thousands of pounds of rainbow trout, catfish, and other species to swim amid the watery depths. With the fishing arena prepared, they then rappel down on fishing lines to awaiting customers to supply permits, poles, and bait, which they use to entice bluegill and other aquatic passersby.
Though all share the same lake, visitors can embark on fishing adventures in multiple ways. They can wrestle with carp from the lakeside, steer a rented boat, or bob across the water in float tubes, a single-person watercraft reminiscent of the floating easy chairs used by retired penguins.