Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa is a Northern California reservoir that was formed in 1957 when the Monticello Dam was completed on the Putah Creek. Measuring 26 miles long and three miles wide, it is one of California’s largest bodies of fresh water and entices with its recreational opportunities. You can more specifically find Lake Berryessa in Napa County, and among the activities of choice at this popular recreation area are boating, swimming, fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, and water skiing. Lake Berryessa visitors can also enjoy such land-based pursuits as hiking, biking, and picnicking, and the birdwatching is great both on and off the water. Interesting to note is that Lake Berryessa has 165 miles of shoreline. That’s more shoreline miles than Lake Tahoe.

Lake Berryessa Camping

Lake Berryessa Camping
Lake Berryessa Camping  Image: SpecMode (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Hills that are dotted with oaks and manzanitas add depth to the landscape at the Lake Berryessa Recreational Area and provide an excellent backdrop for camping adventures. Three main campgrounds cater to Lake Berryessa visitors who wish to camp. They include the campground at Spanish Flat, the campground at Steele Canyon, and the campground at Pleasure Cove. The Spanish Flat campground is found on the west side of Lake Berryessa and offers 45 tent and RV sites. The Steele Canyon campground is on the southwest side of the lake and offers more than 80 sites, some of which are either RV or tent only. As for the Pleasure Cove campground, it is located at the Pleasure Cove Marina and offers 140 tent and RV sites. Fees apply at the Lake Berryessa campgrounds, and the amenities vary. Both the Spanish Flat and Steele Canyon campgrounds allow pets for an added fee and have both portable toilets and hand washing stations. The campground at Pleasure Cove has available water, but offers no additional services.

Lake Berryessa Houseboats

One of the options for those who wish to stay overnight at Lake Berryessa is to rent a houseboat. Three different models of houseboats are available for rent. They range from basic to luxurious and can accommodate up to 10 or 12 people depending on the model in question. Early boarding options are available for those who wish to take advantage. This involves staying aboard the boat while it is docked at the marina for the first night. After an early orientation the following morning, those who book the early boarding option can be one of the first boats out on the lake that day. The rental houseboats at Lake Berryessa depart with full tanks of fuel, and it is the responsibility of the renter to return the boat with a full tank. Pets are allowed aboard the houseboats. There is a non-refundable fee per animal.

Lake Berryessa Cabins

Renting a cabin can be a wonderful way to go on Northern California vacations, especially if you enjoy staying close to nature, but still want to have walls around you while you sleep. At Lake Berryessa, cabin rentals are available just a short walk from the Pleasure Cove Marina. Most of these cabins can accommodate either four or eight people and feature bathrooms, small refrigerators, microwaves, and charcoal grills. There is one larger cabin with four bedrooms and three baths that caters to larger groups. At the nearby marina, such things as boat rentals, a launch ramp, and a convenience store are available. You must be at least 21 years old to rent a cabin at Lake Berryessa, and the typical minimum stay is two nights. That increases to three nights on holiday weekends.

Top image: bovinity (sharealike), CC BY-SA 2.0

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