Clear Lake Campground is the perfect place to spend those lazy days of summer. Start your morning with a kayak or boat ride, a walk in Anderson Marsh State Park or fish right off the shore. Spend the hot afternoons lounging by the pool or going in for a swim. Evenings are often beautiful, a great time to kick back, have a barbecue, and enjoy your spot along Cache Creek. There's something for everyone whether you like to fish, experience nature, or just relax.
At the campground we have canoes and kayaks for rent, boat ramps for launching your own boat, fish-cleaning stations, and a small store selling frozen bait, night crawlers, hooks, and weights. Because Clear Lake is a shallow lake the water is a greenish color and swimming in Cache Creek is not usually recommended in summer although it's fine for fishing and boating. We have a nice pool where you can swim during the day and deck chairs and picnic tables by the shore of Cache Creek where you'll often see heron, egrets, ducks, and even otters.
Lake County has several special events in summer. Experience the days of the the wild west in mid-June at Middletown Days, a great family event with a parade, BBQ, horseshoe tournament, chili cook off, live music, and hay rides. Celebrate Father's Day with a camping trip.
Fourth of July celebrations are spread over several days with fireworks at different locations around the lake. In Clearlake there's a small parade followed by the International Worm Races, Lakeport holds a street fair, and Clearlake Oaks has a boat parade. The CDFW usually schedules a free fishing day on the weekend before July 4 so you can fish right at the campground even if you don't have a license. The following weekend is the Lake County Rodeo, held at the Lakeport Fairgrounds.
In mid-August, the Lakeside Hot Car and Boat Show is held in Lakeport with music, vendors, food, cars, and high-performance boats making passes by Library Park.
A highlight of summer is the Lake County Fair, held Labor Day Weekend at the Lakeport Fairgrounds. Saturday night features top musical entertainment and there are lots of fun family activities and shows during the day both Saturday and Sunday.
Free concerts in Lakeport's Library Park are held Friday evenings at 6PM from mid-June through mid-August. The third Thursday evening from June through September, Kickin in the Country is held in downtown Kelseyville with live music, food, and vendors. Clearlake Art Gallery holds a third Friday Gala of art and music is held, 6 - 8PM. Head to Ely Stage Stop the first Sunday of the month for the fiddlers' jam. Live music is held in several venues around the lake on Friday and Saturday nights during summer.
Anderson Marsh State Park, across the creek from Clear Lake Campground, holds guided nature walks the second Saturday of the month, usually starting at 8:30. But you can hike on your own in the park any day, early mornings are usually the best time to go in summer.
Summer is a good time to visit Lake County wineries. Most are open for tasting on weekends and some are open every day in summer. Wineries often hold special events in summer, too. Visit the Farmers' market, with live music and food, on Saturday mornings at Steele Winery. Have a picnic and play bocce at Vigilance Winery in Lower Lake, just a few miles from Clear Lake Campground. Or take a jeep tour at Six Sigma Winery.
For more special events and the live music schedule, see the Lake County Chamber of Commerce Events Calendar. Plan your weekend with our 36 Hours at Clear Lake Campground itinerary.
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Martha Bakerjian is a travel writer who divides her time between Clearlake and northern Tuscany. She writes about Italy on her site, Martha's Italy.
Winter can be a nice time to visit Lake County if you don't mind cold weather. Come to Clear Lake Campground in your small RV or 5th wheel and enjoy the peace and solitude. While you may get some rain and very cold nights, you're likely to have some beautiful crisp days and clear, starry nights. Winter is prime season for star-gazing and bird-watching. Fishing is often very good during winter too.
Although it's too cold for swimming in winter, there are many nice days when you can go out in a boat or sit by the creek and fish. Fewer people on the creek and the lake make it easy to find a peaceful fishing spot along the shore or enjoy boating without crowds. Big tournaments don't usually start until March, the first being the Clear Lake Team Bass Tournament. You can also rent a kayak and enjoy a peaceful paddle.
At Clear Lake Campground we have great fishing spots right on Cache Creek where catfish, bass, and crappie can be caught. Water birds often put on a show along the creek, too, so you can sit by the creek and enjoy watching Blue Heron, Egrets, Western Grebes, and other water fowl. Migrating pelicans come to Clear Lake each winter and sometimes show up right by the campground, a beautiful sight. You might also spot a deer across the creek or an otter swimming along.
For more birding opportunities or for short hikes, head to Anderson Marsh State Park. It's just across the creek from the campground and a short drive to the entrance. Part of the park is an Audubon bird sanctuary. The winter bird count usually shows over 300 bird species. If you're here on New Year's Day, the First Day Hike is a great way to start the new year. There are also smaller group guided walks the second Saturday morning of the month starting in February.
While some wineries close during the winter season or have shorter hours, there are still good places to taste wine, especially on weekends. A special wine and chocolate tasting event is usually held at wineries in February. Boatique Winery, about 15 minutes from the campground, has an unusual collection of rare wooden boats along with good wines. Rosa d'Oro and Wildhurst have tasting rooms right in downtown Kelseyville and there's a brew pub, Kelsey Creek Brewing, for those who prefer beer.
Soper Reese Theater in Lakeport has concerts and special performances throughout the year, including 3rd Friday Live each month and a special New Year's Eve party. In Clearlake, the Spot sometimes has live music on weekends. Other places to look for live music include Kelsey Creek Brewing, Richmond Park Bar and Grill, O'Meara Brothers Brewing Company in Lakeport, and the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake.
Lake County has several popular casinos too and they usually broadcast the football games on the big screen if you want to keep up with sports. Check the casinos for other special events, including New Year's Eve celebrations.
More about when to visit Clear Lake Campground:
Fall is a nice time to come to Clear Lake. Although nights start to get chilly, days are often beautiful and sunny, especially in early fall. With the summer heat gone, temperatures are usually good for hiking, biking, or kayaking in the creek. Fishing is often fantastic during fall and there are still lots of birds.
Fall events in Lake County start with the Kelseyville Pear Festival held the last Sun in September. Pears are one of the county's top 3 agricultural products and there's a special exhibit about farming and pioneer families in the Pear Pavilion. Special pear events include a pie eating contest and pear dessert contest and there are a variety of delectable pear products available for purchase at the food booths. A parade down Main Street gets things going in the morning. The all day festival includes music and dancers on three stages, wine tasting, art, food, and other vendor booths, and kid's activities. It's a fun family event with something for everyone.
Bicyclists won't want to miss the Konocti Challenge Cycling Race the first Saturday in October. Participants can sign up for one of 4 different bicycling routes around Clear Lake ranging from a 20 mile family fun ride to a century ride. Courses start in Lakeport with the 65 and 100 mile riders starting by 8:30 AM and the more leisurely 20 and 40 mile groups starting by 10.
The Steele Wines Harvest Festival is the second weekend October. This 2-day event features fun for the whole family including a 4H BBQ, music, arts and crafts show, grape stomping, pie eating contest, games, and activities for kids. Of course there's wine tasting, too. On Saturday morning there's also a farmers' market and the annual Run for Literacy offering 5 and 10K runs and a more relaxing 5K walk.
Halloween events happen at various venues around the lake both the weekend before Halloween and on October 31. Activities for kids include the annual Trunk or Treat in Clearlake and Trick or Treat on Main St in Lakeport, both on October 31. A fun family activity is the corn maze at Renker Farms, 2297 Argonaut Road in Kelseyville, usually open from 9:00 to 6:00 through November. So if you're coming to Clear Lake Campground on Halloween weekend, be sure to bring your costume!
Arts and crafts fairs and Christmas markets start in November. One of the best is the Dickens' Faire held the last Saturday in November. Main Street in Lakeport comes alive with arts and crafts vendors, food booths, music, and activities for kids including photos with Santa. The day ends with caroling and the tree lighting at sunset. There's also a costume contest so come dressed in your vintage Dickens outfit.
Clearlake's Christmas parade is held the first Saturday of December. Starting from Redbud Park at 6PM, it runs along Lakeshore Drive to Austin Park. Santa Claus is sure to make an appearance at this event, too, which is very close to Clear Lake Campground.
Spring is a beautiful time to come to Clear Lake. The hills are green, water in the lake is high, and fishing is usually good.
Then there's the kayaking. Oh, the kayaking!
This isn't the place that sinewy, unshaven, and fearless men shoot through rapids and torpedo down waterfalls. Kayaking Clear Lake--especially along Cache Creek, can be a family affair. In spring the water is at its highest, and the flow out the dam is just enough to give you some exercise as you paddle towards the lake. On the return you can drift lazily if you wish, gazing at the great blue herons, blindingly white egrets, and, if you are lucky, Clear Lake's famed white pelicans that can fill the sky, long vees of them turning from white to silver and back again as they bank into the wind.
Smaller birds are more easily heard than seen; they fill the air with songs city dwellers probably haven't heard before.
But here's the thing about springtime along Cache Creek. When the water is high (and as I write it's very high) you can duck into places with your kayak that you can't get into at other times of the year. Anderson Marsh is flooded, leaving reedy expanses for you to explore and get lost within. You need to have a good sense of direction to avoid getting helplessly lost, but have no fear, you are hemmed in by mountain slopes planted with vineyards, blossoming walnut trees and orchards of Bartlett pears.
If you are a visual person, you might enjoy a little video we've made with an old cell phone. It starts along the main creek, then heads toward the marsh and out again as we drift past the colorful trees just awakening from their winter slumber.
Remember, you can rent kayaks from Clear Lake Campground...call a day in advance to reserve. See the Rates.
James Martin is a travel writer who scribbles mostly about European places. He spends half his year in Italy, and writes the Wandering Italy Blog from the part of Tuscany nobody knows: The Lunigiana.