A reservoir nestled in the Santa Ynez Mountains, Cachuma Lake has become a haven for camping enthusiasts, watersport fanatics and families vacationing in Santa Barbara, especially during the warmer months.
Things to Do at Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
Across its 3,100 acres, there are many things to do both on and off the water, from fishing and boating to hiking, disc golf and more.
Due to its topography and aquatic plant beds, Cachuma Lake is one of the best places in Southern California for fishing. It supports a large population of fish, including catfish, sunfish, bluegill, largemouth bass and rainbow trout—to name a few. The lake also houses a marina where visitors can rent boats and kayaks for a few hours or the entire day.
Off the water, Cachuma Lake Recreation Area offers six trails ranging from a quarter-mile loop to a 12-mile trek. These trails are shared-use, allowing for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Many are dog-friendly, too. The lake is also just 15 minutes away from Los Padres National Forest, which features countless trails of varying difficulty.
Another dry-land activity that’s popular among recreation-area visitors is disc golf. The Cachuma Lake Disc Golf Course is a world-class, 18-hole course with pristine views of the surrounding mountains as well as challenging pin placements for both novice and seasoned golfers. The course is about 2.25 miles, starting and ending at the Cachuma Lake Store.
Cachuma Lake serves as a reservoir for the local water supply, meaning swimming is prohibited. Because of this, the recreation area built two swimming pools for visitors to use during the summer season. The pools are open on various days between May and September from noon to 5:30 p.m. with a lifeguard on duty at all times. View the current pool schedule.
Neal Taylor Nature Center
Nestled in an old ranch house, the Neal Taylor Nature Center is an all-ages, hands-on museum that showcases exhibits on local wildlife, including both flora and fauna. Along with the exhibits, guests will find puzzles and games as well as on-going educational programs to help further their discovery and appreciation of the natural environment.
H2: Weekly Programs & Activities
Along with the programming at the nature center, Cachuma Lake Recreation Area’s calendar is filled with weekly activities such as guided lake cruises and nature walks, summer movie nights and “star parties,” and much more. Check out the schedule to learn more.
Cachuma Lake Camping
Whether you want to sleep under the stars, in your RV or within the like-home comforts of a cozy cabin, Cachuma Lake Campground offers a plethora of camping options. Campers can choose from eight wooden cabins that sleep up to six people, hundreds of basic and lake-view tent and RV sites or seven glamping yurts set on the bluff overlooking the lake.
Hook’d Bar & Grill
Located near the boat launch at Cachuma Lake Marina, Hook’d Bar & Grill’s menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the Tri-Tip Hash Burrito—built for big eaters—to the classic BLT, Cachuma Dog and Lost Highway Veggie Grill Sandwich, it’s the perfect place to fuel up after a long day at the lake. Guests ages 21 and older can also choose from a list of tasty, coastal-inspired cocktails and impressive craft beer selection. On most weekends, you’ll find local musicians performing on the deck, set to the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains and, of course, beautiful Cachuma Lake.