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Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Kayaking Lake Cachuma

Kayaking

Liz and I kayaking. Photo by Boris.

It’s been over a year since the County Parks Department relaxed its rules on water activities at Cachuma Lake County Park, meaning that you can now kayak on the lake. Unfortunately, their allowance of stand up paddleboarding didn’t last, and that’s now prohibited. Swimming is still not allowed (because the lake is a source of drinking water), so it probably became apparent that inexperienced paddlboarders become swimmers pretty quickly.

But you can rent a kayak at the boat dock for just $10 an hour, so on Sunday Liz, Boris and I hit the water for some paddling. The weather was hot and perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better summer day. Cruised up to the rental kiosk, threw down a deposit and minutes later we were on the water. No safety instructions, they just told us not to land the kayaks under any circumstances. Oh, and to watch out for motorboats.

It brought back memories of taking the lake’s Eagle Cruise with my grandmother, taking a motorboat out with my Dad and brother, and stopping by for various newspaper assignments. I’ve never camped at the lake and wouldn’t count it as one of my favorite local spots, but kayaking is always fun.

We cruised along the shore, had some bumper boat moments, took a bunch of photos, and then hit windy waters as we turned a corner toward Bradbury Dam. It was actually windy enough that there was decent swell in the water. We got a little wet! Paddled about halfway across and then decided to head back to the dock.

Then we cruised to Los Olivos for coffee and cupcakes. (No wine, although Liz did pick up her wine club shipment.) If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive afternoon in beauteous Santa Barbara County, put kayaking on the lake on your list.

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