7 Warmest Lakes in California

Warmest Lakes in California

California is renowned for its diverse landscapes and beautiful natural attractions, including some of the warmest lakes in the country. These lakes provide the perfect escape for both adventure seekers and those looking to unwind in nature. Whether you’re planning to engage in water sports, explore local wildlife, or simply relax by the water, California’s warm lakes offer something for everyone. Let’s dive into the details of seven of these warm, inviting lakes.

1. Clear Lake

Nestled in Northern California, Clear Lake is known as the oldest lake in North America. It captivates visitors with its warm waters, especially during the summer months. The lake’s vibrant ecosystem supports a variety of wildlife, making it a haven for nature lovers.

Temperature and Climate: The lake enjoys mild to warm temperatures throughout the summer, with water temperatures peaking around 76°F (24°C). It’s an ideal spot for escaping the hotter inland temperatures.


  • Fishing and paddleboarding
  • Boating and swimming
  • Wine-tasting tours nearby
  • Hiking and camping around the lake area
 Clear Lake

2. Lake Havasu

Positioned on the California-Arizona border, Lake Havasu is a desert oasis known for its strikingly blue waters and vibrant recreational life. The lake attracts those looking to enjoy its warm temperatures and extensive water sports options.

Temperature and Climate: Situated in a desert, Lake Havasu experiences higher temperatures which significantly warm its waters, especially in summer when they can reach up to 85°F (29°C).


  • Jet skiing and kayaking
  • Fishing and sailing
  • Exploring the history of the London Bridge
  • Shopping and dining in Lake Havasu City
 Lake Havasu

3. Mono Lake

Mono Lake stands out due to its high levels of salinity and alkalinity, creating a landscape that feels almost otherworldly. Its ecological uniqueness and scenic beauty draw nature lovers and photographers alike.

Temperature and Climate: The lake’s saline waters help maintain warmer temperatures, averaging around 70°F (21°C) during the summer months.


  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Bird watching, especially during migratory seasons
  • Nature walks and interpretive programs at South Tufa area
  • Photography and hiking in the Mono Basin
Mono Lake

4. Berryessa Lake

As the largest lake in Napa County, Lake Berryessa serves as a refreshing retreat with its clear, warm waters and tranquil environment. It is a popular destination for both relaxation and water-based activities.

Temperature and Climate: The lake’s waters warm nicely in the summer, with temperatures often around 75°F (24°C), making it ideal for a host of water activities.


  • Swimming and scuba diving
  • Water skiing, jet skiing, and wakeboarding
  • Fishing for bass and other species
  • Hiking and biking on surrounding trails
Berryessa Lake

5. Lake Tahoe

Famous for its clear, blue waters and mountainous surroundings, Lake Tahoe offers more than just winter sports; it’s a summer paradise with warm waters in its shallower bays and a host of activities.

Temperature and Climate: The lake’s waters are cooler than others on this list but warm up to about 68°F (20°C) in the shallower bays during summer, providing a refreshing swimming experience.


  • Paddleboarding and parasailing
  • Jet skiing and fishing
  • Scuba diving adventures
  • Hiking and biking with views of the Sierra Nevada
Lake Tahoe

6. Lake Elsinore

Known for its very warm waters, Lake Elsinore is Southern California’s largest freshwater lake, offering a plethora of aquatic activities and scenic beauty.

Temperature and Climate: The lake benefits from the warm Southern California climate, with water temperatures frequently reaching 77°F (25°C) during peak summer.


  • Boating and water skiing
  • Wakeboarding and jet skiing
  • Fishing for various species
  • Skydiving and motorsports for the more adventurous
Lake Elsinore

7. Salton Sea

The Salton Sea, an accidental lake formed by a flood, is known for its unusually high salinity and unique ecosystem. It offers a distinct experience with its rich birdlife and quirky local attractions.

Temperature and Climate: The lake experiences very warm temperatures due to its desert surroundings, with summer water temperatures around 80°F (27°C).


  • Bird watching at national and state parks
  • Visiting the International Banana Museum
  • Exploring local art and unique landscapes
  • Relaxing at nearby spas and resorts
Salton Sea

What to Pack for Your Lake Adventure

  • Swimwear: Essential for enjoying the water.
  • Sunscreen and a hat: Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Comfortable footwear: Suitable for water activities and hiking.
  • Camera: Capture the stunning scenery and memorable moments.
  • Water bottles: Stay hydrated throughout your activities.

Safety Tips

  • Check weather and water conditions: Always check local weather conditions and water temperature before heading out.
  • Follow local guidelines and signs: Adhere to any posted safety guidelines or restrictions.
  • Use life jackets: Especially important for children and non-swimmers.
  • Be cautious of wildlife: Keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter.
  • Stay hydrated and protected from the sun: Regularly apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.


What is the warmest lake in California?

Clear Lake holds the title for the warmest lake in California, boasting average summer water temperatures between 75°F and 80°F. This makes it an ideal destination for those looking to enjoy warm water activities.

What are the best activities to enjoy at warm lakes?

At warm lakes, you can engage in a variety of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, boating, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, water skiing, jet skiing, tubing, camping, picnicking, hiking, and biking. These activities make the most of the scenic views and pleasant water temperatures.

What are the safety tips for swimming in warm lakes?

When swimming in warm lakes, always be aware of your surroundings and local water conditions, swim with a buddy, protect your skin with sunscreen and a hat, stay hydrated, take regular breaks from the sun, and be vigilant for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

What are the best times of year to visit warm lakes in California?

The best times to visit warm lakes in California are during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). These seasons offer warm, sunny weather with fewer crowds compared to the busier summer months, providing a more relaxed and enjoyable lake experience.