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Can You Swim in Lake Cachuma in 2023? (7 Things To Know)

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Lake Cachuma is a popular Reservoir that has become one of the number one spots for Outdoor Adventures in California. Swimming is not allowed. However, you can still do various water activities in the lake, go camping with your family and friends and enjoy many other experiences.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Lake Cachuma when it comes to doing outdoor activities, rules and regulations, and entertainment in general.

Lake Cachuma Sign
Lake Cachuma Sign

Can You Swim in Lake Cachuma?

No, you cannot swim in Lake Cachuma or practice any water sport like windsurfing or skiing since it is against the rules and is considered a punishable offense by the local authorities.

This restriction was placed in the 1950s after its first opening because the lake works as a reservoir for people to drink clean water in the North-East of Santa Barbara, California.

Despite these restrictions on swimming, this place has become a very popular tourist destination in California that allows anyone to do many outdoor activities inside the lake as long as they don’t directly dive into the water.

Is Lake Cachuma Shrinking or Evaporating?

Lake Cachuma has been slowly shrinking over the last decade, reaching up to 7% of its maximum capacity in 2016 and causing problems for the people in Santa Barbara, who use this reservoir as a clean water source.

Thankfully Lake Cachuma has been recovering significantly over the last few years after a big rainstorm in 2017, which raised the water levels to 25 feet and continued to replenish the lake much after the storm runoff.

According to a report in September of 2021, Lake Cachuma has managed to regain 50% of its maximum capacity, and hopefully, it will make a full recovery in the near future.

Can You Do Other Water Activities In Lake Cachuma?

Yes, despite the restrictions for swimming on Lake Cachuma, you can still do other water activities inside the lake without breaking any rules or going to jail during this process.

These water activities include riding kayaks across the lake surface, driving rental boats through the most beautiful spots of this place, and taking cruises tours around the popular landmarks in Lake Cachuma.

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Kayaking in Lake Cachuma

Cachuma Lake Recreation Area is located off scenic Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County.
Cachuma Lake Recreation Area is located off scenic Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County.

If you want to practice kayaking in Lake Cachuma, you need to go to popular spots where you can rent a kayak for yourself and get all the equipment you need to avoid any accidents in the water.

You can also hire an instructor that can teach you the basics of how to use the kayak on Lake Cachuma and How to avoid falling into the water by accident when you are moving around the lake.

Boating in Lake Cachuma

You can also go boating in Lake Cachuma as long as you meet all the requirements from the local authorities and rent a boat legally from one of the companies or organizations of this place.

The average price for a rental boat in Lake Cachuma is around $20-$160, and you can drive it inside the designated areas of the lake without entering the restricted zones on the map.

Cruise Tours in Lake Cachuma

The cruise tours in Lake Cachuma are perfect for family trips where you can bring your kids or your friends and show them all the wildlife, plants, and beautiful scenery of this place.

In this cruise tour, you will travel around Lake Cachuma for two hours and discover all the secrets this place has to offer. During this ride, the cruising guide will take you to the most amazing spots around Lake Cachuma and provide you with interesting facts from start to finish.

Can You Fish In Lake Cachuma?

Yes, Lake Cachuma is a popular fishing spot for many local anglers and other fishermen living in California and other parts of the country.

When arriving at Lake Cachuma, you will find different shops that sell everything you need to go fishing, including lures, bait, poles, and fishing licenses to everyone who wants to catch many fishes during their trip.

You can catch different types of fish around the lake and find trouts, bass, and catfish, especially during the wintertime.

Just make sure you follow all the rules and fishing guidelines of lake Cachuma to avoid problems with the police during your trip.

Best time to Visit Lake Cachuma

The best time to visit lake Cachuma is during the summertime when the skies are sunny, the weather is mild, and the temperatures are between 27 and 29 degrees.

September 29°16°

During this time, you can enjoy everything this place has to offer with your family and friends, and have fun exploring the woodland environment, going on boat rides, and traveling on cruise tours around the lake.

You can also come to lake Cachuma during the winter since it is the perfect time for people to go fishing and do other popular outdoor activities in this place.

Accidents or Casualties in Lake Cachuma

Thanks to the safety measures from the Santa Barbara government, there have been almost no accidents or casualties on Lake Cachuma over the last few years.

The only two casualties previously recorded were from a woman who accidentally drowned in 2020 after she went missing from her group of friends.

The other case was from a 22-year-old boy who drowned after attempting to swim from his boat to the shore when having mechanical problems in the water.

That is why if you want to avoid any accidents, you should not attempt to swim in the lake Cachuma under any circumstance, especially if you are drinking a lot of alcohol during your trip.

Other Activities You Can Do In Lake Cachuma

There are many other outdoor activities you can do in Lake Cachuma to maximize your fun and enjoy a better experience during your trip.

You can go on a hiking adventure in Lake Cachuma, explore the woods and surrounding areas with the help of a guide, camp outdoors with other people, and more.

Hiking in Lake Cachuma

If you want to go hiking in Lake Cachuma, you need to pick one of the six trails available to the public and bring a water bottle, sunscreen lotion, and a hat before you start the hike.

Each hiking trail has a different length and difficulty for its visitors. However, they all provide an incredible experience and allow people to enjoy the beauty of Lake Cachuma.

Camping in Lake Cachuma

For camping in Lake Cachuma, you can pick between 400 campsites that go from the basic options like the RVs trailers, and tents, to the more advanced options like cabins and yurts.

You can make reservations ahead of time and choose the best option for your trip depending on your budget and the type of experience you want to enjoy when visiting lake Cachuma.

Please make sure to read our ultimate guide on how to keep the tent cool and how to keep the tent warm if you’re visiting lake Cachuma in hot or cool temperatures.

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