Located just two hours north of the hustle and bustle of San Francisco is the picturesque Lake County. Nestled between rolling vineyard hills and sparkling lakes, Lake County is the perfect Northern California getaway.
The geography of the region lends itself to a number of fun activities, whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation. Here are some of the best activities and places to stay in Lake County:
Things to Do in Lake County, California
Whether you’re an active adventure seeker or a more passive vacationer, Lake County has something for everyone. From hiking trails and kayaking lakes, to sipping fine wines and enjoying delicious meals, Lake County has enough to explore for any weekend trip, group gathering or romantic getaway.
Hiking Mount Konocti
Ok all you restless travelers, let’s kick off all the best things to do in Lake County with some heart-pumping activities. Just a short drive from the town of Kelseyville you’ll find the base of Mount Konocti, a potentially active, but dormant volcano with a series of trails and peaks.
Mount Konocti sits on the edge of Clear Lake, so throughout the summit you get a range of spectacular views of the lake. From the main car park you can ascend roughly 1,500 ft to the mountain’s highest point of elevation at Wright Peak (4,300ft).
The 6 mile up-and-back trail to Wright Peak is a predominantly wide gravel track that is easy to climb. There are a couple of toilets at intervals along the way, but no water, so be sure to carry enough for the trip. Depending on the time of the day the path has some sun cover, but there’s also a lot of patches that don’t, so a good hat and sunscreen are also advised.
We recommend leaving early for this hike before the sun gets too strong. Take your time soaking in the stunning views along the way and at the top. We took off a bit late and ended up hiking in the middle of the day. On the 95 degree day, it was a bit of a challenge, but making it to the top was more than worth it! You get a 360 view of the lake and surrounding hills and valleys that make up Lake County. Gorgeous!
Kayaking on the Blue Lakes
After building up a decent sweat it’s time to hit the water. The stunning Blue Lakes, just a short drive from Upper Lake, is a perfect spot to cool down and take in the lake from a kayak, stand up paddleboard or boat. Depart from the dock and cruise along the water as you soak in the tranquility. Dotted along the lake banks are areas that you can stop off to swim, rope swing or just relax in the kayak while you listen to the sounds of nature.
Aside from the winter months Lake County gets pretty warm weather year round, so spending time on the lake is an excellent activity. Whether its kayaking on Blue Lake, so boating on Clear Lake, there’s lots of options for enjoying the water when the temperatures rise.
The Lodge at Blue Lakes not only operates as a beautiful accommodation option right on the water, but it’s also a great place to rent any equipment you need to explore the lake. They have a number of lake facing rooms where you can walk straight out of your door and throw a stone to the waters edge. Doesn’t get much closer than that!
Where to Stay in Lake County
There’s no shortage of amazing places to stay in Lake County while you visit. From boutique hotels and BnBs, to unique farm stays and winery lodging. Here are some of the best places to sleep in Lake County.
This historic boutique hotel is located in the quaint little town of Upper Lake. The Tallman Hotel is on Main Street, a super cute street that looks like the set of an old Western movie. There are a couple of shops that add to that small town charm.
Along with beautiful rooms and a very hospitable staff, there were two stand out features of the Tallman Hotel. The first are the traditional private Japanese ofuro soaking tubs located on private patios in the four garden rooms. These beautifully crafted wooden tubs are heated to around 105F and are perfect for relaxing in with a glass of wine after a long day exploring.
The second is the incredible onsite restaurant, the Blue Wing Saloon. Open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, the Blue Wing Saloon has a wide variety of delicious meals on the menu. You can find more information on the restaurant’s food, as well as other restaurants in our best restaurants and wineries in Lake County article.
The Tallman Hotel also has a number of sustainability initiatives that make this a great eco option when choosing accommodation in Lake County. Along with renewable solar energy, electric vehicle charging and a sustainable reuse policy, Tallman Hotel also has a GeoExchange heating and cooling system that helps significantly reduce energy use.
Peace and Plenty Farm
This organic farm, located just outside of Kelseyville center, has it all! Aside from being the largest saffron producer in North America, Peace and Plenty also has an organic farm stand, beautiful event spaces and a number of different accommodation options to choose from.
During our time at Peace and Plenty we stayed in the retrofitted 1968 Airstream, which is fully equipped with its own composting toilet, shower and private deck area that overlooks the vineyards. To say it was perfect would be an understatement, as this nostalgic throwback to traveling around in a self contained Airstream, while being off the grid on an organic farm, couldn’t suit our travel style and lifestyle more.
While staying at the property you can also take advantage of the beautiful farm and all it has to offer. Take a farm tour to check out the saffron, lavender and organic vegetables growing. Feed the chickens and watch them potter around as they cluck away. Or visit the farmstand where you can purchase products straight from the property like saffron lemonade, saffron popsicles or various other local items.
Six Sigma Ranch
Another great option for accommodation and activities in Lake County is a visit to Six Sigma Ranch. The main draw to this family run, 4300-acre ranch is the wine and food, but they also offer lodging and a range of trail options for visitors to enjoy.
Come for the wine and ranch to table dinners (detailed in this article), but Club Members can also take advantage of complimentary overnight parking for RVs and trailers. Enjoy a night under the stars as you stay right on the ranch itself, which makes it perfect if you plan on knocking back a couple of extra bottles of wine.
For the active travelers there’s also world class mountain biking trails at Six Sigma ranch that can be taken advantage of by Club Members. Open from 9am-4pm there are a number of trails to explore. Club Members can also bring up to two non-members on the trails if you want to bring along some friends.