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Top 5s & 10s From California Boating

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1. Shasta Lake
This is the boating capital of the West. The giant Shasta Lake has 370 miles of shoreline, 400 houseboat rentals, 12 marinas, 14 boat ramps, 12 campgrounds, lakeshore lodging, and 22 species of sport fish. From a houseboat, it takes about five or six days to see the whole thing. With all the houseboaters on the water, it can seem like one big party of happy people. If you want peace and quiet, just head into one of the coves. See chapter B2, page 107.

2. Back Delta
What a great spot for houseboating, here on the threshold of 1,000 miles of waterways. Some of the houseboats on the delta are the scene of floating parties that kick off on a Friday evening and go nonstop through Sunday. If you want to experience complete insanity...the fun type...head out here for a three-day weekend. See chapter E2, page 300.

3. Lake Oroville
Lake Oroville has it all: houseboats, campgrounds, enough water for all kinds of boating, a fish for every angler, and accommodations tailor-made for boaters/campers, including floating campsites, floating toilets (no kidding), boat-in campgrounds, and two excellent marinas. This huge, man-made reservoir has extensive lake arms and a large central body of water, covering more than 15,000 acres, with 165 miles of shoreline. See chapter C2, page 157.

4. Don Pedro Reservoir
A giant lake with many extended arms, Don Pedro is one of the best boating and water sports destinations in California during high water years. Giant? When full, it covers nearly 13,000 surface acres and has 160 miles of shoreline. The lake arms provide zillions of hidden coves where you can park your boat, camp, swim, play, and fish. See chapter E3, page 319.

5. Trinity Lake
Many houseboaters consider Trinity Lake the ideal destination. The lake is set at an elevation of 2,300 feet at the eastern foot of the Trinity Alps. It covers 17,000 acres, which is ample room for all types of water sports, including waterskiing, Jet Skiing, windsurfing, and fishing, yet is distant enough that it rarely attracts hordes of boaters. By August, the lake feels like a huge bathtub, making it great for swimming; the best swimming is at the day-use areas and campgrounds operated by the Forest Service. See chapter B1, page 91.

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