San Luis Obispo County, Central California

Lake Nacimiento

Lake Nacimiento

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Photo of Lake Nacimiento, California

Lake Nacimiento

Lake Nacimiento is a great place for boaters, water sports enthusiasts, fishermen, and campers. Entrance fees include use of horseshoe pits, basketball court, and volleyball court. The swimming pool, open only in summer, is extra.

Located along California's central coast, Lake Nacimiento is only 30 miles from Paso Robles and 7 miles from Lake San Antonio.

Entrance Fees per Vehicle:

  • Day Use North Shore - $12 (closed in winter - Oct. - April)
  • Day Use South Shore - $15 ($10 in winter)
  • Annual Pass - $200
  • Dogs (proof of rabies vaccine and leash required) $2


Lake Nacimiento is one of the best boating lakes in the region. With miles of waterways, countless inlets and coves, open bays, and a long winding river, boaters have plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the lake. Houseboats are not permitted on the lake, but virtually every other kind of vessel is allowed. Water skiers have a slalom course on which to practice. New regulations in 2011 require quagga and zebra mussel inspections of all boats.


Lake Nacimiento has only one marina, located at the east end of the lake. The marina offers a limited range of boat rentals, fuel, towing, slip rentals, and other marine services. It is part of the Lake Nacimiento Resort. There are two launch ramps, one on the northeast side and another by the marina and campgrounds.


Lake Nacimiento is the only lake in California stocked with white bass. Anglers also find just about every other native warm water fish in the lake -- largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill and crappie, carp and catfish. The state record carp was caught in Lake Nacimiento back in 1968. Twisting inlets punctuate the 165-mile shoreline providing lots of quiet places for fishermen to cast their lines.


All the campgrounds at Lake Nacimiento are clustered around the Lake Nacimiento Resort and Marina at the east end of the lake. Most of the rest of the shoreline is private property. Campgrounds have restrooms and showers and some of the sites have full hook-ups. Beyond Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio there are no public campgrounds in the area. Private RV parks can be found in Paso Robles. A swimming pool is available to use for an extra fee.


Lake Nacimiento Resort has a number of cabins it calls "lodges" for rent, along with a mobile home and a pair of trailers. They lodges are well equipped with kitchenettes and are well suited to families or small groups of friends. Outside the lake area there are few choices for lodging until you reach Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo.


The varied shoreline of Lake Nacimiento makes it a pleasing setting for a day on the lake. Low mountains dotted with trees surround the lake.

Nearby Communities

Lake Nacimiento is about 21 miles northwest of Paso Robles. Almost any service or supply needed can be found there. Fifty-five miles south of the lake is San Luis Obispo and beyond that the coastal towns of Pismo Beach and Grover City.

Lake Nacimiento Facts
Lake Size: 5,370 surface acres
Maximum Depth: 200 feet
Maximum Length: 18 miles
Shoreline: 165 miles
Dam Construction: 1961
Reservoir Manager: Monterey County Water Authority
Maximum Lake Elevation: 801 feet
Average Air Temperatures
  spring: 77 degrees
  summer: 92 degrees
  fall: 84 degrees
  winter: 61 degrees
Summer Water Temperature: 77 degrees

Nearby Beaches

Within easy driving distance of Lake Nacimiento are all the great beaches along the San Luis Obispo Coast:
Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Oceano State SVRA, Avila Beach, Cayucos Beach, Moonstone Beach, San Simeon Beach, and many more. Find them all at California's Best Beaches

California's Greatest Lakes

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