San Diego is known for its pleasant climate, 70 miles of sandy beaches, and a bevy of world-class family attractions. San Diego has a wide range of lakes to visit and spend a vacation on, appealing to visitors of all ages from all over the world. Below are some of the best lakes in San Diego, which you can explore and admire as much as you please.

Away from the coast and the city, these bodies of water provide a variety of leisure activities. On the smooth waters, water enthusiasts can enjoy boating, rowing, etc.  Barbecue and picnic spaces provide the appropriate excuse for families to spend the day at the lake. This is the reason why people yearn for these best lakes in San Diego.

10 Best Lakes In San Diego


Lake Murray

best lakes in san diego

Lake Murray Reservoir is located within the boundary of Mission Trails Regional Park, which lies between the city of San Diego and the neighboring communities of La Mesa and Santee.  From sunrise to sunset, the lake is open to shore fishing and private boats (when the water level permits).


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Lake Hodges

best lakes in san diego

Lake Hodges is a Southern California lake and reservoir located about 31 miles north of San Diego and about south of Escondido. The reservoir has 1,234 acres of surface area, a maximum water depth of 115 feet, and 27 miles of shoreline when full. A motorboat or a pedal boat can be rented. After that, chill by the lake and take use of the different picnic options, and now you can see why is it added in this list of best lakes in San Diego.

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Miramar Reservoir

best lakes in san diego

The City of San Diego owns, operates, and maintains Miramar Reservoir. The dam and reservoir, which are located in the Scripps Ranch area, were built in 1960 as part of the second San Diego Aqueduct project. Both the Colorado River Aqueduct and the California Aqueduct supply water to the reservoir from the south.


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Lake Cuyamaca

The jewel of the San Diego mountains, Lake Cuyamaca, is the right combination of excitement and relaxation. It’s a spot so gorgeous that you won’t want to leave, whether you’re coming for a day of fishing, a weekend of camping, or a two-week vacation in a cabin. This little 110-acre lake is bordered by Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, which is primarily wilderness and is located at an elevation of 4,600 feet.



Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings is regarded as one of San Diego County’s most beautiful parks. Fishing, camping, hiking, and picnics are all available at this pleasant recreation site in Lakeside, California. Helix Water District owns and operates the lake, which is a drinking water reservoir. The picturesque views of the lake and the woodland surrounding give the impression that you are in the middle of nowhere, just outside of town.


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Sweetwater Reservoir

Sweetwater Reservoir is roughly 15 miles east of downtown San Diego near Bonita. The Sweetwater Water Authority manages the lake, which allows only shore fishing on a 2.5-mile stretch of shoreline. The Sweetwater Reservoir was created in 1888 when the Sweetwater Dam was built on the Sweetwater River.

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Upper Otay Reservoir

Upper Otay Reservoir, the smallest of San Diego’s impounding reservoirs, was built in 1959 as a hatchery for propagating and introducing Florida-strain largemouth bass. Surprisingly, the progeny of the fingerlings used in that experiment produced 21 of the top 25 largest basses ever recorded. Since 1996, the reservoir has been available to the public.


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Lake Poway

Since 1972, the Lake Poway Recreation Area, nestled in the hills of Poway, has given outstanding outdoor recreational possibilities as well as serving as a water source for inhabitants. The view is perfectly amazing and magnificent and that is the reason why this lake has climbed up in this list of best lakes in San Diego.



Lake Morena

Lake Morena is the most remote of the county’s reservoirs, with a combination of desert, coastal, and mountain environments. There are 3,250 acres of chaparral, oak woodlands, and grassland to explore. This area is home to a variety of species, including eagles, migrating ducks, etc.


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San Vicente Reservoir

On San Vicente Creek, about 25 miles northeast of San Diego, there is a deep, steep-sided impounding reservoir known as San Vicente. When full, it will reach a depth of 306 feet. It is the largest reservoir in the city. Last but definitely not least, this beautiful reservoir made it into this list of best lakes in San Diego because of its wonderful view and its new marina facilities.

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