Natural Wonders: Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

100_8060You and yours need to discover all the natural wonders of Cachuma Lake Recreation Area off Hwy 154, just 15 minutes from downtown Solvang; this is one of my favorite local outdoor spots for active recreation or relaxation. There’s so much to do (or not to do)—from hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Plus amazing guided nature cruises are offered year round aboard The Osprey, a 30-passenger pontoon boat. You can see bald eagles, herons, hawks and deer (not to mention some fascinating flora). The recent rains have really “greened” up the surrounding Santa Ynez mountains and it’s a gorgeous place for a relaxing day or a picnic on the shore (yes, the lake level is lower due to the drought, yet it’s still beautiful). Conveniently, there are boat rentals, bait & tackle shop, a general store plus the very interactive Neal Taylor Nature Center . One of my faves there is comparing your arm span to a bird’s wingspan! Year-round, there are free Nature Hikes leaving from the Center at 10am on Saturday mornings and Junior Ranger programs, too along with special events for the whole family. Park admission is only $10 per car and so worth it! For more details, access

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