Natural Wonders: Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

100_8051Just 15 minutes from downtown Solvang, you and yours can discover all the natural wonders of Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. 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 herons, hawks and deer and the resident bald eagle pair if you’re lucky (not to mention some amazing flora, especially this year). Rains have “greened” up the surrounding Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountains (yes, the lake level is low due to the on-going drought, yet it’s still beautiful). Cachuma is a gorgeous place for a mellow day outdoors or a picnic on the shore or a hike or a stroll. There is a general store plus the very interactive Neal Taylor Nature Center www.clnaturecenter.org (one of my faves is comparing my arm span to a bird’s wingspan). Year-round, there’s free Nature Hikes leaving from the Center at 10am on Saturday morning. Park admission is only $10 per car and so worth it! For more details and directions, access www.solvangusa.com/directory/cachuma-lake-recreation-area/