7 Lakes and Ponds to Visit in San Diego
Welcome to all in San Diego, San Diego is known for its beaches, but a day by the ocean, isn't the only way to enjoy the outdoors by the water - we have so many amazing lakes and ponds too!
Alisha from @SanDiegoWithKids is sharing some of the best places to go for a run, a stroll in the shade, or just some good old-fashioned ducks.
Click here to go ALL IN on San Diego's lakes and ponds, or read on for all the spots!
Alisha said her number one favorite lake is Santee Lakes and it's because they have it all. They have playgrounds, seven lakes, camping, and they have a splash pad. They also have a restaurant that just opened up – Tin Fish at Santee Lakes. This location of Tin Fish is kind of the same as the one downtown. They have burritos and hamburgers and quesadillas – all the kid-friendly stuff that is perfect after a day at the lake.
Santee Lakes is worth the drive from anywhere in the county if you want to spend a day outdoors. You do have to pay to get in the park, but it's worth it. They have something for everyone, including fishing (they often replenish!) and camping. Santee Lakes has log cabins to stay and a clubhouse that usually features Wednesday potlucks and Thursday morning coffees, Friday family nights. It’s really geared to families and keeping everyone happy. You have all this nature and the lakes and the trails and stuff, but you still have a store. You can run into our restaurant where you can grab a burrito.
Lake Dixon (Escondido)
The next one is Lake Dixon up in Escondido. They don't quite have it all, but they definitely have a lot. They have two types of camping - you can either camp by the lake, or they have an amazing view of the city. There’s a cabin you can rent for camping with one or two families, and then there are tent sites around it if you want to do a big group. They have playgrounds and boats you can rent fishing. They also have some awesome hikes and rock climbing
Lake Poway has some really interesting things, like an archery range and a variety of hikes. They have a Creek side trail that is only 0.2 miles (great for little legs!), they have one that is 1.2 miles, and then they even have an 8 mile hike. You could also rent fishing boats. There’s a lot to do at Lake Poway, but spend some time checking out their webpage before you go.
Miramar Reservoir (Lake Miramar)
Lake Miramar (Miramar Reservoir, officially) is right in the middle of everything. For one, AJ says it’s his favorite run in San Diego. You can rent boats there or rent bikes and ride around the lake. It’s five miles around, so it’s a good run or walk, and it could be done on a bike with kids.
Evan’s Pond (Scripps Ranch)
10301 Scripps Lake Dr. San Diego, CA 92131
Right near Miramar Reservoir, there is the cutest little pond next to Scripps Ranch Library called Evan’s Pond. It is the perfect place for your kids to throw rocks or throw sticks, or just walk around. It's a short little walk around the whole lake. And then in the library, you can buy duck feed so you can feed the ducks. Alisha and her family have seen turtles in there before, and it's just like a great little afternoon getaway. You can pack a little lunch and sit there and just admire the beauty.
Webb Lake (Rancho Bernardo)
11666 Avena Pl, San Diego, CA 92128
Webb Lake has a really cute, little pond and it has beautiful landscaping. There is a paved walkway all the way around – it is Alisha’s favorite place for kids to ride scooters and bikes. She says “it’s perfect because mom can sit on the bench and you can see all around the whole entire lake”. It’s secluded - you could drive by it a thousand times and not know there's a pond there. AJ’s tip is that you can go to Kahoots pet store (which is pretty much across the street) and get the bird feed and then go feed the ducks.
Chollas Lake is great because the walking path has shade and on a hot San Diego day, you need some shade. People ride bikes, there are a ton of joggers, and something unique about this place is that they have youth fishing. They do youth fishing lessons during the summer. And it's kind of just getting kids out there, learning how to fish and be in nature.
Not only do they have that, but they have an awesome playground. There's a huge wood ship play structure and it’s surrounded by sand. There is a lot imaginary play, they have turtles, little turtle stands, along with the playground. They had a nature area where they have different types of animal footprints. Chollas Lake also has picnic tables with shade and they even have like a little wood workout area.
These lakes and ponds are great alternatives to going to the beach – especially when they get crowded. These lakes and ponds are beautiful and there’s probably at least one today that you've never heard of before. And honestly, what kid does not like throwing rocks. Feeding ducks playing with sticks and being a kid, just being a kid out in nature.
Alisha gets into way more details in the episode and you can check it out here:
If you like having fun with your kids, you want to follow Alisha on Instagram @SanDiegoWithKids. She doesn't just go to lakes and ponds! She gets into all kinds of fun adventures and it is a great way to get ideas and inspiration of things to do with your kids.
Also if you want to find the BEST parks in San Diego, you'll want to visit ParksinSanDiego