Looking for a Different California Lake to Explore? Try a Weekend Getaway to Bass Lake

Looking for a Different California Lake to Explore? Try a Weekend Getaway to Bass Lake

Picture of Jordan Reid

Jordan Reid

New-ish to California, Jordan shares his favorite gems (hikes, waterfalls, unique festivals and more) about the 31st state on his Instagram, @discover_california_

Bass Lake… Have you heard of it? It’s okay if you haven’t, but it’s time we change that! If you’re wanting to escape the crowds at Lake Tahoe this summer and looking for something that’s easily drivable from the Bay Area or the Central Valley, Bass Lake offers a weekend away in one of the most interesting parts of Central California, tucked away not far from Yosemite. 

Located north of Fresno and directly east from Merced, this beautiful lake offers water sports, breathtaking California scenery and a stunning resort that’s a destination in itself.

Feature photo by Jordan Reid. 

What to Do

View of Yosemite canyon
Photo by Jordan Reid.


We all know about Yosemite National Park. It’s easily California’s most famous park. And there’s a good reason for that! 

Its breathtaking alpine meadows, gorgeous waterfalls and untouched beauty draws in visitors worldwide. 

Check out our guide to Yosemite for more ideas on what to do there.

Old-time train on tracks spewing steam

Sugar Pine Railroad

Sugar Pine Railroad has been delighting guests for years. You can pan for gold, browse the museum, and ride a narrow gauge steam train.

We rode the Moonlight Special train, which came with dinner, a live band, and a steam train ride lit by moonlight. Did you know trees cast moon shadows? It’s something you’ll see on this ride.

This activity is best if you have children. Or just have a deep love for trains.

Jetski rider drives over water
Photo by Susan Weber via Unsplash.

Ride Jet Skis

For our adrenaline seekers, renting a jet ski is a must.

We rented ours from Miller’s Landing and had an absolute blast. Flying 40 miles an hour over a smooth lake is something you’ll never forget.

Once you pull back up to shore, head inside Miller’s for lunch. 

Where to Stay

Woodsy Pines resort on Bass Lake in California
Photo by Jordan Reid.

The Pines Resort

The Pines Resort has it all. 

There are sweeping lake views, a marina with water sport rentals, a pool, a little market with anything you need and nice rooms. 

What more could you ask for?

There’s even a gas station on-site, which is convenient, but don’t expect it to be cheap.

Where to Eat

Eggs benedict and hash browns from Ducey's on the Lake in Bass Lake, California

Ducey's on the Lake

Ducey’s on the Lake is a no-brainer. It’s the Pines Resort’s on-site restaurant, and it’s fantastic. 

First opened in 1941, this historic restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner is on the fancier end, serving luxuries such as lobster and filet mignon, so be ready for a larger dinner bill.

Miller's Landing

Miller’s Landing is about 20 minutes across the lake from the Pines Resort. It’s the same place where we rented our jet skis. 

Afterward, we had an excellent lunch. The restaurant is known for its burgers, and also offers disco fries, hula bowls and more.

When Are You Going?

And that wraps up our trip to Bass Lake. It’s an easy weekend getaway and we think you’ll have a great time! 

This article was written in collaboration with Discover California on Instagram (@discover_california_). 

Make sure you follow them to discover more amazing places to explore in California.

More Please!
For more suggestions on the best restaurants in Central California, the best things to do in Central California and the best places to stay in Central California, click here.
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