There are plenty of lakes in the Northern San Joaquin Valley but none are quite like Lodi Lake.
Owned by the City of Lodi, it sits on 114 acres and connects with the Mokelumne River.
It’s a place where you can:
* Use a public “pool” that is actually a “buoyed off area” of the lake complete with a sandy beach, lifeguards, separate spray pool, and changing rooms.
* Rent a kayak or a paddleboard for mellow fun on the water.
* If you prefer, there are paddleboats.
* Wander around a lakeside nature area.
* Picnic lakeside using tables or grassy areas
* Spread a blanket — or just plop down — and enjoy the grass beneath a canopy of shade provided by stately trees.
You don’t have to head to the hills or into the Delta to reach it.
Just travel down Highway 99 to the Turner Road exit and head west until Lodi Lake pops up on the south side of the road.
There are things you can do on a trip to Lodi Lake that are impossible to do at most lakes that you can kayak or swim in throughout the 209.
First, you can take five from swimming, kayaking or just relaxing and walk across Turner Road to a Sno-White Drive-in and get the best in decadent soft serve cones — a half-and-half chocolate and vanilla twist.
They’ve got a full menu and are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. But the attraction are the cones with the nostalgic twist that can satisfy any kid — big or small — during a fun-filled day at the lake.
If you’d rather have a mug of frosty A&W root beer — or the trademark A&W root beer float — at the original A&W in the United States, you can swing by after visiting the lake.
Lodi also has a walkable downtown with plenty of shade trees that is arguably one of the best examples of a San Joaquín Valley downtown destination. It offers restaurants, sidewalk dining, wine tasting, unique shops, a movie theater and more.
You can head farther down Turner Road and drop in to the Lodi Wine Visitors Center complete with tastings of the region’s finest wines next to the stunning Wine & Roses.
Wine & Roses is complete with artisan café, market, resort spa, hotel rooms and an elegant restaurant.
More about Lodi Lake
There is a vehicle entry fee to the lake of $4 for Lodi residents and $5 for non-residents. Those 62 and older are $2 for residents and $3 for non-resident per vehicle.
Boat launch fees are $13 per motorized craft. The price includes the entrance fee.
The beach, swimming area, and wading pool are open Wednesdays through Sundays through July 31 from noon to 2:45 p.m. as well as 3:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
From Aug. 6 to Sept. 5, it is open Saturdays and Sundays as well as Labor Day for the same as the July hours, closed Monday through Friday.
Open swim or lap swim is $3.
The Lodi Lake Boathouse offers kayak, standup paddleboard and paddleboat rentals that need to be booked in advance online.
Headwaters Boathouse starting rates are $17 for a single kayak, $25 for a premium kayak, $35 for a tandem, and $21 for a paddleboard. You can also rent a paddle boat large enough for two adults as well as two to three children (depending upon size) for $40 an hour.
You can kayak on the lake or as far up the Mokelumne River as the Highway 99 bridge which is four miles.
They also offer guided kayak tours at sunset on Fridays during July and August. There is also a full moon guided kayak tour on July 12 and Aug. 10.
The tours can be booked online as well as introduction lessons. The 1.5-hour kayak lesson starts at $79 per person and the 1.5-tour paddleboard lesson starts at $75 per person.
More information can be found at headwaterskayak.com
You can also fish although those older than 16 must have state fishing licenses.
The Lodi Lake Park gate hours are 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.