Cool Off at Spring Lake This Summer
If it gets too hot for you this summer, cool off in the delightfully refreshing three-acre swimming lagoon at Spring Lake Park in Santa Rosa, in central Sonoma County.
Of course, there are plenty of great places in Sonoma County to jump in the water and cool down. For just a few ideas, read “Great Swimming Beaches in Sonoma County” and “The Rivers of Sonoma County.”
But one of the best swim spots doesn’t face the Pacific Ocean or stretch beside a river. It resides in 320-acre Spring Lake Regional Park. Surrounded by lush rising hills and home to a lake, ponds, woodlands, and grasslands, the park is a popular destination at any time of the year — but it reigns supreme in summer.
That’s probably due to its aforementioned swimming lagoon, the chance to go boating on the park’s picturesque 72-acre lake, and the lagoon’s inflatable, floating playground that’s adored by kids.
The swimming lagoon has a sandy beach, as well as areas for free swim and lap swim. Multiple lifeguards are on duty on the shore, keeping an eye on visitors, while other lifeguards on paddleboards are stationed inside the play area. The lagoon also features shaded lawns, picnic tables, barbecues, and tube rentals. There is no admission fee for lagoon swimming.
Note: Water samples from Spring Lake’s swimming lagoon consistently exceed all state water quality requirements; the water is chlorinated and circulated throughout the swim season. The county’s Department of Health Services monitors water quality, in cooperation with Regional Parks and the Sonoma County Water Agency
The Inflatable Playground
The first of its kind in the county, the playground debuted last summer and was a huge hit with families from around the Bay Area. The play zone is a network of floating slides, climbing walls, bridges, balance beams, jumps, trampolines, and other stations. There is a $10 per person fee for playground use. Other options: a $20 day “Otter Pass” that also includes one hour of paddle board or boat rental (see below); and a $60 season pass that includes daily admission all summer, along with one hour of boat rental daily. The playground is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. through Labor Day. Read the Water Park FAQ.
Boating on the Lake
Spring Lake was created between 1961-1964 as a flood protection reservoir. It’s encircled by a multi-use trail, which meanders past peaceful lakefront picnic areas, meadows and woodlands; portions of the trail allow you to walk across dams. Benches are tucked away in greenery, allowing contemplative views of the lake. Ducks, gulls and the occasional egret cavort in the water or rest on the sand. It’s a very pretty lake with a peaceful vibe.
This summer Regional Parks has expanded Spring Lake’s fleet of paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats, with rentals available daily through summer and on weekends in the fall. Rates start at $12 per hour; the rental area is next to the swimming lagoon.