MONTICELLO, Calif. - We went exploring Lake Berryessa on Princecraft 23-foot pontoon. Pleasure Cove Circle of Boating Manager Aaron Brown assured me that the boat "is very easy to drive."
And being on a boat was all part of the tour because those in the know, will tell you that the best way to see Lake Berryessa is on a boat. "If you really want to explore the lake you definitely need a full day," says Brown, "It's really going to be a place where you are going to have to come with the intentions of bringing your own boat."
Lake Berryessa is a man-made lake located in Napa County. It's 15 miles north to south and about an hour and 45-minute drive from San Francisco, and 90 minutes to Sacramento.
Brown says "They come from everywhere they truly do. They come from as far as Pennsylvania and New York."
When I asked Brown what the draw was, his answer was simple. "Look around that's the draw, this beautiful lake. People want to just get out and what better way than on a boat."
San Bruno resident Brandy Vazquez and her crew were wrapping up another Berryessa trip. This has become a favorite spot, she says, and one of the big draws, the water temperature. "Here's it's warm so you can jump in the lake and surf really easily and you don't have to wear a wet suit and it is really easy access there are few access points where we can drop in our boat so we can day trip but we love camping out here."
They spent four days on the lake but because of the low water levels, she says plans changed. "We did a houseboat this time just because the lakeside camping is so far away and we like to park our boat next to our campsite for easy access on and off."
Brown says "We are about 30 feet low. I was talking to the sheriff and he said we lose about an inch a day. We are still fortunate to do launches and rentals and we aren't worried about that."
And there is still a lot to explore. Brown says the south part of the lake is often the busiest, Hanes Cove is a popular house boat cove, Big and Little Portuguese Coves are also fan favorites
And here's an insider tip. Brown pointed to a small structure on the water explaining. "That floating object you see on the water, that's actually a porta potty, so they are nice and clean they are managed by the bureau. They are immaculately clean."
And maybe the best tip is to be safe whether it’s your first time to the lake, or you are a seasoned veteran.
"Safety first just know you are limits if you are not comfortable in the water make sure you wear a life jack and make sure you are comfortable before you put yourself in any dangerous situation."
The boat was as promised and was easy to drive. As someone who doesn't go to the lake enough, it is a pretty awesome way to spend a day.