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Cali Lakes Road Trip 2020 (Part I: June Lake)

We already had time off for an end-of-summer camping trip but with Baja still being closed to non-essential travel, we didn’t have an actual destination planned. Literally three days before our scheduled time off, we decided to head north to Lake Tahoe.

We lucked out and scored campsite reservations at Sugar Pine Point State Park [The Johnson Fam Jam tip: if you’re ok with last minute vacation planning, many state park campgrounds open up spots 48-hours in advance on Reserve California but you need lightning fast keyboard skills at 8AM!]. More on Sugar Point SP in our next post.

The drive north from San Diego is pretty mellow after you pass through Riverside. Lots of beautiful scenery that goes from flat desert lands to the huge Sierra mountain range to towering pine trees and even rolling countrysides.

It’s a long drive to Tahoe, especially with kids, so we planned to stop for the night in June Lake. June Lake is a small, scenic town at the base of Carson Peak just north of the popular Mammoth Mountain. When Shawn was younger, he spent time snowboarding at June Mountain and fell in love with the area. It was a no-brainer to stop there for the night!

After getting off the US 395, we drove through June, stopped at June Lake Brewing, and then did the June Lake Loop. The loop goes for 16 miles around the four lakes in the area. The scenery on the loop is quite vast and changes from forest pines to dry desert landscapes — all with a gorgeous mountain backdrop [see above images].

After the loop we drove back to June Lake for a quick swim and to stretch our legs. While there we checked out the iOverlander App to find a good spot to boondock since all the local campsites were fully booked. The Perseid meteor showers were supposed to be pretty vivid that night so we were hoping for a good show and were not disappointed. The site we found was flat, wide open, without any other campers around and the sky was clear, so we were able to see a flurry of streaking gold and green meteors [sorry no pics] 🌟

There were plenty of deer in the area and when we woke up the next morning we got to see a few roaming around our free and quiet campsite. We quickly packed up and headed back to June Lake for a morning paddle before we hit the road on the final leg to Tahoe.

We leisurely paddled the 2.5 mile perimeter of the crystal clear June Lake in about an hour and tracked it using the Paddle Logger App. We brought a stand-up paddle board [limited edition 10’10” Isle SUP Glider] and a surfboard [10’4” Infinity] that Shawn inherited from his uncle. The kids love switching back and forth and it gives us a parents a little extra weight/workout!

Lots of ladies ask about my surf suit, so here is our affiliate link* if you’re interested in purchasing one.

Stay tuned for our next post with details about our memorable Lake Tahoe experiences!

*Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We purchased this item and are posting the link as we are happy to share a good buy.

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