It had been many years since I visited Lake Berryessa and I thought it would be a great place to celebrate my birthday. We had a late start Saturday because I couldn't make up my mind whether to brave the 100 plus degree weather. Once I made up my mind, our family piled in the truck and took the scenic route to check out Putah Creek along the way. From what we saw from the road, Putah Creek is a place I want to explore in the future. We passed a couple of possible put ins and we observed many rafters and kayakers enjoying the creek.
We arrived at Lake Berryessa late in the afternoon but it was still 106 degrees. We ended up at Coyote Beach in the Oak Shores area of the lake. We quickly unloaded our boats and dragged them with my Wheeleez kayak cart to the shore. If you decide to explore Berryessa I suggest bringing a cart with you as it can be a long distance from where you park to the shoreline. There are restrooms available in different areas around the lake but many are only pit toilets with no running water. You also want to bring ample food and drinks as there are limited concession stands available. We did spot a small market a few miles from the actual lake but we didn't stop and check it out.
Coyote Beach has a swim area roped off but we didn't like it because there was quite a bit of goose poop floating in the area. The kids and I paddled out a ways and found an area that was clear and the kids swam while I paddled around. I think this would be a great place to kayak camp. UPDATE: Kayak camping is only allowed if you kayak into a developed campground (of which there are only 4 on the lake, and none very close to Oak Shores). Camping anywhere else along the shoreline and islands is illegal, and no one wants a ticket for that! Thanks RangerVic! For a map of Lake Berryessa and more info on camping click here.
We had a great afternoon and evening and look forward to our return. Be aware that there are rattlesnakes in the area and we found one about 10 feet from our truck hiding out in a hole as we were packing up. Be safe and keep on paddling!