Lane County’s warm summers and access to lakes are the perfect combination for trying out new modes of aquatic recreation. Whether you want to try a stand-up paddle board (my personal favorite, as I bought an inflatable one this year and love it), a kayak or a canoe, this summer is the perfect time to take COVID social distancing to the water.
I’ve learned that gliding across a lake surrounded by trees with the warm sun on your face is a great escape. So if you are investing in a non-motorized boating/paddling here are some of my favorite local places to go:
Near the coast, Cleawox Lake at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park is an oasis. The sand dunes that surround the lake block out the brisk sea winds, leaving you with some good sunshine. The water is usually pretty still, providing you with a beach-like experience without being in the ocean. Plus, it’s maybe a 10 minute drive from Florence.
On the east side of the county, alpine lakes offer a different experience. Though the water is cold, it is also still and clear. Plus, you get breathtaking views of all your favorite Cascade peaks. In this area, I recommend Sparks Lake and Waldo Lake, which are easy day trips from central Lane County.
But if you want to stay local to the Eugene-Springfield area, that’s OK, too. Both Dexter Lake off Highway 58, and Dorena Lake in Cottage Grove are great for paddling and the reservoirs are only a 30-minute drive away. The only downside is there are a lot of boats on the water. If you want to escape some crowds, Fall Creek Reservoir is an option, although it’s slightly farther.
Wherever you decide to paddle or row, just remember to wear a life vest. Check out Oregon.Gov/OSMB to learn more about requirements and permits. ν