A Perfect Day in Clearlake

August 21, 2023

Perfect days don’t always come as easily as they do in Lake County. Each morning, filled with crisp air, bright sunshine, and blue skies, offers a world to explore. If you’re looking for perfection, here’s a great way to enjoy the best parts of Clearlake.

Anderson Marsh West View

It’s harder to imagine a more beautiful place for a morning walk than Anderson Marsh State Park, residing just off Highway 53 on the edge of Clearlake. The highway busily passes around the park’s edge, but once you step into the parking lot, all that disappears. It’s home to the largest blue heron rookery on Clear Lake, and its 1,060 acres of land have over 540 acres of tule marsh. That makes it a bird-watching paradise. For a good hike, follow the McVicar Trail, a 3.5-mile trail that runs along the marsh. There you’ll find an abundance of wildlife, rewarded by a beautiful view of the lake.

Blue Heron
Blue Heron Photo: EyesOfTheWild.us

All that hiking builds hunger, so continue your perfect day by heading into Clearlake for a spectacular lunch at La Chilanguita. If you’re looking for something filling, order a huarache (or ‘sandal’ in Spanish). Corn flour is stuffed with beans, shaped into a large oval, fried, and then topped with fresh veggies and handmade salsa. It’s crunchy, chewy, and completely wonderful. For a different experience, and one that can be shared by at least two people, get their molcajete. Served in a sizzling hot rock bowl, it’s a combination of beef, chicken, chorizo, shrimp, jalapenos, cotija cheese, cactus, and more in a spicy red sauce. If you haven’t had it before, you have to try it. And be sure to order a cold Pacifico to wash it down.

Clear Lake Campground
Clear Lake Campground

The afternoon sun is getting warm, and there are few better places to be during the heat of the day than on the water. Drive down to Clear Lake Campground and rent one of their kayaks. Cache Creek, the outlet of Clear Lake, is made for exploring. Egrets and Blue Herons step through the wetlands, patrolling for frogs. Deer stroll down to the creek, gently lapping the water. And catfish, bluegill, and bass cruise alongside you. Look closely, and you’ll see their shadows against the water’s surface. You can head either upstream or down; both will take you on a peaceful, idyllic adventure.

entrance to Main Street Bar and Grill
Main Street Bar and Grill

By now, it’s been a day filled with discovery and adventure, and it’s time to head to Main Street Bar and Grill to soak it all in. Located on the edge of Clear Lake near Austin Park, it’s a perfect place to enjoy the sunset, watching the mountains and water fade to purples, reds, and oranges. It’s also a great place to grab a burger and beer. If all that exercise worked up a hunger, you’ve got your choice to fill up on. Grab one of their great salads or hot sandwiches. Or if you prefer spicy, try the Louisiana Burger. It’s a juicy delight filled with jalapeno bacon, pepper jack cheese, and jalapenos, topped with onion rings and barbecue sauce.

Austin Park in Clearlake

It’s been a full day, and as the weather cools, you take a sip of your drink and soak it all in. As the band continues to play, a smile breaks across your face. It’s been a perfect day in Clearlake, and the night is still young.

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