If you are looking for a place to cool down and have some fun while participating in a variety of water sports, the Sacramento State Aquatic Center is the place for you. From canoes and kayaks, to stand up paddleboards, paddleboats, hydrobikes and much more, the Aquatic Center has it all. Don’t let the name fool you, the Sacramento State Aquatic Center is not located on the Sac State Campus. Rather, it is located on Lake Natoma, near the Hazel exit off of Highway 50. This spot really is a hidden gem where you can enjoy some relaxation time, entertain your kids, and get your exercise in all at the same time.
We recently visited the Aquatic Center with our kids on one sunny, triple-digit afternoon. We were pleasantly surprised to find convenient parking (for a $10 fee) and we walked right up to pick our rentals, as there was no one else in line. We decided on a stand up paddleboard and a canoe. Life jackets are provided and anyone who is on the equipment is required to wear one.
Our kids enjoyed the ride across the lake as we picked a spot under the shade to set up our picnic on the beach. Next, the kids immediately went back into the cool water, swam and splashed around for a bit. My husband and I took turns shuttling the smaller kids around the lake on the canoe and paddleboard. It really was such a relaxing time on the water, where both beginners and more experienced people navigate the lake. We saw several people swimming and there were plenty of spots around the lake to just hang out. I also gave our oldest child a chance to learn to how to steer the paddleboard, while I handed her the paddle for a short ride. She learned something new and we both got a great core workout!
One of the great things about the aquatic center is that the rental rates are very affordable at $10/hour for a stand up paddle board (I about died when I rented a paddleboard in Maui for five times as much!) and $15/hour for a canoe. They also give you a 15 minute grace period to get in and out of the water. Believe me, one or two hours on a paddleboard or in a canoe feels a lot longer than it actually is! We definitely felt as though we got our money’s worth.
I’ve also heard amazing things about the Aquatic Center’s summer camps! They offer camps for kids ages 7-17 that provide instruction in sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, jet skiing, rowing, stand-up paddling, white water rafting, and motor boat safety. These camps are offered all 10 weeks of summer. For more information about the summer camps, click here. We plan on enrolling our older kids in at least one of the camps this summer and we’ll be back for another day on the lake to beat the heat.
By Kara Keister