7 Tips For A Fun, Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

by | Aug 19, 2017 | Camping/Glamping, Destinations, Romantic Retreats, USA, Weekend Trips, West Coast

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If you’ve been married for longer than a minute or are even dating someone for more than 6 months, you know. Relationships take effort. You have to really work at “Happily Ever After”


couple kissing in the water - 7 Tips For A Fun, Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento


…or at least we do.



Romantic Weekend at Lake Nacimiento - 7 Tips For A Fun, Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento


Over 11 years of marriage, we’ve had our battles, our breakdowns, and have grown to understand each other in ways I never thought possible. We’ve worked hard to be creative and make our relationship a priority. We started traditions that include Secret Dates (when we have the energy) and have grown strong as a couple rooted in our individual passions.

In the spirit of our Secret Dates, we also plan Secret Anniversaries, where we take turns putting together a romantic trip and don’t tell the other until we set off. Last year, for our 10-year anniversary trip (no pressure there), I bought a voucher from our school fundraiser to Barbados. (Our friends sent us free anniversary cards! So that was nice)

This year it was his turn and he planned a romantic anniversary weekend getaway to Lake Nacimiento.

I had never heard of Lake Nacimiento. Turns out, Lake Nacimiento is an 18 mile long man-made lake created by the completion of the Nacimiento Dam in 1961. It runs along the Nacimiento River and is just north of San Luis Obisbo, and a part of Monterey County. Its many arms and tributaries have earned it the nickname Dragon Lake.


Lake Nacimeinto map aka Dragon Lake - 7 Tips For A Fun, Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

Map courtesy of LeoLakes.com


We both like to camp, or rather glamp, and we both love the outdoors, so this was perfect. This is how it went which led to us sharing the 7 ways to make your romantic getaway to Lake Nacimiento as fun as possible.



Ditch The Cell Phone

I’m sure this wasn’t his intention when he booked the trailer where we stayed for four nights but it turned out Lake Nacimiento didn’t have any cell service. At least reliable cell service or WiFi. So. This will force you to really talk and interact instead of escape every few minutes into virtual reality. It will either help you fall deeper in love or motivate you to find a good couple’s counselor upon your return.


Pro Tip: Speaking of trailers, the best are numbers 2 and 3. They are the newer ones and have a view of the lake.


Don’t Miss Romantic Getaway At Willows Lodge, WA


Bring music

Don’t forget you can’t use Spotify without wifi so load it up on music on your smartphone.  We brought our portable Bluetooth speaker. It helped camouflage the noise from our partying neighbors.


people partying and crowd surfing - 7 Tips For A Fun, Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

It’s a party


Rent (or bring) a boat

Not sure how it is during the rest of the year but we when went in July, it was hot.


hot cartoon swatting itself - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

Water! Water!!!!


The water was about 80 degrees.


man launching off on bike to ramp and high into lake - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

Anything to cool off!


People brought jet skis, giant blow-up rafts shaped like swans, pizzas, and whales and stand-up paddleboards, like the one we borrowed.


couple paddleboarding - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

My hero….


But a boat allows you to really explore the vastness and nooks and crannies of the lake.

I only ran into one sandbar.


Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. We’re adults and really what do we have to prove? We are who we are. However, maybe we’re more than we thought. Don’t limit yourself or your potential. They’re just excuses.



Yep that’s me.



He did it too.


It looks much higher from the top.


Find a Secluded Spot

Make him get off the boat with the cozy cushions and have him sit with you on the shady hill overlooking the water with rocks under your butt. It’s romantic. I swear.


couple laying on the sand - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento -

Look at us relaxing….


Bring Wine for the Campfire

Every occasion is improved with a good red.


wine next to campfire - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

Red Wine Just Makes The Campfire More Sparkly © Mikhail Starodubov | Dreamstime.com


However, don’t try to improve each other’s parenting techniques after a few glasses.


man saying


Go Wine Tasting At Paso Robles

Paso Robles is only 20 minutes away so you have to go wine tasting. We went to the amazing castle, the setting for Tooth & Nail Winery, where we were spoiled by our host, Troy. We went straight from stand-up paddleboarding in the lake into the city. I may or may not have rinsed off the lake.


couple smiling - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

Field Trip!


Troy went into detail about the winery’s origins, which is only a few years old. We only wanted to know because the wine was so good and the labels so jarring.


Don’t Miss Wine Tasting – Best Wineries In The U.S.


castle of tooth and nail winery - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

This is a castle worth storming  © Appygaltb | Dreamstime.com


I believe winemakers with the confidence to give their wines outlandish names like The Glutton and The Fiend must have a good product. They’re willing to color outside the lines, unlike the proper houses that turn out underwhelming wines.

Troy told us the artwork on the bottles is printed from historical wooden etchings.

Rabble Wine bottle - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

This one turned out to be our fav….


A great band I would have paid money to see, if I had heard of them before that afternoon, Moonshiner Collective played in the outdoor area overlooking the moat.



I really liked them. They all got hugs before we left.

And why did we leave, you may ask. Well. I didn’t think it was a very good idea to come to Paso Robles for the first time and not explore at least one more winery. So, I gave the Uber guy an address I found on the internet. I blame it on Yelp.

The review said amazing Pinot Noirs. I should have noticed it was written in 2007. The little store-front was nothing compared to the castle we had just left. We did, however, discover a great restaurant and by that time, we needed more to eat than just cheese and crackers.


cheeseboard - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

I could eat this for every meal © Pamela Mcadams | Dreamstime.com


Though I had never heard of Lake Nacimiento before my husband told me we were going there, it seemed like everyone else had. Seeing all the kids and families, I felt a little guilty not having brought our boys but oh well. A good reason to come back.


kids being pulled on a water float - Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento

Don’t you miss us???? © Yobro10 | Dreamstime.com


When You Go



Getting To Lake Nacimiento From LA

You can take the US-101 N or the I-5 N to Kern County, check your traffic app to see which is less congested. It takes about three and a half hours, depending on traffic.


Camping At Lake Nacimiento

There are seven campgrounds to choose from but the only one that has camper RVs already set up and ready to go is called Quails Roost. All the sites are great but I think #2 and #3 were the ones I’d try for next time. You need to call the campground to make a reservation, though some of the campgrounds are first come, first served.



Romantic weekend Tips - 7 Tips For A Fun, Romantic Trip to Lake Nacimiento