As one of the most-visited summer vacation spots, Yosemite National Park has still managed to stay somewhat pure. They don't tolerate litter, biking on trails, pets or motorized boats. So why would a family bother towing the boat anywhere near the park? It's because Don Pedro Lake is just an hour to the west.
After you've played Ansel Adams, you can really play in this winding 20-mile-long man-made boating oasis. It runs out of the Sierra Nevada foothills into old California cattle ranches, and boats of all types are welcome. Families who like to camp can claim a spot almost anywhere along the 160 miles of shore.
While Don Pedro has a remote feel far away from urban sprawl, it's near plenty of quaint towns offering wine tasting, antiquing and dining. That's if you can rip yourself out of the water for a day. Oh, and that Yosemite place isn't bad either.