Aerial view of the Sundial Bridge and Sacramento River in Redding, California.
Sheraton Redding Hotel at the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California
Two woman toasting at Lake Shasta Dinner Cruise in Redding, California.
Conference event at Redding Civic Auditorium in Redding, California.
Aerial view of the Sundial Bridge and Sacramento River in Redding, California.
Sheraton Redding Hotel at the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California
Two woman toasting at Lake Shasta Dinner Cruise in Redding, California.
Conference event at Redding Civic Auditorium in Redding, California.

A Complete Guide to Summer Activities in Redding

By Zach O'Brien | 06/13/2022

Did you know that the second sunniest city in America sits in Northern California? Not only by visiting Redding, California are you guaranteed to get plenty of sunshine, you can do it all while enjoying the many world-famous outdoor destinations surrounding the region.

That’s right – summer is here and it’s officially time to knock the dust off your bathing suits and have some fun in the summer sun. Here are all the activities you can do this summer in Redding, California:

There are plenty of lakes surrounding Redding that offer a great escape on a summer day, but three set themselves apart as some of the best recreational lakes in California.

The main attraction for most people visiting Redding is Shasta Lake, which includes California’s largest reservoir and America’s 9th largest dam - Shasta Dam. Spending a day lounging on a boat, hitting a couple wakeboard runs and tossing out a line for bass are the perfect way to spend a day in UpState CA, and Shasta Lake provides these opportunities in spades.

Another option includes Whiskeytown Lake, which is the centerpiece of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area that includes four waterfalls, hundreds of miles of trails and a beautiful beach. The water of Whiskeytown is crystal-clear, and with less boating traffic than on Shasta, this is a great place to kayak, sail or simply swim.

You can also try your luck at Trinity Lake, which is a lot less crowded than Shasta during the summer months. Speed boating and waterskiing are popular activities on Trinity, as well as trying to catch one of its many bass, trout and Kokanee salmon on a rod.

There are plenty of rivers near Redding and sometimes the best way to explore them is on a raft. Many of the small rivers and streams can be navigated during the summer months, but for our money, three river adventures are the best in the region.

For a whitewater adventure, the Trinity and Upper Sacramento rivers are a great place to spend a day on the water. River outfitters like Trinity River Rafting and Bigfoot Rafting are an easy way to get on the water. For a more relaxing day, try the lazy float down the Lower Sacramento River in the heart of Redding, where you’ll go directly under the Sundial Bridge. See Redding from a brand new perspective by floating through it!

With its trails being dubbed “the gem of the U.S. Trail System” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Redding’s newly developed and connected trails are one of the highlights of the city’s claim as one of the great outdoor towns in the country. Boasting more than 225 miles of trails within 15 miles of the city, there’s no shortage of opportunity to get outside.

There are a lot of options in this massive trail system. Of course, we can’t go through every single mile of them. There are plenty of hikes in Lassen Volcanic National Park and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. You can also opt for a hike within city limits, including the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail, Westside Trails and Clear Creek Trails. There’s simply a trail for everyone.

In 2014, Time Magazine created a list of American cities and their weird obsession. While San Francisco was obsessed with brunch and Sacramento with costume play, Redding came in with a much cooler obsession - kayaking.

There’s no secret why Redding is the “unofficial capital” of kayaking. Not only is it a fun, healthy activity, but there’s also an abundance of places to hit the water and go for a paddle. From the calm water of Whiskeytown to the raging waters of the Trinity River, there’s a kayaking adventure for all levels in the region. Many of the kayaking waters are framed with a beautiful backdrop, making this activity a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

If you’re visiting Redding in the summer, you’re likely drawn to the area for its world-famous waterfall loop. That is, of course, why the area was recently featured in National Geographic. But this area is more than just a loop – it’s a mecca – with waterfalls of all shapes and sizes to visit.

There’s a waterfall of seemingly every shape and size in the region. There’s waterfalls that reach to 129-feet high and others that spread 100-feet across. There are some you can literally hike under and others that you can’t even get close to. From waterfalls big to small, Redding has a smorgasbord of amazing waterfalls, all within about an hour drive of the city limits.

Summer is our favorite time of year to find an outdoor patio and drink some delicious craft beer. Recent years have seen a craft beer explosion in Northern California and Redding is no exception. Craft breweries and tap houses have become a great place for the whole family. Many provide games like cornhole, and you’ll find most of them hosting fun events every weekend.

There are four awesome breweries that have taken the charge in Redding. The favorites in town are Woody’s Brewing Co., Final Draft Brewing Co., Cedar Crest Brewing and Fall River Brewing Co. They all provide a unique approach to brewing beer and their tap houses are an awesome place to hang out.

You can’t talk about Northern California in the summer without discussing Lassen Volcanic National Park. The stunning park sitting just east of Redding is home to fascinating hydrothermal activity, stunning waterfalls and pristine lakes, all surrounding an active volcano.

At Lassen Volcanic National Park, you can experience a top-notch outdoor experience without the crowds you see at Yosemite or Yellowstone. And even with its lack of tourists, for our money, you won’t find more outdoor beauty in one wilderness area than in Lassen.

When it comes to dense fisheries all located in a small area, there’s no better place to catch fish in California than Redding. That’s why it’s no surprise that Field and Stream rated it as one of the Best Fishing Towns in America.

Of course, you can’t go wrong fishing right through the middle of Redding on the Lower Sacramento River, possibly the best fishery on the entire West Coast. You can also catch some fish on famed rivers like the McCloud, Pit, Hat and Trinity. There’s also plenty of fish in the lakes including Shasta, Whiskeytown, Trinity and Manzanita.

With the world-class outdoor surroundings of Redding, it’s no wonder why extreme athletes travel from all over for an adrenaline-pumping adventure.

Depending on your preference of extreme sport action, there are a lot of options in the area. You can opt to ride down one of the many awesome mountain biking trails around Redding, with the San Francisco Chronicle once dubbing the city as a “secret mountain biking mecca.” You can kayak the many white water opportunities around town, including Clear Creek and the Trinity River. You can also test your extreme fortitude on the waters of Shasta Lake with skiing, wakeboarding or cruising around on a Jetovator. There’s no shortage of adrenaline pumping action in the North State.

As any Redding local will tell you, getting used to the summer heat is a rite of passage in UpState CA. Everyone has their own system to stay cool on those hot summer days. For most, a swimming hole is the perfect remedy. Luckily for you, Redding has them in spades.

There are famed swimming areas surrounding Redding, like those at McCloud Falls, Potem Falls and Whiskeytown Lake. With the many rivers and lakes in the area, there’s plenty more to visit if you’re willing to search a little. Waterways like Clear Creek, Montgomery Creek and the Upper Sacramento River include a handful of swimming holes, all with stunning backgrounds that make for a great outdoor adventure.

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