Truckee, Nevada County, CA
Distance from SF: 184 miles by car; three hours, three minutes
Yes, this is the lake where those peeps ate each other in the 1840s. No, no one eats each other there anymore. We think. A large lake to the northwest of North Lake Tahoe, Donner has boating, fishing, hiking, climbing, and spectacular/challenging high-altitude cycling to the top of the summit. The large campsite accommodates many summer visitors, and rentals are plentiful in the area. Plus: Truckee is basically attached to the lake and, get this, reachable by a long (almost eight hours!), but scenic Amtrak ride from the Bay Area. Who knew? Pro tip: hit Truckee after you're done at the lake, pull up a stool at Casa Baeza, and order a classic Paloma (tequila, lime, Squirt), which'll come in a badass, salt-rimmed clay pot.