Nice & Lucerne
Lucerne and Nice are two lakeside communities along the north shore of Clear Lake on State Highway 20, the major east-west thoroughfare in Lake County. Long, beautiful stretches of shoreline are shaded by large pepperwoods and giant oaks, and spectacular redbud shrubs bloom throughout the area in springtime Several l resorts and campgrounds offer visitors a place to stay, and public beaches, parks, and harbors provide many opportunities to enjoy the lake.
With the steep Bartlett Mountain Range as its backdrop, the lakeside town of Lucerne is often referred to as “the Switzerland of America” with terrain and sweeping views reminiscent of the Alps. The town of Nice was named in June 1871 after the small town of Nice, France.
The historic 1928 Lucerne Hotel on seven scenic acres was recently renovated to become the latest campus of Marymount California University, with classrooms, student and faculty housing, food service facilities, outdoor recreation, and gardens. Students will be able to complete upper division degrees in business, liberal arts, psychology, and other areas.
In the community of Lucerne, as part of the Lucerne Promenade between State Highway 20 and Clear Lake, the new Third Street Pier area provides visitors opportunities to enjoy a view of the north bay of Clear Lake and Mount Konocti. Lucerne Pharmacy features an interactive Visitor’s Kiosk while next door is a new eatery with an eclectic menu. A favorite of travelers to Lucerne is the oldest franchise restaurant in Lake County, Foster’s Freeze.
Hinman Park in downtown Nice features an attractive gazebo in the center of the park, palm trees, a lush lawn, and other amenities that are enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. The County’s Keeling Park provides a public boat launching facility, a playground, swimming area, boat dock and other popular amenities. Further to the west on Hammond Avenue, a new County park is under development, which already includes playground equipment and will soon include a ball field, walking trails, wildlife viewing on adjacent wetlands, and more.
Nice is home to several other tourist-oriented businesses and attractions, such as a quirky lunchbox museum, a unique caboose-themed B&B, and a world-class lakefront timeshare facility that is a destination in and of itself. Its lodge was built in 1904 as a private residence, and became the Clear Lake Lodge in 1922, operating as a hotel with a pool and even a casino.