Stretching along the eastern shore of Clear Lake from Cache Creek to beyond Monitor Point, the City of Clearlake was incorporated in 1980. Known as “the Highlands” to longtime residents, the city meanders over hills throughout its 10.5 square miles. Development of the area began in 1922, with walnut orchards a common sight. Some of those original orchards remain today in the Burns Valley area. The city, with a population now over 15,000, prides itself as a tourist destination with small-town charm.
Within the city are three lakefront parks: Redbud Park, Austin Park, and Highlands Park, each with its own special amenities. With new launching facilities and a huge parking lot, Redbud Park is a popular bass tournament destination. The annual Fourth of July parade begins at Redbud Park and fills Lakeshore Drive to Austin Park where festivities continue throughout the day, closing with a fireworks display at dusk. Austin Park also has been the site for the annual International Worm Races since 1970. The annual Christmas parade ushering Santa into town begins at Redbud Park the first Saturday in December ending at Austin Park with lighting of the community tree. Between Redbud and Austin parks, Lakeshore Drive serves as the main focus for commercial, retail and visitor-oriented activity. Highlands Park is located in this same area and is undergoing renovation of a building on the property to serve as a visitor center. City Hall neighbors Austin Park on Olympic Drive. With a new General Plan scheduled for adoption in 2016, and several new and expanding businesses in process, economic and commercial clusters include the areas at Highway 53 at Dam Road, at Lakeshore Drive, along Olympic Drive, and just off Highway 53 north of the city. Commercial uses are also anticipated on the former Pearce airfield site on Highway 53.
A unique spot within the city is Borax Lake. Once mined for its large deposits, the lake is a national archeological site.
The Clear Lake campus of Yuba Community College, St. Helena Hospital–Clearlake, and Clearlake Shopping Center are clustered near the southern edge of the city. Near Burns Valley Mall are the Clearlake Cinema; Redbud Library, a branch of the Lake County Library system; and the Highlands Senior Center.