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Where to Go? Best Places to Visit Near Sacramento

Best Places to Visit Near Sacramento

Sacramento, the capital of California, isn’t just about politics. Sure, it’s got its fair share of legislative drama, but look beyond the city limits, and you’ll find a treasure trove of excitement waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re into digging up history, getting lost in nature, or just hanging out with the family, the areas around Sacramento have you covered. So, think you’re ready to break free from the city grind? Let’s check out some awesome spots just a short drive away.

1. Old Sacramento State Historic ParkOld Sacramento State Historic Park

Step back in time with a visit to Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Here, you can soak in Sacramento’s ancient history, complete with buildings from the Gold Rush days. Walk the old-timey boardwalks, peek into museums, and even hop aboard a steam train straight out of the history books. It’s like diving headfirst into the region’s history—minus the dusty old textbooks.

2. Sutter’s FortSutter's Fort

Another historical gem is  Sutter’s Fort, a blast from the past where John Sutter decided to set up camp in 1839. This place is like the Disneyland of the California Gold Rush, minus the roller coasters and overpriced snacks. Today, it’s a state historic park where you can learn about the early settlers and their wild adventures—because who wouldn’t want to know what it was like to live without WiFi? Sutter’s Fort offers detailed tours and interactive exhibits that will make you feel like you’ve time-traveled back to the 1800s. Just remember, no gold-digging allowed!

3. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic ParkMarshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

Located in Coloma, just an hour’s drive from Sacramento (or an eternity if you’re stuck in traffic), lies Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. The birthplace of the Gold Rush. Back in 1848, James W. Marshall found some shiny stuff here, and suddenly, everyone wanted to migrate to California. The park now features a museum, historic buildings, and even gold panning activities for those who think they might strike it rich. Spoiler alert: you probably won’t. At least you’ll have a great story to tell!

4. American River ParkwayAmerican River Parkway

Hello, Nature enthusiasts, this place is for you. The American River Parkway is your 32-mile ticket to an outdoor paradise. Stretching all the way from downtown Sacramento to Folsom Lake. It’s like a natural amusement park for biking, hiking, fishing, and kayaking. Perfect for those days when you need a break from the concrete jungle. With plenty of access points, you can dip your toes into nature without having to escape the city buzz completely. Remember to pack sunscreen and your sense of adventure!

5. Folsom LakeFolsom Lake

Folsom Lake is the local hotspot for all water-based fun. Whether you’re itching to paddle away on a boat, a refreshing swim, or a picnic spread, this lake has it all. This lake has several beaches, picnic spots, and trails that promise Instagram-worthy water views. Basically, it’s a one-stop shop for your next chill-out session. Just don’t forget your sunscreen because even the best beach days can end with a not-so-cool sunburn!

6. Cosumnes River PreserveCosumnes River Preserve

Calling all nature detectives and bird paparazzi! The Cosumnes River Preserve is your ticket to wildlife and a must-visit near Sacramento. Safeguarding thousands of acres of wetlands and critter hideouts. It’s a hotspot for bird species, plants, and critters of all kinds. Basically, an animal kingdom with a serious conservation vibe. Whether you trek or glide through the waterways, you’ll get Insta-worthy shots and some serious peaceful vibes. Just remember, the birds might not pose, but the views definitely will!

7. Fairytale TownFairytale Town

Welcome to Fairytale Town, where childhood dreams and storybook characters collide! This park in Sacramento brings over 25 play areas to life with your favorite nursery rhymes and fairytales. Kids can climb, explore the twists and turns of the Crooked Mile, hang out with Cinderella’s carriage, and pet farm animals in the corral. It is like stepping into a real-life storybook. So, If you are in Sacramento, Grab your kiddos and get ready for a day where imagination reigns.

8. Sacramento ZooSacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is another great spot for a family outing. With over 500 animals, from lions and giraffes to slithery reptiles and colorful birds. There’s a lot to see, and you’ll never get a dull moment here. This zoo isn’t about fun; it’s also a hub for conservation and learning. You can also enroll in their events and educational programs to get up close and personal with nature’s coolest residents. Who knows, you might even leave with a newfound respect for the majestic peacock. Or a sudden urge to save the world!

9. Funderland Amusement ParkFunderland Amusement Park

Right next door to the Sacramento Zoo, you’ll find Funderland Amusement Park. A small paradise for small thrill-seekers! This cozy little park is packed with kid-friendly rides, like the classic carousel, whimsical tea cups, and a mini roller coaster that’s big on laughs. It’s the perfect spot to create magical memories with your little ones.

10. Crocker Art MuseumCrocker Art Museum

If you are an art lover, this place is definitely for you! The Crocker Art Museum is your go-to spot for a brush with creativity and culture. As one of the oldest art museums in the Western United States, it’s packed with treasures like Californian art, European masterpieces, and international ceramics. Step inside the stunning architecture while you dive into exhibits that’ll make your inner artist unconscious. It’s a true gem that paints the perfect picture of Sacramento’s vibrant art scene—get ready to be inspired!

11. California State Railroad MuseumCalifornia State Railroad Museum

If you are someone who loves Trains, then you should not miss this! The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento is a perfect place for a thrilling ride through California’s railway history. This museum showcases the impact of trains on the state’s growth with beautifully restored locomotives and hands-on exhibits that bring the past to life. It’s a must-visit destination where every whistle and clickety-clack takes you deeper into the golden age of railroads. So what are you waiting for? Grab the adventure that’s sure to steam full speed ahead!

12. California State Capitol MuseumCalifornia State Capitol Museum

Welcome to the heart of California’s political drama at the California State Capitol Museum. Located in the historic Capitol building, it showcases exhibits on the state’s government and offers tours of the building itself. But wait, there’s more! Surrounding Capitol Park is a lush playground of beautiful gardens and memorials. It is perfect for a serene walk after your crash course in civics. It’s where history meets horticulture. A true treasure trove for the curious explorer in you!

13. Lake Natoma Lake Natoma

Lake Natoma, nestled in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, is the place to be if you fancy yourself an adventurer. It’s a top spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, and rowing. The calm waters are perfect for beginners who like their mild thrills. Need your gear? No worries. There are rental facilities, but who owns a kayak?

Are you feeling more like a land lover? The surrounding trails are great for hiking and biking. The place offers those picturesque views that make you forget your burning muscles. Enjoy!!

14. Auburn State Recreation AreaAuburn State Recreation Area

For those who think walking in the park is too easy, head to Auburn State Recreation Area. Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, just a short drive from Sacramento, this place is an adventure buffet. You name it: hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and white-water rafting. The scenic trails and stunning river canyons are perfect for those who like their fun with a side of adrenaline. Adventure seekers, rejoice! This is your playground.

15. Effie Yeaw Nature CenterEffie Yeaw Nature Center

Located on the American River Parkway, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center is your go-to spot for learning about the local ecosystem—because who doesn’t love a good nature lesson? The center boasts exhibits on the region’s wildlife and habitats, perfect for those who enjoy observing nature up close. Outside, the nature preserve offers beautiful trails for hiking and wildlife spotting. It’s ideal for nature lovers of all ages—even if you’re the reluctant tagalong.

16. Napa Valley Wine CountryNapa Valley Wine Country

Just a short drive from Sacramento, Napa Valley is the world-renowned wine region everyone yells about. Spend a day pretending to be a wine connoisseur as you tour the vineyards, taste various wines, and admire the stunning countryside. Whether you’re an expert who can tell the difference between a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc or just someone looking for a scenic escape and a good buzz, Napa Valley is guaranteed to impress. Raise your glass and enjoy your sophisticated getaway!

17. Lake TahoeLake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is just a two-hour drive from Sacramento. It is the year-round playground you didn’t know you needed. In winter, it’s a snowy wonderland perfect for skiing and snowboarding. You can show off your skills or gracefully tumble down the slopes here. When summer rolls around, the lake transforms into a hotspot for boating, swimming, and hiking. If you’re a thrill-seeker or here to soak up the sun, the stunning lake and surrounding mountains make Tahoe a must-visit. It’s nature’s saying, “Get out and play!”

18. Yosemite National ParkYosemite National Park

A bit further afield, but worth the trek, is Yosemite National Park. It is famous for its jaw-dropping granite cliffs, epic waterfalls, and enormous sequoias that make you feel tiny. Yosemite National Park is one of the most iconic national parks in the United States. If you plan a quick day trip or a more extended stay, get ready to be wowed by nature’s greatest hits. Just don’t forget your camera—otherwise, did you even go?

19. Hidden Falls Regional ParkHidden Falls Regional Park

Hidden Falls Regional Park, near Auburn, is the local go-to for hiking and picnicking. I mean, who doesn’t love a good walk followed by a sandwich? With miles of pathways through scenic forests and fields, you’ll feel like you’re in a nature documentary. The highlight? The incredible Hidden Falls make the trek worth it. It’s a peaceful spot that showcases the natural beauty of the region. So, grab your hiking boots and a picnic basket, and pretend you’re an outdoor enthusiast for the day!

20. Delta King RiverboatDelta King Riverboat

Moored on the Sacramento River, the Delta King Riverboat is a quirky and unique destination. This historic riverboat has been restored into a floating hotel and restaurant. It offers a one-of-a-kind experience you will remember. Imagine enjoying a meal with a view, rocking gently on the water. Or pretending you’re a character in an old-timey adventure. Or, better yet, spend the night aboard this charming vessel and brag to your friends about your nautical escapade. Who needs dry land, anyway?

21. Locke Historic DistrictLocke Historic District

The Locke Historic District, tucked away in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, is a fascinating blast from the past. Established in the early 20th century by Chinese immigrants, Locke is the only town in the U.S. built only by and for Chinese immigrants. Walk through its streets, visit the quaint museums, and soak up the history that textbooks forgot to mention. It’s like stepping into a time machine without the flashy special effects. Perfect for a day of learning and a touch of time travel!

22. Apple HillApple Hill

In the fall, Apple Hill becomes where everyone and their grandma want to visit. Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, this place is famous for its apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and an overload of festive activities. Sip on fresh apple cider, pick your apples, and wander through lovely farms and craft fairs. It’s the ultimate autumn experience—perfect for pretending to live in a fall-themed Instagram post. Grab your flannel and hug the seasonal cliché!

23. Amador Flower FarmAmador Flower Farm

Springtime brings a burst of color to the Amador Flower Farm. With acres of stunning flower gardens, this place is a floral wonderland. Meander through the vibrant blooms, pretend you know your petunias from your pansies, shop for plants you’ll probably forget to water, and bask in the scenic beauty of the Amador County countryside. It’s the perfect spot to embrace your inner botanist—or at least look like one for the day!

24. El Dorado OrchardsEl Dorado Orchards

Another seasonal gem is El Dorado Orchards, where fruit and family fun come together in a delightful blend of outdoor adventures. Known for its bountiful orchards, this place is your go-to for fruit-picking escapades. Whether you’re into cherries, peaches, or apples, they’ve got you covered (just watch out for that ladder). And it’s not just about the fruit! Enjoy hayrides that might be bumpier than a backroad. Indulge in other farm activities that make you feel like a kid again (or at least make you grateful for smartphone GPS). It’s the perfect excuse to escape the city and get your hands dirty, literally!

Conclusion: Places to Visit Near Sacramento

And that concludes our epic guide to Visit the Places near Sacramento! From historical adventures to nature’s wonders and hidden gems, there’s a whole world waiting beyond the city limits. So, toss some snacks in your bag, rev up your car (or brave the public transit), and get ready to go on these adventures. Whether you’re a local who came here for a weekend break or a visitor itching to find Northern California’s secrets, these destinations promise an escape like no other place.

Remember, travel isn’t about the destinations. It’s about the mishaps, detours, and enthusiastic GPS recalculations that make the journey memorable. So pack your sense of humor with your camera because you’re in for a ride. Happy exploring, and may your adventures near Sacramento be as entertaining as they are enlightening. And always keep traveling until your wallet cries for mercy! Till then, as always, Travel Till You Drop!

FAQs about Sacramento

What is the best time to visit Sacramento?

The best time to visit Sacramento is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and outdoor activities are at their peak.

How far is Napa Valley from Sacramento?

Napa Valley is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes away or we can say a short drive (56 miles) from Sacramento, making it an ideal destination for a day trip.

Are there any free attractions near Sacramento?

Yes, there are several free attractions near Sacramento, including the American River Parkway, Sutter’s Fort (outside areas), and various parks and nature preserves.

What outdoor activities can I do near Sacramento?

Near Sacramento, you can enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife watching, among other outdoor activities.

Is Sacramento family-friendly?

Absolutely! Sacramento and its surrounding areas offer numerous family-friendly attractions, including parks, zoos, museums, and amusement parks.

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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