The city of Sacramento lies in the midst of Sacramento Valley in Northern California. It is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Redwood Forest, the Pacific Ocean, and the Monterey Peninsula. Many Sacramento vacation rentals are in proximity to beautiful vistas, exciting attractions, and plenty of opportunities for fine dining. Weekend travelers from Sacramento have convenient access to some of the top vacation destinations in the state. Here are the most popular weekend getaway spots within driving distance from Sacramento.
1. Tahoe City
The town of Tahoe City sits on the western shore of magnificent Lake Tahoe in the midst of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about two and a half hours from Sacramento. The area offers year-round recreational opportunities. In summer, rent a kayak from Tahoe City Kayak and explore the lake’s shore. Alternatively, enjoy the full galley and bar while you cruise the lake in style aboard North Tahoe Cruises’ Tahoe Gal passenger paddle wheeler. Play nine holes surrounded by spectacular scenery at the Tahoe City Golf Course. Check out the Tahoe Maritime Museum, which provides a fascinating look at historic local watercraft and marine artifacts. In winter, head for world-famous Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for some terrific downhill skiing and snowboarding. If you prefer snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area has numerous trails through lovely Ponderosa pine woodlands. When you’re hungry, grab a burger or some ribs at Bridgetender Tavern and Grill.
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Guerneville lies alongside the Russian River surrounded by redwood forests about two and a half hours from Sacramento. Adjacent to the town is Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, which has a visitor center and self-guided trails through the awesome redwood forest. Burkes Canoe Trips out of nearby Forestville takes you on a guided tour of the Russian River that includes swimming, sunbathing, wildlife viewing, and a picnic. Kings Sport and Tackle on Main Street in Guerneville supplies you with the equipment you need to angle for steelhead, catfish, and bass. Charming Main Street and the town’s central plaza are full of eclectic shops you can browse through. Try Main Street Bistro for fine dining accompanied by live music.
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3. Fort Bragg
Located just over four hours northwest of Sacramento on the beautiful Pacific Coast, the town of Fort Bragg offers several unique attractions and a wealth of recreational opportunities. View world-famous Glass Beach on the north side of town, which features dazzling gemlike pebbles of ocean-shaped glass. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens on the south side of town is a gorgeous collage of flamboyant flowers, pine forest, fern canyons, streams, and ocean-side bluffs. Take advantage of the excellent hiking opportunities at MacKerricher State Park, Jackson State Forest, and Jug Handle Nature Preserve. Liquid Fusion Kayaking offers paddling tours along the Noyo River and the Mendocino Coast. Rent a bicycle and pick up a coastal trails guidebook at Fort Bragg Cyclery for an awesome cycling experience. All Aboard Adventures at Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg offers charters for open ocean fishing and whale watching. For delicious fresh breakfast pastries, try Fort Bragg Bakery. Later, have a first-class pizza at Piaci Pub and Pizzeria.
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Monterey is a seaside town at the southern end of Monterey Bay less than four hours from Sacramento. Attractions include the award-winning Monterey Bay Aquarium, which features environmental marine life displays including an enormous kelp forest, a Pacific Ocean coral reef, and an open sea exhibit. Old Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row are fascinating historic areas full of shops, restaurants, and other businesses. Monterey’s numerous museums include the Monterey Museum of Art, the Presidio of Monterey Museum, and the Monterey Youth Museum. To be sure you don’t miss the town highlights, get some guided help at Monterey Walking Tours. Sea lions often bask on the Monterey wharfs, but to view the world’s largest animals, take a whale watching tour with Monterey Bay Whale Watch. For some delicious fresh seafood, try Old Fisherman’s Grotto on Fisherman’s Wharf.
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The lovely town of Yountville is about an hour and a half from Sacramento in the heart of the Napa Valley. Take the Yountville Wine Walk along Washington Street, where you can find over a dozen wineries and wine tasting rooms within reach of a pleasant stroll. Alternatively, join Napa Valley Bike Tours for a cycling adventure from vineyard to vineyard. Another popular way to explore Napa Valley is by hot air balloon with Napa Valley Aloft out of Yountville. The Napa Valley Museum Yountville features exhibits on the history of the area, the geology of wine production, and the work of local artists. Yountville is renowned for its award-winning restaurants and celebrity chefs, and the Yountville Food and Wine Tour through Gourmet Food and Wine Tours leads you to the best places to sample top cuisine.
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6. Mount Shasta
The town of Mount Shasta lies at the base of the magnificent namesake mountain about four hours north of Sacramento. The town serves as the perfect base for recreational activities all year long. Grab some gear at the Sportsman’s Den and enjoy spectacular scenery as you hike through meadows, conifer forests, and fields of volcanic rock to view wildlife and the area’s numerous waterfalls. Contact Bike Shasta for maps of the best mountain biking trails. Western Anglers Guide Service takes you on fly fishing tours to nearby rivers where you can angle for rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and bass. In winter, go for some downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Mount Shasta Board and Ski Park and cross country skiing at the Mount Shasta Nordic Center. When you’re hungry for a great steak or plate of pasta, head for Mike and Tony’s.
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7. Half Moon Bay
Located about two and a half hours from Sacramento on the southwestern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, the coastal town of Half Moon Bay has numerous beautiful beaches and other attractions. Rent a bicycle at Bike Works, and explore the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail. Join a kayak tour of the coastal waters with Half Moon Bay Kayak Company. At Seahorse Ranch, go horseback riding along the beach and the coastal bluffs. From Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Riptide Charters takes you out onto the ocean for sport fishing or whale watching. Take a break for some excellent seafood at renowned Sam’s Chowder House.
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