When it’s time for a much-needed relaxing weekend getaway, head to the areas neighboring Stockton, California. Many incredible destinations surrounding Stockton take less than five hours to reach by car. Choose a spacious Stockton vacation rental over a hotel room for additional privacy and easy access to the top destinations in the area. Start planning your weekend trip with these fantastic cities in mind.
1. Bakersfield, California
In a little over three and a half hours, your family arrives in the vibrant city of Bakersfield with fun for all. Kids love visiting the California Area Living Museum and seeing the bears. This unique zoo only houses animals that can’t be returned to the wild. Murray Family Farms is a local working farm that offers tours that you take on a hay wagon pulled by a tractor. You learn about what it takes to run a farm, and the kids get to pet all the furry barn animals. Pick up fresh produce, baked goods, and a smoothie at the Red Barn before leaving.
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2. Mammoth Lakes, California
The scenery on the less than five-hour drive to Mammoth Lakes is stunning and make the drive more enjoyable as you wind through national parks. This small town provides easy access to Yosemite National Park, where you can hike, cross-country ski, rock climb, ride horses, and so much more. In the winter months, glide down the slopes at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area with its numerous trails for all skill levels. Kids love tubing at Woolly’s Tube Park, too. Try something truly unique when you book an outing through Mammoth Snowcat Tours and ride around the mountain in one of these behemoths while you see the winter wonderland vista.
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3. Santa Maria, California
Unwind and have tons of fun in Santa Maria, California. This small town takes a little over four hours to reach by car, and then you can stop at Boomers! Funpark first. Hop on go-karts and race your kids to the finish line before heading out on bumper boats and trying to knock them around. This adventure center also offers a mini golf course and a concession stand to keep your energy levels up. Set aside one evening to see the latest move at the Hi-Way Drive-In Theatre. It is one of the last remaining drive-in movies in the state and a treat for kids.
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4. South Lake Tahoe, California
Breathe in the fresh air and take part in the outdoor life in South Lake Tahoe, California, after a drive of a little less than three hours. Beauty surrounds you everywhere you look but the best place for an afternoon of hiking is the Emerald Bay State Park. While in the park, tour Vikingsholm, a large Scandinavian mansion. In the winter months, Heavenly Ski Resort offers more than 90 ski runs that are accessible by 30 lifts. On a rainy afternoon, the KidZone Museum is a space for children of all ages to learn through play. Take to the skis to see all the natural beauty of the area with a helicopter tour from Heli-Vertex.
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5. Fresno, California
In a little over two hours, your family can have easy access to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest for a weekend of hiking, horseback riding, climbing, and white water rafting from your vacation rental in Fresno, California. Get all wet while taking part in a day trip of white water rafting through Zephyr Whitewater Rafting. Choose either national park for a day of hiking and pick up a trail map from the visitor’s center or sign up for a guided walk with a park ranger. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a compact zoo but kids enjoy the afternoon giraffe feeding for the public.
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6. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Explore the art scene and spend a day on the beach with a weekend getaway to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. It takes right around two and a half hours to reach this relaxed coastal community. Stretch your legs after the car ride with a hike through the Point Lobos State Reserve. You catch sight of the ocean stretching for miles and might see some wildlife, such as mountain lions, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, and many more. Walk to the end of Ocean Avenue to access Carmel Beach for a day of sunbathing and playing in the waves. Learn some local history and the Spanish influence on the area with a tour of the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission.
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7. Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada sits a little less than three hours from your home and offers an exciting weekend. Billed as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno has something for everyone in your family. Discover the stars and learn more about science at the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center. Kids love an afternoon at the Animal Ark. This wildlife sanctuary takes care of exotic animals who are unable to return to the wild. Find more than 200 vintage and retro cars at the National Automobile Museum.
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