Summer is here, the kids are out of school and the conversation turns to the best travel destinations. Recent conversations with friends and suggestions from record readers give our list of the most beautiful places in Northern California. The criteria included stunning views, unique destinations and within a “one tank” drive. To provide both ideas and start arguments, we made seven recommendations last week; Here’s our top 13 balance:
Read more:These are some of the most beautiful places in Northern California
Highway 49, Gold Rush Highway
The historic highway connects cities and the gold mines that put California on the map, beginning with the discovery of gold in Coloma in 1848 and the Great Gold Rush in 1849 that quadrupled the state’s population in the following ten years.
Begin your tour in Coloma, at Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, and follow the highway through beautiful pioneer cities such as Placerville, Plymouth, Amador City, Sutter Creek, Jackson, Mokelumne Hill, Columbia and Sonora. All towns preserve historic buildings dating back to the 1850s, are surrounded by evidence of old mines, and offer shops, restaurants, and hotels/motels to explore for days.
Among its many favorites, Sutter Creek stands out with its six-block historic main street, dozens of historic buildings, wine tasting outlets, the Sutter Hotel, Sutter Creek Theatre, Knight’s Foundry and more.
Reyes National Seashore Point
In Point Reyes, north of San Francisco, see elephant seals, tulle elk, see whales, stroll on the beach where Sir Francis Drake claimed California for Queen Elizabeth in 1579, tour a gorgeous lighthouse in the Pacific Ocean and dine on freshly shelled oysters – all That’s only two and a half hours from Stockton. Tomales Bay and Point Reyes National Seashore both offer a gorgeous California coastline. Journey further north to Bodega Bay, Jenner and the Russian River for unforgettable views and quaint coastal towns.
Big Sur coast
This rugged California coast stretches for 95 miles, from Monterey south to San Simeon. Early Spanish explorers called it “El Sur Grande” or the Great South for miles of unknown coastline with no real ports and a betrayal of both ships and early explorers. Mexico granted several land grants in the early 19th century; The logging economy began to flourish by the mid-19th century, with timber being shipped from the Santa Lucia Mountains north to San Francisco and south to Los Angeles. Highway 1 was finally completed in 1937, and it took 18 difficult years to build Highway.
Campers find secluded campgrounds further south down the coast as necklace such as Andrew Molera State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Limekiln State Park, and Kirk Creek Campground. The options for hostels and resorts are plentiful, from expensive to very expensive. Seasonally, elephant seals can be seen in Ano Neuvo State Park (reservations required) and at the six-mile-long Piedras Blancas Laundry (located just north of San Simeon). Don’t miss San Simeon and Hearst Castle, perched royally in the hills overlooking the ocean, William Randolph Hearst’s massive estate, 165-room stately home, stunning grounds, and world-class art.
Pinecrest to Kennedy Meadows on Highway 108
All of our Sierra highways offer great scenery, from Highway 4 from Bear Valley to Lake Alpine, or Highway 88, with Silver Lake, Stockton Municipal Camp, and Kirkwood. But Highway 108 has always been our favorite, as Pinecrest offers the best views of the High Sierra, swimming and fishing at Lake Pinecrest, hiking, good restaurants, and good lodging.
Only three miles away, Dodge Ridge Ski Resort now offers summer cable car rides, disc golf, and activities at Creekside Lodge. Another 25 miles at elevation of 108 is beautiful Kennedy Meadows, with hiking, horseback riding and half a dozen Forest Service Camps, as well as adventures in several wilderness areas.
Lassen National Park
Boiling hot springs, fumarol steam, sulfur clay pots, multiple volcanic peaks – fire and ice. It is located at the southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range, and is part of the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a chain of volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Ocean. The visitor center explains the four types of volcanoes found around the world, all of which can be found within the park. They include Compound volcanoes (Brukov’s volcano), Connecting Dome (Mount Lassen), the Shield (Prospect Peak) and Cinder Cone (Sinder Coon). The 32-mile run through the park includes sulfur works, the Bumpass Hell trailhead, the head of the Lassen Peak Trail (requiring an ascent over 2,000 feet from the southeast side of the summit) and the devastated area, which was flattened by a volcanic eruption in 1916, Covered in pumice, mud flows and strewn with boulders the size of cars exploded from the peak 3 miles away.
East Bay Provincial Parks
The series of parks in the East Bay coastal range have long been a favorite, most of which are part of the East Bay Provincial Parks region. Many are favourite, but the Black Diamond Mines Regional Park peaks. From the 1850s to the early 1900s, the largest coal mining area in California was the Black Diamond Mining District northeast of Mount Diablo. Four million tons of coal (“black diamonds”) we produce from over 900 miners; Fuel power plant boilers, delta steamers, railroad locomotives, and winter heating homes. This is a beautiful provincial park with coal mining history, just 45 miles and an hour from Stockton.
Last week, we made our first seven recommendations, which included Yosemite Park, Calaveras Big Trees, Eastern Sierra, Lake Tahoe, San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta, a trip to San Francisco Harbor, and Shenandoah Wine Country. What did we miss? Email me and we’ll add more!
For more information: Big Sur Coast, bigsurcalifornia.org; East Bay Provincial Parks, EBParks.org; Interstate 49, Gold Rush Highway, California.com; Lassen Volcanic National Park, nps.gov/lavo; Interstate 108, Pinecrest to Kennedy Meadows, visittuolumne.com; a point. Reyes National Beach, nps.gov/pore.
Contact Tim, [email protected]; Happy trips in scenic California!