Sacramento is a great base for day trips to nearby and interesting places to visit. Below are links to a number of different day trip destinations from Sacramento. Each of these destinations is described in separate PDF files which can be downloaded and used to plan a different day trip either during, before, or after the Convention. Each narrative includes general travel directions (although you still need a good map), suggestions for things to see and places to visit, admission costs (if any), Internet links for more information, places to have lunch, travel times, and background information on the places you can visit.
The Ultimate California Road Trip
If you have time before or after the Convention, check out this California Road Trip to visit many of the attractions in Northern California.
Some of the places described in this day trip include Sutter’s Fort, Old Sacramento, the Sacramento History Museum, the Wells Fargo Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, and the California State Capitol Museum right across the street from the Hyatt Convention Hotel.
San Francisco is a couple of hours from Sacramento, but can be easily visited by automobile or Amtrak and BART trains for a day. Some of the attractions described in this day trip to San Francisco include the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, shopping at Union Square, cable cars, the steepest and crookedest streets in the City, and the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. If you’ve already visited San Francisco many times, consider a trip to explore Alcatraz National Park or Sausalito across the Bay from the City.
The Napa Wine Country is north of San Francisco and only a couple of hours from Sacramento. The Wine Country is home to literally hundreds of wineries, restaurants, and shops in a wonderful setting of vineyards covering the valley and nearby hills. Our day trip description includes some suggestions for an outstanding day of wine tasting, lunch, and shopping.
The Gold Country
Gold was discovered just 40 miles from Sacramento on the American River. While some of the towns in the Gold Country have shed their original charm, others have stayed relatively unchanged. There are two different day trips to visit some of these treasures.
One day trip heads northerly to Grass Valley and Nevada City. At Grass Valley, one can visit the Empire Mine State Park, one of the oldest, largest, deepest, longest and richest gold mines in California. Just up the highway is the town of Nevada City, one of the best-preserved historic towns in the Mother Lode area. The entire downtown district is a National Historic Landmark with quality restaurants and a variety of shops, boutiques, galleries, and museums.
The other day trip heads southerly and visits several interesting towns along Highway 49, including Sutter Creek and Mokelumne Hill. Both of these small towns are bypassed by the main highway which adds immensely to their ambiance. A slight detour off of Highway 49 further south leads to Columbia State Historical Park where visitors have the chance to time-travel to the 1850s, imagining life when gold miners rubbed shoulders with businessmen and the other residents in Columbia.
The wagon train which became known as the Donner Party left Independence, Missouri for California in 1846, but was delayed for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, they became snowbound east of the Sierra Nevada summit and were forced to spend the entire winter of 1846-47 in the Donner Lake area near the current-day town of Truckee.
This day trip includes a visit to Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento before heading east to visit the location where the Donner family spent the winter of 1846-47, and then, onto Donner Memorial State Park where the rest of the Donner party spent the winter.
Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountain range has a surface elevation of 6,225 feet and is the largest alpine lake in North America. This day trip to Lake Tahoe includes a drive over Donner Summit and then along the Truckee River to Tahoe City. From there, the trip continues along the west side of Lake Tahoe to South Lake Tahoe, returning to Sacramento via Highway 50 and Echo Summit.
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