The 11 Very Best Day Trips In Northern California

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“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

There’s no better time to explore Northern California than the summertime. We have iconic mountains, beaches, rivers, parks, and more to explore, as well as wildly popular attractions in our cities and towns. It’s time to create those life long memories with loved ones in these beautiful places as you embark on these 11 unforgettable day trips in Northern California. Please note that while we are in the middle of a pandemic and shelter in place orders for many of our communities most if not all these day trips do not require you get close to one another and really do allow you to social distance while enjoying the fresh outdoors. Please call ahead to ensure your destination is open and available for visitors. Now… Let’s Get out!

1. Explore the abandoned train tunnels at Donner Summit.

These tunnels through the mountainside were originally the only way trains could make it over the summit. They were replaced by a newer, modern route years ago, and now visitors can walk through them and explore. Learn More Here.

2. Visit the Redwood State and National Parks.

The Redwood State and National Parks are home to the largest trees on earth, and luckily for us here in Northern California, they are just a short drive away. Take a walk through these magnificent giants and you won’t be disappointed. Learn More Here.

3. Take a ride on an old fashioned paddle wheel boat

Tour Lake Tahoe on the M.S.Dixie II, the only authentic paddle wheeler cruising South Lake Tahoe. It is a 500 passenger vessel that is Coast Guard certified and tours the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe year round.Learn More Here

4. Ride a tram into the mountains where the 1960 Olympics took place.

There’s nothing quite like a scenic tram ride at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. It runs year round and takes you up out of the quaint village of Squaw, above condos and over skiers sliding on the slopes, and finally to the top of the mountain.Learn More Here.

5. Drive a Northern California scenic byway

The Feather River Canyon along the North Fork of the Feather River in Butte County is a truly unforgettable drive. The canyon portion of this 130-mile scenic byway route travels east-west across Butte and Plumas Counties on State Highway 70, following the north fork of the Feather River.Learn More Here.

6. Walk or drive through a tunnel of trees

Cyprus trees at Point Reyes have formed a truly awe inspiring tunnel to one of the historic buildings in the park. It’s a popular place for photographers and nature lovers alike. Learn More Here.

7. Explore the mountains and hike a bit

Swim, hike, fish and play in the mountains at Castle Crag State Park. It is located about an hour north of Redding off Highway 5. Castle Crags is a breathtaking granite rock formation that has taken millions of years to create.Learn More Here.

8. Slide down a natural water slide

Little Backbone Creek is located near Shasta Lake and accessed via a creek that drains in to the Lake. Hike about 20 minutes up this little stream until you find the falls. Learn More Here.

9. Visit a historic lighthouse

The Battery Point Lighthouse and museum is located on a small peninsula off A Street in Crescent City. At low tide, the peninsula is accessible via this small road. At high tide, it’s an island. Learn More Here.

10. Discover unusual rock formations along the coast

Tucked along the Mendocino Coast is a spectacular but unusual sight. Strange geologic spheres that are formed by a rare combination of elements are found here. Bowling Ball Beach, where you will find these curious rocks, is located in the Schooner Gulch State Beach area and will make for a fun day of exploration. Learn More Here.

11. Walk through a field of wildflowers

The North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve features incredible hiking trails, waterfalls, and lovely flowers that bloom around this time each year. It’s a spot all nature lovers in Northern California need to put on their bucket list.Learn More Here.

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