When we think of visiting California a few cities come to mind, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego perhaps. While all these places can be known as must-sees, there are surely plenty of other possibilities to keep you entertained in the Sunshine State. California is more than half of the United States west coastline. In all that area lays many more secrets of wonder and enchantment.
Sonoma County, California
Enjoy rustic surroundings and escape the crowds of the cities. Located roughly one hour north of San Francisco on the scenic Highway 12 are rolling hills and vineyard. This region is known for its vast size and diverse terrain, comprised of over 200,000 acres from the Pacific Ocean to the Mayacamas Mountains. Neighboring Napa may be a wider known destination for wine tourism; Sonoma may take the cake when it comes to history. In the mid- 1800s Count Agoston Harazthy brought European wine grapes to California and founded the first commercial winery near the town of Sonoma. This historic winery can still be visited. The Sonoma Plaza is the old town square and is the largest of its kind in the state of California. The plaza’s eight acres were originally laid out by General Mariano Guadelupe Vallejo in 1836 which turned Sonoma from a mission town into a Mexican style pueblo. Today the plaza is lined with shops, restaurants, and Sonoma County agricultural specialties like world renowned cheeses and wines.
Mammoth Lakes, California
A town of 10,000 people located in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, this place is located a long five and a half hour drive from the busy city of Los Angeles. For the outdoors fanatic Mammoth Lakes promises some of the most picturesque landscape in the nation and tons to do. So many natural wonders surround Mammoth Lakes and that makes this one of the most geographically studied parts of the world. Sightseeing is one of the main attractions here. On lovely days a picnic lunch can be enjoyed near Rainbow Falls, a point where the San Joaquin River drops 101 feet sending rainbows of color into its mist. Bodie State Historical Park can offer visitors a look into the past at an Eastern Sierra mining town from the 1800s. The entrance to Yosemite National Park is just one hour’s drive from Mammoth Lakes.
Located three hours north of Los Angeles Fresno offers a diverse experience from world class attractions in art, culture, sports, and entertainment while also offering a small town experience with country drives and outdoor adventures. Fresno’s Tower District features many Victorian homes to admire along with craft shops and restaurants. This area is one of the leading agricultural areas in the nation and offers many agro-tourism adventures including many farmers markets and farms to visit. Visit the Kearney Mansion Museum and experience San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural beginnings through the story of M. Theo Kearney, a California agriculture pioneer.
Photo Credit: reed_flickr (www.creativeobjective.com)