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Take A Trip Through Central California

California is an incredible and diverse state filled with all sorts of things to see and do. Many people choose to RV in the southern part of the state, but not everyone makes it up to the central—much less northern—section. This is unfortunate because it’s such an awesome area.

We recently had the pleasure of visiting Central California and will be recommending others to do so from here on out.  These were some of our favorite things to see and do in the area.

Ocean in Central California
Beautiful California beaches. Image source: Wonder Wherever We Wander

Beaches

It’s no secret that west coast beaches are beautiful, and the ones in Central California are no exception. During our weeks in the area, we paid a visit to Natural Bridges State Beach, and we couldn’t have had a better time. The tide pools at this park—and at most other California beaches—are amazing and filled with life. The waves are huge, crashing, and gorgeous, and the sands are clean and perfect for sculpting.

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Be sure to pack a lunch when visiting the beach because I promise you won’t want to leave. Additionally, it is important to wear sunscreen even if it doesn’t feel all that warm out, as the sunshine is reflected off the water and can actually be quite intense on your skin.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia Tree
Sequoia National Park. Image source: Unsplash

Sequoia National Park is one of the must-see natural wonders that California seems to be so rich in. While the well-known redwoods up on the northern coast are the tallest trees in the world, the sequoias found further southeast are the most massive, and this is certainly easy to see once you stand next to one.

These trees possess some serious girth, and if they were hollow, five or six people could easily have a picnic together in there. Not only that, they’re also fascinatingly resilient and have been standing tall for centuries.

During our visit to this park, there was snow covering the mountainside despite the relatively warm weather in the valley below. Therefore, I highly recommend bringing layers of clothing if you visit during the fall, winter, or early spring. You may also want to bring a sled since there’s an area for that. (We wished we’d had something to slide on ourselves.)

Yosemite National Park

California
Yosemite National Park. Image by Unsplash

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Yosemite during our recent trip to Central California. The weather was too cold, and much of the park was still closed. However, this is at the top of our to-do list for our next visit, and based on research alone, I can tell you that it is a must-see during the warmer months. The national park is home to the tallest waterfalls in North America, towering sequoia trees, mountains, and vast green meadows.

San Francisco

San Francisco
San Francisco. Image source: Wonder Wherever We Wander

No trip to Central California is complete without a visit to San Francisco. This beautiful city is filled with amazing history, lovely architecture, and plenty to see and do.

  • Make sure to ride a cable car during your visit, and stop in at the free Cable Car Museum to learn how they work and why they were invented.
  • Eat some interesting and delicious local snacks from the Ferry Building Marketplace, and hang out with the sea lions on Pier 39.
  • We also loved the Walt Disney Family Museum out on the edge of the city, and we have plans to see Exploratorium on our next visit.

Sacramento

Though not as big and bustling as San Francisco, Sacramento is well worth a visit if you get the chance. The California State Railroad Museum was thoroughly enjoyed by my family, and we have plans to return to the Sacramento History Museum located right next door.

Both museums are part of the NARM reciprocal program, so if you plan to go to both, be sure to look into getting a membership.

Image source: Wonder Wherever We Wander
Railroad museum. Image source: Wonder Wherever We Wander

We also found that there were quite a few options for coffee in the area, something my family really appreciates. We ended up at Oblivion Comics and Coffee, a really cool comic book store and coffee shop combo that would even create superhero latte upon request!

Where to stay

Wondering where you should stay while enjoying all of these amazing sights? While you probably will have to move around a little to get it all in, it is possible to stay in a couple of fairly central campgrounds and see the vast majority of these sights by taking day trips.

Campsite
Camping in Central California.  Image source: Wonder Wherever We Wander

For seeing Sacramento, San Francisco, and the Central California beaches, you may want to stay somewhere in or near Isleton, CA. Park Delta Bay is where we stayed and we liked the park as well as the location since both major cities and many other sites were within a 90-minute drive.

When it’s time to move on to Yosemite and Sequoia, consider moving over to a campground on the east side of the state. Fresno is right in between the two places and has everything you might need for day-to-day living. There aren’t a ton of RV parks in this area, but there are some scattered about, and Blackstone North RV Park stands out as a good choice.

We had an absolute blast hanging out in Central California. I hope you’ll take these suggestions, add a few of your own, and create your own amazing adventure in this fun-filled state.