Looking for a day trip that doesn’t take all day? Check out these three nearby destinations.
Where: 15 miles south of Sacramento in Yolo County along the Sacramento River
Why go: To taste great wine in a low-traffic region. It’s quiet, friendly and free.
For a cool picnic: Bogle Vineyard’s picnic area beckons with a lush, shady lawn. Bring a tablecloth, some salads and bread, purchase a couple of bottles of wine in Bogle’s tasting room and relax with friends.
In the red: The Old Sugar Mill has been repurposed as a one-stop wine-tasting venue, and five wineries pour. Start at French Hill for a Barbera and end at Carvalho for some Boat Shed Red.
Hungry? Husick’s Country Store delights travelers with its sample mustards—go ahead, dip a cracker or two. Order a Wine Maker sandwich, jammed with turkey, ham, salami, Swiss and salad stuff, and you won’t be hungry for the rest of the day.
Burgers on wheels: Across from Husick’s, the Dinky Diner is just that: dinky. Dispensing hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and shakes from a tiny shingled trailer, the folks at theDinky Diner park on River Road from spring to fall, and invite patrons to sit at the umbrella-shaded tables overlooking the river and Clarksburg Marina.
On the way: Via West Sacramento’s Jefferson Boulevard, stop at Whitey’s Jolly Kone for a peach milkshake.
Where: 50 miles east of Sacramento off Interstate 80
Why go: It’ll make you feel like you’re really getting out of the city. Downtown is a few Gold Rush-era buildings containing a library, a community center, some cafes and shops.
Typical in a Podunk town: It’s a strange combination, but Guns N Lace sells weapons of both kinds: guns and lingerie.
Hub: Worton’s Market—its long aisles packed with groceries, sunscreen, produce, beer, toilet paper, whatever you need—has a deli counter/pizza place/burger joint/ice cream parlor along the back windows.
Lunch with a view: Grab a build-your-own sandwich for $4.99 at Worton’s and gobble it at a parking lot picnic table that overlooks the verdant American River valley and the Sierra. There’s no way to describe how great this view is; you have to see it for yourself.
Make a mess: It’s the wild, wild West at Red Dirt Saloon, where the beer flows freely and you’re encouraged to throw your peanut shells on the floor.
For tie-dye: You can’t miss Foresthill Grocery, with its racks of tie-dye shirts swinging in the breeze out front. Inside, find incense, carved wood statues and DVDs for sale alongside the chips and beef jerky.
While you’re in the area: Access Upper Lake Clementine from Foresthill Road and spend the afternoon lounging in the shade. Bring a lawn chair—it’s an all-rock shore—and be prepared to wash your car after bumping along the dirt road to get down to the beach.
On the way: Cross the Foresthill Bridge—the highest bridge in California—just outside of Auburn, then pull off and park so you cross back on the pedestrian pathway, the best way to fully appreciate the bridge’s towering height over the North Fork of the American River.
Where: 40 miles northeast of Sacramento in Yuba County off Highway 70
Why go this month: The Marysville Peach Festival (July 17–19) lures peach lovers to the city’s downtown for ice cream, pie, Champagne, even dog biscuits that glorify this favorite fuzzy fruit. With a fun run/walk and plenty of live entertainment, the festival draws some 60,000 peach appreciators every year. Admission is free and—shock!—so is the parking.
Where to hang out: Downtown on D Street. Get a caffeine fix at The Brick Coffee House Cafe, browse Amicus Books, devour turtles at The Candy Box, buy a cool gift at Chick’s, rediscover your inner rock star at Marysville Music, admire the historic mural on the wall by the Tower Theater and wander through the historic Chinese Bok Kai Temple gazebo.
For a weird thrill: Take stairs past the Bok Kai Temple, up onto the Feather River levee and watch motocross riders buzzing around the E Street MX track.
When not to go: Sunday, when nearly every business downtown is closed.
Hungry? Casa Carlos, a bustling Mexican place on Sixth Street renowned for its brilliant-red salsa, serves giant plateloads of tacos, enchiladas, carnitas, burritos . . .
Wondering how it all got started? The Mary Aaron Memorial Museum on D Street can shed some light on Marysville’s history. By appointment only: (530) 743-1004.
If you spend the night: Unless you’re looking for an econo-motel experience, travel a mile down the road to Yuba City and check into the Harkey House Inn on Second Street.