When you think of traveling to California, you’re probably picturing palm trees, sun, beaches and surfing. It is true that these are the most common activities for visitors, but there are even more interesting things to do in the inland areas of the state. Read on to discover the top five little-known destinations of inland California.
1. Placer County – You probably have never heard of this county, but it is full of small towns that have a rich history, especially in relation to the Gold Rush days. Abandoned mines and museums are the only remnants of those days, in addition to some statues in Auburn dedicated to the thousands of Chinese workers who contributed greatly to the mining of gold. Auburn is the county seat and is full of interesting structures, including an old Queen Anne style firehouse and an attractive courthouse dating back to the late 1800s. Placer County is a great place for hiking and outdoor recreation. There is a magnificent old bridge you can see while hiking outside of Auburn; it is called the Foresthill Bridge and towers a breathtaking 730 feet above the American River. You’ll definitely fall in love with Placer County – and you’ll surely see why so many people choose to make it their home. You don’t have to be a Placer County real estate agent to see why people love to buy homes in Placer County towns! If you’re a true hiking adventure lover, park at Donner Summit and take a hike to the old historic Soda Springs resort – it is an amazing experience.
2. Silver City Ghost Town – Thrill seekers and mystery lovers, this one is for you. This mining-camp-turned-ghost-town is located near Bodfish, California, not far from Lake Isabella. Listed on the National Directory of Haunted Places, the town’s ghost-sighting numbers are high. Visitors are welcome to tour the old general store, which is still filled with artifacts from days gone by. There is also an old post office, home dwellings, saloon and cabins. The original Isabella jail is still in existence there, as well. Silver City has appeared on several movies, so you may recognize it.
3. Miracle Hot Springs – You won’t need to travel far from the Silver City ghost town to arrive at this attraction. Yes, most people come to California for cool water and beaches, but these hot springs are much more invigorating and relaxing than a day on a crowded beach. There are other hot springs in California, but this is the only location that is free of resorts accompanying the springs. Enjoy relaxing in natural rock hot water pools. You may see remnants of the resort that once stood there, but everything has now returned to a natural state. You won’t need to pay resort prices to simply sit and relax here – less than $10 will get you in. Miracle Hot Springs is located in the Kern River Canyon, which is a quiet and secluded area. You’ll likely see less than 10 other people during a visit to these springs.
4. Redding – This city is very unique and offers visitors the opportunity to learn a lot about everything from natural science to art. It is nestled along the banks of the Sacramento River. One of the most unique bridges can be seen here – the Sundial Bridge. This magnificent architectural structure is a combination of a working bridge and a fully functional sundial. Nearby is the Turtle Bay and accompanying museum with a 20-acre garden area. Another interesting sight to see is the Art-Deco-style Cascade Theater. This historic structure was built in 1935 and is now a multi-function performance venue.
5. Inyo National Forest – Commonly overlooked because it is so close to Yosemite National Park, this gem of a natural attraction is one that you won’t regret visiting. Sure, Yosemite is nice, but you have much more variety for hiking trails and secluded wading or swimming spots in Inyo National Forest. There are plenty of great locations for fishing also. The best part is that if you want something different to do, you only need to drive a short distance to reach multiple ski resorts with some of the best slopes in California. If you’re not native to California and plan to camp in this forest, you must know that it is imperative to have a campfire permit. You’ll need to buy this before setting up camp. With all the fires that occur each year, park rangers are very strict about permits.
These are just a few of the great places to see in the inland portion of the Golden State. Although the popular destinations are pushed in mainstream tourism, I think you’ll find that some of these best-kept secrets of destinations provide an interesting and memorable experience for your next trip to California.
About the author: Patrick works out of the RE/MAX Gold Auburn and Roseville Placer County Homes offices in Placer County. Patrick’s experience includes helping countless clients purchase and sell homes in the region.