Sometimes you need a diversion away from the tried and true day trips to amusement parks, beaches and the like. Here are some fun “alternative” day trips to take if you are in Northern California.
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park (North Bloomfield, CA). Malakoff Diggins is a park like no other. Located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, it’s the home to California’s largest hydraulic gold mine. Here, you can walk back into history and experience the historic gold rush of the mid-19th century. Instead of panning for gold, miners here set up huge water hydraulics that literally washed away the mountains just to find gold. What’s left are large cliffs that define the area.
Mystery Spot (Santa Cruz, CA). Discovered in 1939 by a group of surveyors, the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz is a gravitational anomaly where your perceptions of gravity and physics will be questioned. Here, balls roll uphill and chairs sit on walls. It’s one of a dozen or so places in the US where the optical illusions make visitors do a double-take. No one knows for sure what causes it, but speculations run the gamut from UFOs and aliens to a magma vortex or a hole in the ozone layer. Whatever the cause, this is certainly worth the trip.
Old Faithful Geyser of California. While not as big (or well-known) as Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, this geyser in Calistoga shoots steam about 75 feet into the air every 30 minutes. It’s also a great predictor of area earthquakes – when the eruptions are delayed or diminished, chances are good that there will be an earthquake within 500 miles in the next few weeks. While there, don’t forget to visit some of the local wineries.
Safari West African Wildlife Tours. If you’ve ever wanted to go on safari in Africa, the Safari West African Wildlife Tours in Santa Rosa, CA may be the next best thing. This former sheep ranch has zebras, cheetahs, giraffe, and more. The 3-hour tour led by an experienced guide takes you through the 400-acre preserve. Afterwards, you can see some animals up closer. If you are adventurous and want more than a day trip, you can stay overnight at the preserve in an authentic safari tent! Advanced reservations for the tour are required, so make sure you plan ahead.
Point Reyes National Seashore. A visit to Point Reyes National Seashore is jam-packed with things to do. Take a drive along the Cypress Tree Tunnel. Visit the historical Pointe Reyes Lighthouse. From the lighthouse, walk down the road to the Sea Lion Overlook and catch a glimpse of sea lions sunning on the shore. If you’re ambitious, hike to Alamere Falls where the water falls over cliffs to the beaches below. And don’t forget to take a drive down the Cypress Tree Tunnel!
Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the wonders and mysteries of volcanoes, this is the place. Located in Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works areas are teaming with boiling springs and mud pots, hissing steam vents and roaring fumaroles. These are all an indication of the volcanic activity below Lassen Peak which last erupted in 1914 and is currently dormant.
Need help planning your day trip in Northern California? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to help you plan a great day!
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