Californian families living in the Sacramento area have a ton of activities to choose from. From the California state capitol building to a busy Old Town area, the city has enough attractions to keep every household member entertained for some time. However, if you and your loved ones have lived in the capital burg for most of your life, chances are you’ve done everything the city has to offer a hundred times over.
While weekend getaways are great, they take more time and cost more money than the many day trips available to those living in the metro area. To help you get the most out of your precious free days, we’ve created the following list of best family day trips from this northern California giant. If you’re a family living in Sacramento, this guide will help get you out on the road making memories in no time!
7 Family-Friendly Day Trips from Sacramento
1. The San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco is one of the most obvious choices if you’re looking for a family-friendly destination for day trips departing from Sacramento. The city is full of tourist attractions family members of all ages will appreciate, from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the famous island of Alcatraz. Consider the possibilities other Bay Area cities offer, like Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose.
Since Yosemite National Park is only a little under a 3-hour drive from Sacramento, it’s easy to tackle in a day. While the entire park area is quite extensive, most of its most visited sites are located in Yosemite Valley. This makes the most must-see attractions easy to access during short family trips. Although the park is open year-round, be sure to check for closures and reservation requirements ahead of your departure.
3. Lake Tahoe Area
Many people think of gambling when they hear Lake Tahoe. But they forget it’s wedged between national forests, making it an excellent choice for outdoor excursions. Popular spots you could take family include ski resorts in the winter months and waterholes like Emerald Bay in the summer. As for Spring and Fall, don’t forget the many state parks in the area, most of which are packed with excellent hiking trails and boating opportunities. Do you want to get the most out of a Tahoe trip? Consider a loop that takes both I-80 and Highway 50, stopping at popular points like Tahoe City, Truckee, and, if you dare to subject your family to it, Donner Memorial State Park.
4. Day Train Trips From Sacramento
It’s no secret that kids love trains. Rather than a road trip, you could always consider day trips that depend on forms of high-grade public transport like trains. In addition to Amtrak trips that will take you to fun tourist locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are also local tours that head out from the Old Sacramento Railroad Museum and the Sacramento River Fox Train service to consider.
5. Gold Rush Towns
The California Gold Rush kicked off just east of Sacramento at Sutter’s Mill on the American River in the El Dorado Hills region. There are a load of Gold Rush Towns in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains to visit. Many of these hidden gems have enchanting main streets with preserved Victorian buildings, fun shops, and art galleries, and of course, interpretive history museums that give visitors insights into 19th-century lives. Destinations you might plot a course for include Auburn, Nevada City, and the tiny historic hamlets of Amador County.
While you’re out there, don’t forget your complimentary outdoor options like Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.
6. Napa Valley Wine Train
As much as we all enjoy wine country excursions, they’re not exactly the stuff of family trips, even when you get trains involved. Like not, wine tasting is a hard sell for kids, who generally prefer more refined beverages like milk and soda. Just so, you can forget the wine trains that wind through places like Sonoma, Calistoga, and St. Helena.
7. Sequoia National Park
At almost 250 miles away, the majestic Sequoias take a little over 4 hours to reach by car if you’re driving at family-safe speeds. As such, we’re considering the park a little too far away to be considered one of the easiest day trips from the Sacramento area. In the end, it’s better to save the park for a true weekend getaway.
What’s your favorite family-friendly day trip destination from Sacramento? Spark an adventure on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!