10 Best Weekend Trips From Sacramento, California

weekend getaways from sacramento
Sharon A.
Sharon A.  

The lovely state capital of California lies right at the heart of Sacramento Valley, and it is bordered by Monterey Peninsula, Pacific Ocean, Redwood Forest, and Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is a destination full of unique and exciting experiences that will satisfy the adventurous needs of most travelers. You can also find lots of amazing hotels with pool in and around the city. However, there comes a time when you feel that a trip out of town would do, and these are the times when weekend trips become more relevant. So with a teardrop camper in tow, you can head out on a an amazing journey on the road from Sacramento. If you want to have a lot of exciting options apart from the incredible opportunities in Sacramento, check out our list of the 10 best weekend trip from Sacramento, California.

1. Tahoe City

Tahoe City
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bohao Zhao used under CC BY 3.0

Tahoe City is about 112 mi (180 km) from Sacramento and it is a destination you can visit during any weekend of the year. This is where we find the famous and picturesque Lake Tahoe that is one of the major attractions in the state of California. With the presence of the blue lake waters and varied hiking trails, your summer weekends will always be full of exciting outdoor adventures. During winter, Lake Tahoe turns into a magnificent winter wonderland with plenty of outdoor adventures for you to enjoy.

2. Tahoe National Forest

Mt. Tallac
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jonathan Cook-Fisher used under CC BY 2.0

Tahoe National Forest is about 135 mi (217 km), a distance of about 2.5 hours from Sacramento. The forest is a great destination for those who would love some serious contact with nature and wouldn’t mind going for a hike. There are trails ideal for novice hikers or those who may be interested in improving their fitness levels. It is also a great destination for picnics with plenty of shady spots.

3. El Dorado National Forest

Lake Margaret 2015
Source: Photo by Flickr user ray_explores used under CC BY 2.0

El Dorado National Forest is about 56 mi (90 km) from Sacramento, and it is a truly wonderful landscape to explore for a weekend getaway. The highlights of the forest include tranquil lakes, tall pine trees, and plenty of hiking trails that will provide you with the peace and atmosphere you need to reconnect with nature. You are also free to camp overnight in the forest should you find it so attractive and you feel that you need more time to enjoy it. Also, the forest is never crowded so you can expect to enjoy total peace and serenity.

4. Yountville

Yountville Vineyards
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ed Bierman used under CC BY 2.0

Yountville is approximately 70 mi (112 km), slightly over an hour’s drive from Sacramento. Yountville is right at the heart of Napa Valley and it is one of those places you will wish to visit again because one weekend will never be enough. Some of the attractions and experiences you may expect to find here include biking through the vineyards, joining a wine-tasting tour, riding a hot-air balloon, visiting art galleries, and pampering at local spas.

5. Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta from Highway 89
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Little Mountain 5 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mount Shasta is approximately 220 mi (354 km) from Sacramento and you may need to spend about 3.5 hours on the road to reach it. The relatively long drive will be worth every minute because you will get thrilled by the incredible attractions and experiences that await you. Some of the things that might take up the bulk of your time during this weekend trip include hiking in Shasta-Trinity National Forest, skiing on the mountain, touring around Mount Shasta Museum, caving in Siskiyou County, and going for scenic tours of the parks among others.

6. Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay in California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Puia Zahedi used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Half Moon Bay is less than a three-hour drive from Sacramento towards the southwestern end of the San Francisco Peninsula. The coastal town boasts a plethora of scenic beaches and trails with plenty of outdoor opportunities. Some of the fun that awaits you here during your weekend trip include kayaking the coastal waters, biking and hiking along the trails, horseback riding on the beach, whale watching, sport fishing, and indulging in the delightful seafood at great restaurants like Sam’s Chowder House.

7. Truckee

Truckee, CA 96161, USA - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Doug Olson used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The small Californian town of Truckee is about 100 mi (160 km) from Sacramento, and it features a variety of hidden gems that will surely treat you to a very busy weekend of exploration. This is home to Emigrant Trail Museum where you will learn exciting insights about the region’s history. Donner Memorial State Park will provide you with all you need for a relaxing afternoon. If you are visiting during winter, then you will be pleased with the skiing resources this town has for you.

8. Calistoga

Sterling Vineyards and Winery near Calistoga in the Napa Valley, California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jim G used under CC BY 2.0

The quaint city of Calistoga is located in the larger Napa Valley region and it is just about two hours away from Sacramento. The town is littered with hot springs and wineries. This is also home to Castello di Amorosa as well as the Old Faithfull Geyser that erupts regularly, creating epic scenes cherished by both locals and tourists. All these, together with Napa Valley Wine Train, will give you more than enough of what to see and do on a weekend.

9. Yosemite National Park

Near Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mike McBey used under CC BY 2.0

Yosemite National Park happens to be one of the most popular natural wonders in the world. Since it is less than a three-hour drive from Sacramento, it makes another incredible weekend trip destination. The main attraction here is the incredible forests, waterfalls, and jagged cliffs of Half Dome and El Capitan Hills. This is a great destination for budding photographers and nature lovers who want to experience one of nature’s best gifts to the world.

10. Mendocino National Forest

Howard Lake and Anthony Peak
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user USFS Region 5 used under CC BY 2.0

With Yosemite National Park in the vicinity, Mendocino National Forest is often overlooked by most people touring the region, but it is another incredible destination worth considering for a weekend trip from Sacramento. You will be excited to learn that this is the only forest in the state that has not been transected by a major road, making it exceedingly enchanting with a lot of nature waiting to be explored. It is also home to Lake Pillsbury, a stunning lake that will offer you plenty of fun opportunities including swimming, fishing, and canoeing among others. The forest scenes and the mountain views from this park will be among the best you will ever have during any weekend getaway.

Incredible fun outside Sacramento

If you can’t think of what to do in Sacramento, why not consider a weekend trip to a nearby destination? Spend a few hours on the road for new and exciting experiences outside California’s capital. Use our recommendations on the best weekend trips from Sacramento, California, shared above to sample some of the best experiences out of town. If, however, you don’t have enough time for a weekend trip, you can go on a quick day trip.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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My name is Sharon, but I won't get offended if you called me Shaz. I live in the City in the Sun. I travel, interact with cultures, eat their foods, dance with them and then write about my...Read more

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