Although Fresno is a lovely city with great restaurants and nice people, sometimes you need to get away from it all and slow down. Fortunately, if you live in Fresno, you are only a few hours away from plenty of beautiful getaways and day trips that you and your family can use to reset and recharge. Here is a list of eight wonderful local getaways and day trips organized from nearest to farthest. Some of these are great places to take kids if you have a little time after school while others are better for a weekend getaway. Happy exploring.
Less than One Hour Away
Fresno is situated on the beautiful San Joaquin River. The San Joaquin runs all the way from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the San Francisco Bay, and when it passes through Fresno, it is a large beautiful river that is near your home and perfect to explore on a warm summer day.
Lost Lake Recreation Area
Lost Lake Recreation Area is right outside of Fresno, and it is a great place for hiking, fishing, boating, and camping.
Wildwood Native Park
Wildwood Native Park is over 70 acres of conserved land inside the Fresno city limits that boasts nice hiking trails, and places to picnic and enjoy the river. If you are a paddler, consider paddling the river all the way through Fresno and getting a completely new view of the city.
Over One Hour Away
For a day-long getaway from Fresno or a weekend adventure, there are many nearby options. Simply drive up the San Joaquin on Highway 169 or drive southeast on Highway 180, and you will find yourself in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
A little over an hour away from your home are two of the most beautiful national parks in the United States. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are renowned for their beautiful giant sequoia trees, wild backpacking trails, and primitive campgrounds. If camping is not your style there are lodges and resorts near the national park.
I remember the first time I trekked through the Kings Canyon National Park… it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, truly. Add this to your must-do list as soon as possible.
Shaver Lake is even closer to Fresno. This reservoir on the San Joaquin River is a little over an hour away from Fresno; however, because it is at a higher elevation, it is not as hot in the summer. Shaver Lake is a great area for fishing, camping, and swimming.
Over Two Hours Away
If you love the beauty of nature, but you also love a nice warm bed at the end of the day, there are two-world famous tourist destinations less than three hours away from Fresno. Both of these areas are fantastic weekend getaway destinations where you can explore nature’s beauty while enjoying the amenities of civilization.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Valley is often touted as one of the natural wonders of the world. Every year thousands of people travel from as far away as China to see this beautiful landscape. What’s more, as only the second national park established in the US, Yosemite has a long and fascinating history that you can explore in the museum in Yosemite Valley. People from Fresno are incredibly lucky that this beautiful landscape is so near our homes.
If the mountains aren’t the thing for you, you’re in luck. If you hop in the car for a few hours, you will be at the Pacific Ocean in less time than it takes to watch one of the Lord of the Rings movies. Monterey is a beautiful coastal city with beaches, opportunities for sea kayaking, snorkeling, and diving. If you’re more indoors but you love the ocean, then the Monterey Bay aquarium is a great destination for you. Don’t forget to check out the sea otter exhibit!
Over Three Hours Away
Perhaps it’s your summer vacation and you would like to take the kids on an adventure. Pack up the car and bring your binoculars and hiking boots for these two getaways.
Big Sur State Park
Big Sur State Park is a beautiful area with tide-pooling, hiking, and birding opportunities. It is a fairly wild area, so there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. Hike and camp in the coastal redwoods, fly your kite on the beach or bask in the majesty of Pfeiffer falls.
Another fantastic California vacation option is Mono Lake. Mono Lake is an inland lake east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Because the lake is the final destination of the Owens River, the lake has become increasingly salty. The lake is over twice as salty as the ocean, which means that no fish species can survive in the water. However, the lake is full of brine shrimp which makes it a haven for birds and other hungry wildlife. Take your binoculars and explore the Mono Lake region.