My buddies and I had it all planned out: hiking trip to Yosemite, some beer drinking, some reliving of our old high school glory days. All the attention, all the hype, all of planning was on Yosemite...and what would occur when we were there. Was that a good trip? Yes! The real surprise, however, was the unexpected side trip to stop off in Visalia on the way back and see the Sequoia National Park. First off: the town of Visalia is pretty damn cool. Some sort of Historic downtown district; and we found some pretty good bars and restaurants. For us, my friend has the Holiday Inn loyalty card so we stayed there. My impression was a simple one: wow! From the lobby, to the two pools, to our room: it all exceeded any expectations I have ever had of a Holiday Inn. Not sure if all Holiday Inn properties are like this--but if they are, count me in. Another cool thing that I liked about this hotel was the golf course next door. We didn't bring our clubs this time...but it looked like a pretty good course for an early morning outing and then hiking the rest of the day. If you want something a little different, and like the outdoors, then Visalia is cool town to stay in. And not to knock Yosemite--and I won't--but Sequoia National Park is just as breathtaking and rewarding.