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Day trip from San Francisco

Newcastle, Australia
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Day trip from San Francisco

I asked a question about this in the SF forum and basically got told to stay away from Sacramento and that there are much better day trips to take. I live 5 minutes from beaches ( arguably better beaches than California ) and 45 minutes from wineries ( also arguably better ) so am looking for something a bit different.

I've decided to probably hire a car and drive somewhere. In your opinion is Sacramento worth a day trip. I'll be travelling with my family ( youngest being a 10 year old boy ) ? I have all day as I fly from SFO to NY at midnight. Anything else to see on the way or around Sacramento ?

Thanks in advance.

Fremont, California
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1. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

If you decide to go to Sacramento, the areas you would want to visit (and once you look at these then decide if you want to go or not).

Old Sacramento has an excellent railroad museum, restaurants, and small shops....

http://oldsacramento.com/

Here you catch an hour or so Sacramento River cruise (does not run every day)

http://www.hornblower.com/home/sac

This is very close to the capitol so of course take a picture of California's capitol and explore the grounsd

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32999-d21…

If you like almonds, there is a good factory outlet store called Blue Diamond a few blocks away

If you "expand the area" a bit and include Folsom, there is Lake Folsom there; as well as a Folsom Premium Outlets for your shopping pleasure.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=500

www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp…

On the drive up you might want to stop by Jelly belly Factory

https:/…california_factory_tours

And on your return Napa is close enough to have a nice meal in Napa such as at Celadon before returning to Sacramento.

http://www.celadonnapa.com/

Note: If you would rather not drive to Sacramento, there are also regular trains on the Amtrak route to take to Sacramento. It is called Capitol Corridor

http://www.amtrak.com/capitol-corridor-train

While Sacramento is pleasant, there are nicer areas to see in California - but this should give you some ideas of what to do.

For more on the area (and there is more) also see

http://discovergold.org/

Dublin, California
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2. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

Well, you were not told to "stay away" from Sacramento. My advice was based on incomplete information. You did not say you have been to SF before, you did not say you live near the best beach and the best wineries and thus have no need for these sights. You also did not tell us that you'll be traveling with your 10 yr old son. You also said you will not be driving.

So, now that I have more information, perhaps Sacramento is a good day trip for you. The Railroad Museum is a wonderful place esp. for boys that age. The Capitol building is one of the better ones in the US. The Old Town area is worth a walk around.

Yes definitely consider a day trip to Sac.

Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

Why don't you go to the Monterey area? It is less than a three hour drive, and you can stop by Santa Cruz where you can see Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and, depending upon the time of year, let your son enjoy the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is an old fashioned amusement park.

I know you have better beaches than we, and probably you like your wine country better, but that is not all of what California is about.

Monterey has a world class aquarium, which is not just a fish tank but an important research facility for the Monterey Bay, with hands on things for kids as well. A visit to Point Lobos State Park will reward you with sightings of sea life and a very different coast from what you have at home.

Monterey is also historic and the downtown has an interesting historic walk from the days when Mexico owned California through it becoming part of the United States.

On the way to Monterey there is Elkhorn Slough, where you can either kayak or take a 'safari' (boat) tour to get up and closed with the sea life.

Here are some websites for you to look at, to see if any of this interests you.

Santa Cruz http://tinyurl.com/y4hnbu9

Elkhorn Slough http://elkhornslough.com/

Historic Monterey http://www.historicmonterey.org/

Monterey Bay Aquarium http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

Point Lobos terragalleria.com/california/california.poin…

People are not telling you to "stay away" from Sacramento. There is just not much there, except for Old Town, which you can find in many places, and the capitol building, which I don't see as an attraction, lovely though it may be. and a railroad museum. I think we are trying to tell you that there are more exciting ways to spend a day trip out of San Francisco. Sacramento is in the middle of the vast, flat Central Valley, along the Sacramento River. It is, of course, the capital of California. I don't recall if I know when your trip is planned. If it is in the summer Sacramento is very hot.

I have been to Australia and I loved it, but comparing it to California on all counts doesn't work. I know you have beautiful scenery, but so do we, and you can find much of it in the Monterey area and south of there. It is just *different* types of beaches, and wineries and scenery, and history and culture.

We want you to have a good trip and come away with a good sense of California.

Sacramento
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4. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

I live in Sacramento and certainly wont tell you not to come here! Sacramento has a lot of history and there are plenty of things to do here. In a short amount of time, you can visit Old Sacramento and learn about the gold rush and railroad history. There is a railroad museum, Sacramento history museum and other family friendly activities. I've heard the Old Sacramento underground tour is very interesting. You can check it out on their website: www.historicoldsac.org.

However Sacramento is 1 1/2 hrs from San Francisco and this will make for a long day!

I hope you enjoy your visit to California!

Newcastle, Australia
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5. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

Thanks smeddy - very helpful. 1 1/2 hour drive is nothing. As you're probably aware Australia is a big place as well and we have much greater distances between cities than the states.

I'm not trying to compare Australia and California - just that travelling all that way for coastal scenery and wineries isn't my bag on this trip. I have been in the Central Valley ( at least I think I have ) as last trip I drove from Vegas to Yosemite and then back to LA. Funnily enough I wasn't all that far from Sacramento at the time. I even spent a night in Fresno so I can handle anything LOL. BTW Sacramento is the setting for a great Aussie export - Simon Baker :)

Sacramento, CA
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6. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

Mini has already given you the basics.

Are you flying back to Oz from SFO or on to other parts of the US? If the later then you should consider flying out of Sacramento.

Definitely stop in Old Sacramento ...check out the Railroad Museum, the small Military Museum, Delta King etc. Read up on the history before you get here. Both the Gold Rush and the Transcontinental Railroad were instrumental in the establishment of the city.

If you have time in SF go on the CityGuides Nob Hill tour where you will hear about the Big Four and see the hotels that bear some of their names ...Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Stanford all made their fortunes here in Old Sac. The Huntington Hopkins Hardware Store still stands next to the Railroad Museum and is itself a museum now.

Check out the State Capitol have a nice meal downtown and enjoy.

Santa Cruz...
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7. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

Yep, if you can handle Fresno you can handle Sacramento.

If you are not at all interested in anything except the center of California I suggest that you do a trip across the Central Valley to Yosemite or Kings Canyon or Sequoia National Park. You can do Yosemite in a long day trip. Better with at least an overnight.

Oh, wait a minute....the Gold Country.

Chula Vista...
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8. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

Hi,

I agree with the recommendation to see the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. It's the best railroad museum that I've ever visited, and I've had a thing for trains since I was a toddler.

http://www.csrmf.org/

Even if you're not a huge rail fan, much of the restoration work that they've done on their locomotives and rolling stock is incredible.

Enjoy.

Zed

9. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

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Newcastle, Australia
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10. Re: Day trip from San Francisco

Thanks for all the replies. I certainly don't expect Sacramento to be Paris, Rio or San Francisco. I really want to check out somewhere a bit different that I haven't been before. I'm from Sydney which is a beautiful city but now live in a city of 1/2 a millon people 160kms north of Sydney and wouldn't live anywhere else.