Travel & Recreation

Lindsay Calmettes (left) and Karen Popovich rafting on the American River.

Lindsay Calmettes (left) and Karen Popovich rafting on the American River.

Photo By wes davis

63. Peek underneath the sidewalk

After the largest flood in the Golden State’s recorded history in 1861 and ’62—one that famously led Gov. Leland Stanford to travel by rowboat to his inauguration—the city of Sacramento addressed its flood issues by raising streets 9 feet. Old Sacramento Underground Tours highlight the history of this momentous civic undertaking in an hour-long trip above and below the streets of Old Sac. Tours run seven days a week through November 30, and cost $15 for adults and $10 for children older than 5.

Old Sacramento Underground Tours, 101 I Street; (916) 808-7973;


64. Go skateboarding

Ten years ago, finding a skate park in Sacramento was no easy task. Now you can’t drive 5 miles without running into one. There is no better day to enjoy these concrete playgrounds then on National Go Skateboarding Day on Thursday, June 21. Why not try SN&R’s Best of Sacramento 2011’s skate parks?

28th and B Street Skate Park, 20 28th Street; Granite Skate Park, 8200 Ramona Avenue;
; Epic Indoor Skatepark, 1104 Tinker Road in Rocklin; (916) 408-4200;


65. Run through someone else’s sprinklers.

66. Admire majestic vistas

“I love getting away to the incredible vistas of the Eastern Sierras, particularly Mono Lake, Mammoth’s backcountry and Yosemite [National Park’s] high country. The Sonora Pass and Carson Pass areas are closer and still provide spectacular vistas as well, dotted with small lakes and streams to cool off in. It grounds me and renews my spirit!”

–Art Luna, owner of Luna’s Café & Juice Bar

67. Hug Dinger at a River Cats Game.

68. Stay on a farm

If you’ve ever daydreamed about swapping your tie for a pair of overalls, mosey over to Casa de la Pradera, a bed-and-breakfast and farmstead in the serene Sierra foothills village of Fiddletown. Sitting on 15 acres of lush farmland, the family-owned homestead is a quiet retreat from city life. For $80 a night, urbanites cultivate their inner farmers by learning about organic farming through hands-on experience. While there are only two guest rooms, those looking for a more rustic experience can pitch a tent and camp under the towering oak trees.

Casa de la Pradera, Fiddletown; (209) 245-6042;


69. Rappel into a cave

What sounds better: rappelling into a 165-foot cave or zipping across a 1,500-foot line at around 40 mph? At Moaning Cavern, you can do both. The park also boasts a post-rappel spelunking expedition or—for the less adventurous or more frugal—a walking tour of the cavern.

Moaning Cavern, 5350 Moaning Cave Road in Vallecito; (866) 762-2837;


70. Incite a water fight

“A definite must-do for me is to have a water fight. Balloons, guns, timed and proximity mines. Second thought, maybe it’s a good summer to stay indoors and play Goldeneye 64 with a few close friends until our eyeballs bleed. I’ll get back to you.”

—Arjun Singh, creator of The Public Access Show and drummer for Wallpaper

71. Take your dog to the beach

You and your dog both need a break from Sacramento’s dry heat, so treat yourself and your best friend with a visit to the Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond. Just an hour and 20 minutes east of Sacramento, the park is one of the nation’s largest and most impressive off-leash dog parks. With sweeping views of the bay, an ever-present ocean breeze, hiking trails, a cafe and a swimming area for dogs, trips here can take a half-day or more. The park is free and so is parking, and there’s bike-trail access nearby if you want to double up on the exercise part of your day trip. If your dog gets muddy, there’s a (paid) dog wash at Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, located in the park.

Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, 2701 Isabel Street in Richmond;


72. Watch the Sierra foothills turn from green to golden brown.

73. Ride a blimp

Take sightseeing to a higher level, literally. Aboard the Eureka, Airship Ventures’ souped-up behemoth of a blimp, “flightseers” can experience spectacular city views while sailing the open skies at a lofty 1,200 feet above ground. The Eureka is not your basic blimp, it’s a thoroughbred—seating up to 12 passengers, it’s 50-feet longer than today’s largest commercial airships and was built by the Zeppelin Company in Germany. While the airship operates primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, Sacramento residents can float above the City of Trees by scheduling a private tour. Prices range from $375 to $950 per person.

Airship Ventures, Mountain View; (650) 969-8100;


74. Plunge into a saved pool

Save Mart Supermarkets recently finished a successful fundraising drive to keep several city pools open. Those include the Clunie Pool and Wading Pool, Doyle Pool and Wading Pool, Johnston Pool and Wading Pool, McClatchy Park Pool and Wading Pool, Pannell Meadowview Recreational Pool, and George Sim Pool and Wading Pool. A seventh, the Natomas High School Pool, is open for lessons, team sports and lap swimming, but not open for “recreational” swimming. Also, an additional five “play pools” (for kids 7 and under) will be open. Dive in!


75. Float down the American

White-water rafting can be an exhilarating thrill ride, but if you’re looking for something a bit more chill, then renting a raft from American River Raft Rentals just might float your boat. Prices start at $64.50 for a four-person raft, but if you’ve got a big crew, $172.50 gets you a 12-person raft. Pack a cooler filled with food and cold beverages of choice, grab that waterproof boom box and your sunscreen, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon—the ride can take several hours—by taking the scenic route through town.

American River Raft Rentals, 11257 S. Bridge Street in Rancho Cordova; (888) 338-7238;


76. Catch a falling star

Summer comes alive after dark. The nights are warm and full of possibility and romance. And what’s more romantic than a shooting star? Mid-August is the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower, during which the rate of meteors can easily reach more than 100 an hour. Grab your honey and a blanket, and move away from the light—we suggest a drive up Highway 50 past Pollock Pines—as far from the city as possible. 2011 had some visibility issues due to near-full moons, but it shouldn’t be a problem this go-round. (Oh, and heads up: Last year, a small meteorite caused considerable damage to a Sacramento man’s roof.) K.B.

77. Take your kids camping

“This summer, I plan lots of visits to Old Sacramento with my daughter to ride the train along the river. And hopefully we’ll get some camping done, as I’d love for her to see what the night sky looks like when you get away from the city’s bright lights.”

—Keith Lowell Jensen, stand-up comedian

78. Drive down the delta

“Take a day trip to Locke. The modernist hippie shops built on top of the town’s unique Chinese heritage make it a great place to get away for a day. The drive down is nice, too. Be sure to bring your camera.”

—John Marcotte, political satirist and founder of Badmouth

79. Brave Bumpass Hell

Yellowstone National Park isn’t the only volcanically active park in the continental United States. Although that Wyoming super crater has a much larger explosive capacity, we have Lassen National Volcanic Park, which offers plenty of opportunities to explore geologically active terrain. The park is 165 miles northeast of Sacramento, easily accessible from either Redding or Red Bluff, and roughly a three-hour drive. Lassen has fumaroles (vents for steam and volcanic gas), mud pots and a hiking stretch so full of geologic activity it’s called Bumpass Hell. While everyone else lazes around on the beach, try getting your hot on with a short day trip to the area’s most unusual park.