Don’t get excited. You aren’t going anywhere yet. But sometime this summer, perhaps, you’ll be able to get in that car of yours and ride somewhere farther than Ralph’s on Lake Avenue.
When you do, you might consider these drives, from our friends at Visit California. This route begins in the north, which means you’re gonna have to drive up there.
Let’s call your drive up your Day One, and take it from there, shall we ?
- Day 2: Begin in surf town Santa Cruz to catch some waves or cruise near the scenic coastline. Nearby is the village of Aptos, perfect for an active day of hiking and biking through The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park or lounging on Sunset State Beach. End the day closer to Monterey, in Moss Landing, a busy fishing harbor surrounded by homespun art galleries and seafood restaurants. This is California’s most reliable place to spot sea otters in their natural habitats.
- Day 3: Begin to drive inland towards Pinnacle National Park, which attracts rock climbers, hikers, birders, and wildflower fans. On the way, stop for a snack at Casa De Fruta, a cherry stand that has attracted road trippers since 1908. Once you’ve made it to the park, try climbing around the High Peaks, a maze-like cluster of boulders, pinnacles, and spires. After an adventurous morning, the next road trip must-stop for foodies is Quesadilla Gorilla in Visalia.
- Then, drive on to Sequoia National Park, staring at the Ash Mountain entrance. Located in the small town of Three Rivers, this offers a quick-and-curvy route to the massive sequoias of Giant Forest. Sequoia National Park is best known for its gargantuan trees, including General Sherman, the world’s largest tree.
- Day 4: Coming from the west, Yosemite National Park unfolds with high-country beauty, a land of granite crags and alpine meadows with well marked trails and endless scenery. Check off some of the world’s tallest waterfalls from your bucket list while you’re here, including Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Falls, and Ribbon Falls. End your Yosemite day in Tuolumne Meadows, a wide, grassy expanse bounded by high granite domes and peaks, perfect for scenic hiking.
Day 5: Next stop for incredible views is Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. Explore Lee Vining Creek riparian (that means “river”) habitat, blanketed with obsidian and pumice (those are rocks) , or walk the South Tufa Area for close-up views of the tufa towers. Head on your way to Emerald Bay for an oasis of shimmering greens, turquoise and blues.