Adventure is Out There! (and Really Close By)
By Kelly Conroy
Sacramento is often touted for its centralized location. Seriously, how many times have you heard someone say, “You can drive two hours and be at the beach or in the mountains!” Unfortunately, it’s often in defense of our great little city – a reply when someone from out of town asks why on earth you would want to live here. But truthfully, aside from the delicious Farm to Fork movement, reasonable real estate market, government employment (if you’re into that sort of thing), world class urban forest, and general wonderfulness within city limits, Sacramento’s access to the great outdoors is a pretty serious selling point.
Not only can you quickly and easily get to a beach or the mountains, you can get to old growth redwoods, natural hot springs, one of the oldest lakes on the continent (Clear Lake), oak woodlands, the Pacific Crest Trail, and about a million other amazing spaces. If you have outdoor ADD like me, Sacramento is pretty much the best place to put down some roots and explore nature (And for those that aren’t as comfortable with nature, glamping is an appealing option – there’s something for everyone in the wilderness!). Plus, with funding on a steep decline for state parks, you can basically consider a weekend in the woods a charitable donation and spend some campfire time drinking beer and feeling really good about saving the world.
There are over 120 State Parks and over 30 National Parks and Forests in California and that doesn’t even count preserved open spaces, Bureau of Land Management areas, County parks, or even all the little trails along the American River. Plus, let’s be honest with ourselves about what summer in Sacramento can feel like. Wouldn’t a weekend in the perma-shade of a redwood forest or in a coastal breeze be a nice retreat? So, instead of suffering through the weekends again all summer, challenge yourself to find your new favorite outdoor space and figure out the type of camping that works best for you – renting a cabin, backcountry backpacking, car camping, or even reserving a special group campsite that can fit up to 20 people! And I don’t want to hear the excuse that you don’t have the gear. You can rent camping equipment and you can even take outdoor classes at REI if you need supervised baby steps into the outdoors.
Now, the websites to find and book a campsite aren’t what I would call super intuitive, but if you plan a bit ahead or have flexible dates, you should be good to go for an adventure in the wilderness! Check out the websites for California State Parks and National Parks inside California to find your next campground and make the most of Sacramento’s central location!
P.S. Don’t forget the s’mores!