Discover the unique sights, sounds & flavours of California’s Central Valley

Discover authentic California without the crowds & queues in Central Valley

by Adam & Megan

California’s Central Valley is a unique region waiting to be discovered full of sites you won’t experience anywhere else.

Comprising 9 cities, Central Valley covers 11% of the state’s land area with a population of 7.2 million. The region is an agricultural hub, providing more than half of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the United States, as well as 70 percent of the entire world’s almond supply.

The valley is bracketed by 2 mountain ranges, the Coast Ranges to the west and the Sierra Nevada to the east and is full to the brim with exciting adventures, Gold Rush era history, stunning natural landscapes, delicious food and wine and interesting and friendly locals.

From an underground forest to classic cars, a honey tasting room and California country music, Central Valley is the authentic Californian experience without the crowds.

Forestiere Underground Gardens

Explore an underground forest in Fresno

Created by Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere in the early 1900s the Forestiere Underground Gardens are a sight to behold. Previously a citrus farmer, Baldassare spent 40 years excavating and creating an underground maze of passageways, hidden rooms, courtyards, and even an underground aquarium using just farm tools.

Taste honey in Yolo County 

The Hive in Davis, Yolo County has been a family business since 1980. Founder Isahai Zeldner began beekeeping in Israel and after moving to California Zeldner and studying at University of California, Davis – one of the most well-established honey bee research facilities in the country- Zeldner attended classes in queen rearing, beekeeping and agriculture. The Hive, opened by Zeldners growing family in 2021, is a sustainable educational learning centre with the largest selection of honey and mead in California. Here visitors can taste over 30 different types of honey made in Yolo as well as honey beer.

Listen to the Bakersfield Sound(s) 

The gritty style of country music, Bakersfield Sound, was born in the Southern California town during the mid-50s and pioneered by country music legends Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Bakersfield, known as ‘Nashville West’, has since become a hub for all kinds of music and the town has many ‘sounds’ for visitors to explore and enjoy at the many music venues across town, including Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, an infamous venue amongst country music fans.

Bass Lake, California in Fall. Madera County – Visit Yosemite | Madera County. Photo by Kim Lawson, Lawson Studios

Watersports in Bass Lake, Madera

A short half-hour’s drive south of Yosemite National Park‘s south entrance, is Bass Lake. The nearly 5-mile-long lake is the ultimate destination for watersports including water skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, pedal boating as well as wave runners – a type of jet ski. It also has sheltered coves for swimming and for sailing, as well as kayaking and pedal boating (boat and gear rentals are available). For those wanting to snag a local fish, rent fishing gear or hire a local guide and catch rainbow trout, Kokanee salmon, and more.

Drive a classic car through Modesto

The classic car culture is a big part of the community in Modesto and the town hosts year-round events celebrating the classic car culture in the area. George Lucas was inspired by his high school experiences cruising through Modesto to write the 1973 film ‘American Graffiti’. Visitors can catch a bi-weekly car show or visit The State theatre, an art deco design theatre that first opened almost 90 years ago.

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