When blogger and Instagrammer Jessica Wright decided to make the move from San Francisco to Sacramento, the Bon Traveler and her husband hit pause on some of their overseas journeys, opting to try out some of the adventures that lie just beyond their new backyard in Gold Country.

On a recent road trip that started in Sacramento, Wright uncovered some hidden gems along Highway 49. She shares her findings below.

1. What were the top 3 highlights of your trip along Highway 49?

The first highlight was exploring the town of Placerville. I was absolutely smitten by how much is going on in the town when it comes to the arts, local boutiques, and access to the outdoors. A second highlight was whitewater rafting. I grew up doing this, but it had been a while since I had been on a full river—it put a smile on my face immediately. The third highlight was getting to see how much there is to explore just outside Sacramento, my soon-to-be home. I have a new list of places to explore on weekends, like more corners of Placer County and Amador County!

2. As an Auburn native, what surprised you most about this road trip?

I was really surprised by how many local food and beverage experiences there are. From wineries in Auburn to farms in Coloma, there was so much I had never really experienced or known about. This part of California has a lot to offer—in one breath you can be whitewater rafting and then the next, tasting local beers made by a local brewery.

3. What is the best thing you ate (or drank) along the way?

Such a tough call, there were so many! One of the most memorable meals we had was at Taste in Plymouth. We got to create our own dishes with ingredients that paired with the wines.

4. What do you think makes this part of California unique?

I think it’s the connection that local businesses and creatives have with their surroundings. The passion behind how they strive to be mindful of sourcing ingredients from local farms and sustainable in their business practices makes you appreciate the experience in its entirety. You get a tangible sense of the outdoors when you’re tasting a sake made locally that uses water from right down the street. Something about that ties it all together in a really beautiful way.

5. What recommendations or tips would you give to travelers who want to copy your journey?

My biggest tip would be to book a 4- to 5-night road trip that starts in Sacramento (you can easily fly into SMF). I’d rent a car and work your way around the region by way of Highway 49. For the time of year, I’d say the late spring or early fall is perfect to be able to enjoy outdoor adventures like hiking and rafting.