Discover the Central Valley
Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

62
April
Average (°F)
Mar - May
84°
High
46°
Low
June - Aug
98°
High
62°
Low
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low
Dec - Feb
62°
High
38°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
Farm Stands & Farmers’ Markets
Laura Flippen

Farm Stands & Farmers’ Markets

Sample fresh, seasonal produce and artisanal foods and chat with local farmers

This fertile valley stretches for some 450 miles from roughly Chico south to Bakersfield—the pancake-flat belly of California. Farms and ranches...

Davis
Alex Farnum

Davis

You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the perks of this ag-oriented college town

Eco-friendly, liberal leaning, progressive, impressive professor’s homes and fraternity houses—Davis has the hallmarks of a classic college...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils,...

10 Top Farmers' Markets
Laura Flippen
Haggin Museum
Laura Flippen

Haggin Museum

Local history merges with world-renowned art at this must-see museum in Stockton’s Victory Park

Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centerpiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34...

California's Heartland
Laura Flippen

Trip 3-5 days 10 stops

California's Heartland

Pick fresh produce, relax in cool gardens, and learn about local farming heritage
Sundial Bridge

This relaxed city has some secret gems that make a pleasing start to your trip. Start at Sundial Bridge, a functional work of art, the remarkable pedestrian bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled Sacramento River in Redding’s Turtle...

Bakersfield

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of pleasant surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, Bakersfield is morphing into a Central Valley hub for arts, culture, and sports, while still offering a glimpse of the region’s past. One fascinating historical site worth...

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
Kodiak Greenwood

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Some 300 species of birds and mammals make this a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts

Located on the Pacific Flyway 60 miles north of Sacramento, Gray Lodge encompasses 9,200 acres surrounded by agricultural flatlands and...

Houseboating
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Houseboating

Take to the water on a deluxe floating home

In California, it’s hard to talk about houseboating without talking about the Central Valley. One of the state’s premier places for vacationing in...

California Delta
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

California Delta

A boater’s and fisherman’s paradise awaits

Located northeast of the San Francisco Bay, this 1,000-mile network of inland waterways—the major drainage from the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to...

Lodi Wine Country
Dale Goff Photography

Lodi Wine Country

Sample big, bold reds and eco-friendly winemaking

Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, this American Viticultural Area 100 miles east of San Francisco is also a leader...

Fresno
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fresno

Authentic Experiences, Agricultural Bounty

The Central Valley’s largest city makes for a surprisingly lively getaway. Seven stadiums and a pair of arenas satisfy sporty types, and an annual...

The 10 acres of rooms, passages and gardens at Fresno's Forestiere Underground Gardens were excavated by hand using only farming tools.
Bakersfield
Courtesy of Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Bakersfield

Experience California’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country western music on the side

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of pleasant surprises. Once known for oil and...