Central California is a vast wilderness of varying landscapes and is an amazing place to enjoy the great outdoors. With everything from towering redwood forests, even taller mountains to rugged coastal paths along the massive expanse of the Pacific Ocean, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all the choices on offer. Whether you’re a local taking a weekend out or a visitor from further afield looking to spend an extended period in the region, remember it is only possible to see so much in one day, so take a breath and choose just one place to start.
If it is mountainous terrain you are a fan of, you can’t go wrong with visiting Yosemite Nation Park and its impressive granite cliffs. A mecca for rock climbers, there are routes to be found for all levels of climber from beginner right through to world-class climbers scaling El Capitan on impossible-seeming routes. And of course, there is plenty for those who prefer other pursuits, with hiking and a wide variety of walks; keep in mind that for overnight camping or to hike the Half Dome trail, you will require a permit. The winter need not stop you from enjoying being outdoors as there a plenty of activities that become available once the snow falls, such a cross country skiing and snowshoe trekking.
Should you prefer to keep your head out of the clouds so much and breathe in the tangy saltiness of sea air instead, Central California is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Big Sur area has many terrific places to go hiking, such as Partington Cove Trail off State Route One, where you can take in amazing views of the Pacific. Despite the many hiking trails along the coast, because of the geography of the coast and unpredictable currents of the ocean, few beaches are suitable for swimming, so do keep that in mind. However, the stunning scenery will allow you to take effortless and equally stunning photos to remind you of your time exploring the area.
Of course, there is plenty to experience in between the mountains and ocean, so don’t feel you have to stick to traditional adventure-type activities to enjoy yourself in Central California outdoors. Some more laid-back ideas include discovering some of the luscious local wines at one of the many vineyards in the area. What better way to spend a warm summer day than sitting out under the open sky sampling what may become your new favorite tipple with good friends over a delicious lunch?
If it is something family-friendly that you are looking for, take the kids to a U-Pick farm in the summertime and let them run free, filling punnets (and let’s be honest, their bellies) with fruit to take home. There is nothing better than enjoying fresh produce straight from the plant. There is also the bonus of teaching children about the food cycle and where their food comes from, a lesson often lost in our modern lifestyles that takes us further from the outdoors than ever before.