Experience California: 3 Destinations for the Ultimate Outdoor Experience

California is the third largest state in the union by area, behind only Alaska and Texas. Its 163,000 square miles of land would be nearly impossible to see in a seven-day period, which is typically the length of most people's vacations in any given year. However, we've selected three must-visit destinations for those who want to get the full outdoor experience that the state has to offer.

1. Wine Country

A visit to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley can offer much more than wine tastings, however any trip to the area must include a tour of Beaulieu Vineyard and Dutton-Goldfield. The latter has daily discovery wine tasting events from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. that cost only $15 per person. Even better, visitors have the option to purchase a bottle of wine and get free admission to the discovery tasting.

The Bodega Bay Sport Fishing Center offers RV parking and a marina. Decent anglers can haul in salmon upwards of 30 pounds each, particularly off of Ten Mile Beach, and anglers have also been known to catch halibut there from time to time. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood offers 25 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, and RV parking, and visitors can rent the 40-inch telescope at the Ferguson Observatory to check out the night skies. Napa Valley Paddle and Platypus Wine Tours provide guided Napa River tours that offer a unique perspective of the entire area.

The best time to visit this part of the state is during the spring or winter. Summer is the busiest season and promises crowds and lots of waiting for most activities.

2. Knoxville Wildlife Area

Deer hunters can get their fill at this 8,000-acre hot spot located on the lake and Napa County lines. It is considered prime deer hunting country, with many hunters leaving with trophy bucks when their trips conclude.

Motorized vehicles are not allowed in the area, and target shooting is also outlawed. Visitors are advised to take a California Hunter Safety Course before commencing any hunting adventure. That way you'll know all the laws and regulations, and not put yourself in a compromising situation if you happen to encounter a ranger.

Turkey hunting is also popular in the area. However, visitors should keep in mind that the spot-and-stalk method can be extremely difficult to execute. It's advised to go with someone who has hunted the area and has experience.

3. Yosemite National Park

The four-hour drive from Napa to Yosemite allows visitors to see some of California's cities and beautiful countryside. Yosemite covers nearly 1,200 square miles of land, so it's difficult to experience it all without staying more than a week. However, in 48 hours, visitors should be able to experience all the "must-see" attractions. Keep in mind that the lodges in the park can be expensive, so it's best to either camp outdoors or bring your RV for additional options.

Start at Sentinel Dome, where you'll get exquisite views of the mountains and woodlands. The scenery is breathtaking, which will make it difficult for first-timers to limit their stay. Glacier Point and Tunnel View should be your next destinations. Vernal and Nevada Falls, along with Liberty Cap, are must-see attractions at Mist Trail and Mariposa Grove. The crystal clear streams and crisp mountain air are perfect for fishing and relaxation.

There are 25 National Parks in California, so if you have the luxury of time, it's a great option to buy a one-year pass that's good at every park.



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