Best Cheap Long Weekend Trips Near Sacramento

August 9, 2014 5:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Centrally located between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, Sacramento residents have awesome options for weekend getaways. However, neither of these destinations is very budget-friendly and a long weekend trip could rival the cost of flying to the East Coast. If you are looking for some less expensive options around Sacramento, here are some cheap long weekend trips to consider.
Reno, Nevada

Keep on driving past Lake Tahoe and head to Reno, Nevada for a cheaper long weekend excursion. With discounted hotels, endless all-you-can-eat buffets and cheap shows, Reno is a popular getaway for Sacramento residents. Enjoy the 24-hour vibe of Las Vegas without the higher prices and 10-hour drive from Sacramento. Reno has a more chill vibe and is surrounded by some pretty stunning landscape to boot. Note, wintertime weekend trips to Reno can be challenging due to weather — it’s not uncommon to require chains or even find Highway 80 closed due to snowfall.

Related: Guide To Romantic Sacramento Area Bed And Breakfasts

Guerneville, California

Napa Valley is just an hour drive from Sacramento, but is another popular weekend destination that can be rather pricey when you add up lodging, some wine tasting fees and a few nice dinners. Head further out to Sonoma County where there are still some deals to be had if you are on a tighter budget. Check out Sonoma County cities like Guerneville where small-town charm reigns supreme. Its location is ideal for more than just wine tasting — it’s close to popular spots like Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and the Russian River. The area’s natural beauty is one of the biggest draws for visitors looking for a tranquil holiday escape.

Gold Country, California

Sacramento is just a stone’s throw away from some of the coolest little towns in California. Collectively referred to as the California Gold Country, these small towns are some of the oldest in California and obviously hold some interesting tales about the state’s rich past. There are old gold mines, lakes and other recreation areas, wineries and lots of adventure spots. Popular spots include Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, Empire Mine in Grass Valley, Moaning Caverns in Murphy’s or the Giant Sequoia trees in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

Truckee, California

Located in Nevada County, Truckee is a popular destination year-round for Sacramento residents. Whether it’s summertime on the lake or winter sports you are after, Truckee has you covered. During the winter, Truckee offers options like snow shoeing, snowmobiling and even dog sledding tours. If you are visiting Truckee during the warmer months, Donner Lake is the big draw for visitors. Look for watersports equipment rentals around the lake or tow your own boat up. If adventure is what you are after, try your hand at white water rafting on the Truckee River, which features class 2-4 rapids.

Mendocino, California

Located just a few hours north of San Francisco is the rugged coastal area of Mendocino. From its Redwood forests to its clear coastal waters, Mendocino is an ideal long weekend getaway from Sacramento. Popular activities in the area include scuba diving, seasonal whale watching and other water sports, like kayaking and fishing. Guided boat tours take visitors through the undeveloped Big River Estuary where they can see harbor seals, river otters and a number of different birds. There are bike tours, lighthouses to explore and even chauffeured wine tours available from Mendocino. The region is home to a number of golf courses, day spas and noted shopping areas. Be sure to check the events calendar as Mendocino has a number of festivals and events taking place all year long.

Related: Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Nevada City 

Erin De Santiago is a freelance travel and food/wine writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. She is a regional membership coordinator for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and writes for a number of publications in addition to publishing her own blogs. She has traveled to over 40 countries on five continents in search of the best food and wine around the globe. Her work can be found at