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Sacramento’s central location in Northern California makes for easily drivable local summer get-a-ways, no matter what direction you choose. Within a few hours from any direction of the Sacramento Metropolitan life, you can explore beautiful mountain ranges, encounter exotic wildlife, tour wine country or spend the day fly fishing.

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North: Mount Shasta

Just three miles north on highway 5, travel to the towering volcanic calderas of the cascades to see the famed and mythical Mount Shasta. For a more scenic route to Mount Shasta, take Highway 99 and drive by small farms growing rice and almonds. Once there, explore the area’s many resorts and healing retreats, rent a boat once there or tow your own to enjoy the calming waters of Shasta Lake, bring a rod to do some fly fishing, pack your clubs and hit the links or even try your hand at panning for gold!

South: Bay Delta

The famed Bay Delta in San Francisco is treasured for its solitude and fairly unfettered wildlife and fishing to the south. Once you have breathed in the salty air and connected with the Bay Delta, you will understand why policy about it is a great matter of concern. Organizations work diligently to protect this fragile fresh water estuary, which is geomorphically known as the drowned mouths of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, each flowing opposite directions.

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Cushioned by farmland, the delta is home to more than 500 plant and animal species, including bass, and so draws the boats of many fisherman. Drive along the Sacramento River towards the Delta South on Highway 160 for a quick hour and a half trip, or take in a day or two of driving tours on what are known locally as “asphalt sloughs” while enjoying the sounds of birds and evenings away from the city lights. If you are in a hurry to get there, take highway 5 to Stockton. Executive Director of the California Delta Chambers Bill Wells recommends viewing this link of all the many marinas to launch your boat; come dressed as a pirate to receive special consideration, as this is the theme at the Delta this summer.

East: Sierra Mountains

The still and ever uplifting Sierra Mountains are to the east. In the same time it takes to travel north to the Cascades, you can be in the Sierra Mountains passing Auburn and Grass Valley Truckee and Lake Tahoe quite quickly on highway 80. Or mosey though the plenty of grounds along the way before reaching the foothills in Coloma or South Lake Tahoe should you choose highway 50. The Sierras and Tahoe are great for skiing in the winters and mountain biking, boating and fishing, and swimming and camping in the summers.

West: Sonoma Valley

To the west, the grand Pacific Ocean covets the plush wine country as it overlays the rich silky volcanic soils of Sonoma Valley in its midst. Take highway 80 east for a little over an hour to visit the famed Valley of the Moon that Jack London wrote of. Dare to resist the temptation of Sonoma’s Boyes Hot springs outdoor mineral pool. Come back through Napa and north to stop at the famous wineries or beyond to bathe in Calistoga Hot Springs. Wine tasting and a sampling of the many fine restaurants is a must.

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Karen Hansen M.S. Earth Sciences, has been writing about earth and the environmental sciences for since May of 2010 in addition to having been an educator and consultant who has facilitated over 200 courses for a private university. Karen loves to learn and write about clean disruptive technology and policies and the people on the planet too. She lives and works in Sacramento, CA. You can find her work at SF Solar Energy Examiner, SF Environmental News Examiner and Environmental News Examiner