Best Day Trips From Sacramento

June 20, 2015 5:00 AM


We love Sacramento, and we know you do too, but sometimes you just need to escape to unfamiliar, unexplored territory. Every once and a while, it’s good for the soul to just get in the car (or train) and discover someplace new. These quick day trips from Sacramento can open up your world, but the proximity to the city allows for the convenience and security of sleeping in your own bed at the end of the day. These prime destinations await for your day trip musings.
Davis Farmer’s Market
Central Park
4th and C Streets
Davis, CA
(530) 756-1695

It’s one of those places in your backyard that you always mean to go to, but never actually visit. But you should. Less than a half hour drive away, the Davis Farmer’s Market is filled with much more than just produce. Art and restaurant vendors abound, and what you’d think would just be a few hours visit can turn into a full day of galleries and eateries. And don’t forget to grab a Fat Face popsicle!

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
701 W. Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 420-6289

You may not be spending an entire day here, but starting your day trip off at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is a great jumping off point to this national treasure of a city. Spend the rest of the day cruising around the boardwalk or relaxing on the beach, but the be sure to stop by the Surfing Museum first. It houses rare and vintage antiquarian surfboards from as far back as the 1800s. Come find out why surfing is more than just a sport.

Winchester Mystery House
525 S Winchester Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95128

So, you’re feeling a little macabre, or maybe you’ve been watching too many Sergio Leone Westerns. Take a two hour drive south to San Jose to view the home of the former heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. The Winchester has been called the gun that won the West, but after the deaths of her daughter and husband, Sarah Winchester went a bit nuts. With $20 million at her disposal, she constructed a beautiful monster—a Victorian mansion complete with trap doors, hidden passages and staircases to nowhere. This Cali wonder is a sight to behold.

Related: Best of Northern California Day Train Trips 

Sonoma Valley
453 First St. E.
Sonoma, CA 95476
(866) 996-1090

California wouldn’t be the same without wine-tasting, shopping and spas, and the famed Sonoma Plaza has all that and more. Take the short hour and 15 minute drive to a world of culinary delights. The visitors bureau is located on the east end of the plaza, and it will unlock all the pleasures therein. Spend a day or a whole weekend discovering all the tasting rooms, galleries, boutiques, day spas and restaurants.

Napa Valley Wine Train
1275 McKinstry St.
Napa, California 94559
(800) 427-4124

Speaking of wine country, the Napa Valley Wine Train, located just an hour southwest of Sacramento, takes you on a tour throughout the vineyards of our great state. Sit in luxury the way they used to in the early 1900s: In a historic Pullman car. Enjoy a gourmet meal as you watch the California countryside wizz by. There are plenty of packages to suit your romantic, wine-loving, day trip needs.

So hop in the car or, if you don’t want to drive, the train. California is the greatest state in the union, and in Northern California you need not travel very far to unearth its more hidden (or not so hidden) gems.

Related: Best Day Trips For Under $100 In The Sacramento Area

Christopher Millard is a freelance writer and cultural critic whose music reviews can be found on He also works as a publicist for Valence Communications Group and is a contributor to the health and wellness magazine, Hybrid. Chris currently resides in Sacramento, California.