Sacramento Outdoor Guide | 7 Activities for the Outdoor Enthusiast
Among the many reasons we are lucky to call Sacramento home, the area is an absolute haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The diverse terrain of the region provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, whether you’d like to go on a leisurely float downstream or pedal uphill on two wheels.
Take a look at the many rivers, parks, trails, and other destinations worth visiting throughout the Sacramento area. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or are interested in trying out a new sport (like stand up paddleboarding!), there is something for everyone on this list.
Rafting + Tubing
Sacramento is home to not one — but two — iconic rivers. That means there are plenty of places to go river rafting and tubing, whether it’s on the American River, the Sacramento River, or any of the other rivers meandering through the region. Go on a self-guided relaxing tube float down the American River, or opt for a guided rafting trip with American River Raft Rentals or River Rat Raft & Bike. Or book a trip with Whitewater Adventures for a unique and fun-filled experience traveling along the Upper Cache Creek.
Get all of the details about these fun river trips (plus a few other suggestions) on our guide to tubing and rafting in the Sacramento area!
Northern California is filled with a robust network of hiking trails, from easy hikes along paved trails to some more challenging mountaintop summits. It’s only right to experience the area’s immense natural beauty and get a breath of fresh air by embarking on a hike, no matter your fitness level. Stay in the neighborhood with a walk along the renowned Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, which runs parallel to the American River from Folsom to Old Sacramento, with several access points at parks along the way.
If you’re looking for a more intense hike, you might consider Mount Tallac Trail in South Lake Tahoe. Taking you to the top of the region’s tallest peak, the 9,735-foot-tall Mt. Tallac, this strenuous trail may not be for beginners but it does offer some of the best views in the region. Along the way and from the top, you’ll encounter breathtaking views of Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe itself.
Looking for more hikes in the area? Check out some of our favorite hikes within 3 hours of Sacramento!
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Patrick via Sierra View Golf Course
Northern California is a paradise for golfers, as the region’s diverse terrain provides a wide range of course conditions for new and experienced golfers alike. There are a number of renowned courses in the Sacramento area providing a unique combination of woodlands, sand bunkers and water features that are perfect for polishing up your game. Some of the most pristine courses include Sierra View Golf Course in Roseville, North Ridge Country Club in Fair Oaks, Teal Bend along the Sacramento River in Natomas, and William Land Golf Course in the heart of Land Park.
Looking for more places to practice your golf game? Here are the top ten golf courses in the Sacramento area.
Sacramento is a haven for bicyclists, whether or not you live in the heart of the city or in surrounding communities. In fact, there are plenty of neighborhoods in Sacramento with impressive Bike Scores, as the city of Sacramento has recently made a dramatic effort to become more bike-friendly. Just take a look at 10 of the most recent biking projects and initiatives, including added bike lanes, educational initiatives, helpful resources, and improved biking infrastructure.
If you’re looking for an urban destination for biking, you might consider steering your wheels towards Davis, considered one of the nation’s most bike-friendly cities, as it offers more than 100 miles of bike paths and lanes. If you’re looking for more natural surroundings on your bike ride, hop on Granite Bay Trail, the Four-Mile Loop, or the Sacramento River Parkway. Explore more amazing bike trails in and around Sacramento!
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Photo Courtesy of FLOW
Have you tried stand-up paddleboarding? This relatively new sport is considered one of the latest trends in outdoor recreation. If you’re looking for a local resource for all your stand up paddleboarding needs, look no further than FLOW. Flow Stand Up Paddle offers a variety of rentals, including boards, life jackets, paddles, and other gear. Plus, you can learn the sport under expert guidance with FLOW’s classes, including private lessons and SUP yoga! Head to FLOW to discover the allure of this challenging yet rewarding sport.
Let’s face it — Sacramento can sure heat up during the summer. You may be searching for ways to cool off, while still enjoying the beautiful sunshine and natural beauty of the area. There are a number of popular swimming holes in the Sacramento area, including the Nimbus Dam Recreation Area on Lake Natoma in Folsom, and of course, several access points on the American River. Some of the best swimming areas along the river include River Bend Park, William B. Pond Recreation Area, Watt Avenue Access Park, and Ancil Hoffman Park.
If you’re looking for other ways to keep cool, consider a day trip to one of the many amusement and water parks in the Sacramento area. There is no shortage of refreshing pools, thrilling water slides, and other water features to choose from!
Camping is one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors. In fact, you can use a campground as your home base as you enjoy any combination of the above-mentioned activities! Thankfully, Northern California has no shortage when it comes to campgrounds. Whether you’re looking for a tree-filled campground up in the Sierras or a wide-open setting with views of the Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of nearby places to pitch your tent.
Fallen Leaf Lake Campground is arguably one of the best places to camp in the South Lake Tahoe area. Just a short walk from several campsites lies Fallen Leaf Lake, an exceptional place to swim, fish, kayak or paddle. Or make your reservation at one of the three campsites at Ridge Camp nestled along the Bay in Angel Island State Park.
Still looking for a place to pitch your tent? Take a look at these incredible campgrounds within 2 hours of Sacramento.
How do you like to #OptOutside?
Calling all outdoor enthusiasts! Let us know which outdoor activities you like to do in the area. Comment below with suggestions!