When someone says “California,” you probably think of the beach, celebrities and expensive shops. What you may not realize is that California is much more than Hollywood. Take Redding, for example. Located in Northern California, Redding is off the beaten path and provides many opportunities for the adventurous traveler.
1. Sundial Bridge
Designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, this impressive white Sundial structure has an impressive glass-deck pedestrian overpass that connects Turtle Bay Exploration Park to the north bank of the Sacramento River. The structure was completed in 2004 and is comprised of three things: the sundial, the bridge and a lightning rod on top of the sundial. The 700-foot bridge, in its entirety, is supported by mere cables and one pillar at each end. Not only is this bridge is a functional sundial, it’s the largest in the world. After crossing the bridge, tourists can partake in many activities on the Sacramento River. Fly fishing, kayaking and swimming are all popular here. After crossing the bridge, you can relax with a nice cup of coffee at the coffee shop by the museum.
2. Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Located near the sundial bridge is turtle bay exploration park. This park is a must-see for anyone who appreciates natural beauty. In addition to showcasing flora, fauna, and ecology of Northern California, the park features plants, animals, Native American life, a butterfly park, aquariums and much more. There are several ponds that can be found on the grounds; they are home to several unique species of turtles, hence the park’s name. Enjoy the museum and the botanical gardens for just $14, or simply mosey around the gardens for just $4.
3. Sacramento River Trail
The Sacramento River offers stunning views of the nearby Trinity Mountains and a close-up look at one of the most beautiful pedestrian bridges in the USA: Sundial Bridge. As you journey along this 16-mile network, you may cross the Ribbon and Diestelhosts Bridges. The Sacramento River Trail then branches out to give way to other trails; adventure-seeking travelers can can enjoy hours of hiking. Because the trail is almost entirely covered by trees, visitors can spend the summer days in the great outdoors.
4. Shasta Dam
The Shasta Dam offers a beautiful view and free one-hour guided tour for tourists interested in learning both the inside operations and history of the dam. A scenic viewpoint nearby offers an unbeatable view of the “Three Shastas” — Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake and Mount Shasta. Cross the bridges in their entireties in order to fully enjoy these architectural beauties. If you are interested in spending more than the day, there several campgrounds nearby. Free tours of the grounds are available but ensure you stop at the front desk to see what you can bring with you. Because the tour brings visitors into secure areas, you may not be able to bring along some tradition tourist items.
5. Shasta Lake and Caverns
Before you leave the Shasta Dam, make sure you stop by the Shasta Lake to experience its stunning views, snow-capped mountains and the green trees surrounding the area. It’s like paradise, especially for boaters. After a boat ride, visitors can enjoy the nearby Shasta Cavern. Also known as the West’s newest landmark, these caverns are 250 million years in the making. The amazing formations of stalagmite and stalactite are breathtaking while the coolness of the cavern provide a nice break from the California heat. This Shasta Lake and Caverns are a must-see. Visit the website for the ticket prices.
6. Fly fishing in the Sacramento River
The Sacramento River is home to some of the best fishing in the world. Right in Redding, the river narrows creating the perfect environment for fly fishing. The river is fairly shallow, catering to beginner fly fishers. Salmon is also abundant during the summer season. If you just want to want to enjoy the scenery, take your time crossing the bridge and watch the fly fishers work their magic.
7. Whiskytown and Surroundings
Whiskytown is a few miles west of Redding and offers seriously stunning views. When you arrive, you’ll see the scenic Whiskytown Lake and the surrounding mountains. But the excitement doesn’t end with the skyline. There are many activities you can enjoy for the $5 per car it costs to enter the park. Explore the lake on a boat ride and or take a long walk on one of the area’s many trails. Visitors can also spend the day sunbathing, bike riding and swimming here. On the way out, stop into the old city and explore its ruins; check out how people lived and why the city was destroyed. Campgrounds are also available in Whiskytown. More camping information is available at the Ranger’s Station.
8. Hiking & Camping
Brandy Creek Trail, Boulder Creek Loop, Bailey Cove Loop, Davis Gulch Trail and Kanaka Peak are all located in Redding. They offer many hiking trails that will appeal to novice and experienced hikers looking to enjoy a day in the woods.
9. McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Also nearby are the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. For only $4, you can enjoy some of the wildlife native to California. Be vigilant, though, or you may be bitten by a rattlesnake. The butterfly garden is filled with butterflies in the summertime, allowing passers-by to enjoy their beauty throughout the season.
10. Downtown Redding
What Downtown Redding lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and beauty. You can travel throughout the city on foot and spend the day sightseeing or travel up to Hilltop Drive. This area is jam packed with excellent hotels and restaurants that have local cuisine. If you enjoy late nights, there are plenty of bars just waiting to be checked out. Redding’s laid-back atmosphere makes it easy to feel like you’re miles away from a big city. Just remember, Redding is still a city and you should be careful at all times.
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