Scenario: you’re wrapping up your business trip to Sacramento and you have some free time; or, the kids want their vacation to be more than museums and backseat bickering; or maybe, you and your friends are genuine thrill seekers new to the area. Whatever the case, when you look to add an exploratory element to your stay, Sacramento’s variety of options will satisfy your adventure bug. Rivers, Whitewater Rafting & Water Parks The water activities in Sacramento are truly top-grade.
The city is geographically focused around both the Sacramento and American Rivers, which provide a natural playground for jet skis, ski boats, patio boats, and houseboats. Conditions are glassy and safe for perfect wake boarding or water-skiing, with long stretches of clean water for fast-paced fun. Family houseboats are also available for rental at the nearby Sacramento Delta. For a day of exploration, the quirky, little towns in the unique Delta region turn ordinary house boating into an adventure. House boating is also the perfect way to be right where the action is for a great day of fishing. At Folsom Lake, fishing is perhaps the most popular activity. Catches include trout, catfish, large and small mouth bass, perch and kokanee. Bottom fishermen have even been known to catch sturgeon.
For world-class adventures, up the American River you’ll find some of the top white-water rafting conditions imaginable. Varying levels of difficulty are available, starting with the North Fork where you’ll find a technically challenging four-mile stretch of intense Class IV+ rapids. The Middle Fork is a true wilderness river. In this deep and rugged canyon are numerous Class III and some technical Class IV rapids perfect for eager first-timers and athletic individuals to conquer.
The South Fork has something for everyone. It is the most popular introductory whitewater river in the western United States, yet it also satisfies experienced rafters with numerous Class III rapids. For artificial rapids, you can’t beat “Raging Waters,” consisting of 25 water rides, a wave pool and lazy river. The highlight of the water park is the five-story Dragon’s Den, an inner-tube slide down a 45-foot enclosed flume. The Sacramento region also offers a more leisurely kind of rafting, as well as kayaking opportunities for all skill levels. Extreme Sports & Races For the kind of thrill you can coast through, check out the 23-mile American River Parkway spanning 5000-acres of “oak trees, whitewater rapids, massive boulders, shaded bridges, and abundant wildlife” (Runner’s World Magazine). This is the ideal location for bike riding, roller blading or running. And just off the beaten track are various nature areas great for hiking, walking and nature viewing.
Take your adventure to a higher and faster level at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Northern California’s premier wildlife, oceanarium and theme park. Make the one-hour drive to Vallejo where you’ll find thrill rides, animal attractions and great shows.
Skydiving centers are a short drive away in Lodi and at the Yolo County Airport in Davis. For tandem-jumps, you can receive your training and jump out of a perfectly good airplane all in one afternoon! Then, jump into a mini-Indy racecar at Scandia Family Fun Center and whip around the track, or push it to the extreme with street-legal fun drag racing at Sacramento Raceway. If spectating is your sport, you can view horse-racing and major sporting events year-round at the new Cal Expo Sports & Wagering Center. There are private carrels and booths and over 300 TV monitors, as well as a Theatre, Club House and Winner’s Circle Grill. For your own horseback experience, the stables and ranches in the area offer everything from a leisurely pace to jumping and mountain trails. And for an adventurous but peaceful view from above, hot air balloon rides and seaplane tours take flight from scenic points surrounding Sacramento.