Day 1:Start your visit in Old Sacramento(916-442-8575, oldsacramento.com), where museums and historic buildingscall to the city’s heyday as a terminus for the First Transcontinental Railroad. Ride a wagon through town with Top Hand Ranch(916-655-3444, tophandranch.com), and enjoy a sarsaparilla at The River City Saloon(916-443-6852, therivercitysaloon.com), established in 1871, before ordering burgers at Fanny Ann’s Saloon(916-441-0505, fannyannsaloon.com), where memorabilia from the establishment’s namesake steamboat adorn the walls. In June, the Western States Horse Expo(800-352-2411, horsexpo.com) is a must.The three-day eventfeatures clinics with top trainers, lectures from leading experts on equine health, a trade show, and much more.
Day 2:In the morning, learn about California’s pioneer, explorer, and agricultural history at Sutter’s Fort (916-445-4422, suttersfort.org). Then grab lunch at Chando’s Tacos(916-641-8226, chandostacos.com) before visiting the California State Railroad Museum (916-323-9280, csrmf.org), where you can ride in a vintage diesel locomotive. Round out the afternoon with a trip to Folsom, to learn about the penitentiary—made famous by Johnny Cash—at the Folsom Prison Museum (916-985-2561, folsomprisonmuseum.org) orcatch the Folsom Pro Rodeo(folsomrodeo.com). End your day with comfort food and live music at the Goldfield Trading Post(916-476-5076, goldfieldtradingpost.com).
Day 3:Breakfast at Black Bear Diner(916-641-2327, blackbeardiner.com) before setting out on The American River Parkway, for a walk or a float downstream, then stop off at the State Indian Museum and State Park(916-324-0971), where you’ll find gifts and souvenirs like Native-made jewelry and handcrafted pottery at the California Indian Heritage Center Foundation Store(cihcfoundation.org). Before heading home, drive an hour north to Rough and Ready, a mining town that seceded from the Union (for three months) after the government imposed a tax on all claims. Secession Day is celebrated annually with a musical melodrama, arts and crafts festival, and pancakes.
Seven-Up Guest Ranch
A working ranch for more than 150 years, the Seven-Up Guest Ranch offers rustic cabins nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Enjoy local wines from one of California’s greatest wine regions while relaxing on the front porch.