Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Whether you want easy access to national parks and bucolic splendor, wine tastings and beer crawls, farm stand produce and exotic eats, cowboy culture or cosmopolitan treats, Fresno — the fifth largest metropolis in California — and the 15-city county it’s part of, promise plenty to do and see when roaming through the heart of the state.
Nature is calling
San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Fresno is a gateway to greenery.
In addition to well-maintained cycling and walking paths (Lewis S. Eaton Trail), a variety of lakes (including Millerton, Pine Flat, Huntington and Shaver) and rivers well-suited to fishing and water sports, Fresno is centrally located between three national parks: Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia.
Rae Lakes, Kings Canyon National Park | Alexander Hadik
Within 90 minutes, road trippers can be admiring the largest living thing on Earth (General Sherman Tree), hiking Half Dome, leaf-peeping in the fall, picnicking at the base of a waterfall or watching bear cubs playfully tussle. If that kind of animal encounter is too close for comfort, take the family to feed giraffes and check out the new sea lion cove at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, where the wildlife is kept fed and at a safe distance.
A down-under wonder
Forestiere Underground Gardens | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Baldassare Forestiere moved to town in the early 1900s with a plan to start a citrus empire. When he hit hardpan and realized his dream would never take root, he pivoted. For 40 years, he dug deep (literally and figuratively) and built a sprawling subterranean lair complete with a multi-level aquarium, kitchen, bed nooks, wall murals, a chapel and courtyards where more than 20 varieties of fruit trees and vines still flourish. Ten metres deep in spots, naturally insulated, and engineered to diffuse light and channel a breeze, touring the Forestiere Underground Gardens is a good way to beat the heat.
Drink it all in
Fresno County Wine Journey | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
With more than 25 wineries, nine breweries and a distillery, the region easily keeps imbibers in good spirits. Winemakers including Quady Winery, Birdstone Winery, Kings River Winery and ApCal are taking a page from the Napa model and offering value-added activities like grape stomps, barbecues, al fresco concerts and salsa dance parties alongside the traditional tours and tastings.
Hop along the Downtown Ale Trail, the highest concentration of craft brewers in the Central Valley, to test sours, IPAs and lagers while listening to DJs, playing old-school video games and eating at food trucks. Collect passport stamps for prizes like growlers. Laid back California bars like Elbow Room, Goldstein’s and The Library At Detention (a speakeasy that requires a password and reservations for entry) keep the party going.
Eat and greet
Fresno County is a fruit basket to the world. And also a salad bowl...and a nut dish. Thanks to 1.88-million acres of productive land, the county grows premium almonds, peaches, oranges, olives and Asian vegetables.
School House Restaurant & Tavern | Visit Fresno County | visitfresnocounty.org
Meet the growers face-to-face at various farmers’ markets throughout the week or visit the farms where produce is grown. Even the university, Fresno State, runs a farm and store to sell its eggs, ice cream, sweet corn and raisins. Fresh ingredients and an extremely diverse population bolster the dining scene. Must-trys include Cracked Pepper Bistro, The Annex Kitchen, Sal’s Mexican Restaurant, and School House Restaurant & Tavern. It’s impossible for even the pickiest of eaters to go hungry.