Have you ever wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a day, yet stay close enough to be home in time for dinner?
Sacramento has tons of awesome day trip options that are perfect for encountering new sights and experiences without having to go too far from home.
From ziplining through Redwood forests to discovering fascinating animal sanctuaries, there’s something special awaiting everyone around every turn!
So get ready, pack your bag (kinda optional), throw on some tunes, and let’s dive into 26 amazing things for you to do within a one-day road trip radius of California’s capital!
1. Folsom Lake
Travel time from Sacramento to Folsom Lake:
(34 min) 27.0 miles
If you’re looking for a fun day trip from Sacramento, then look no further!
Taking a day trip to Lake Folsom offers fantastic scenery and enjoyable activities.
Take the winding drive around the lake, complete with panoramic views of tree-covered hills and sparkling water.
Enjoy a picnic lunch at some spots along the way, or find a nice spot to stretch your legs and do some fishing using their provided equipment.
After you’ve had your fill of exploring all that Lake Folsom has to offer, there’s plenty more nearby for you to experience.
There are several trails nearby for hiking, great sites for stargazing in the evening, and many more sights to explore.
A visit to Lake Folsom is sure to make your day an enjoyable adventure worth remembering!
Travel time from Sacramento to Auburn:
(35 min) 34.2 miles
Taking a day trip from Sacramento to Auburn is an exciting adventure that should not be missed!
The short drive reveals some of California’s most beautiful countryside, ranging from rolling hills and orchards to winding rivers and majestic mountains.
On the way, you’ll pass by cute little towns like Colfax, Grass Valley, and Placerville, each with its own unique charm.
Once in Auburn, you can explore unique attractions like the Gold Country Fairgrounds and Old Town Auburn.
After a full day outdoors, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the city’s many restaurants before heading back to Sacramento.
With so much to see and do, a day trip from Sacramento to Auburn will satisfy even the most ardent adventurer!
Travel time from Sacramento to Lodi:
(41 min) 35.6 miles
Sacramento may be known for its city life, but a day trip to Lodi provides the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
With easy driving distances, you can get to know this picturesque small town in just a few hours and make lifelong memories.
From lush vineyards and waterfront restaurants to seasonal events like hot air balloon festivals, there is something for everyone in Lodi.
Spend the day exploring its quaint downtown area filled with boutique shopping and one-of-a-kind eateries before soaking in breathtaking views at Shaboga Springs Park.
An excursion to Lodi promises an unforgettable adventure that’s just a short drive away from Sacramento!
Travel time from Sacramento to Placerville:
(44 min) 43.7 miles
A day trip from Sacramento to Placerville is the perfect getaway!
The stunning Sierra Nevada Foothills is just a short drive away, offering breathtaking views of rolling hills and lush vineyards.
Enjoy sipping on one of the area’s famous wines while exploring local cozy boutiques, scenic hiking trails, and antique emporiums.
The nearby American River is ideal for whitewater rafting or enjoying a peaceful float, as well as fly fishing any time of year.
Once you set foot in vibrant Placerville, known as the “Gateway to the Sierras,” magnificent mountain backdrops await you with plenty of outdoor adventures that will leave you wanting more.
A day trip from Sacramento to Placerville isn’t just a fun break from everyday life—it’s an experience that you’ll never forget!
5. Sutter Creek
Travel time from Sacramento to Sutter Creek:
(1 hour 1 minute) 44.7 miles
Going on a day trip from Sacramento to Sutter Creek is an exciting way to explore all that Northern California has to offer.
This charming gold-mining town features historic architecture, quaint boutiques and galleries, artisanal specialty stores, and plenty of outdoor activities.
The nearby mining trails will transport you back in time and give you a glimpse into the region’s fascinating history.
Take a stroll along the scenic Amador Creek or venture higher into the Sierra for some uninterrupted outdoor exploration.
After an adrenaline-filled day of adventure and sightseeing, enjoy dinner at one of Sutter Creek’s award-winning restaurants.
With its unique blend of history and modern amenities, this day trip from Sacramento will surely be one to remember.
6. Empire Mine State Historic Park
Travel time from Sacramento to Empire Mine State Historic Park:
(1 hr 8 min) 57.3 miles
A day trip from Sacramento to Empire Mine State Historic Park is an unbeatable proposition for any avid explorer!
The park has a stunning array of attractions for you to explore during your visit, including beautiful views, fascinating hiking trails, and historic structures.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll or a more strenuous hike, the serenity of Empire Mine will provide respite from the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Be sure to take time to explore the exhibits showcasing local history and admire the old mining equipment from days past.
With its amazing wildlife, diverse terrain, and captivating historical relics, Empire Mine State Historic Park promises an unforgettable experience that will be remembered for years to come.
7. Napa Valley
Travel time from Sacramento to Napa Valley:
(1 hr 9 min) 56.5 miles
Exploring Napa Valley is a captivating experience.
A day trip to this bucolic area from nearby Sacramento promises a little bit of everything: breathtaking vineyards, and stunning vistas.
Whether you’re traveling solo or with family or friends, there’s plenty to explore in this majestic corner of Northern California.
From pampering spa treatments to exhilarating hot air balloon rides to exploring artisanal eateries and tasting rooms, your options are endless in Napa Valley.
So, strap on those hiking boots and start planning the perfect day excursion—you’ll surely have an unforgettable time!
8. Nevada City
Travel time from Sacramento to Nevada City:
(1 hr 9 min (60.8 miles)
A day trip from Sacramento to Nevada City is an ideal way to experience California’s magic!
From Sacramento, you will drive past stunning rolling hills and meandering streams as you journey through this beautiful corner of the state.
Once in Nevada City, marvel at the picturesque streets of this quaint town filled with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
Take the time to explore the bookstores and antique stores while you soak up the unique bohemian culture that radiates throughout the city.
A day trip from Sacramento to Nevada City promises adventure, exploration, and fun, so don’t miss out on one of the most remarkable parts of California living!
9. El Dorado National Forest
Travel time from Sacramento to El Dorado National Forest:
(1 hr 12 min) 55.9 miles
Exploring El Dorado National Forest, which is only an hour and a half drive from Sacramento, is a fantastic day trip!
From the crystal-clear waters of the American River to the soaring peaks of Pyramid Peak and Tripod Rock, there is something here for any outdoor enthusiast.
Take in some amazing views while hiking with friends or enjoy a picnic in sprawling meadows surrounded by fir trees.
Afterward, you can raft down the wild whitewater rapids or kick back with a fishing line along one of the many rivers.
Whatever your desired adventure may be, El Dorado National Forest offers it all!
Travel time from Sacramento to Oroville:
(1 hour 16 minutes) 68.4 miles
A day trip from Sacramento to Oroville is a great way to experience the beauty of Northern California.
Located about an hour’s drive away, Oroville features amazing outdoor activities such as rafting on the Feather River and beachcombing in the nearby Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park.
After a long day outdoors, take a break and explore downtown Oroville’s historic architecture, locally owned antique shops, and delicious restaurants for a truly memorable experience.
Whether you’re a thrill seeker or just looking for some good old-fashioned relaxation, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste in this charming city.
Travel time from Sacramento to Sausalito:
(1 hour 32 minutes) 92.3 miles
Exploring the beauty of Northern California is easily accomplished with a day trip from Sacramento to Sausalito!
Driving along the winding coastal roads and taking in the breathtaking Pacific views will inspire wonder and awe.
Then, Sausalito awaits with its art galleries, boutiques, outdoor cafes, and dozens of attractions—perfect for a leisurely day soaking up the miles of waterfront scenery.
Dining and entertainment abound in this Marin County gem, giving visitors an unforgettable experience that rivals any seaside escape!
12. San Francisco
Travel time from Sacramento to San Francisco:
(1 hour 41 minutes) 95.3 miles
Embarking on a day trip from Sacramento to San Francisco is an exciting adventure that you won’t want to miss.
The picturesque scenery of the California Great Valley will take your breath away as you travel through towns with lively energy and rolling hills in the background.
Soon enough, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge will appear before your eyes, and you’ll be able to explore all of the unique attractions that this bustling city has to offer.
From Fisherman’s Wharf to Chinatown, there are countless sights and adventures that await you in San Francisco.
But don’t forget to bring your camera because you won’t want to forget a single moment of your day trip.
Travel time from Sacramento to Truckee:
(1 hour 44 minutes) 100 miles
A day trip from Sacramento to Truckee is one of the best ways to explore the stunning Sierra Nevada region.
The journey by car is a beautiful one, winding through magnificent valleys, and riders can enjoy breathtaking views of lush patches of a mountainside forest.
Outdoor enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with opportunities for sightseeing, including riverside strolls, nostalgic train rides, and mountain hikes with stunning vistas at the peak.
After lunch at a quaint local eatery, it’s time to embark on some water activities such as fishing, boating, or kayaking.
Finally, it’s time for some fun-filled evenings with an array of restaurants, live music, and bustling nightlife.
A day trip from Sacramento to Truckee is sure to make memories that will last a lifetime!
14. Muir Woods National Monument
Travel time from Sacramento to Muir Woods National Monument:
(1 hour 45 minutes) 95.4 miles
Experiencing the majestic beauty of Muir Woods National Monument is an amazing way to spend a day trip from Sacramento.
A quick drive up to Marin County will bring you to this protected 554-acre forest filled with coastal redwood trees, Californian wildlife, and plenty of trails that wander through the breathtaking landscape.
The wondrous atmosphere set by these towering giants offers a unique opportunity for you to step back in time, reminding us how peaceful nature can be.
Make sure to climb up Mount Tamalpais and enjoy a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay area afterward!
15. Santa Rosa
Travel time from Sacramento to Santa Rosa:
(1 hour 47 minutes) 97.3 miles
Visiting the vibrant city of Santa Rosa for a day trip from Sacramento is an exciting way to explore Northern California.
From picnics by the Russian River Valley to exploring the magnificent redwood tree groves, there’s something for everyone in Santa Rosa.
You can stroll through Bohemian-style art galleries, sample small-batch chocolates, or take a stroll along the Sonoma County coastline!
With plenty of outdoor activities and attractions, this destination is sure to be an adventure you’ll never forget.
16. Mendocino National Forest
Travel time from Sacramento to Mendocino National Forest:
(1 hr 47 min) 113 miles
Exploring Mendocino National Forest on a day trip from Sacramento is an exciting adventure that should not be missed.
From breathtaking views of Lake Pillsbury and lovely scenes of Gracemdale to majestic snow-capped mountains, the natural beauty of this spot will take your breath away.
Within the peaceful confines of the forest, you can meander along trails bordered by vivid blue wildflowers while keeping an eye out for red-tailed hawks flying high above.
For those in search of some fun activities, there are plenty of options available, including fishing, kayaking, and camping.
This special destination won’t disappoint as a perfect day trip from Sacramento, promising a unique opportunity to explore California’s forests up close and personal!
17. Columbia State Historic Park
Travel time from Sacramento to Columbia State Historic Park:
(1 hr 49 min) 93.1 miles
Taking a day trip from Sacramento to Columbia State Historic Park is an exciting excursion perfect for the whole family.
Having experienced the history of gold rush-era California, it is easy to imagine the bustling activity that took place during this time period.
You’ll have the opportunity to explore an old mining town complete with shops, saloons, and other buildings still standing in much of their former grandeur.
As you meander through these streets, let your imagination run as wide as the great Sierra Nevada mountains around you.
Don’t forget to bring your camera for some great shots—you won’t want to miss out on capturing this unique slice of Californian history!
18. Point Reyes National Seashore
Travel time from Sacramento to Point Reyes National Seashore:
(1 hour 50 minutes) 96.6 miles
Sacramento is perfect for a day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore!
Located just over an hour away from the capital city, Point Reyes is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Take in stunning views of cliffs and coastlines as you hike along the trails, keeping an eye out for local animal life such as whales and raptors.
Pack a picnic lunch or head over to any of the delicious seafood restaurants that dot the shoreline.
With its calm beaches, rugged bluffs, rolling hills, and extensive forests, it’s no wonder why Point Reyes National Seashore has become one of California’s most popular destinations!
19. Lake Tahoe
Travel time from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe:
(1 hour 58 minutes) 113 miles
A day trip from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe is an amazing way to experience one of nature’s greatest masterpieces!
You’ll have the opportunity to take in the stunning views of the majestic lake while hiking or skiing down its slopes.
The wildlife of the surrounding area is sure to delight, with deer, eagles, and other creatures often visible during a visit.
No matter what time of year, you can find something thrilling in this slice of paradise, be it splashing through whitewater rapids or simply enjoying a lakeside picnic lunch.
A day trip from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe offers a memorable and exciting experience that won’t soon be forgotten!
20. San Jose
Travel time from Sacramento to San Jose:
(2 hours 1 minute) 120 miles
For a delightful and adventurous day away from home, consider a day trip to San Jose from Sacramento.
From beautiful vineyards to eclectic local eateries to swaying palm trees and playgrounds, a day spent exploring the capital of Silicon Valley will be filled with joy and curiosity.
Start your morning at one of the area’s quaint breakfast spots, then head over for some shopping and sightseeing.
Don’t forget to take pictures of the picturesque landmarks! And when you are ready for lunch, San Jose offers plenty of restaurants featuring all sorts of cuisines.
A day trip from Sacramento to San Jose is an ideal way to have an exciting yet relaxing getaway!
21. Bodega Bay
Travel time from Sacramento to Bodega Bay:
2 hours 10 minutes (110 miles)
Daycations are the perfect way to escape the city without taking up too much vacation time, and a trip from Sacramento to Bodega Bay is no exception.
Located just over two hours away, this coastal paradise promises days filled with activities like fishing, kayaking, and beachcombing–all with breathtaking views of the rocky coast.
A fun-filled day in beautiful scenery should be an indulgence for everyone.
From early morning hikes amidst amazing wildlife to pairing a tasty picnic lunch at one of the area’s many cozy restaurants overlooking the sea, why not treat yourself?
A day trip from Sacramento to Bodega Bay will undoubtedly provide all you need for a weekend adventure in nature that won’t break the bank.
22. Sonoma Coast
Travel time from Sacramento to Sonoma Coast:
(2 hours 13 minutes) 111 miles
A day trip from Sacramento to the Sonoma Coast is the perfect way to get away and explore beautiful nature.
For those who love outdoor adventures, pack a picnic lunch and soak up the stunning views while trekking along the magnificent coastlines.
Spend some time fishing in the ocean, watching wildlife, and exploring the unique landscape of the Sonoma Coast, which includes rolling hillsides filled with luscious forests and rugged mountain peaks that are lined with breathtaking beaches.
Make sure to take some time to relax as you stroll through quaint seaside towns that offer delicious cuisine and local art galleries.
A day trip from Sacramento to the Sonoma Coast promises an unforgettable experience filled with adventure and relaxation!
23. Half Moon Bay
Travel time from Sacramento to Half Moon Bay:
(2 hr 19 min) 114 miles
A day trip from Sacramento to Half Moon Bay is an enchanting journey!
Traveling through the Central Valley, you can experience a wide variety of natural beauty – from rolling hills to towering mountains, and everywhere in between.
Make sure you hit up some local stops along the way, like the Oakdale Cheese Factory for fresh, homemade treats, or view the Tranquility Mosaic to learn how this amazing piece of art restored solace to a community.
Once arriving at Half Moon Bay, take a stroll down Miramar Beach or visit Pillar Point for stunning views and potential whale sightings, as majestic marine life often passes through these parts.
With so much to explore along your route, it’s no wonder why a day trip from Sacramento to Half Moon Bay is one of the most popular getaways around!
Travel time from Sacramento to Reno:
(2 hours 22 minutes) 135 miles
Taking a day trip from Sacramento to Reno is always an exciting and fun adventure.
Start your morning off with a scenic drive up Interstate 80, with stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Then, when you get to Reno, take some time to explore all that the Biggest Little City in the World has to offer—ride a rollercoaster at one of the many amusement parks, or take an hour-long ride on a paddle boat around Lake Tahoe.
With all these activities and the culture of Reno, it’s no wonder why this destination makes for an unforgettable day trip from Sacramento.
25. Yosemite National Park
Travel time from Sacramento to Yosemite National Park:
(2 hours 47 minutes) 141 miles
Ready for an adventurous day in nature?
A day trip from Sacramento to Yosemite National Park is the perfect way to explore the great outdoors and forget your worries.
With miles of trails and breathtaking views, Yosemite offers something for everyone looking for an adventure-filled retreat.
Hike through lush landscapes, take a selfie at iconic viewpoints like Glacier Point, and get lost under a blanket of stars at night.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a weekend explorer, there’s plenty here to excite even the most experienced outdoor enthusiast.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for a fantastic escape in California’s crown jewel of natural glory!
26. Lassen Volcanic National Park
Travel time from Sacramento to Lassen Volcanic National Park:
(3 hours (192 miles)
If you’re looking for a perfect day trip from Sacramento, then Lassen Volcanic National Park is it!
Surrounded by gorgeous forests and grasslands, Lassen Park has geothermal springs, boiling mud pots, and excellent trails for your daily dose of adventure.
You’ll get breathtaking views of snow-covered slopes reminiscent of an icy winter even in the middle of summer!
Make sure to pack snacks and water, as the nearest town lies 20 miles away.
To make a full day out of it, hike the peak trail or relax at Manzanita Lake.
Whether you choose to go solo or with friends and family, leave your worries at home and be ready to experience a variety of splendid sights along the way!