Mother Lode River Center sits amid tall oak trees on a 19-acre plot of Sierra wilderness. Also adding to the site's natural majesty is a half-mile stretch of land on the American River's south fork. When guests arrive here, staff members welcome them with an open embrace and an encouraging smile, pointing the way along indigenous river rock pathways to the many camp activities and accommodations. With its perch on the American River, it's no surprise that the center's marquee activity is its whitewater rafting, which the center has been practicing for four decades.
Even with all the outdoor creature comforts that await guests?a commercial kitchen, modern showers, "glamour" camping?Mother Lode maintains a steadfast commitment to education and wildlife. A river science program acquaints students with the local riparian environment, and the gold rush/Native American history program shows youngsters what life would have been like here many years ago. The center also prides itself as a beacon of environmental stewardship, engaging in sustainable practices such as solar power, organic gardening, and yodeling to produce energy.
Since it was carved out of the California countryside in 1960, Auburn Valley Golf Course has built a reputation as a hidden gem in the Sierra Foothills. The 18-hole championship course challenges golfers with one test after another: two of the course's longest holes crop up early at numbers three and five, and the entire back nine incorporates water. Before tackling these hurdles, though, players can get a little practice. They're invited to perfect their swing on a grass driving range, or visit the putting green, which is lighted so balls don't have to wear little mining helmets. Before and after rounds, guests can also pop into the Valley View Grille for food and drinks.
Course at a Glance
Whether sliding down the jungle gym, or chowing down on pizza, kids visiting the Funfinity Indoor Playground enjoy active, imaginative adventures. The expansive facility brims with activities: arcade games flash and beep, and pool tables await big kids, while a special area for kids age three and under occupies littler guests with age-appropriate diversions. Meanwhile, parents can kick back in the caf?, and grab some coffee and a sandwich. For kids who have birthdays, the fun-time hot-spot opens its playscape for birthday parties filled with pizza and rambunctiousness. While these imagination-revving play sessions are what give Funfinity its name, fun is only a close second on the staff's list of priorities, right after the top values of safety and cleanliness.
Every year, on the weekend just before Thanksgiving, the Mountain Mandarin Festival unites crowds beneath the Gold Country Fairgrounds' autumn-leaved trees to celebrate fresh crops of mandarin oranges. Throughout the event, family-centered activities keep visitors of all ages entertained, including cooking contests, professional-chef demonstrations, and live musical performances. Also on hand, Placer County growers dole out thousands of pounds of fresh mandarin oranges, and more than 200 vendors showcase gifts ranging from lotions and candles to artist-crafted jewelry.
Full-service snack and beverage bars provide lubrication for moistureless mouths and nourishment for nosh-needy teeth with a menu consisting of sandwiches, snacks, and sodas, and pool tables and video games keep trained fingers in pin-fighting form. The on-premises pro shop allows bowlers to accessorize their outfits with matching balls, stylish wrist guards, and spare shoes for centaur teammates.
The founders of Adventure Connection believe in magic. Not the trickery of the stage or spells cast by mysterious neighbors, but of the spiritual, environmental, and economic boons of the rivers they have spent their lives traversing. More than 25 years ago, a group of believers came together to share their love and passion for the rivers of California, building a company that combines whitewater rafting, wine tasting, and camping along the waterways they love.
Over the course of the last two decades, the staff has guided boats of up to 18 people through the rapids of the American, Kaweah, and Tuolumne Rivers, coasting through mild ripples or white-knuckling class V rapids. Groups often leave the rafts behind to explore the scenic countryside and renowned wineries of the surrounding El Dorado region or to pitch tents and sleep under the stars.