If climbing a mountain were a walk in the park, parks would be a lot more exciting. But climbing requires important safety knowledge, special equipment, and careful planning. That's why the folks at SWS Mountain Guides have set out to create an experience that allows all of their clients to focus on the climbing while they take care of the planning, equipment, and know-how it takes to make a journey great. Offering climbs on both Mount Shasta and Mount Whitney, adventurers learn about ice axes and crampons, basic mountaineering skills, and what to do in the event they discover a lonesome yeti. If local climbs aren't adventurous enough, SWS also organizes expeditions to Peru, Africa, and several of the world's highest peaks in Nepal.
Shasta Glide 'n Ride's tour guides time their running commentary, broadcast through headsets, to the whir of Segway wheels propelling patrons through scenic stretches of the paved Sacramento River Trail. First, riders hone Segway skills during a brief session that includes hands-on training, an instructional video, and tips on how to garner the best mechanical performance by impersonating a mother robot. With new Segway knowledge in hand, tours embark from the parking lot at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Roadsters obediently bend to their riders’ whims as they zoom across the nearby Sundial Bridge and through sunning flocks of wildlife to the tune of tales about the Gold Rush and Old West. Available cooling vests enable comfortable treks, even on days with 100-degree temperatures or hot-cocoa downpours, and modern technology allows Segways to slice through fog or light rain. Patrons can also design their own tours atop rental bikes and pedal through local flora and fauna for hours at a time.
Sprawling across 300 acres, Turtle Bay Exploration Park has all the space it needs to showcase Northern California's ecosystems as well as the history of its people. Located in Redding, which was named one of the top affordable summer driving destinations by CBS News, this celebration of nature, anthropology, and art starts in the McConnell Arboretum. Its gardens use 200 acres to form a living map of the five major Mediterranean climate zones: Chile, South Africa, Australia, the Mediterranean basin, and California. In addition to providing picturesque views, these gardens use water-wise methods to emphasize the importance of sustainability.
Vintner's Cellar puts just as much effort into its art and entertainment as it does into its robust wine selection. International and local wines are paired with bistro-inspired fare, including platters arranged with cured meats and gourmet cheeses. Each month, the bar features wines from a different winery during events such as tastings, wine dinners, and winemaker meet-and-greets with trivia. Meanwhile, rotating art exhibits display photographs and paintings on the wine bar's walls. Music comes from guest musicians and other live performers—and from a baby grand piano that tinkles away without a player as long as no one is looking directly at it.