Blackbeard's Family Entertainment transports visitors to magical and faraway places. One mini-golf landscape mimics the Wild West with realistic hotel and saloon storefronts, whereas another simulates pirate life, and a third brings storybooks to life with castles, moats, and sand traps filled with porridge.
It's easy to believe you're actually on a roller coaster as you sit in the virtual Cyber Coaster or that you're in a 1980s European discotheque while you sneak through the smoky, music-filled twists and turns of the XTreme laser-tag arena. To take a mock tropical vacation, head for the water slides or an adventure course that resembles a jungle rope bridge. Cap'n Kids' Rideland whisks away youngsters to a realm where gravity is irrelevant, and the go-kart tracks blur adults' everyday stresses into a whirlwind of speed.
Located on a 7-acre plot of land, Visalia Adventure Park carves out ample space for all ages to have fun. Outdoors, the park features a bumper boat pool with a waterfall, an 18-hole miniature golf course, and go-kart tracks for both the family and speedsters. If it's raining or that fire in the clouds becomes too hot, visitors can migrate indoors for arcade playing, laser tagging, and mini bowling.
Located next to the Sierra Meadows Country Club, Sierra Meadows RV Park sits at an elevation of 2,425 feet. From that height, it surveys a variety of national landmarks and sites, including Yosemite National Park and the Bass Lake recreation area. Nestled amidst this scenic beauty, the RV Park boasts a rustic setting with a volleyball court, laundry and shower facilities, and wireless-Internet access.
Adjacent to the RV Park is the golf course at the Sierra Meadows Country Club, which is cleaved into a mountain valley populated with mature oaks, pines, and cedars, producing a spectacular course yielding a gauntlet of obstacles. Nestled between the blanket of fog of the Central Valley below and snow higher up in the Sierra Nevadas, the 18-hole course stays open throughout the year so long as the fog and snow don't engage in water-cycle turf war. The par-3 fifth hole, the course's signature designed hole, combines mountainous scenery with the treachery of a 175-yard tee shot over a lake onto a contoured green, forcing golfers to select their club wisely or risk sending the ball into the watery abyss.
Prior to a round or after a dramatic finish, players can head to the driving range's turf hitting surfaces to smash balls at targets or take aim at an unassuming mountain peak. Large putting and chipping greens provide ample space for short-game improvement.
Course at a Glance: 18-hole, par-72 courseLength of 6,389 yards from back teesThree sets of tees per hole
The mounded terrain and cavernous bunkers of Riverbend Golf Club's 18-hole, 7,374-yard course recall the windswept terrain of golf's original Scottish links. The distant peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains peek over the course's sparse population of valley oak trees, adding scenic flair to an environmentally friendly layout that houses egrets, herons, hawks, and winged divot tools. Both the front and back nine play to dramatic conclusions, as the 9th and 18th holes are the first and second most difficult on the course, respectively. The course strictly enforces a dress code, so players should dress in a collared shirt and leave behind jeans and hard-spiked stilettos, or and they can peruse the fully stocked pro shop for club-appropriate garb and new gear.
Tucked amid the shadows of eucalyptus trees and mexican palms, Buena Vista Golf Course roams across 6,710 yards of dramatically undulating terrain. Throughout the par-72 layout, golfers grapple with uneven lies wrought by the hilly topography, as well as large, contoured greens that require a soft touch with the putter. As players make their way from tee to green, hillcrests offer glimpses of the surrounding farmland, the two lakes that comprise Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Center, and distant mountains as they ripple out into the horizon and hide the unsightly edge of the earth. Guests looking to polish their game can consult Buena Vista's two PGA Class A professionals, who offer private lessons and club-fitting services.
Course at a Glance:
At Blacklake Golf Resort, players can choose any combination of challenges from three distinct nine-hole courses, each representing a unique feature of playing golf within the varied landscape of the Central Coast. Sea breezes drift up from the valley to the Canyons course's elevated tee boxes. The Oaks course ventures away from the clubhouse to wind through a forest of towering oak trees, its undulating grass and smooth walkways shaded by the abundant branches of those mighty oaks. To begin the Lakes course, a short, 143-yard hole heralds the inviting nature of the compact layout and wide fairways, all before a monstrous 573-yard par 5 finishes the round.
Open from dawn to dusk, Blacklake Golf Resort also features practice facilities, including a 275-yard driving range and two putting, chipping, and pitching greens on which to improve your techniques. During lessons, the staff (http://blacklake.com/staff/) of PGA professionals works to improve players' fundamentals without sacrificing the fun, relaxing nature of the sport.
Course at a Glance:
Three nine-hole courses (par 36, 36, and 35)
Total yardages from the back tees: 3,276, 3,125, and 2,909
Three sets of tees per hole