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.
Bald eagles soar through the air, trout and bass dart beneath tranquil waves, and fresh mountain water pours into three different lakes: Trinity, Shasta, and Lewiston. Across these landscapes, visitors can embrace the great outdoors at Shasta Recreation Company’s campgrounds and semipermanent yurts. After making camp, visitors can hit the hiking trails that wind through the towering pine trees and along the shore—where each of the three lakes sets the stage for aquatic activities. In the hands of guests, fishing lines plunge into Shasta Lake in search of bass; boats churn up water along Trinity Lake's 145 miles of tree-lined shoreline; and canoes transport paddlers across Lewiston Lake's placid waters.
NorCal Trail Rides’ wise guides lead horseback explorers of all skill levels on safe and comfortable excursions through the Northern California countryside. Before embarking on 60-minute trail rides, guides supply riders with the tack, helmets, and water necessary for the trip, and then pair them up with one of the stable's horses. The group then sets out for a relaxing jaunt by the Sacramento River, where they can feast their eyes on local wildlife while gulping down local fresh air. NorCal Trail Rides leads excursions every day of the year, but potential rein operators should call ahead for a reservation, as times can change depending on the season and forecasts for bad weather or alien invasion.