Central Valley Points of Interest

Points of Interest in the Central Valley

California Central Valley attractions are as simple as a museum or historic home. Others include caverns, railroad depots and fish hatcheries. From the California State Capitol in Sacramento to the Shark Tooth Hill paleontology dig in Bakersfield, here you'll find unique Central Valley points of interest and other popular attractions.


Winters Railroad Bridge is located off the 505 freeway in Winters. The Winters Trestle Train Bridge was built in 1906 by Southern Pacific Railroad to replace an old wooden trestle bridge that connected Winters to Vacaville. Today, the bridge is only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists where it connects with the Putah Creek bike trail and spans several miles along the Putah Creek levee.

Winters Railroad Bridge
Railroad Avenue
Winters, CA 95694

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Gibson House Historical Museum is located off Highway 113 from Gibson Road. Situated at the historical house and land of a mid-nineteenth century farming ranch, the museum features several buildings including the main house, root cellar, barn, blacksmith shop, cottage and dairy. The grounds are immaculately maintained giving reason why it has been voted Best Place for Weddings in Yolo County for many consecutive years. The Gibson House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Yolo County Gibson House Historical Museum
512 Gibson Road
Woodland, CA 95695
(530) 666-1045

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Gibson Ranch Park is located northeast of Sacramento off Interstate 80. This private park is situated on the edge of urban sprawl and features a lake, running creek, nature trails, equestrian center, animal farm and more. Activities at Gibson Ranch Park include camping, fishing, walking, jogging, biking and pony rides. More than 5 miles of dirt trails interconnect through the park. Get an up-close view of farm animals like ducks, geese, pigs, cows, chickens, llamas and horses. Events that take place at the park include Civil War re-enactments, concerts, festivals, weddings and more.

Gibson Ranch Park
Gibson Ranch Park Road
Elverta, CA 95626
(916) 806-3868

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California State Capitol

The California State Capitol is located off Interstate 5 in downtown Sacramento. The museum offers daily tours of the State Capitol every hour except on major holidays. The State Capitol grounds include 40 acres of park which contains gardens and memorials to important Californian figures and veterans of war.

California State Capitol Museum
10th and L Streets
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 324-0333

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Governor's Mansion

The Governor's Mansion is located in downtown Sacramento at H and 16th Streets. This Victorian mansion was constructed in 1877 and has been the home to California Governors since 1903. Earl Warren and Ronald Reagan were among the last to stay at the mansion. Visitors are welcome to tour the mansion on docent-led tours. Period furnishings and lavishly ornate architecture embellish the home.

UPDATE: The Governor's Mansion is once again the home of California's current Governor, Jerry Brown. Tours are canceled until the mansion is vacant again.

Governor's Mansion State Park
1526 H Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 323-3047

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Old Sacramento State Historic Park

Old Sacramento is located at 3rd and J Streets directly off Interstate 5 in downtown Sacramento. This park is several square blocks of preserved and rebuilt gold mining era buildings. Old Sacramento structures now house touristy shops, museums and restaurants. The State Railroad Museum is located within Old Sacramento State Park. Visitors can ride in historic buggies, take an historic train ride or join a river boat cruise on the Sacramento River. Activities include picnicking, sightseeing, shopping and biking on the river trail. Accommodations are available on the historic Delta King river boat.

Old Sacramento State Park
3rd and J Streets
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 445-7387

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Stanford Mansion

Leland Stanford Mansion is located off Interstate 5 off the Q Street exit. Situated in Downtown Sacramento only one block from the State Capitol, the Stanford Mansion is an historic 1800's Victorian home that today serves as a museum and California's official reception center, where the Governor and Legislature meet with dignitaries from other states and countries. The mansion features crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors and rich wood accents. Guided tours are mandatory and include an orientation film about the mansion's history. Stanford was the founder of Stanford University.

Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
800 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 324-0575

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Sutter's Fort

Sutter's Fort is located in the heart of Sacramento between K & L and 26th & 28th streets. The fort was established in 1839 by Swiss immigrant, John Sutter who called it New Helvetia (New Switzerland). This was Sacramento's first non-Indian settlement and was the main destination for settlers crossing the Sierra Nevada. In 1847, the first few men from the Donner Party reached the fort and aid was sent to save the remaining settlers. The fort was overrun by gold miners in 1849 and today has been rebuilt to its former state.

Sutter's Fort State Park
2701 L Street
Sacramento, California 95816
(916) 445-4422

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Old City Cemetery is located south of downtown Sacramento off Interstate 5. This is the cemetery that many of Gold Country's notables and early pioneers are buried. Visit the graves of John Sutter, Jr., Edwin Crocker, Mark Hopkins, cholera victims, Old Fellows members, Masonic members and Soldiers of the Spanish American War. In addition to grave sites the cemetery also include a rose garden and memorials to firefighters, the Battleship Maine and more. The Old City Cemetery is very picturesque with elaborate ironwork, manicured gardens and impressive headstones & mausoleums.

Old City Cemetery
1000 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 448-0811

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Folsom Prison Museum is located north of Highway 50 from Folsom Boulevard. Situated at the foot of Folsom Dam, Folsom prison opened in 1880 to relieve overcrowding at nearby San Quentin. The museum contains artifacts of prisoner ingenuity for escape, communication and weapon making. Folsom Prison has had its share of notoriety including prison escapes, famous prisoners and a visit by Johnny Cash where he performed Folsom Prison Blues to the prisoners. All of California's vehicle license plates are manufactured at Folsom Prison.

Folsom Prison Museum
312 3rd Street
Represa, CA 95671
(916) 985-2561

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Nimbus Hatchery is located north of Highway 50 from Hazel Avenue. The Nimbus Fish Hatchery is a key element in maintaining healthy numbers of salmon and steelhead in the American River and its tributaries. The visitor center features interactive hands-on displays, a viewing platform and a gathering tank at the top of a fish ladder. Windows are provided along the spawning building to allow visitors a glimpse of the spawning process. A quarter-mile nature trail leads to the banks of the American River where salmon are easily spotted during spawning season.

Nimbus Fish Hatchery
2001 Nimbus Road, Suite F
Gold River, CA 95670
(916) 358-2820

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Mokelumne River Hatchery is located east of Lodi off Highway 12. Situated at the base of the Lake Camanche Dam, the Mokelumne Fish Hatchery is a key element in maintaining healthy numbers of salmon and steelhead in the Mokelumne River and its tributaries. The hatchery features a fish ladder, holding tank, hatchery building and raceways teaming with salmon and steelhead.

Mokelumne Fish Hatchery
25800 North McIntire Road
Clements, CA 95227
(209) 759-3383

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The Serpentarium is located west of Highway 99 from Harney Lane. This living reptile museum houses one of the largest displays of reptiles in the country. Exhibits include false water cobras, Burmese pythons, rainbow boas, anacondas, monitor lizards, turtles & tortoises, geckos, frogs and so much more. Add an 'Experience' to your visit and feed a panther chameleon, hold a live scorpion or pet a giant tortoise.

The Serpentarium
2379 Maggio Circle
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 369-7737

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Mercey Hot Springs are located off Interstate 5 between Los Banos and Coalinga, via the Little Panoche Road exit. Natural hot springs mineral water is filled into several soaking tubs. The healing waters are accessible by guests of the resort. The resort includes campgrounds, an RV park, cabins, a swimming pool, sauna, bath house, café and general store. Some tubs are separated from public view and are clothing optional. Activities include hiking, disc golf, basket weaving and yoga.

Mercey Hot Springs
62964 Little Panoche Road
Firebaugh, CA 93622
(209) 826-3388

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San Joaquin Fish Hatchery is located north of Fresno off Highway 41. Situated below Millerton Lake, the San Joaquin Fish Hatchery plays an important role in hatching, raising and stocking rainbow trout. Stop in and see the fish from hatchlings to lunkers. The facility includes a feeding pond that's popular with the kids.

San Joaquin Fish Hatchery
17372 Brook Trout Drive
Friant, CA 93626
(559) 822-2374

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Forestiere Underground Gardens are located off Highway 99 off the Shaw Avenue exit. Construction on these underground gardens began by Sicilian immigrant, Baldassare Forestiere in 1906. Patterned after the ancient catacombs of Rome, the gardens feature elaborate stonework, arched doorways, courtyards and grottoes. Fruit trees and grapevines grow from beneath the earth to the natural sunlight that warms the courtyards. The underground gardens once covered nearly 10 acres, 3 levels and contained close to 100 rooms.

Forestiere Underground Gardens
5021 West Shaw Avenue
Fresno, California 93722
(559) 271-0734

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Meux Home Museum is located off Highway 41 from Tulare Street. The Meux Home is an historic Victorian home built by a prominent doctor in 1889. The home is furnished and decorated to the period.

Meux Home Museum
1007 R Street
Fresno, CA 93721
(559) 233-8007

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Kearney Mansion Museum is located west of Highway 99 off Whitesbridge Avenue (Hwy 180). Situated in Kearney Park, the mansion was originally built as a lodge in 1903. It served as the Superintendent's Lodge for a farm community consisting of thousands of acres. Five original structures remain including the lodge, servants quarters, carriage house, ice house and oil house. The estate and ranch remain one of the most important agricultural historic sites of the Central Valley.

Kearney Mansion Museum
7160 West Kearney Boulevard
Fresno, CA 93706
(559) 441-0862

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Fresno Flats Historic Village is located north of Fresno off Highway 41. This history museum consists of several restored historic buildings including homes, one-room schoolhouses, barns, 19th century jails, a blacksmith shop and wagon shed.

Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park
Road 427
Oakhurst, CA 93644
(559) 683-6570

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Sanger Depot Museum is located south of Kings Canyon Road (Hwy 180) from Academy Avenue. Situated in the heart of Sanger, the history museum is actually the 1887 Sanger Railroad Depot. Today, it includes several replica turn-of-the-century structures including a Victorian home, bank, Post Office, general store, bakery and newspaper office. The museum contains collections and memorabilia from the early pioneers, Yokut Indians and once flourishing logging industry.

Sanger Depot Museum
1710 7th Street
Sanger, CA 93657
(559) 875-4720

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Exeter Murals are located east of Visalia off Highway 99. Exeter is a quaint farming town that's best known for over two dozen murals that can be found around downtown. These murals all depict the history of the region from American Indians to everyday life on a farm. Exeter is just a short detour from Highway 198 on the way to Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.

Exeter Murals
Pine & E Streets
Exeter, CA 93657

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Porterville Historical Museum is located north of Poplar Avenue (Hwy 190) from Main Street. Situated in the 1913 Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, this history museum preserves the history of Southern Tulare County. The museum exhibits include Yokut Indian artifacts, items used by early pioneers and settlers, fine china, dolls, quilts, a war memorial, music room and more.

Porterville Historical Museum
257 North D Street
Porterville, CA 93257
(559) 784-2053

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Zalud House Museum is located north of Poplar Avenue (Hwy 190) from Main Street. The Zalud House was built in 1891 and still furnished with all of the original owner's furnishings. The mansard roof is just one of the unique features that put the Zalud House on both the National Historical Registry of Old Houses and the National Register of Historic Places. Paranormal tours are offered in addition to home and garden tours.

Zalud House Museum
393 North Hockett Street
Porterville, CA 93257
(559) 782-7548

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Kern Wildlife Refuge is located west of Delano and features nearly 12,000 acres of protected land. Wildlife includes elk, coyotes, rattlesnakes, birds of prey and migrating birds. Hunting is permitted and strictly managed.

Kern Wildlife Refuge
Dairy Avenue
Wasco, California 93280
(661) 725-2767

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Shark Tooth Hill is located off Highway 99 from Rosedale Highway. Shark Tooth Hill is an active archaeological dig site that's run by the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History. The natural history museum promotes paleontology, geology, anthropology, archeology and biology of the area. Museum exhibits include the marine fossils of sharks, whales, sea lions, rays, turtles and more from when Bakersfield was the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can be a paleontologist for a day and join actual archaeological dig at Shark Tooth Hill.

Shark Tooth Hill
Buena Vista Museum of Natural History
2018 Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
(661) 324-6350

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Colonel Allensworth State Park is located west of Earlimart and Highway 99, off Higby Drive (Highway 43) south of Sierra Avenue. This historic town was founded, funded and governed by African Americans in 1908.

Colonel Allensworth State Park
Star Route 1, Box 148
Earlimart, California 93219
(661) 849-3433

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Fort Tejon

Fort Tejon is located 70 miles north of Los Angeles, near the top of the Grapevine off Interstate 5 in Lebec. This historic fort was garrisoned by the U.S. Army on August 10, 1854 to control a local Indian reservation. Workers dress in era clothing and perform reenactments of life in the 1800's. Other activities include picnicking and limited camping.

Fort Tejon State Park
Lebec, California 93243
(661) 248-6692

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Points of Interest by Region

California by Region

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