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Destination Highlight: Central California

Central California coastThough it doesn’t hold the allure of the Redwoods or the glamour of Hollywood, central California includes many attractions that you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re working in Fresno or along the coast in Monterey, you’ll want to take some time to explore the area while you’re on assignment.

Experience historic Highway 120 and Yosemite. Begin in Manteca, about an hour south of Sacramento, and travel east through Escalon, stopping in Oakdale at the cheese factory and Oakdale Cowboy Museum. If you visit Oakdale during May, you’ll also be in time for the chocolate festival. Continue east to Chinese Camp, feeding the fish at the Moccasin Creek Trout Hatchery, and stop in Groveland before you reach Yosemite National Park.

Conclude your Yosemite trip with a visit to Bodie, a preserved ghost town, and a soak in the Benton Hot Springs. Get even more details about this trip at VisitCalifornia.com.

Hit the coast for spectacular Big Sur views. Although southern California is known for its pristine beaches and warm weather, you won’t want to miss the striking scenery the Big Sur region has to offer. Start in Carmel and travel south along the coast on Highway 1, stopping to hike or just enjoy the scenery and wildlife at Point Lobos State Reserve.

Be sure to snap photographs of Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous concrete arch bridge built in 1932, and then visit the Point Sur Lighthouse, one of the most haunted places in America that also offers breathtaking views of the coast. Don’t miss the majestic 80-foot tidefalls that make up McWay Falls, and drive about 50 miles further south to see the Hearst Castle, a 165-room retreat built for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1947.

Explore California’s heartland to enjoy farm-fresh food. Known for its fruit orchards and fertile farmland, Vacaville is a great place to start your tour of inland California. Visit The Nut Tree for shopping, dining and kid-friendly attractions like a train and carousel, then stop at Fentons Creamery for ice cream. Travel south to Fairfield for a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory, then head east to Lodi to the Oak Farm Vineyards. Continue south to Stockton for a Huckleberry Finn-style river cruise, and visit Modesto for a tour of the McHenry Mansion.

Hilmar, just 20 miles southeast of Modesto, boasts the Hilmar Cheese Factory, and nearby Merced offers a 10,000-acre national wildlife refuge known as a stopping place for several species of geese as they migrate. Finish your trip with a tour of Fresno’s Forestiere Underground Gardens, which feature underground rooms, tunnels and hand-carved arches, and a day at the Auto Club Famoso Racetrack in Bakersfield. See more on this adventure at VisitCalifornia.com.

Is central California calling your name? Check out our open travel nursing jobs in California to start planning your assignment!

About the author

Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a communication professional with experience writing for the healthcare and entertainment industries as well as local government. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.


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