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California produces about two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts, much of it coming from the fertile San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of the Central Valley. Drive along the back roads in this rich farm territory to appreciate this agricultural wonderland and buy food directly from hard-working producers.
In addition to purchasing the freshest produce as you happen upon roadside stands, use the California Agricultural Tourism Directory to plan ahead for interaction with local farmers. From San Joaquin in the north to Kern in the south, the eight San Joaquin Valley counties feature experiences including wine tastings in Lodi, goat farm tours in Sanger and a citrus grove maze in Ivanhoe. Look for u-pick harvests ranging from cherries, pluots, pumpkins and tomatoes to lavender and Christmas trees. Farm stays offer work and fun on the land accompanied by delicious meals prepared from local produce.
The region’s long growing season means you’re likely to see various crops in the fields throughout the year. From February to March in Fresno County, observe the delicate petals on fruit and nut trees along the 62-mile (100-kilometer) Blossom Trail. Return in summer to enjoy bounteous seasonal produce. The city of Fresno also has artist studios, the Chaffee Zoo and the Forestiere Underground Gardens, a subterranean complex hand-dug by an Italian immigrant in the early 1900s.
Stop in the California Welcome Center in Merced for information on things to do in the region. Walk around the cities of Stockton, Modesto and Bakersfield to see 100-year-old buildings and museums explaining the region’s development. Combine your trip to the valley with visits to Yosemite National Park and San Francisco, each a 2-hour drive away.
Bring your family to the San Joaquin Valley for fun and flavorful education about where food comes from.
Situated in Fresno, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Fashion Fair Mall and Vineyard Farmers Market. Bulldog Stadium and Beiden Field are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Located in Ash Mountain Entrance Sequoia, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Visalia Adventure Park, Visalia Country Club, and Rawhide Ballpark. Visalia Convention Center and Visalia City Hall are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Hotel Rosedale is only 1 minute off the Golden State Highway, near the Buck Owens Crystal Palace - a music hall and museum named after the country music legend. Right across the highway, guests can leave their car and head for the hills along the Kern River Parkway, a scenic hiking and biking path.
Situated in the business district, this hotel is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Vineyard Farmers Market and 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Forestiere Underground Gardens. Fresno Art Museum and Fashion Fair Mall are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated in Three Rivers, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Three Rivers Golf Course, Our Place Playground, and Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Horse Creek Recreation Area and Kaweah Recreation Area are also within 9 mi (15 km).
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is in downtown Modesto, next to Centre Plaza Convention Center, and 3 blocks from Gallo Center for the Arts. A free shuttle service from the airport is available on request, and Yosemite National Park and Napa Valley are both around 2 hours’ drive away.
University Square Hotel is a 10-minute walk from California State University, Fresno, and a 10-minute drive from Fresno Yosemite International Airport. There are plenty of restaurants and shops within walking distance of the hotel, and downtown Fresno is only 10 minutes away by cab.
Situated in Coalinga, this hotel is within 16 mi (25 km) of West Hills Community College District, Coalinga City Park, and Coalinga City Office. R.C. Baker Memorial Museum and Lemoore Golf Course are also within 32 mi (52 km).