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HOLIDAY WEEKEND GETAWAY TO SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK

The July 4th holiday lands on a 3-day weekend making it a perfect opportunity for house-bound Californians to head out on a road trip. At just 3 hours from Los Angeles and about 3 ½ hours from the Bay Area, Visalia is a perfect destination for a get-away that makes you feel like you really got away. See the big trees, take a hike, float on a lake, and simply breath the fresh mountain air. A long weekend getaway will help to recharge your batteries and calm your soul.

We have put together a simple itinerary for a weekend of outdoor activities that will appeal to all your travel buddies – whether it’s your kids and spouse or group of friends that you want to reconnect with, this itinerary will give everyone just what they are looking for in a weekend escape.

All Visalia hotels are opened for business and ready to welcome guests. With an emphasis on enhanced safety and cleanliness protocols, you can feel confident booking. All Visalia hotels area conveniently located with easy access to the national parks and all of the activities listed. Check in on Thursday night – you’ll have lots to do starting early Friday morning. 

Tip:  Check out our road trip special offer of a free $50 gas card to help fuel your wanderlust. 

We know that a visit to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks is top of the list. California’s first national park is a destination for visitors from around the globe. Here we offer our suggestions for top things to see and do on a day in Sequoia National Park. And, after you have done a day in the parks, explore the Visalia area. Here is an itinerary for a perfect weekend in Visalia.

Start the day with a good cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast. Valhalla Restaurant is perfect for families. A plate of Swedish pancakes will be popular with the kids. Or stop by Component Coffee Lab. Their outdoor patio is a great place to savor your coffee and enjoy a bite to eat. Popular with locals, this locally owned eatery will get you into the vacation mode and fill you up for a day of adventure.

Head to Sequoia National Park for a day of awe-inspiring views of the giant sequoias, sweeping vistas of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and hikes along roaring rivers. Park staff recommend arriving early to beat the line at the entrance but this will also allow time to see one of California’s most amazing national parks. Here is what we recommend you see:

Moro Rock

This iconic granite monolith is always a must see, but it is not for the feint of heart. The climb up the 400 or so stairs carved into the rock makes for a rigorous hike. But the panoramic views from the top are worth it. See the Great Western Divide, the Kaweah River and views of the valley while perched atop this iconic site.

Crescent Meadow

If the climb to Moro is a bit more than you can manage, take stroll around Crescent Meadow. This easy paved path is a great way to see giant sequoias as well as other ecosystems. You can even see Tharp Log, a cabin built into a fallen sequoia.

Beetle Rock

From the parking lot across from the Giant Forest Museum, is a trail head for this easy walk ideal for kids, strollers and those that are looking for an easy walk. Groves of sequoias can also be enjoyed here.

General Sherman Tree

The reason that most people visit Sequoia National Park is this grand-daddy of them all. The largest living thing on the planet, this tree though not the tallest, is the biggest by volume. You will understand when you see it why people from all over the world stand in awe of this massive giant. Because this is a popular site in the park, it can get busy. If you want to avoid the crowds just follow the trail to the Congress Trail where there may be fewer visitors and plenty of sequoia trees to view.

Tokopah Falls

If you are looking to really explore nature, take a hike to Tokopah Falls. This 3+ mile out and back trail follows along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River and ends at this cascading falls. You can find the trailhead at the back of the Lodgepole parking lot.

Tunnel Log

A photo of you driving under the Tunnel Log is a great momento of your visit. This tree fell years ago and allows visitors to get a sense of the size of these enormous trees.

Download your pass and the park app: To limit contact between visitors and park staff, the park has made park information available digitally. They recommend that visitors purchase a pass ahead of time. The pass can be downloaded to your phone to be shown to staff at the entry gate. 

Also download the park app for use while visiting. Though cell service is not available within the park, GPS enable phones will allow you use the maps in real time. Park information is updated on the app so you will know what is open and what sites you should visit. You can find more information and links HERE.

The traditional PARKS NEWSPAPERthat is handed out at the gate is now available digitally. View the newspaper ahead of your visit to make plans for the day, find suggestions for less congested areas of the park to visit as well as other tips for your stay.

Lunch: We always recommend taking a picnic lunch, snacks and drinks with you for a visit to the parks. Although the park markets are opening for business, food outlets will be crowded and will take up valuable time. Have a picnic available for wherever you are when hunger strikes. You can get a prepared picnic from some Visalia hotels or pick one up at one of the many restaurants in town. Think beyond a sandwich – Mediterranean food from Pita Kabob Gastropub or pastas from Rosa’s Italian Restaurant. Take a look at our restaurant guide for more choices. 

Dinner: At the end of the day, head back to Visalia for dinner at Corby’s Rock n Roll Heroes Bar and Grill. This newly opened spot has signed guitars and other memorabilia from music artists to look at. You might need to visit several times to be able to see the entire collection! For more suggestions on where to dine in Visalia, click HERE.

For a hearty breakfast, stop in at The Butcher and The Baker at Glick’s. From pancakes to steak and eggs, you won’t leave here hungry. This is casual diner style spot, perfect for a Saturday morning meal and also can provide a picnic lunch for later in the day.

After your big day at the national park, today is all about relaxing. Rent a patio boat at Lake Kaweah for a fun day at the lake. A well-stocked cooler and a swimsuit is all you will need for this adventure. Book your boat ahead of time at the Kaweah Marina. They sell out so be sure to plan in advance. Once onboard head out across the lake and drop anchor wherever looks good. The lake is fed by the Kaweah River that comes from high in Sequoia National Park. 

Lake Kaweah

Set just outside of Sequoia National Park, Lake Kaweah is a recreation destination for boating, fishing, swimming and more. Be sure to stop by the Visitors Center to learn more about how the lake was created.

Glicks Market

Local meat market and deli, they can provide sandwiches, sides and more for a hearty lunch.

Alejandras Mexican Food

Turn that cooler into a hotbox. Pack the cooler with hot foods like burritos and tacos that will stay warm for a different take on a picnic lunch.

After a day at the lake, take a quick detour into Three Rivers for a big scoop of homemade ice cream at Reimer’s Chocolates. The local berry ice cream is a favorite, but choose whatever sounds good. Then head back to Visalia. Keep the casual day vibe going with dinner on the patio at the Planing Mill Pizza. Play a game of cornhole while munching on one of their unique pizzas like Thai Pie. An extensive craft beer menu is also a plus. 

Although your weekend away is almost over, don’t rush the day. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the elegant Vintage Press Restaurant. Crisp white linens, top-notch service and excellent food will cap off your weekend getaway. Or enjoy Sunday brunch New Orleans style at Crawdaddy’s Restaurant. Add a little kick to your Sunday mornings.

The Vintage Press

Crisp white linens and a selection of Sunday brunch menu items make for a lovely start to your day.

Crawdaddy's Restaurant

Sunday brunch New Orleans style is on tap at Crawdaddy's.

Black Bear Diner

This cafe does double duty. They serve a great breakfast but while you wait for a table be sure to look at the murals on the exterior. And if you want to see more of Visalia's mural, download our Mural Map.

Sundays were meant for golf . .  mini-golf that is. Before you head back to the world of adulting, jobs and the daily grind, act like a kid at Visalia Adventure Park. Play a round of mini-golf, splash on the bumper boats or experience the thrill of open-air driving on the Go Karts. Or rent a cabana and let the kids play at Sequoia Springs Splash Park where 4 slides, water features and a 900-gallon bucket of water will keep you wet and cool.

Or maybe you'd rather spend a leisurely afternoon in the park. Mooney Grove, the firsts county park in California, is great for feeding ducks in the ponds, fishing (the lagoon is stocked regularly) or playing a round of Disc Golf. You can search for the log cabins (there are 2) or see the "End of the Trail" statue, a bronze casting of the original work by James Earle Fraser that once stood here.

As you head back home, feeling refreshed and relax, relive the memories of your weekend getaway. From the biggest trees and cool mountain air, to a relaxing float on the lake, to a competitive round of mini-golf, life just got a little boost in the arm. 

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©2020 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141