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ROAD TRIP STYLE: MICRO ESCAPES

For Travelers Looking To Explore “Micro Escapes”

Short excursions let travelers have a fun weekend getaway without having to sacrifice family time or work. This weekend itinerary is filled with mini excursions and is perfect for a quick road trip. 

With unique and fun stops, these activities will fill your weekend with escapes the whole family will enjoy. Choose some -or all- of the activities listed below to explore the local area. Plan ahead to stock up the cooler with food, drinks and snacks and you'll be on your way to a great getaway.

Dining & Take Out
Pick Your Picnic
St Johns River Parkway & Cutler Park

Stroll, run or bike along the riparian corridor of the St Johns River Parkway, a paved trail that follows along the riverbank. The St. Johns River is a distributary of the Kaweah River that flows from nearby Sequoia National Park. Though the river flows seasonally, don’t let the lack of water deter you. Wildlife, plants and trees make this a fun and interesting place to walk, run or bike. It is best to hit the trail in the morning, while the weather is cool. If you head east from the Ben Maddox Road trailhead, you will reach Cutler Park, about 2 and a half miles one way. Rest here in the shade of the oak trees for a bit before heading back. Once back at your car, pull out that picnic lunch and enjoy a tailgate picnic. You’ll be hungry after your trek.

Woodlake Botanical Gardens

The Woodlake Botanical Gardens is a community tended garden along the edge of Bravo Lake. A wide selection of plants are on display as you follow the path through the garden. Fruit trees, vegetables, masses of flowers (including a large rose garden,) sculptures and water features are on display. If you feel up to it, walk the 3+ miles path around the lake. 

Hogwallow Preserve

Nearby is the Hogwallow Preserve. A plaque marks this unique landscape feature (about 10 acres) that actually has nothing to do with hogs. These land formations are thought to have been created by burrowing animals, creating undulating ground with mounds as tall as 5 feet. The area is surrounded by orange groves but the land owner here felt that this 10 acres parcel was worth saving to demonstrate what the Tulare County prairie looked like years ago. It also features vernal pools that are visible in the corners of the property. If the time is right, you might see some of the wildlife that depend on the seasonal pools. It is easy to miss this but look for an uncultivated plot amid all the orange groves. If you come at the right time of year, you will enjoy the scent of the orange blossoms! Tulare County is the top producing county for citrus in the United States.

End your day in another park, with a picnic under the shade of a grove of oak trees. Mooney Grove park, the first county park in the state of California, is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy dinner. Lay out a blanket on the grass or use one of the many arbors that dot the park and enjoy a meal. 

The park’s central feature is the lagoon, stocked with fish. Locals will drop their pole in the water, looking to reel in a big one. While at Mooney Grove, also be sure to check out two more unique sites. See if you can find the Log Cabin. Built by the Boy Scouts as their meeting point, the log cabin demonstrates construction methods from long ago. Also on display is the “End of the Trail” statue by James Earle Frasier. This 17 foot tall bronze casting of the original that once stood here is a must see. This iconic piece is recognized around the world as a symbol of the native American people.

Park hours: Open 7 days a week. Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 7 pm



Be sure to fill up with a hearty breakfast. Some suggestions for a great and hearty breakfast include Panera Bread, Marie Callenders, or one of the local shops listed above. You may want to also get your picnic lunch. Today is a busy day, full of activities.

Book A Trail Ride

Riata Ranch offers a unique view of the Sierra Nevada mountains. 

Book With Riata Ranch

Today, you are headed up to the foothills, near the entrance to Sequoia National Park for a one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure. Book a trail ride with Riata Ranch for a very unique view of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Located in Three Rivers,  Riata Ranch has been a fully operational ranch for over 60 years. They work with people of all ages to learn how to communicate with horses in a way that builds trust and teamwork.

The 1 ½ hour trail rides will lead you up along the rolling landscape, through lush deer trails and along the rushing waters of the North Fork of the Kaweah River. There is no better way to experience this amazing landscape. 

Don’t leave Three Rivers without taking a look at the Kaweah Post Office, one of the smallest post offices that has remained in almost continuous operation for over 100 years. The building, which measures only 12 by 15 feet, was constructed of local cedar and redwood by volunteer postal patrons in 1910. It serves about 47 box holders with daily mail delivery - staffed by volunteers. This quirky, yet fun, site is a nod to community spirit and cooperation.

As you head back to Visalia, use one of the road side overlooks to view Lake Kaweah and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The damming of Kaweah River created this reservoir and it is from here that water flows down to the St. Johns River. As you look at the snow capped, towering peaks, you will understand why this area of California is called the Switzerland of the west.



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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