8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions

8 Reasons You Should Visit California’s 8 Rural Regions

I am so excited to be promoting California’s 8 rural regions for VisitCalifornia‘s #CaliforniaWild campaign with my fellow bloggers Ottsworld, Stuffed Suitcase and Border Free Travels. The ATTA is coordinating this effort and has given me freedom in how I share my experiences with you so that even though this is a paid project, I can assure you all opinions and words are my own.

I was a typical tourist to California before September. I’d experienced greater Los Angeles at length, driven Highway 1 from San Francisco down to LA and back again. I’d been to San Francisco even more times than LA and I’d even gone so far as to call San Francisco home for a stint many years ago. I thought I knew California.

I have a good laugh about that now.

Are you like I was? Have you been to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Highway 1?

Congratulations! But I have to tell you, you’re missing out on so much!! Just like I was.

California is a huge state!! It is so big that some of the 8 rural regions I will be talking about, are bigger than entire other states in the USA! Myself and my colleagues mentioned above just spent 19 days driving around these 8 rural regions accumulating 3,600 plus miles of adventures and stories that I can’t wait to share with you. Before I publish posts digging into the “meat” of the 8 rural regions that make up the rest of California’s extensive land mass, here are…

8 Reasons You Should Visit California’s 8 Rural Regions
(with 1 for each region!)

8. You should visit SHASTA CASCADE if you want to find out what Bumpass Hell is. Hint: it’s not, actually, hell. But don’t you want to know why a place has a name like Bumpass Hell?! I know I did and it was so fun to find out the back story there!
8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions
7. You should visit the NORTH COAST if you have always wanted to stare up into the Redwoods. While they are found in other parts of California, the North Coast has the tallest, the oldest and the largest Redwood trees in California. It is THE place to indulge your tree hugger tendencies. Just take note that you can’t actually hug any of them on your own, you will have to bring some friends. Redwood trees are just. that. big!
8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions
6. You should visit the CENTRAL VALLEY if you want to kayak through the largest estuary in the Western Hemisphere. And trust me, you do. It’s the most serene and relaxing kayak experience I have ever had. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back right this minute.
8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions
5. You should visit GOLD COUNTRY if you want to discover an emerging culinary destination that’s not yet made it on to any Top 10 lists, Instagram channels or Buzz Feed articles. The food here is hella delicious and the stories behind the food, are even better. Just stop by Volcano Union Inn in the town of Volcano and talk to Tracey Berkner to find out what I mean.
8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions
4. You should visit the HIGH SIERRAS if you want to see what California looks like from the highest summit elevation in the state at 11,053 ft. That’s Mammoth Mountain, which receives more than 300 days of sunshine a year and is known in the winter for being the highest ski resort in California. In summer, the mountain is used for mountain bikers from all over the world and is the home of the Kamikaze Bike Games.
8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions
3. You should visit the DESERTS region of California if you want to see what the surface of Mars looks like without actually, well traveling to Mars! I kid. I don’t know what Mars looks like first hand. But in my imagination it looks a lot like the Trona Pinnacles where I took this photo!

8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions

2. You should visit the CENTRAL COAST if you have driven Highway 1 but you stayed on Highway 1 the whole time. Get off that paved road and get into a dune buggy on Pismo Beach instead!!!
8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions
1. You should visit the INLAND EMPIRE if you want to ride in a hot air balloon over vineyards growing grapes for more than 50 different varietals of wine; from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot to Mourvedre, Viognier to Chardonnay. Napa and Sonoma aren’t the only places that make wine in California!!!
8 Reasons You Should Visit Californias 8 Rural Regions
Don’t these places sound fun? They were!! And they were so much more than I ever expected. Stay tuned for my series of 8 blog posts where I will really dig in to California’s 8 rural regions with practical information and lots of photos so you can get inspiration for your own future adventures as you visit California.

Now, what questions can I answer for you in the comments?
I can also work answers into my future blog posts! Send me your thoughts!

  • October 05, 2017

    I love this so much. These photos are inspiring! As a travel blogger and resident of Sacramento, I have explored much of the state’s rural and lesser-known areas, but there are still many more that I don’t know (including some in your post). There are many areas of California that are simply stunning but not crowded.
    Jenna recently posted…For Your Weekend

    • October 06, 2017

      Jenna, thank you!! As a local your comment means so much. And I agree there really are so many places in California, places like I describe here, where there just are not crowds and there really is still a sense to be had of, “having a place all to yourself”! I loved that.

  • October 10, 2017

    OK, so the hot air balloon trip over the vineyards looks like something out of a dream or a fairytale. WOW! Beautiful post, lovely!

    • October 10, 2017

      It was so dreamy!! Hot air balloon rides always are IMO. My favorite thing to do when I travel! Thanks for the comment, Will <3

  • November 03, 2017


    Great advice. I have not been to California yet but soon I am planning to visit California. I will definitely visit these 8 places.I am a kayak fishing guy. Central Valley is my first priority when I visit California.

    Need a quick suggestion. Can I do kayak fishing in the Central Valley?

    Eagerly waiting for the reply.
    Robert recently posted…Best Fishing Kayak Under 300 dollars- Our Top 3 Picks

    • November 06, 2017

      Hi Robert! I don’t fish myself, so I don’t specifically know anything about that. But I would assume with a simple search you should be able to find out more information. You might begin with Kathy Bunton at Delta Kayak Adventures who took us on the sunset kayak excursion.

  • November 04, 2017

    I live in the Central Valley, but am unfamiliar with the kayaking location you wrote of, you didn’t mention what/where that is. Can you give some details please?

    • November 06, 2017

      Sorry about that Jennifer. We kayaked with Kathy Bunton of Delta Kayak Adventures. Her website is that name, all one word, all lower case dot com Hope that helps!

      • November 07, 2017

        It’s beautiful! No wonder I hadn’t heard of it though, it’s in Antioch which is bay area, 200 miles north of the Central Valley where I live in Exeter. You should visit here sometime!

        • December 20, 2017

          Central Valley really is an enormous area! I will put that on my list for a future trip 🙂

  • December 14, 2017

    Thanks for the Post Kirsten
    My Husband and I are trying to plan a trip to the USA at the end of next year so im on the search for some cool place (since the USA is so damn big!)
    We already have California on the list, so we might need to venture out to High Sierras, the view is certainly worth it!
    Sam recently posted…Where to stay in Chiang Mai – Thailand

    • December 20, 2017

      Glad to hear this, Sam! The High Sierras are so incredible. Stay tuned, in the next few days my post all about that region is going live and it should give you lots of ideas!! And feel free to message me with detailed questions via the contact page.

  • December 04, 2018

    Hi KIRSTEN Pretty good post as always. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts, I must visit this place next summer , because i love anything about kayaking.

    • December 04, 2018

      We really do have some excellent kayaking in California! Thanks for the comment, Larry and I hope you get to kayak soon.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge
Stay up to date by receiving my monthly newsletter (I promise no spam!)