The Best of Fall in California
Fall is typically associated with a region like “America’s Heartland” in the Midwest, but even out west in states like California fall activities are in full swing! The Golden State is home to amazing fall colors and unique events found nowhere else. From scenic drives in the San Bernardino Mountains to wine tastings in the Central Valley, there’s a fall activity for everyone in California. We’ve highlighted our four favorites for you below!
Big Bear Lake
Situated in the San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Lake is a mountain escape that lights up with color from mid-October through early November. For a scenic drive, head along the south side on Highway 18 and visit the lake’s namesake town for local shopping and dining. You can also take Highway 38 along the northern shoreline. This route takes you to the Big Bear Discovery Center, where you can explore exhibits before heading out on a hike. We recommend trying out the Woodland Trail, in particular because this 1.5-mile family-friendly loop provides spectacular views of the lake and colorful California fall foliage.
Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park
Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park sits along Lake Tahoe and boasts blazing fall foliage in late October. Visit the nature center, or explore this beautiful landscape by foot with a hike on the numerous trails available here. With this in mind, the best hike in our opinion is the Dolder Nature Trail, which leads a loop through the mixed forest above the lake. Take in panoramic views and visit the world’s highest operating maritime navigational lighthouse. For a longer hike, try out the General Creek Trail. This 6.5-mile loop meanders through the General Creek watershed, passing by brightly-colored forests and sparkling mountain streams.
Wine Country Events
Harvest Wine Weekend
When the vines start changing, the wine starts flowing. An annual event in Paso Robles, the 2018 Harvest Wine Weekend will be held from October 19-21. This festival coincides with the beginning of autumn and takes place at wineries throughout Paso Robles. If you’re looking for a immersive experience instead, then attend the Harvest Festival Dinner and Grape Stomp on October 19 at Opolo Vineyards. Enjoy a delectable multi-course dinner with plenty of wine pairing options available for each course. Afterwards, get your feet moving during the grape stomp and folk dance party.
Garagiste Wine Festival
Explore the edgier side of wine at the 8th annual Garagiste Wine Festival, held from November 9-11 at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds. The festival name stems from the French phrase “garagiste,” coined in Bordeaux as an insult to winemakers who shunned the big producers and created their own wines. Today, this vibrant festival celebrates and showcases high-quality micro-production wines. The festival begins with the Friday Night Rare & Reserve Paella Party. Over 30 exclusive wines will be offered alongside copious amounts of paella. Additionally, the Main Event at the Paso Fairgrounds on Saturday features seminars, panel discussions, thoughtfully paired snacks, and over 200 wines available for sampling.
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