4 Unusual Fresno Family Getaways
By BARRY EITEL
With roughly 300 days of sunshine every year, welcoming locals and sprawling Central California beauty, Fresno is a fantastic destination for a family vacation with plenty to see and do for kids and adults of all ages. Plus, Fresno is only a short drive away from multiple national parks like Yosemite and Sequoia, so it’s perfect for a family vacation that balances adventures in nature with Fresno fun. Here are four unique Fresno activities to explore and savor time off with your family.
Kings River Expeditions
If your family has never whitewater rafted before, a visit to Fresno is a great occasion to show off your more extreme side. Kings River Expeditions, located in the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests, sends out thousands of people every year with knowledgeable guides to ride the Kings River to glory and great Instagram photos. The outfitters offer trips that span one or two days. The Kings River is only Class 3, meaning the rapids are medium height and the river is fine for families with a guide. Whitewater rafting is Fresno’s answer to surfing; family fun for those who are always searching for adventure. Drift through towering redwoods and incredible scenery near Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Forestiere Underground Gardens
Escape the heat and go underground at the Forestiere Underground Gardens, a uniquely Fresno attraction that is fantastic for curious families. The Forestiere Underground Gardens are a network of underground rooms and gardens hand-built between 1906 and 1946 by one man, Baldassare Forestiere, a true California dreamer. Housed in the heart of Fresno, the 10 acres of subterranean gardens are still in terrific condition 70 years later. A state-registered landmark, the gardens could easily eat up a whole day with exploring. The gardens also include a multi-level aquarium.
Castle Air Museum
The Castle Air Museum is one of the largest aviation museums in the western United States and boasts 32 acres of high-flying fun right next door to the Castle Airport. About 50 miles north of Fresno in Atwater, the museum showcases the history of aviation with a focus on military aircraft. A world-class collection of aircraft awaits visitors, including planes flown in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. Roughly 70 aircraft sit on the museum’s meticulously manicured grounds and follow the history of aviation from before WWII to today. It’s a great place for kids of any age who still look up at the sky with wonder.
Simonian Farms, first opened in 1901, grows more than 180 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Every day, families visit and bask in California’s glorious agricultural splendor—and can pick up some avocados or oranges at prices far cheaper than any grocery store. With several buildings packed with country charm, Simonian Farms offers a large collection of antiques and nostalgia. The kids can munch on kiwis or chocolate-covered almonds, while the adults will appreciate the wine tastings available in the barn.
Visit Fresno County, California’s year-round playground!