Best Ways to Cool Off in Fresno County
By BARRY EITEL
Unlike coastal cities like San Francisco and San Diego, Fresno County offers a pleasantly warm, seemingly endless summer with an average of 300 days of sunshine every year. Spring, summer, fall and even winter experience days full of perfect water park weather. Because of this sun, Fresno County is a perfect locale for families seeking some watery fun, whether in nature or at an amusement park.
Another plus for families is that Fresno County is much more affordable than the sprawling metropolises further west. Accommodations at the plethora of hotels in the region make for a fun vacation for kids and a rejuvenating escape for parents. Many of these hotels and resorts also include pools perfect for some daytime lounging and hot tubs for relaxing at night.
Kings River Expeditions
For families seeking some more extreme together time, Kings River Expeditions offers several white water rafting trips that run down Kings River, an extraordinary 125-mile river originating in the Southern Sierra. There’s no need to worry about whether your children or spouse are adventurous enough—all ages and skill levels are welcome on the river.
The experts at Kings River Expeditions offer a variety of trips depending on how long you want to spend out on the water, and all include delicious food. An early-morning one-day trip starts with a hot breakfast and ends with a BBQ lunch feast. While the late-morning one-day trip starts with lunch and ends with happy hour, dinner and dessert. For the more committed rafters, a two-day trip includes food and camping out under the stars and towering trees.
Blackbeard’s Family Fun Center
For those who want some wet fun but also like the comforts of civilization, Blackbeard’s Family Fun Center is the perfect choice. Alongside waterslides open during the summer, the complex also includes much drier activities like bank shot basketball, a batting range, miniature golf, paintball, a race track, ropes course and laser tag. Tire out your kids’ competitive spirit on the water by riding around in bumper boats.
There is also a full snack bar and a picnic area for a brief mid-day break. Unlimited trips down the legendary waterslides cost only $9.25 per person and bumper boats cost only $8.25 for the driver and $2.50 for each passenger.
Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
Two national parks—Kings Canyon and Sequoia—are within a 90-minute drive from Fresno County. One of the best ways to beat the heat is to head underground. Both national parks are home to unique caves each providing a memorable experience for visitors. In Sequoia, visitors can enjoy the sparkling beauty of marble, polished by subterranean streams at Crystal Cave. Or explore an underground marvel with amazing geological formations and the famous Bat Grotto in Boyden Cavern in Kings Canyon. With the average temperatures being 50 degrees, visitors are sure to keep cool while getting in touch with their “inner caveman.”
The national parks are also known for their lakes, rivers and streams. The rivers that rush through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are popular swimming and wading areas. Sequoia’s tranquil Hume Lake, where motorized boats are prohibited, makes a great spot for kayaking and canoeing. For the adventure seeker, Kaweah River offers a challenging run for advanced kayakers. Stay safe during your visit by learning about California’s Water Safety Program. Access to any park is just $30 per car.
Visit Fresno County, California’s year-round playground!