Spotlight Columns

‘Daycation’ right here in the El Dorado County area

By From page B3 | June 26, 2013

Summer is here, and that means abundant activities for everyone in the family!

Some of us will spend the next month or so travelling to wild, exotic locations.

Others can visit equally wild, exotic locations within an easy drive of home. After all, we live in one of the most desirable locations on planet Earth. What’s not to like?

There is certainly a lot to do in “God’s Country” — the area that includes El Dorado, Amador, Placer and (dare I say) parts of Sacramento counties. This column is too small to include all activities, but here is a tiny sampling for the adventurous. 

El Dorado adrenaline

The American River is one of America’s great white water rafting sites. Unlike the Sacramento River, which is muddy, the American runs clean, cold and pure. An intermediate, Class III river, the South Fork of the American is “suitable for kids ages 7 to 75” according to the El Dorado County Visitors Authority. Small wonder it is California’s favorite white water river.

One can combine a rafting trip down the river with a visit to the site where the 1849 California Gold Rush began — Coloma. See where James Marshall ruined General Sutter’s plans for an agricultural empire when he discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill.

An El Dorado County white water rafting trip combines the river’s natural beauty, rich historical background, and exhilarating rapids into one great whitewater vacation experience.

You can jolt your soul to life with the freedom of the running water or you can nurture and soothe it with peace and tranquility in El Dorado County, too. 

Hidden hideaways

There are wonderful bed and breakfasts to escape to in El Dorado County. Two of my personal favorites are the Camino Hotel in (where else) Camino, and The Seasons in Placerville. Each B&B is furnished with cozy antiques, is in an historical setting … and is a perfect escape from the “four walls of today” that always seem to be closing in.

The Camino Hotel features memorabilia from the mother of San Francisco 49ers great, Joe Montana. The Seasons offers a tranquil garden setting with centuries-old European tapestries and antiques.

If you keep your eyes open, you may even see a celebrity or two. These locations are often visited by actors, directors and screen writers … those who yearn to escape the paparazzi for some peace and quiet.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

But it does. 

Wonderful wineries

El Dorado County is producing some fine wines, and the wine tasting experience here is similar to what one would have experienced in Napa and Sonoma counties some 30 years ago. Here, your chance of meeting the owner of the winery is far greater. Vintners take great pride in discussing the terroir of the vines, the tannins and timing of the wine making process. It is an educational and enjoyable experience.

Linger over a Rhône-style wine with your friends and enjoy looking out over acres and acres of lush grapevines. No sound but the rustling of leaves, the cry of a red-tailed hawk and quiet conversation.

I’ve barely touched the surface of what is possible. There are bike trails, hiking events, train trips, olive oil tastings, cultural events and so much more to experience here.

Go ahead. Make all your friends in the Bay Area jealous. You know you want to.

To get a head start check out the El Dorado County Visitors Authority at

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected].

Susan Laird


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