Placer County, a 1,400 square mile destination in Northern California, showcases its hidden gems and rare seasonal sights this spring.
“This pocket of Gold Country is filled with pleasant and underrated surprises for those coming to the area this spring,” says Tiffany McKenzie, director of marketing for Visit Placer. “Now more than ever, we’re proud to support the local businesses and off-the-beaten-path experiences that make our county so special.”
From fresh wildflower displays and local dive bars to unique shopping opportunities and charming lodging options, Placer County invites visitors to stay and explore all the area has to offer. With a unique location along Interstate 80, Placer County attractions are just 20 minutes from the main freeway, making it an ideal destination for Bay Area travelers, from Sacramento, Reno, Lake Tahoe and other nearby areas.
Tourists are offered a taste of some of the county’s most local experiences through the Ambassador Program, which provides insider tips and knowledge on ways to “experience Placer like a local,” shining a light on the secrets best kept in the region and must-see destinations. to make the most of your visit.
Below are a few opportunities to sample some of Placer County’s greatest hidden gems.
Places to See: In Colfax, Windy Point Trail and Stevens Trail offer a rare display of wildflowers this time of year, including the famous California poppies. Both are located in the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) and are sure to grab your attention with their vibrant colors, ranging from peaches and oranges to deep blues and reds. Located along the American River Canyon, these remote trails stretch for 4 miles and end at the rushing waters of the American River’s North Fork.
Places to savor: One of the most notable hidden gems in this area is actually a local dive bar. The Red Frog offers breathtaking views of the American River Canyon. A short drive from North Lake Tahoe, The Red Frog is a local favorite with cold beers and cool cocktails.
The Tin Lantern at Meadow Vista is another local favorite, offering a delicious menu as well as one of the largest selections of craft whiskeys the area has to offer. Their select whiskey offerings include varieties of bourbon (including Pappy Van Winkle by the glass), rye, single malt scotch, cognac, flavored whiskey, and Canadian and Irish options.
Where to stay: Just up the hill from Colfax, the Dutch Flat Hotel is one of California’s oldest operating hotels, dating back to the Gold Rush era. This rustic hotel includes an outdoor BBQ area, community pool and tennis court for all to enjoy.
Places to See: For a more urban route, the Roseville Mural Trail is a sight for everyone. The virtual map gives a tour of downtown Roseville’s vibrant murals, featuring local artists. After your walking tour of the murals, take in the latest exhibit at Blue Line Arts.
Places to Savor: New restaurants are popping up in Roseville, such as Rose Cafe and Bagel serving Pachamama coffee and Q1227, with Quentin “Chef Q” Bennett bringing his Sacramento’s Echo & Rig experience to the Roseville area. Modern Mexican restaurant Nixtaco earned a Bib Gourmand in the 2021 California Michelin Guide and is expanding with the first distillery in Roseville. Other downtown favorites include 105 Noshery, Goose Port, and Monk’s Cellar.
Places to Stay: Roseville contains the largest selection of hotels in the area, making it easy to find a place to stay for your adventures at any budget.
Places to See: Placer County’s shops and stores range from artisanal flair to specialty gifts for every visitor. Old Town Auburn is a great place to browse, a must stop is Typewriter and Moss. Owned by Cleo Sanchez, Typewriter and Moss is a collection of handmade products from over 25 local businesses. Sanchez is also a partner of The Exchange of Auburn, a craft market held in the area.
For specialty women’s clothing and chic gifts, Zhush Modern is a small business offering unique jewelry, clothing and accessories for women. Zhush Modern offers local and handmade items, from stationery to home decor items.
If you’re looking for a more organic shopping experience, look no further than High Hand. High Hand operates on the site of historic fruit sheds in Loomis, California. You can get a sense of history by strolling through the historic fruit shed, now filled with artisan shops. The centerpiece of High Hand now focuses on a world-class nursery stocked with every plant imaginable, as well as a do-it-yourself succulent bar. Enjoy brunch or lunch, including cocktails, on the nursery’s indoor and outdoor patio.
Places to savor: Auburn’s PaZa Winery is part of the Placer County Wine Trail and includes “The Shed,” an outdoor shed hidden among the vines. With many unique samples, grab a drink and relax in a wine barrel chair to soak up the sights. Restaurant Josephine is quickly becoming one of the region’s top culinary destinations, offering locally grown ingredients prepared with a distinctive French twist.
Places to Stay: The county has a long list of boutique inns to serve as a base as you travel through the county. For a unique stay, book into the High Street House – a luxury Airbnb in the heart of the city, ideal for strolls through Old Town and downtown Auburn. Combine hiking, shopping and dining for the ultimate escape.
Loomis is home to a quaint inn that offers charming experiences for its visitors. The Flower Farm Inn allows travelers to stay amidst a working citrus orchard, enjoy a delicious meal in a garden café, shop in a nursery and taste wine on the terrace of Helmet Wines on the spot.
Places to See: For kids and kids at heart, head to Quarry Park Adventures, the country’s only adventure park built inside and on top of an old rock quarry. For the ultimate family summer fun, catch a game of the Lincoln Potters, part of the Wood Bats Collegiate Summer League, at McBean Stadium.
Places to savor: Rocklin’s The Chef’s Table serves innovative farm-to-table cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere with specialty craft cocktails and an extensive rotating menu of local beers. At Dueling Dogs Brewing Co in Lincoln, you’ll find quality beer, cider and mead in one tasting room for different preferences. The farm’s location with pond and inviting outdoor spaces is kid-friendly and dog-friendly, so no one has to stay home. Just up the road is Placer County’s original farm-to-tap brewery, Goathouse Brewing Company, which, as the name suggests, you can visit with goats while enjoying their craft beer made from locally grown hops.
Places to Stay: For a truly unique experience, enjoy a farm stay at a working alpaca ranch in Lincoln. Your country getaway is close to wineries, breweries and long hikes in the area.
Placer County encompasses a wide variety of cities, towns, and census-designated places in Northern California, including:
City of Tahoe
An interactive map on the website has been provided to help travelers plan their next trips. Remember to travel responsibly at all times and to respect our local environment, including making sure you leave no trace when packing what you bring. For more on how to venture into Placer County, visit visitplacer.com.
Visit Placer is the destination marketing agency that promotes, markets and provides resources for domestic and international leisure travel in Placer County, a 1,400 square mile destination along the I-80 corridor in the north from California. Described as a “continent within a county,” the county encompasses a highly diverse geography, offering unique locations ranging from the high mountain ski town of Olympic Valley, located along Lake Tahoe, to the lush, forested community of Foresthill. Visit Placer invites travelers to visit, discover and savor the county responsibly. For more information about Placer County, log on to the Visit Placer website at visitplacer.com.