Top Five Destinations of Fresno

California is a huge place. Don?t take my word for it, check out this Wikipedia table that shows it is the third largest state behind Alaska and Texas and is approximately the size of Sweden or Iraq, depending on how you want to measure it. (Sweden is the fifty-sixth largest country by area and Iraq is 59th.) So, there are plenty of places to explore and also plenty of road to drive between Los Angeles and places like Portland, Seattle or Vancouver. So, if I was to road trip north, I could push through and try to reach my endpoint as quickly as possible, or I could figure out places to stop along the way. I?ve already looked at Bakersfield, so a little further up the central valley of California is the city of Fresno, and it has a few places that could serve as interesting pit stops for any road trip. Then again, maybe a weekend of these places could work and involve a lot less driving. Either way, now I?m prepared. Here are the five things that look the most appealing to me about Fresno.

Tour the Forestiere Underground Gardens

As soon as I saw the Forestiere Underground Gardens on a list of attractions, I had to know more. As far as I knew, you grow gardens above ground, since plants need light. However, Baldassare Forestiere thought differently and decided to combine the catacombs of his youth in Sicily with a way to escape the central valley heat and designed and built the entire complex of tunnels, passages and places for fruit trees to grow. The underground man-made wonder is over 10 acres in total size.

Eat at the Cracked Pepper Bistro

To sit back and reflect on what a man with plan and a bit of gumption to do, I think a great meal would be in order. The Cracked Pepper Bistro seems to fit that bill. The first thing listed on the menu that I see is pumpkin seed encrusted eggplant and I don?t need to see much more to think that I?m in for a taste treat, but if I just shift my gaze slightly to the right, I see a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin and thinking turns to knowing.

Drive the Fresno County Blossom Trail

I took a trip last year to Yosemite and one of the biggest surprises that I had on the journey was looking out the train window to see all of the trees along the railroad tracks in bloom. To recreate that image of beauty in my head, I?ll have to drive the Fresno County Blossom Trail to see and smell almond, plum, apricot, peach, apple and citrus trees.

See a Fresno Grizzlies Baseball Game

If I travel after the blossom season, I?m going to have to wait long enough to be sure to catch a Fresno Grizzlies game. Fresno is home to the AAA affiliate of the Giants, and while their upper minor leagues are a bit barren of future major league talent, there?s always a chance to catch someone who may contribute in the future.

Go Rafting with Kings River Expeditions

If I wait long enough into the summer, I may even convince myself to go rafting and let Kings River Expeditions do all the heavy lifting of planning and guiding. Since it is rated class III, it shouldn?t be too hair-raising, just nice and wet on a hot summer day.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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