Do this: Big Trees, swim holes and summer concerts

Below is a one-day itinerary that guarantees the perfect day of summer fun in Calaveras.  Coming for a few days?  We’ve got some additional suggestions too.  This is a Northern California vacation that’s great for the whole family. 

Start your visit among ancient trees the size of the Statue of Liberty. Head to Calaveras Big Trees State Park and get lost in the giant sequoias. Opt for the 1.5 hike through the North Grove to view well-known icons like Father of the Forest, Empire State and the Siamese Twins. Bring the whole family. Even grandma can make the hike through these unbelievable trees.

Head back toward Arnold and discover the Sierra Nevada’s rich logging history. Officially located in the small community of White Pines, the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum provides visitors with a glimpse into the past with elaborate logging artifacts, informative videos and life-size outdoor exhibits.

Head down the hill, but keep with the tree theme and grab lunch at Firewood, a casually hip restaurant on Main Street in Murphys. Locals order the fish tacos.

After lunch, drive to the Natural Bridges trailhead (located 4-miles down on Parrots Ferry Road) and hike 1 mile to Coyote Creek and the naturally-formed cave it flows through. Make sure to bring your swimsuit for a dip in the creek, or to swim through the cave. Adventure alert!

On your way to Natural Bridges, you’ll pass Moaning Cavern. Don’t miss this experience and the opportunity to climb down 265 ft. into California’s largest single-chamber cave. Double the fun and do the 1,500 ft. zip line too (free on your birthday!).

You’ll need a hearty meal after this jam-packed day. Unwind on the patio at Angelo’s Steakhouse Italiano. True to its name, Angelo’s gets it right with their steaks.

Area lodging: Stay for a while at Worldmark Angels Camp or Murphys Suites, or enjoy cool evenings at the Timberline Lodge in Arnold.

Have more time in the area? Here are a few other suggestions…

See who’s headlining. Throughout the summer, well-known artists and musical acts come to Calaveras to perform at Ironstone Vineyard’s Summer Concert Series. General admission tickets for shows at this outdoor amphitheater are usually available the day-of at the box office.

Explore a reservoir. Rent a boat from Bev’s Boat Rentals or bring your own to discover the 55 miles of shoreline and coves at Lake Tulloch near Copperopolis.

Cruise over for ice cream. Named one of the top five ice cream spots in the Sacramento Area (that’s a big area), Cruisers at Copperopolis Town Square, is an old fashioned ice cream parlor that takes people back to the 50’s with their classic décor and treats.