Summer Vacation Ideas and Itineraries

Summer kicks off next month and you may already be planning your getaway to Calaveras. Our summer itineraries section has plenty of ideas to suit a variety of tastes, from leisure to adventure. There you will find resources on where to rent boats and boards to enjoy the many lakes, shops to explore as well as elegant places to sleep and eat.

camping in Stanislaus National Forest
Camping in the Stanislaus National Forest

Camping is especially popular – and with good reason – imagine waking up to towering giant sequoias or sweeping views of the High Sierra! Last year Sunset Magazine published a large feature article on family camping at Lake Alpine, so the secret is out. Calaveras Big Trees is another camping spot that is on many a bucket list, so you’ll want to make your reservations as early as possible. But don’t worry, there are 16 great campgrounds throughout the Stanislaus National Forest that operate on a first come, first served basis and with a little foresight you should find yourself a great spot to call home.  Fourteen consecutive nights are allowed at all the campgrounds.

Bear Valley Day Campers at Lake Alpine. Photo: Jason B Smith

For kids in the high country, Bear Valley Summer Day Camp is one of the best ideas around. Operated by the Bear Valley Parents Group, the camp is set in the natural playground of the High Sierra and exposes kids to a full range of skill building, outdoor education and confidence building activities. Camp runs from June 15 –August 7 and is open to ages 3 -16 years old. Parents can sign kids up for just a one-day session, the full eight weeks or anything in between.

The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is our most well-known tour over the spectacular high Sierras, which follows State Highway 4 from Arnold to Markleeville.  But there are several short backroad day trips within the county that you might not know about – because we’ve hidden them.  Some wind along steep river canyons, some amble through lush vineyards, others take you to secret historic places and out of the way swimming holes.  Check out our scenic drive itineraries. 

Hermit Valley, on Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway

Whichever corner of the county you wish to explore this summer, make sure to use the links at the top of the page and our calendar of events to help you find fun cultural activities, attractions and amenities.