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Sonora, California is a town established in 1848 during the early days of the California Gold Rush. It boasts an extensive history and its location is simply beautiful, as it is situated in the foothills of the Sierra Mountain chain. Sonora remains a popular tourist town, especially during the summer months because of its proximity to other fantastic places, like Yosemite National Park, and due to its own charm as a town of historical importance in California’s history. That history is not only tied to the gold rush but to several prominent American writers of that time period, like Mark Twain and Bret Harte. Both lived on the colorfully named Jackass Hill, which you can still visit, and the small nearby town of Twain Harte, located just a few miles from Sonora is a fun place to visit for lovers of literature.
Another must see place if you visit Sonora is Columbia State Historic Park, which once operated as a real mining town during the 49er era. Instead of changing as towns do to accommodate the times, all buildings are either replicas or restored versions of the original town, and activities there include learning how to pan for gold, and taking stage coach rides, where you will be robbed by an enthusiastic robber. This is a great family place to visit just outside of Sonora, and it is made even more charming by all workers in the town being dressed in authentic clothing from the 1850s. Both children and adults can get a feel for what it would have been like to live in those historic times, so foundational to the history of California as a state.
As mentioned, Yosemite National Park is roughly a one to two hour drive away, depending upon route, traffic and weather. Another large park worth visiting, is the Calaveras Big Trees State Park, which features long and short hiking trails, views of the Stanislaus River, and two groves of some of the oldest and largest Sequoia trees in the state. The sight of chicory squirrels, small, red and very vocal squirrels that make their home in the park, may thrill wildlife fans.
If you’re looking for evening entertainment, there are several popular and well-respected theaters in or near Sonora. Several of them feature classic musicals throughout the year and are fun for the whole family. Others offer more sophisticated plays for adults who want a night out. Sonora also offers movie theaters, a great way to beat the typically hot weather of the summer months.
Golfers will enjoy several beautiful golfing grounds; some which are semi-private and others which are open to the public. The town also boasts many opportunities for wine enthusiasts with an increasing number of respected wineries in the area for daylong wine-tasting trips. Activities for others abound, including a number of hiking trails, and opportunities to boat, swim or water ski at Lake Don Pedro. You can also whitewater raft on the Tuolumne River from several locations, either for short trips, or several days of rafting adventures.
You’ll find Sonora peppered with small museums, historical points of interest, and a great central location to explore this lovely area of California. With plenty to do for folks of all ages, this part of California is really worth visiting. Hotels, motels, and vacation rental cabins are available in lots of different price ranges, and there are nearby camping grounds for those who like to keep their stays as economical as possible.
Nice article, but what are the names of these well respected theaters and other places to go? What are the names of these hotels/motels and just what are the different prices? The article is too vague.
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