central valley

Expedia’s 2024 travel trend report has coined the term ‘destination dupe’ for destinations that are a little unexpected, sometimes more affordable, and every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true popular cities, states, and countries travellers love. California’s Central Valley provides just that, a slightly more affordable way to an all-American road trip, offering local wines, an unknown annual super bloom, the original birthplace of country music, and lesser-known gateways to adventure. So if you’ve done LA, San Francisco and Napa- make Central Valley your next getaway

An alternative super bloom

Modesto, one of several cities that lie within the Central Valley, that see a spectacular almond blossom bloom burst to life. Every year, between mid-February to mid-March, the region of Central California springs forward with a spectacular blossom season thanks to its 120,000 acres of almond groves, part of the 1.5 million acres of groves grown across the state — an unsurprising figure when you learn that California grows 80 percent of the world’s almonds and 100 percent of the commercial supply in the U.S.

A laid back wine country

Having recently achieved American Viticultural area status, set in the heart of Central Valley, Winters Highlands enjoys a unique blend of topographical features that create a unique microclimate perfect for the cultivation of a diverse range of red and white wines. The town of Winters sits within one of the most agriculturally rich regions of the U.S. and has gained recognition as a top foodie destination, as well as being named one of California’s most charming small towns. The area surrounding the town has an abundance of fresh, locally sourced ingredients that inspire chefs to create gourmet culinary experiences.

Country music California style

America’s south isn’t the only place that country music has thrived. The Bakersfield Sound, a more gritty style of country music, was born in the Southern California town during the mid-50s and pioneered by country music legends Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Bakersfield, known as ‘Nashville West’, has since become a hub for all kinds of music and the town has many ‘sounds’ for visitors to explore and enjoy at the many music venues across town, including Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, a infamous venue amongst country music fans.

Adventure beyond the hot spots

Central Valley offers visitors the perfect gateway to several of California’s National and State Parks, and Visalia makes the perfect base camp from which to explore the Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon State Park. Here, it is recommended that visitors can stay a couple nights to fully immerse themselves in the area’s natural beauty. Roadtrippers can take the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway on their way into the park, which follows along a portion of Highway 180, winding its way through the Sierra Nevada foothills before zig-zagging down into Kings Canyon. Travellers will enjoy breath-taking vistas, soaring granite cliffs and amazing panoramas along the way.

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