Sacramento, California

Spanish explorers may have named Sacramento, but Swiss-born John Sutter first saw the river region's commercial potential in the mid 1800's. Sacramento was a Gold Rush town, and major stopping point for riverboats, stagecoaches, and wagon trains. A fine Mediterranean climate invites exploration along the Sacramento River. And outdoor festivals abound, such as Friday night summer concerts in Cesar Chavez Park.

Sign up for a free tour of the stunning California State Capitol and discover California's history through grand murals created in the 1930's. Walk a few blocks to the stately Leland Stanford House. Take a bicycle ride along the American River Parkway. You can also kayak on the river from several points, including Sailors Bar.

Celebrate the Central Valley's bounty with a local, seasonal breakfast from Magpie Café--indulge in biscuits and gravy or a salmon omelette. Treat yourself to plates of rich enchiladas mole and spicy shrimp tacos at Tres Hermanas. How about an old school dessert of two scoops of toasted almond ice cream or boysenberry sherbet at Vic's Ice Cream.