Time to Get Outside and Go in Folsom and El Dorado Hills
Photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
The sun is shining and skies are blue—it’s the perfect time to get outside and explore! From sports and street fairs to spring blooms and historic excursions, there’s fun to be had in your own backyard. Here, we reveal Style’s top picks for fresh air fun.
1 / LEARN TO SUP
Take to the lake on a stand-up paddleboard (a.k.a. SUP) for a low-impact, full-body workout that’s part surfing, part paddling and all fun. Experienced SUP-ers can rent boards at Folsom Lake Boat Rentals for as little as $25, while first-timers will want to check out REI’s classes. Offered on the calm waters of Upper Lake Clementine and Willow Creek on Lake Natoma, each session covers proper stance, strokes, turning techniques, and tips on picking the right gear.
2 / CATCH A FLICK
Enjoy a family-friendly movie under the stars at the El Dorado Hills Town Center On April 10 and May 15, bring your blankets and chairs to the Steven Young Amphitheater for free popcorn and a feature film that screens when the sun goes down. Before the credits roll, swing by one of the Town Center’s more than two-dozen eateries and grab a bite to go.
3 / STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS
Spring has sprung at some of the area’s most breathtaking gardens. Open year-round, the Amador Flower Farm’s Demonstration Gardens boast more than 200 unusual perennials and grasses, not to mention 1,000 varieties of daylilies. With two picnic areas on the grounds, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a meal from the Amador Vintage Market. Nearby, Daffodil Hill attracts visitors from around the world for one month beginning in mid-March before returning to a working ranch for the remainder of the year. Currently in its 75th season, entry is free and includes access to a menagerie of animals. During the last weekend in April, the nonprofit Folsom Garden Club will host its 15th Annual Garden Tour showcasing seven exquisite private gardens. Tickets are available online for just $15 (children ages 15 and under are free), and all proceeds fund scholarships and grants that help local schools maintain and expand their gardening programs.
4 / RIDE IN STYLE
For more than 20 years, Davey “Doc” Wiser has given free stagecoach rides throughout El Dorado County, but every third Saturday at noon, you’ll most likely find him near the Bell Tower on Placerville’s historic Main Street. There, he picks up passengers for a one-of-a-kind trip back in time—a celebration of his beloved cowboy lifestyle, not to mention an eco-friendly way to get where you’re going.
5 / STRIKE IT RICH
There’s gold in them hills! Strike it Rich Adventures offers fascinating 30-minute tours of Gold Bug Mine, Priest Mine, and Stamp Mill at Placerville’s Gold Bug Park, part of the National Register of Historic Sites. With more than 60 acres to explore, the park is bursting with Gold Rush-era adventure. To enhance the experience, Strike it Rich’s team of highly trained guides dress in period costume while teaching visitors the art of panning for riches, including real gold and gemstones. End the day with a stop at Hattie’s Gift Shop to pick up historical souvenirs for your sourdoughs back home.
6 / DINE WITH YOUR DOG
Indulge in a meal out, minus the guilt of leaving Fido at home. A surprising number of local eateries are pet-friendly, including Relish Burger Bar in El Dorado Hills. Its expansive outdoor patio is the perfect place to enjoy juicy, made-to-order burgers, stacked salads and frosty brews. At Folsom’s Pizzeria Classico on Sutter Street, traditional Italian fare is served alongside local favorites like the famous garlic chips at cozy sidewalk tables where well-behaved dogs are always welcome.
7 / EAT FARM TO FORK
Support local growers and artisans year-round at your neighborhood farmers’ market. Keep an eye out for apricots, strawberries and asparagus, all of which are currently in season.
Historic Folsom Farmers’ Market
915 Sutter Street, Folsom
Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
El Dorado County Farmers’ Market
Town Center Parking Lot, El Dorado Hills
Sundays (May through October), 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
8 / HIT THE LINKS
Folsom’s Empire Ranch Golf Club offers 18 challenging holes surrounded by pristine natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or teeing off for the first time, the driving range and practice green at this premier course are perfect for improving both your long and short game. With lessons starting at just $55 per half hour, beginners can’t pass up the opportunity to train with General Manager Ben Hanson and Head Golf Professional Morgan Malone, both of whom are PGA members. Their “Get Golf Ready” program teaches players of every skill level how to truly enjoy the game and includes detailed on-course instruction.
9 / PROTECT MOTHER NATURE
For more than 40 years, the El Dorado National Forest Service has asked members of the community to donate their time and talents to conservation. Volunteer options are varied and range from single-day commitments to months-long projects—from trail work and campground hosting, to conservation education and fire lookout alongside Forest Service personnel. In Folsom, helping hands are needed on April 18 for the 2015 Trails Day/Arbor Day Celebration. In addition to planting native trees, volunteers will help with much-needed improvements along the Johnny Cash Trail, including irrigation installation.
10 / GO WILD
The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary has provided a fun and affordable educational resource to local families for more than five decades. With weekday admission starting at just $4, mixing and mingling with the animals is always an amazing deal. Visit during the second weekend of the month, and you’re in for an added treat—for two hours on both Saturday and Sunday, trained docents staff biofact stations containing skulls, skeletons, furs and more. In addition to answering questions from wildlife enthusiasts of all ages, you may even have an opportunity to see some of the animals up close.