Need to get away from the city for a day? El Dorado County is located only a half hour from Sacramento. It’s a region steeped in stunning natural beauty, a refreshing and underrated wine scene, and glorious Gold Rush history.

Views of Coloma from Marshall Gold Discovery State Park

This part of Northern California, with its old-world architecture and idyllic views, is the perfect blend of a laid-back atmosphere with ample opportunities for exciting outdoor activities. And that’s what makes it a great vacation destination all year round, no matter the season and even if you only have one day.

Here are some of the fun things you can do in El Dorado County, even with only a day in hand:

The Farm Table’s house-made charcuterie and sausage is not to be missed.

1. Explore Its Culinary Delights

El Dorado County is a treasure trove of good food and even better drinks. The region is dotted with restaurants and cafes that have delicious offerings on their menus. Get your breakfast, lunch, and dinner fix at places like Early Toast Mimosa House, Sweetie Pie’s or The Farm Table Restaurant. Many of these places in El Dorado County serve fresh, organic foods and drinks that they make using locally sourced ingredients. You can also hit up one of the many bars in the area.

See where the California Gold Rush began in Coloma.

2. Step into its Gold Rush history

There are many places in and around El Dorado County that are a testament to its Gold Rush past. You can visit the very spot where it all began: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, which is located less than 10 miles from Placerville. There are places like the Gold Bug Mine that take you back in time and allow you to experience life like it was during the Gold Rush days. You can also take gold panning lessons and try your luck at one of their panning troughs!

Desolation Wilderness is one of the most scenic stretches of the Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail. For this reason, it is a very popular backpacking destination.

3. Go hiking to exercise your muscles and breathe in the beauty of nature

El Dorado County is a hikers’ paradise. There are dozens of hiking trails up the rolling Sierra foothills, around serene lakes, through lush forests, along brooks and creeks, and even on the vast granite expanses of the high mountains. Here hiking is truly a four-season activity. While most people like to hike the trails in spring and summer, you can do so even during fall and winter when the trails take on a breathtaking appearance. If hiking is not your thing, you can also go mountain biking in Lake Tahoe. Trust us; you’ll love it.

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You can enjoy wine tasting at over 70 wineries in El Dorado County. Pictured here is Lava Cap Winery near Placerville.

4. Experience the luxury of El Dorado Wine Country

El Dorado County is a must-visit for wine lovers. Unassuming estates hidden behind verdant, green vineyards, underrated wineries located next to picturesque lakes, educational tasting sessions that are an experience in themselves – El Dorado wine country is as diverse and unique as the place itself. It is home to 70 wineries that produce distinctive and delicious wines that will delight even the most discerning oenophile.

Want to learn more about places to visit and things to do in El Dorado County? Check our website for detailed information on wineries, hiking trails, shopping, attractions, mountain biking trails in Lake Tahoe, and much more.