Weekend Getaway to Fresno, California

The author (left) and her mom, Yvette Jones, enjoy Sequoia National Park.

The author (left) and her mom, Yvette Jones, enjoy Sequoia National Park.

Story and photos by Jehava Brown

Jehava is a lifestyle blogger at Onlygirl4boyz, where she shares tips on parenting and travel.

The city makes a convenient base to explore several beautiful national parks.

My parents recently moved to Fresno, California, and my family and I have had fun finding the city’s hidden gems whenever we visit from Pennsylvania. We have discovered many places to eat and activities to enjoy.

One of our first stops is usually an In-N-Out Burger, where we order the “Animal Style” meal off the secret menu. The burger’s combination of a mustard-cooked patty, grilled onions and sauce is amazing (and not available back home in Pennsylvania). We are major foodies, so we tried a few restaurants that we don’t have in our hometown, including national chains like Famous Dave’s barbecue. However, we knew this area was famous for show-stopping, authentic tacos. After much research, we found the best tacos I have ever had in my life at a tiny spot called Don Pepe Taqueria. No matter the time of day, the taqueria has a long line, but it also has the best fish tacos, burritos, tortas and tostadas in Fresno.

Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo is relatively small, but it’s reasonably priced and has many animals to see. The African Adventure made me feel like we were transported to another country. My boys were even allowed to feed giraffes for the first time. We enjoyed lunch at the Kopje Lodge, where we could watch the elephants.

Fresno is a short distance from the beauty of Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. If you have time, drive the beautiful Majestic Mountain Loop, which includes all three. Our family drove about an hour and a half to Sequoia National Forest, located in the southern Sierra Nevada, and it was like nothing we had ever seen. The winding roads on the drive lead to a sea of massive sequoia trees with vivid reddish trunks. When visiting the forest, take time to go to the General Sherman Tree, the largest living single-stem tree on earth. It’s well worth waiting in line to glimpse the 275-foot-tall sequoia, which is over 36 feet in diameter at its base.

Next year, we plan to visit Fresno again and drive around town more. Our to-do list includes Woodward Park (the city’s largest public park), the subterranean plants and passageways at Forestiere Underground Gardens, and the many slides at nearby Island Waterpark. Fresno is an ideal place for my family to spend time together.


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