FRESNO, California (KSEE) — When you think of California, agriculture and waterfalls may not be the first thing that pops up in your mind.
But if you head to Central California, you can find a lot of that.
The Golden State — it’s known for Hollywood in the south and the Golden Gate Bridge in the north.
But in the middle of the state, a little away from the coast, there are attractions unlike anything you can find elsewhere.
The center of it all is Fresno, the states 5th largest city with a metro population around a million.
Easy to spot from the city streets are the towering Sierra Nevada mountains, a place outdoor enthusiast might call paradise.
You will find the iconic Half Dome, Instagram worthy waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, the tallest trees in the world in Sequoia National Park and breathtaking views in Kings Canyon National Park.
All are just about an hour drive from Fresno.
“I hope if people come here they do all three because you can do all three in less than a week,” said Fresno County Tourism Manager Kristi Johnson.
Johnson says people fly into Fresno or drive through to get to Yosemite.
Yosemite National Park alone attracts 4 million people a year. In the foothills below Yosemite, you can find the town of Oakhurst, where Highway 49 begins.
Travel back to the Gold Rush Era on Highway 49, named after gold prospectors called the 49ers.
Check out some mining towns and even pan for gold in some locations like they did in the 1800’s.
Below the hills and mountains, you will find a lot of agriculture.
“What we are known for here is our agricultural heritage,” Johnson said. “We think we are the best agricultural county in the nation.”
In Fresno County you can tour the fields and learn more about where your food comes from.
“We are home to the Fresno County fruit trail and the Fresno County blossom trail,” Johnson said. “And this is a celebration of our agricultural heritage and allows people to go out and see where their food is grown.”
You can also taste local wines from dozens of wineries on the Madera and Fresno wine trails. From the fields to the city, there is plenty to do in Fresno.
In Fresno, you can see the Forestiere Underground Gardens, where nearly a 100 years ago a Sicilian immigrant and citrus grower turned useless farmland into a vast network, underground tunnels and gardens to grow crops.
Fresno is also known for the Chaffee Zoo, where you can see amazing animals from all over.
Our local produce is as fresh as can be and, as you can imagine, that makes it pretty easy to find great places to eat at all around town.
Also, what is better than a baseball or soccer game at Chukchansi Park located next to Fresno’s growing brewery district downtown, which attracts people from all over the valley.
So next time you think of California, think Fresno. It’s just a road trip from both ends of the state.