No other place on earth offers the variety of recreational opportunities that the Central San Joaquin Valley can offer, and Fresno is right in the middle of it all. Fishing, camping, skiing, boating, hiking, swimming, hand-gliding, parachuting, rock climbing, hunting, water skiing and bird watching are just some of the things to do locally and in the closely surrounding area.
The City of Fresno offers its citizens plenty of choices inside city limits. Numerous parks line the city, each offering its own specialty of activities to take part in. Most parks offer places to spend the day with the whole family, including facilities that will be sure to make a day to remember. Softball fields, swimming pools, BBQ pits, jungle gyms for the kids, plenty of trees for shade and manicured lawns make Fresno parks a paradise for the weekend.
Roading Park houses the city zoo, along with acre upon acre of park facilities. Rotary Storyland & Playland is a treasured Central California nonprofit that exists to create memories through exceptional service, affordable entertainment and education for the children and families of Central California. Storyland is a walk-through park of Mother Goose stories, while Playland is a small family amusement park with 13 rides and a 3,500-square-foot splash park, which is free to the public when the temperature is over 75 degrees.
Kearney Park, Fresno County’s first park, includes 240 acres of parkland and features picnic and playground facilities and the Historical Kearney Museum. The 300-acre Woodward Park offers challenging obstacle courses, and its many lakes offer a superb view of local wildlife. The park also provides picnic grounds, play areas and a Japanese garden complete with a fishpond.
The 70 acres of Lost Lake Recreation Area offer a nature study area, and the lake itself offers the fisherman an opportunity to try his hand out on the local trout population. The day-use area includes a softball field, picnic areas complete with BBQ pits and benches, a play area for the kids and a volleyball facility.
Millerton Lake State Park is a haven for boaters and water ski enthusiasts, with mild temperatures on the lake most of the year. From December through February, visitors can hop aboard the Eagle Eye Barge for a guided boat ride to observe native wildlife in their natural environment. In March, take part in the wildflower/vernal pool tours that are offered by park rangers.
The lifeline of the agriculturally dependent San Joaquin Valley is the San Joaquin River, and it is on this river that most of the recreation activities of the residents of Fresno take place. Along this mighty river is the San Joaquin River Parkway, 22 miles of trails, wildlife habitat and recreation areas.
Some of California’s mightiest whitewater rivers thunder through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Kings River Expeditions offer guests one- and two-day river trips, providing all the necessary equipment and trained river guides.
China Peak Mountain Resort, 65 miles northeast of Fresno, and Badger Pass, located in Yosemite National Park, offer two of the best ski and snowboarding accommodations in the country.
Yosemite National Park, located just 92 miles north of Fresno, is filled with crystal clear pools, alpine carpeted meadows, an abundant wildlife population and thousands of acres of Giant Sequoia trees. The park boasts one of the most famous and most climbed rocks on earth – Half Dome Rock. Other attractions at the park include El Capitan, Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rock and the towering Yosemite Falls.
Sequoia National Park, the second-oldest national park in the U.S., is home to the largest living Giant Sequoia tree, the General Sherman. A 328,000-acre preserve protects these natural wonders in 33 different groves.