En Route to the Parks Banner

En Route to the Parks

Getting here is half the fun! Learn about the interesting stops you can make along your trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

If you're planning a road trip to Sequoia National Park, why not make the drive a bit more memorable with a few stops along the way? Driving to the Park allows you a glimpse into the little-recognized attractions and charm of smaller towns and byways, which you would never have occasion to see if you focus on the destination only and not the journey. Whatever you do, enjoy the trip! This is your vacation, after all.

Northern Entrance via Highway 180

Side Trips Along the Way

If traveling to Sequoia from the North, your route will take you through Fresno County. Located in the heart of California, Fresno County has a wide variety of cultural diversity displayed in area museums, restaurants and festivals, plus the recreation opportunities in the region's many lakes, rivers, foothills and mountains. We've highlighted just a sampling of the many things to do on your way to Sequoia National Park from Highway 99 to Highway 180.

Family Attractions

Chaffee Zoo - Fresno Chaffee Zoo is home to approximately 190 species, with more always on the way.

Wild Water Adventure - Wild Water Adventure Park is the largest and wildest water park in Central California. The amusement and theme park offers family fun including water slides and wave pools for the adventurous, Adventure Bay for younger children, and fishing.

Blackbeard's - Attractions include "XTreme" laser tag, ropes course adventure, miniature golf, bankshot basketball, water slides, race track, bumper boats, arcade, and Cap'n Kids Ride Land.

Rotary Storyland and Playland - Storyland is a walk-through park of Mother Goose stories and nursery rhymes, including favorites like Jack and Jill, Goldilocks & the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Peter Pan, Hansel & Gretel, King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table, Alice in Wonderland, Noah's Ark, Humpty Dumpty, and more!

Playland is a small family amusement park. Enjoy the Willis B. Kyle Express Train, the Big Rocko ferris wheel, or the thrill of the Octopus ride. Playland also has a 3,500-square foot splash park called Splash Junction.

Discovery Center - The Science Museum attraction is very kid-friendly! Every child will find something they love to explore and investigate. The exhibit areas include dinosaurs, space and flight, music and sounds, electricity, Native American basketry, and geology, among others, as well as live "animal ambassadors." This is real hands-on science - both loud and fun!

Project Survival's Cat Haven - Project Survival's Cat Haven is an innovative park dedicated to the preservation of wild cats. It specializes in education and is engaged in both captive and range country conservation. It is this link to the conservation of cats in their native habitat which makes the work of the Cat Haven especially meaningful. The facility is not a rescue organization.

Scenic Drives

Fruit Trail - This self-guided tour through California's agriculture heartland was created through a partnership between the elected and civic leaders and the farmers in Eastern Fresno County. The Fruit Trail celebrates the beauty, flavor and culture of this region. You're invited to enjoy orchards full of ripe fruit literally bursting with flavor, from the number one agricultural county in California.

Madera Wine Trail - Madera County is known for world-class wine that reflects the region's splendid weather and terroir. Swirl and sip for yourself!

Blossom Trail - This self-guided motor or bicycle tour is organized by the Fresno County Blossom Trail Committee, a partnership between the County of Fresno and the Chambers of Commerce in Sanger, Kingsburg, Reedley, Orange Cove, Selma and Fowler to celebrate and feature the beauty of Fresno County's agriculture and a few historical points of interest. Panoramas of orchards full of fruit trees alive with fragrance and bursting with blossoms await you.

Gardens and Museums

Kearney Mansion Museum - Bring your family and friends to the Kearney Historic Site for a guided tour that provides a glimpse of the San Joaquin Valley's agricultural beginnings through the life and times of M. Theo Kearney - a California ag pioneer who came to be known as the Raisin King.

The Fresno Art Museum - Located in the heart of Fresno, near the intersection of Clinton and First Streets, next to Radio Park. Exhibitions include contemporary and modern art and photography and ethnographic and cultural exhibitions which reflect and celebrate the diverse population of the San Joaquin Valley. The Museum is also home to very large and impressive collection of pre-Columbian artworks from Mexico and what is now modern-day Peru. It is the only museum in Fresno accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Forestiere Underground Garden - Take a subterranean journey to the Mediterranean - in the middle of California! You'll discover a hand-built network of underground rooms; courtyards and passageways reminiscent of the ancient catacombs; unique fruit-producing trees, shrubs, and vines growing underground - some over 90 years-old; ancient Roman architecture - arches, vaults and stone-built walls; underground micro-climates - temperature variations of 10 to 30 degrees; and the underground home of Sicilian visionary and self-taught artist/builder Baldassare Forestiere.

Shinzen Japanese Gardens - The originally flat and dry Valley floor has been transformed with man-made mountains, waterfalls, streams and a lake. Lush plants have turned it into an oasis of distinctive beauty, and the design is guided by the original principles of the Japanese garden while incorporating elements of the regional landscape and climate. This beautiful and serene Shinzen Friendship Garden is located within Woodward Park adjacent to Freeway 41 in the City of Fresno, California.

Clovis Botanical Garden - The Clovis Botanical Garden is a water-wise demonstration garden composed of beautiful plants and landscapes appropriate for the hot summers and cool winters of California's Central Valley.

Additional Information

California Tourism

California Historical Society

Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau

Fresno County Office of Tourism

Fresno City & County Historical Society

Southern Entrance via Highway 198

Side Trips Along the Way

Come play in our backyard and you'll discover the biggest trees, tallest mountains, and charming downtown areas full of live entertainment, rich history and stunning art. We can't wait to show you! Home to magnificent mountains, spectacular giant sequoia trees and dozens of festivals and events, Tulare County welcomes you with open arms.

Family Attractions

Visalia Adventure Park - Seven acres of food, fun, and excitement for the whole family. Come try the Old San Francisco Style Pizza at Kritters Funhouse Pizza or fill your need for speed by racing up to 45 mph at the Full Throttle Raceway!

Reimer's Candies - Reimer's Candies & Gifts in Three Rivers has continued to maintain their quality "old world" ice cream, along with their quality truffles, German stollen, and nut brittles. Everyone has their favorite dessert, but visitors will enjoy Reimer's gift items, and their Christmas/River Shop overlooking the Middle Fork of the Kaweah as well.

Bravo Farms Traver - Back in the day, Bravo Farms in Traver was known as the "Hitching Post." Over the past 25 years, it has grown into a favorite destination for local and traveling folks. Bravo Farms started as a small gas station and cafe, and over the years grew into a mini Knott's Berry Farm, according to the Los Angeles Times. Stop in for a taste of California's valley!

Marvel at the many murals of Tulare County - Exeter has created an outdoor art gallery of murals, reflecting the history and culture of the area. The city's historic brick buildings provide a perfect canvas for the beautiful works of art, painted by professional artists from all over the United States.

Bravo Lake Botanical Garden Walking Tour - Bravo Lake Botanical Garden is California's cornucopia. The ten-acre facility features an "agricultural theme" characteristic of the farming region and heritage. With more than one mile of gardens, visitors walking, bicycling, and in wheelchairs are treated to (depending on the season) a lavish display of roses, sunflowers, flowering fruit trees and tidy rows of colorful fresh vegetables. The gardens provide the most unique setting to see, smell and taste the best of California's fruits and vegetables. For more information, visit the Sierra Nevada GeoTourism Guide.

ImagineU Interactive Children's Museum - The ImagineU Interactive Children's Museum was founded in August 2002. Since then, the museum has provided a learning center of possibilities and promise, a family place where children and parents can learn about themselves.


Shopping at Tulare Outlet Center - Located right off Highway 99, the Tulare Outlet Center is Central California's only outlet shopping mecca! The Outlets offer brand names at discount prices. Stop into Nike, Banana Republic, Gap, Calvin Klein, Levi and many more to start your morning in the right way! Tulare Outlet Center is a shopper's paradise for the entire family.

Naturally Nuts - Naturally Nuts offers farm-fresh, top quality nuts, dried fruits, and other delicious edibles. John Oneto and his family have farmed in the San Joaquin Valley for three generations, growing cherries, tree nuts and row crops, and have been in the nut processing industry for over 20 years. He co-developed the pistachio roasting technique that is the industry standard today.

Visalia's Farmers Markets - Located in the heart of California's Central Valley, Visalia's Farmers Markets celebrate our region's rich agricultural history and support our local food system by providing the public a wide selection of locally grown produce and handmade products seasonally available year round.

The Arts

Take in the arts at 1st Saturday in Three Rivers - Food, fun and fabulous art. On the 1st Saturday of every month, artists, restaurants, and merchants of Three Rivers, California open their doors and invite you to join in a town-wide celebration from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Explore the diversified agriculture of Tulare County by taking an Ag Tour.

Tulare County Museum - The Tulare County Museum is home to one of the nation's largest Native American basket collections, focusing primarily on Yokuts artifacts. Other collections document the early settlement of California, and highlight the development of the world-renowned Visalia saddle. Additional exhibits feature historic firearms, vintage clothing and textiles. Tulare County Museum is located in historic Mooney Grove Park in Visalia.

Arts Consortium - The destination for all things art in Tulare County! The Arts Consortium brings together artists, organizations and art enthusiasts to advocate, promote and provide opportunities to create and celebrate the arts for all Tulare County residents and visitors.

Additional Information

Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Tulare Chamber of Commerce

Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce

Sequoia Natural History Association

The Sequoia Visitor

Mileage Chart to the Sequoias

  • Yosemite: 3 hours and 45 minutes, 170 miles
  • Los Angeles: 4 hours, 205 miles
  • San Francisco: 4 hours and 45 minutes, 270 miles
  • Las Vegas: 6 hours and 30 minutes, 380 miles