Explore hidden gems in Gold Country this spring | South Lake Tahoe

Visit Placer press release

Placer County, a 1,400-square-mile destination in Northern California, is showcasing its hidden gems and rare seasonal sights this spring.

“This pocket of Gold Country is filled with underrated, pleasant surprises for those coming to the area this spring,” explains Tiffany McKenzie, Director of Marketing for Visit Placer. “Now more than ever, we’re proud to support the local businesses and off-the-beaten-path experiences that make our county so special.”

From fresh wildflower displays and local dive bars to unique shopping opportunities and boutique lodging options, Placer County invites visitors to stay and explore all that the area has to offer. Uniquely situated along Interstate 80, Placer County attractions are only 20 minutes away from the major freeway, making it an ideal destination for travelers from the Bay Area, Sacramento, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and other nearby regions.

Sightseers are offered an inside look at some of the county’s more local experiences through the ambassador program, which provides tips and insider knowledge of ways to “Experience Placer Like a Local,” shedding light on the area’s best-kept secrets and must-see destinations to make the most out of your visit.

Below are just a few possibilities to sample some of Placer County’s greatest hidden gems.

Places to See: In Colfax, Windy Point Trail and Stevens Trail offer a rare wildflower display this time of year, including the famous California poppies. Both are located in the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) and are sure to catch your gaze with their vibrant colors, from peaches and oranges and deep blues and reds. Sitting alongside the American River Canyon, these remote trails extend over 4 miles and end at the rushing waters of the North Fork of the American River.

Places to Savor: One of the more notable hidden gems in this area is actually a local dive bar. The Red Frog features breathtaking views of the American River Canyon. Just a short drive from North Lake Tahoe, The Red Frog is a local favorite with cold beers and cool cocktails.

The Tin Lantern in Meadow Vista is another local go-to, offering a delicious menu along with one of the largest selections of craft whiskeys that the area has to offer. Their select whiskey offerings include varieties of bourbon (including Pappy Van Winkle by the glass), rye, single malt scotch, cognac, flavored whiskey, and Canadian and Irish options.

Places to Stay: Just up the hill from Colfax, the Dutch Flat Hotel is one of the oldest operating hotels in California, dating back to the Gold Rush Era. This rustic hotel includes an outdoor barbecue area, community pool and tennis court for all to enjoy.

Places to See: For a more urban route, the Roseville Mural Trail is a sight for all to see. The virtual map gives a tour of vibrant murals throughout downtown Roseville, showcasing local artists. After your walking mural tour, catch the latest exhibition on display at Blue Line Arts.

Places to Savor: In Roseville, new eateries are popping up, such as Rose Cafe and Bagel serving Pachamama Coffee and Q1227, with Quentin “Chef Q” Bennett bringing his experience from Sacramento’s Echo & Rig to the Roseville area. Modern Mexican restaurant Nixtaco earned a Bib Gourmand in the 2021 California Michelin Guide and is expanding with Roseville’s first distillery. Other downtown favorites include 105 Noshery, Goose Port, and Monk’s Cellar.

Places to Stay: Roseville contains the largest selection of hotels in the region, making it easy to find a place to stay for your adventures in every budget.

Places to See: Placer County’s boutiques and shops range from artisan flair to specialty gifts for every visitor. Old Town Auburn is an ideal place to peruse, a must-stop is Typewriter and Moss. Owned by Cleo Sanchez, Typewriter and Moss is a collection of handcrafted products from over 25 local businesses. Sanchez also partners on Auburn’s The Exchange, a curated artisan market in the area.

For specialty women’s clothing and chic gifts, Zhush Modern is a small business offering unique jewelry, clothing, and accessories for women. Zhush Modern offers local and handmade items from stationery to home decor items.

If you’re looking for a more organic shopping experience, look no further than High Hand. High Hand operates on the site of the historic fruit sheds in Loomis, California. You can get a sense of history walking through the historic fruit shed, now filled with artisan shops. The centerpiece of High Hand now focuses on a world-class nursery filled with every imaginable plant, as well as a make-your-own succulent bar. Enjoy brunch or lunch, including cocktails, in the indoor and outdoor patio among the nursery.

Places to Savor: Auburn’s PaZa Winery is part of the Placer County Wine Trail and features “The Shed,” an outdoor shed hidden in the vineyards. With unique samplings aplenty, grab a glass and relax in a wine-barrel chair to soak up the view. Restaurant Josephine is quickly becoming one of the area’s top culinary destinations, featuring locally grown ingredients prepared with a distinctive French flair.

Places to Stay: The county boasts a long list of charming inns to serve as a base while you travel throughout the county. For a unique stay, book at the High Street House – a luxury Airbnb in the heart of the town, ideal for walks to Old Town and Downtown Auburn. Combine hiking, shopping, and dining for the ultimate escape.

Loomis is home to a quaint Inn that offers charming experiences for its visitors. The Flower Farm Inn allows travelers to stay in the middle of a working citrus orchard, enjoy a lovely meal from a garden café, shop at a boutique nursery, and taste wine on the patio at Casque Wines on property.

Places to See: For kids and kids at heart, head to Quarry Park Adventures, the nation’s only adventure park built within and atop a former rock quarry. For the ultimate summer family fun, catch a Lincoln Potters game, part of the summer collegiate wood bat league, at McBean Stadium.

Places to Savor: Rocklin’s The Chef’s Table serves innovative farm-to-table cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere with specialty craft cocktails and an extensive rotating local beer menu. At Dueling Dogs Brewing Co in Lincoln, you’ll find quality beer, cider, and mead all in one tasting room together for different preferences. The farm location with pond and inviting outdoor areas is welcoming to kids and dogs so no one has to be left at home. Just up the road, you’ll find the original Placer County farm-to-tap brewery, Goathouse Brewing Company, which as the name suggests, you can visit with goats while you enjoy their handcrafted beer made with hops grown on-site.

Places to Stay: For a truly unique experience, enjoy a farm stay on a working Alpaca Ranch in Lincoln. Your country escape is close to wineries, breweries, and extensive hiking in the area.

Placer County encompasses a wide variety of unique cities, towns, and census-designated places in northern California, including:
Granite Bay
Dutch Flat
Tahoe City
Carnelian Bay
Tahoe Vista
King’s Beach

An interactive map on the website has been provided to support travelers in planning their upcoming trips. Please remember to travel responsibly at all times and respect our local environment, including making sure to leave no trace by packing out what you brought in. To learn more on how to venture through Placer County, visit visitplacer.com.


Visit Placer is the destination marketing agency that promotes, markets, and provides resources for domestic and international leisure travel to Placer County, a 1,400-square-mile destination along the I-80 corridor in Northern California. Described as a “continent within a county,” the county encompasses a widely diverse geography, boasting unique locales from high-mountain ski town Olympic Valley, sitting alongside Lake Tahoe, to the lush and forested community of Foresthill. Visit Placer invites travelers to visit, discover and savor the county responsibly. For more information on Placer County, log onto the Visit Placer website at visitplacer.com.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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