If you’re thinking about a trip to Sequoia National Park this year – Visalia, California makes the perfect home base for any adventure into one of America’s most beautiful (and popular) National Parks.
The town is an easy drive from both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park – just about 45 minutes away from the park’s southern entrance. As you might expect, you’ll find a historic Main Street downtown with local boutiques that offer everything from clothing to antiques. The area also offers more than a dozen hotels including the Visalia Marriott which hosted my visit earlier this spring. The property was comfortable, safe, and best of all – within walking distance of everything downtown. The rooms were clean and quite spacious.
Another nice perk about staying in Visalia is being close to familiar shopping spots like Target or Walgreens which are a super quick drive from downtown. We’ve all been on the road and need to grab things like shampoo or medicine – it was nice having those options nearby while still staying downtown and enjoying the local vibe.
There are the familiar dining options in Visalia as well but don’t skip out on trying some of the locally owned restaurants like Brewbakers Brewing Company. It was here that I enjoyed the most delicious tri-tip sandwich I’ve ever eaten. The service was amazing as well. After learning that I wasn’t a drinker, she brought out several in-house sodas for me to try.
At its heart, Visalia has a typical small town feel. Look no further than opening day for the Visalia Rawhide Baseball Club, an advanced “A” affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team was enjoying their first home game since the 2020 pandemic and it had all the feels of being smack dab in the middle of the classic baseball movie, Bull Durham. (Coincidentally Kevin Costner spent a portion of his teenage years living here.)
As you explore downtown you’ll probably notice the gigantic legacy tree that towers over the city’s post office. The tree is more than 80 years old and at least 65 feet high. It’s a reminder of how important the National Parks are to the area and the visitors that keep it thriving. It’s also a reminder that both parks are in fact, the biggest tourist attraction in this area and rightfully so.
You can read all about my visit to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park in a separate post but it’s worth noting that these places offer some of the most beautiful, almost mystical, scenery in the entire country. With the American road trip roaring back into style, an extended journey to California to see these amazing treasures is definitely worth the time and effort. And Visalia makes an ideal launchpad for enjoying those memorable experiences.
Learn more about Visalia on their tourism website: Visit Visalia