- 1 Cosumnes River Preserve, 13501 Franklin Blvd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The Cosumnes River Preserve is a 50,000 acre nature preserve along the last remaining undammed river in the western Sierra Nevadas. During winter months it is an important area for wildlife, home to thousands of birds including ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes. Visitors can enjoy the preserve via a boardwalk through the wetlands and numerous trails along the river and its surrounding habitat. Despite being about thirty miles from the ocean, the river's waters are affected by tides, with levels varying several feet during the day. Seasonally, water levels drop and birds migrate from spring to autumn, so the best time to visit is during the winter, ideally at sunrise or sunset when activity is greatest. Free.
Two of the state's primary north-south routes converge in Sacramento before splitting again outside of the city. Interstate 5 travels up the western side of the Central Valley from Southern California and continues on to Oregon and Washington. California State Route 99 provides the primary access to cities on the eastern side of the Central Valley, and then continues north through Yuba City and Chico before ending in the northern part of the state near Red Bluff.
Interstate 80 is the main east-west route, starting in San Francisco and continuing through the Lake Tahoe region and onwards to Reno. During winter it is one of the few east-west routes through the Sierra Nevada mountains that remains open.
The airport serving the county is Sacremento International Airport (SMF). There are flights from Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, and the continental U.S.
- 1 Sutter County - Sacramento County's northwestern neighbor, tiny Sutter County lies between the Sacramento and Feather rivers, with nearly 90% of the county's land used for grazing and agriculture. The county is home to the eroded volcanic lava domes of the Sutter Buttes, which occupy a circular area roughly ten miles across and are sometimes referred to as the world's smallest mountain range.
- 2 Placer County - Sacramento County's northeastern neighbor stretches from the suburbs of Sacramento to Lake Tahoe and the Nevada border. Named after the Spanish word meaning "sand or gravel deposits containing gold", the county was a hotbed of activity during the Gold Rush. Today visitors can enjoy mountain activities such as hiking and skiing, and will also be impressed by the historic courthouse in Auburn.
- 3 El Dorado County - The name of Sacramento County's northeastern neighbor translates from Spanish as "the gilded/golden", an appropriate title for the county where the California Gold Rush was kicked off after a discovery at Sutter's Mill (near Coloma) in 1848. The county's attractions include mountain scenery, gold mining history, the impossibly blue waters of Lake Tahoe, backpacking opportunities in the Desolation Wilderness, and epic skiing in the South Lake Tahoe area.
- 4 Amador County - Sacramento County's neighbor to the east, Amador County was home to several mines during the Gold Rush, including the Kennedy Mine in Jackson which was the deepest gold mine of its time. Today the county is known for its Zinfandel, with the Shenandoah Valley home to over forty wineries. Visitors may also enjoy Black Chasm Cavern in Volcano, historic buildings, and outdoor activities such as skiing, camping and fishing.
- 5 San Joaquin County - San Joaquin County lies south of Sacramento County on the eastern edge of the California Delta, an estuary formed by the confluence of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers. Nicknamed "California's Holland" due to the extensive levee system, the area is an interesting place to explore by car or boat. Stockton is the county's largest city and is notable for being the world's most inland natural seaport.
- 6 Contra Costa County - Sacramento County's southwestern neighbor is a primarily residential county that offers a vast array of food, shopping, and lodging options for Bay Area visitors. The landscape is dominated by Mount Diablo, a peak that provides excellent hiking opportunities and, on clear days, summit views that stretch for well over 100 miles in all directions. Other attractions include the John Muir Historic Site in Martinez, the estate of Nobel winning playwright Eugene O'Neill in Danville, and a WWII shipyard, now a national historic site, in Richmond.
- 7 Solano County - Located southwest of Sacramento County, Solano County is far more rural than the other Bay Area counties, and includes significant portions of the California Delta, as well as parts of San Pablo Bay. Two of the county's cities served as early state capitals: Vallejo was the capital in 1852 and again in 1853, while Benicia served as the capital from February 1853 until February 1854; today Benicia Capitol State Historic Park provides the opportunity for visitors to explore the Capitol building from that era.
- 8 Yolo County - With extensive farmlands, Sacramento County's northwestern neighbor offers numerous opportunities for visitors to engage in agritourism: farmer's markets are held regularly, organic farms offer tours and the opportunity to pick your own produce, and more than 35 wineries can be found in the county. The college town of Davis is home to California's third-largest state university and boasts the highest number of bikes per capita in the USA, a statistic that led the US Bicycling Hall of Fame to move to the town in 2010.