A number of years ago, our daughters were in elementary school. One had just finished fourth grade here in CA, and the other was about to go into 4th. We decided to take our girls on a geographical and historical tour of the state, which would fit very well into their social studies curriculum during the year.
Our first stop was in the Central Valley. As some of you know, that's the bread basket for our state. We drove slowly past some of the fields, and finally parked our rig near a river. We couldn't stay more than a day - the river attracted mosquitoes that drove our puppy crazy all night. It was also HOT and our rig had no A/C.
The next stop was up at Shasta Lake. We were in search of a good beach, which we discovered could only be found if you took a boat out. We didn't have the budget to rent one, nor had we had any boating experience, so we moved on a couple of days early.
Our next place was Lassen Volcanic. We were fairly lucky in that the road was open all the way through it. We stayed northwest, outside of the park, so that our puppy could stay in the campground while we were gone all day. We spent two days going through Lassen. Another day, the campground owners suggested going up to Burney Falls. We didn't quite make it - - we stopped at Hat Creek State Park and spent the day there instead. There were lava bed fields, and a lava cave that was just begging to be explored. Our children loved this, especially the younger one who loved hiking and climbing around.
Our pop-up back in tow again, we headed down a very beautiful scenic byway to Truckee. There, at Truckee, we took the girls to Donner State Park. This was the site where the Donner Party, back in the mid-1800s trying to get to California, got stuck during the winter and had to resort to cannibalism. As we always do when we visit a park, we go to the Visitors Center and see the movie. The oldest child knew the story, and had figured out that Mom was up to something....school stuff during the summer! (Mom!!!!!!)
The next day we headed down to the shores of Lake Tahoe, then over the pass and onto US 50. We ended up staying at a membership park (thanks to my parents) called Ghost Mountain Ranch. That was the central RV park for us, for the tour of the California Gold Country. We went to Sutter's Mill, the state park, down Old 49, and found a fruit stand that sold the biggest and tastiest peaches you ever saw. We also were able to take them to a pick-your-own berry patch. The girls liked it at first, then found that picking fruit was hard and hot work!
From there we made our way over to Bishop. My husband wanted to see the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Back then, the Internet the way we know it was in its infancy, so we had to rely on information from our library to find out anything more about it than what he'd seen on a TV show. Also, AAA came through for us - it was listed in one of their books. We had no clue that we were going to be climbing to 10,000 ft elevation to get to the forest! Even back then, the road was paved up to the forest, but within the forest, it was all dirt road. We went to a couple of the groves, but decided that another grove, with a 13% grade DOWN (and then back up again to return) was not worth the wear and tear on our tow vehicle. (We got to the top of the hill, saw the downgrade and said, "nope!" OK, we're chicken.)
At that point, my husband's vacation leave was up and we had to head home. We did so by going straight down US 395 to I-15. We stopped for lunch in Four Corners. I can say that the lunch stop was the reason that this was our last trip in the popup. We'd had to wait for a long time to find an open restaurant. Eight months later, we owned a 5th wheel.
Later that summer, separate from our trip, I took the two girls up to San Juan Capistrano and to Mission San Luis Rey. Those are short day trips from our place.