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IT'S GOLD: 8 Reasons Why You Need To Head To Northern California

It’s a tiny pocket of the Golden State you may never have even heard of, with most West Coast visitors opting to see the more popular landmarks of Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon or even Las Vegas.

It’s a tiny pocket of the Golden State you may never have even heard of, with most West Coast visitors opting to see the more popular landmarks of Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon or even Las Vegas.

But just a short drive from San Francisco lies it’s hugely underrated Northern cities of Sacramento, Redding, Sonoma and Chico, all of which offer a smorgasbord of road-tripping adventures just waiting to be discovered.

The best part? All these secret spots come completely tourist-free.

We caught up with 7 travel agents who recently visited Northern California on a famil program with both United Airlines & Visit California.

The group were among the first group of Aussie agents who visited as part of an ‘Insta Fam’ where they toured the area with the purpose of creating photos and videos for their own social media channels and to help inspire their clients to tour the region.

Each agent, with their own unique style of travel, different clientele and online audiences have all given KarryOn their top tips for road tripping between the hot spots of Northern California.

Ready? Let’s go north!


JAKE CASSAR – Travel Counsellors



“When planning a trip to Northern California, don’t just think of the norm. There is Lake Tahoe and the Pacific Highway (Route Number 1) but have you ever heard of Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park or even Shasta Caverns just outside Redding? Mount Lassen is like a mini Yellowstone National Park with geysers and sulphur pools without the tourists! We had the entire place to ourselves.”


TESS WONG – Flight Centre



“Do your research before you go. Northern California is so diverse and there are many unique places to explore off the beaten path. All you need is a car and Google Maps and you’re good to go! However, it is best to time your visit according to what you want to see/do. For example, you will need to visit in the warmer months if you want to explore the wilderness area around Mount Shasta/Lassen NP as many of the roads are closed in the Winter months, or if you want to see the spectacular foliage through the wine regions like Sonoma County, Autumn is the perfect time to visit!”





“Northern California is such a diverse place with something for everyone! I highly recommend grabbing a car in San Francisco and road-tripping north, as it allows for complete spontaneity and, to be honest, some of the best spots we uncovered were just by pulling over onto the side of the road.”


LENA NIELSON – Travel Associates



“Leave unplanned time in your itinerary. Sometimes the best parts of a trip in Northern California are the local recommendations or the national park you drive to last and decide to detour into. In Northern California, don’t be so set on a packed itinerary that you can’t make time for little highlights while in a destination.”


DANA BROWN – Travel Managers



“The possibilities in Northern California are endless. Open your mind to experiences that are off the usual tourist trail and you will be rewarded with undiscovered treasures. The Visit California website has a wealth of insider information, as do blogs and Instagram location tags. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to a California expert agent that can consult with you, and point you in the right direction.”





“I think for the Australian market and for my clients it’s important they recognise that one state in the US can literally have it all and it’s a good idea for you to get stuck into just the one state, rather than to try to do them all! Northern California is certainly one of those places that has everything for every type of traveller. It has the hustle and bustle of big cities, amazing nature-based tourism, epic food, good nightlife but it’s also super family-friendly! All of this within a reasonable driving distance too.”


CLAIRE SHERIDAN – Universal Traveller



“You didn’t have to ask me twice if I wanted to go back to California for the 6th time, in my head I’d already ordered a double-double, animal style & had my alarm set for 5am every day. If you’re planning to explore Northern California & don’t know where to start, simply open up your Instagram and start scrolling #visitcalifornia for photos, maps & blogs to give you inspiration on just about every beach, mountain, national park, the rooftop bar of cafe that you can experience in the Golden State.”

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