Redding proves irresistable to vacationers and transplants alike. As the largest California city north of Sacramento, it is both an epicenter of commerce and a hub of recreation essentials such as theaters, parks, shopping, and golf courses. Redding boasts everything from the retail-haven Mt. Shasta Mall to the artistic and educational Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Landing a spot in calendars and coffee table books the world over, the internationally-renowned Sundial Bridge stretches over the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail as part of Redding’s 36 mile network of trails enjoyed year-round by pedestrians and cyclists of all stripes. A wide variety of hotels and restaurants make Redding the first choice for those wishing to experience the Northstate’s outdoor wonderland while still enjoying all the amenities of a city. Just west of town is the historic mining settlement of Old Shasta State Park, and immediately beyond that is Whiskeytown Lake, a favorite for skiing, sailing and windsurfing. A magnet for mountain biking enthusiasists, the lake also offers picnicking and camping opportunities as well as fishing, hiking, hunting, and horseback riding along its 36 miles of shoreline. The lake and its surrounding hills are dedicated as a National Recreation Area and the 220 foot Whiskeytown Falls are a destination in and of themselves.
Being that Shasta Lake is the largest lake in California, it’s no surprise that it offers a wide variety of vacation experiences. Shasta Lake, holding the title of “Houseboat Capitol of the World,” welcomes all from basic campers on pontoons, to floating luxury condominiums. In addition to houseboating, several lakeside resorts, RV parks, and B&B inns provide a relaxing vacation alternative to get away from it all. The lake was formed by one of the engineering marvels of the 20th century: Shasta Dam, the tallest center overflow dam in the world. If every family in the USA had a swimming pool, the water held back by the dam would be enough to fill every one of them! Dam tours are free, available daily, and include a ride into the heart of the dam in a forty-story elevator. Another attraction on the lake is Lake Shasta Caverns, dated at least 200 million years, and formed by flowing water. Over the years this water drained leaving the caverns as seen today. The caves are made entirely of limestone and feature every type of possible formation, including stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, columns and flowstone.
North of Shasta Lake, the Sacramento River extends into one of the best trout fishing streams in California. Northern California is truly a fishing paradise and just about any of its cities and towns can provide interested visitors with equipment, advice and directions to the best waters. To the south of Redding, Anderson and Cottonwood- also located along the Sacramento River - provide small town atmospheres reminiscent of a bygone era. Anderson serves as host to the region’s only outlet shopping center, Shasta Outlets. Cottonwood is considered a step back into yesteryear with its good-neighborly, cowboy downtown, quaint eateries and several antique stores.