Crystal Cave at Sequoia National park - California Caves
 
 
 

 

Oh, those great California Caves - A Weekend Getaway Vacation Guide or Summer Vacation to California's Cave Exploration

California caving and cave exploring..

Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park offers a guided tour for under $15 (subject to change). There's quite a drive to the parking area where you catch the tour. The road is long and windy, heading several miles into a canyon. From there, you hop out of your car and head down a steep trail about 1/2 mile toward the river you can hear below you. Crystal Cave is a maze in which tourists could easily be lost if they didn't proceed with utmost caution. Rather than risk losing folks, you can only go on this tour with a guide...no one gets in (or out) by themselves. Stalactites and crystal formations greet you, thanks to the flashlight the tour guide brings along. Outside it can be toasty during the summer days, but inside the cave, it is a steady 48 degrees. The 45-minute tour requires some physical activity so you should prepare for walking and climbing before heading out on this exciting cave vacation exploration. nps.gov


Where to stay on a Cave Vacation? Below is the mileage chart for times and distances to cities closest to the Sequoia park, known not only for the Crystal Cave, but for the giant Sequoia tree.


Entrance via Hwy 198 from:


Visalia - 46 miles, or 1 hour drive. If you are coming from Visalia, the heart of ag country with farm fresh produce and wholesome dining, you migh want to consider staying at hotels such as the Fairfield Inn by Marriott, affordable, yet nice. I am glad we chose this hotel, though additional visits have proven that there's a decent selection of hotels just an hour from the cave trip. While there are over 10 hotels in Visalia and most are within the $100 range, give or take $25. I find the staff at the Marriott is outstanding, and I'd definitely stay there again. Also, my  breakfast in the restaurant was great, room service was fast and professional and the hotel was recently remodeled, which felt very clean and comfortable.


While Fairfield Inn generally has ranked the highest for service and quality, the Holiday Inn is pretty darned close as a popular favorite. Not your typical Holiday Inn, this place has class, as our friends described it on our visit. During our visit to the National Park Cave Tour one time during a hot, typical summer day, the outdoor temperature ranged around 100 degrees so I turned the thermostat way down to try to cool of my somewhat warm room.  I was never able to get the air to go below 75 (I like it around 69). I mentioned it to the hotel desk staff and it seems it is one of those situations they are aware of and can't do much about as the units simply don't pull the hot air for the size of space. Other than that, it's hard to complain about Holiday Inn Visalia. Some bonuses are the decent size swimming pools.  The restaurant was pretty good when I ordered a nice soup and salad at a reasonable price. I would probably choose Marriott first because of the air conditioning situation, especially, but I think most people would find Holiday Inn absolutely worth the money.


If you decide to visit the Sequoia National Park Cave Tour to Crystal Cave (only seasonally, check the park web,) another home base a bit further away is Fresno, 90 minutes by car. Fresno is one of those places that people don't often consider a real tourist stop, but I happen to like cities such as Fresno. On another Sequoia and parks visit, I stayed in Fresno rather than Visalia and booked a hotel room over the internet. There are so many great hotel choices in Fresno that if you ever find the Visalia hotels booked (does happen sometimes), check out these favorites such as Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. With over 60 hotels to choose from in Fresno, you can select a more expensive chain hotel or cheaper, but the prices are often quite affordable, so even the Radisson has some great room rates. Another one I'd recommend is La Quinta Inn and Suites Fresno Riverpark. Close to shopping, dining, entertainment, museums and the government buildings, La Quinta was a very clean place, had great beds and was affordable. I paid under $100, which was perfect!


You may be coming to this California cave exploring adventure trip via Bakersfield (2 hours or 114 miles), or even Yosemite National Park, which is 138 miles away via the Wawona park entrance. And LA., surprisingly, is closer to the park than it is to get there from Sacramento or Oakland, which takes around four-and-a-half hours by car or 250 miles. Los Angeles is just under four hours.


Another cave to enjoy and one of my favorites in the entire state is...




 
 


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