Spring Time Adventure Brings Blossoms and Big trees

Visalia California, long known as the gateway to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, was recently designated as the very first Certified Autism Destination in the county by IBCCES, a leader in cognitive training and certification. For travelers with autism and their families, this means having the ability to travel with
confidence knowing they will be treated with understanding and compassion.

Visit Visalia, the city’s destination marketing organization, worked with tourism-based businesses throughout the city including hotels, museums and attractions, to undergo specialized training in autism spectrum disorders.
The result is that key tourism attractions as well as 42% of the hotels are now Certified Autism Centers – and the city has been named a Certified Autism Destination.

Here is a springtime Blossom Trail itinerary that families can follow that includes a visit to the nearby Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks as well as provides family-friendly hotels and attractions that are Certified Autism Centers.
At the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, in California’s Central Valley, agricultural fields dominate the landscape. And Tulare County is the most diversified ag producing area in the world. This powerhouse of agriculture puts on a spring-time display of blossoms that attracts visitors from all over the state for a chance to see this amazing display. For Visalia, in Tulare County, the fields that surround the city become awash with color as the trees begin to sprout their floral buds. More than 120 crops grow in and around Visalia and the orange, plum, almond, peach, and apricot trees burst with vibrant pinks and snowy white blossoms each springtime. Almonds, walnuts, blueberries and other fruits and nuts are also preparing for their
annual harvest.
Starting in late February through March visitors can take a drive to see the Blossom Trail for themselves. Whether you are headed to Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Park and want to take a quick detour along the way to view the blossoms or you want to spend an afternoon exploring the orchards and groves at leisure, we have tips to see one of the best blossom trails in California.
Along the blossom trail, visitors can see not only the groves of oranges and orchards of fruit and nut trees, but also small farms and big dairies for deeper look into this region that feeds the world.
Stop along the way to take a tour, visit a petting zoo, or taste olive oil. Visit a farm store, the farmer’s market or a corner fruit stand. Dine in a restaurant where local chefs make the freshest ingredients shine. Immerse yourself in a region where “farm to fork” is not just a tag
line, it’s a way of life.

Blossom Trail

Use the blossom trail map (available for free on the Visit Visalia website) as a starting point for your adventure, then feel free to explore. Because the roads and avenues are on a grid, you can head off the beaten path or take side roads to get the Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Park
and never get too lost. You can start anywhere along the trail, spend as must time as you likr exploring, and view the beautiful blooms along the way. If you are headed to the parks for a visit, take a brief side trip to enjoy the spring blossoms.

Sequoia National Park
For an “off-the-beaten-path” route to Sequoia National Park, head towards Farmer Bob’s World. Follow Route 216 through Woodlake and connect with Highway 198 which goes to the park entrance. This route will take you through Plums, Almonds, Oranges and Pomegranates.
There are more crops that grow along this route but may not be in bloom. If you see a farm stand along the way, stop in and see what’s in season. The Main Squeeze Market, along Highway 198 just before Lake Kaweah is a great place to stop.

Kings Canyon National Park
From downtown Visalia, Highway 63 heads north toward Highway 180 and the entrance to Kings Canyon National Park. For a quick detour and bloom viewing, take Road 120 which parallels Highway 63 to the west. This will take you through orange groves, stone fruit (like peaches) and even olives!

More to do:
If you have time, book a tour at Farmer Bob’s World at McKellar Farms. They are a Certified Autism Center. Their citrus ranch has been family owned for nearly 100 years. They offer wagon tours of the groves as well as educational exhibits to learn more about
the process to get the oranges from the field to your table.
Farmer Bob’s World will also host a Citrus Celebration April 1-8. Along with walking tours the fragrant orchards at peak blossom time, he offers wagon tours, u-pick and fun, farm animals.
Big L Ranch is a fun spot for U-Pick blueberries in season. They also host family friendly events, have canoes and kayaks to rent along the river, and seasonal activities. After a drive along the blossom trail, take the kids to Visalia Adventure Park, also a Certified Autism Center. There are lots of family-friendly activities including miniature golf, Ko-Kart racetrack, and summer-time fun at Sequoia Springs Waterslides.
Imagine U Children’s Museum is the best hands-on space for kids. Also designated a Certified Autism Center, the museum has special sensory-friendly play dates each month.

Tulare County Museum and Arts Visalia are both Certified Autism Centers and offer additional places to explore during your visit. One of the largest native American basket collections on display is at the Tulare County Museum in Mooney Grove Park.

Where to stay:
Visalia has 6 hotels that are Certified Autism Centers. They are: Best Western, Comfort Suites Downtown, Hampton Inn, Lamp Liter Inn, Marriott Hotel, and the Wyndham Hotel. Travel throughout California:
If you plan to travel to other areas of California, follow our California Autism Road Trip. Each of the attractions listed are Certified Autism Centers and make a great stop on a California road trip. From the newly opened Sesame Place in San Diego, to L.A.s GRAMMY Museum, to the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Six Flags properties, autistic adventures and their families will have lots to explore.

Accessible travel to Visalia
Visit the National Parks
The Blossom Trail

Thank you for reading our Sierra Rec magazine March 2023 Spring edition. If you liked this content please share it with friends and consider Joining our community and supporting our writers. We offer a great annual donation subscription program for $18 a year with 40% Donated back to local trail programs.



Publisher of Sierra Rec Magazine. An avid hiker and explorer of mountain lifestyle and adventure. I love to discover new trails, hike along rivers and hang a hammock along the shores of a mountain lake. I often great people on the trail and have found some of my favorite places from the advice of people I meet in the Wilderness. I love the sierra and just like sharing what I know.

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