Highway 99 Road Trip Stops: Parks, Food, Treehouses & Gardens

The long stretch of road between Bakersfield and Sacramento is not a sparse as Highway 5 on the other side, but it still is one of those roads that most people try just to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. I have driven it so many times that I have found a lot of spots for both adventures and food, if you are looking to see a few new places on your next drive then consider checking out a couple of my recommendations and providing your own in the comments. This guide is from South to North starting in Bakersfield and ending in Red Bluff.

Details

  • 424 miles long
  • Runs from Bakersfield to Red Bluff

Bakersfield

As the first main city on the guide, I usually am hungry when coming through here from Southern California. I have been to a lot of the city’s restaurants and there are quite a few good ones, here are a few of my recommendations.

Johnny Garlics

Johnny Garlics-5

This spot is famous because of Guy Fieri, but it stands on its own as a good burger and fries place. Be sure to try the bacon, mac and cheese burger if you go.

Lengthwise Brewery

Highway 99-1

If you are a fan of beer, then Lengthwise Brewery is a great stop on your trip. They have an extensive collection of beers they brew on site and a lot of upscale pub food that is better then you would expect it to be.

  • Read about it
  • Location: 6720 Schirra Ct, Bakersfield, CA 93313

Moo Creamery

Moo Creamery-5

Moo Creamery is one of the most popular spots in the city, so know that it can be busy if you go during the lunch rush. They have a wide assortment of great milkshakes and crazy burgers to go with it. I like this restaurant a lot, and you can read more about it here.

  • Read about it
  • Location: 4885 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93309

Salty’s BBQ

Saltys BBQ-2

If I had to pick one spot for a quick meal, I would choose Salty’s. This BBQ joint would be good in the heart of Los Angeles, so it is fantastic along Highway 99. It’s a walk up to the counter type place, so it doesn’t take too long to get your food, and the wait is worth it.

  • Read about it
  • Location: 9425 Rosedale Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93312

Kingsburg

Kingsman Jail 9

As the first spot on this list for a unique attraction, Kingsburg is a city that has been around for over a century. The city itself has a small historic jail you can walk through, a water tower that is painted to look like a teapot and a cute downtown. It’s a good spot to get out and stretch your legs on the drive.

Sun-Maid Raisins Store

Sun Main Store 10

This is one of those spots that is a little strange but that I thought was impressive. The processing plant for the SunMaid Raisin company has a full store with lots of samples, ranging from their raisins to their candies. They also have the world’s largest raisin box, so I mean it is worth the trip just for that right?

  • Read about it
  • Location: 13525 S Bethel Ave, Kingsburg, CA 93631

Bravo Farms

Bravo Farms 9

Both the 5 Freeway and Highway 99 have a Bravo Farms on them and both are fantastic spots to stop with the whole family. This one has all sorts of antiques you can purchase, animals you can feed and a seven-story treehouse you can climb. It is somewhere you can easily explore for an hour. I like stopping here if I don’t need to get to my destination too fast as there is a lot to see.

Colonel Allensworth State Park

Allensworth State Park-13

This state park is pretty far off the highway (about 20 miles), but it has a unique history that makes it an interesting stop. It was a town created by a seasoned African-American general who designed it to be an African-American only town at the turn of the century. It lasted for a while before the water situation made it hard for the city to continue. Now it is a park that preserves the houses and history.

Fresno Underground Gardens

forestiere underground gardens-14

The Underground Gardens are the best stop in all of Fresno in my opinion. Essentially the gardens were created by one man who envisioned an impressive place for Fresno residents to escape underground when it was hot. It never actually became that, but it did become a garden where he grew all sorts of fruit, some that he even grafted together. You can still tour the vast underground labyrinths that he created to this day, read more about it here.

Merced Snow Tea

Highway 99-2

If you want some food that you can Instagram (just being honest, you know you do it), then be sure to check out Snow Tea in Merced. This spot serves these crazy toast mountain concoctions, some with fruit and some with French macaroons on them. It’s like a makeshift toast box with grilled honey toast inside and ice cream/candy on top. Do note that it takes 30 minutes to make this so call ahead if you want to walk in and eat one right away.

  • Location: 1794 W Olive Ave, Merced, CA 95348

Flip’s Burgers in Stockton

Flips Burgers 2

This fun, drive thru burger joint in Stockton has its share of awesome, greasy burgers. I always love stopping by to get fried mushrooms and a banana Nutella milkshake. Yep, banana Nutella, what more do you need to know?

Lodi and Elk Grove

I haven’t been to either of these so tell me what you recommend in the comments!

Sacramento

Tower Bridge-1

Of course, it is too hard to tell you what to do in Sacramento in this post, so head over here where I have all of my favorite Sacramento recommendations.

Oroville

Lantrip’s Ashtray Museum

While I haven’t been to this spot myself because it is closed the few times I have driven by, this museum has over 10,000 ashtrays. Yes, it is is not for everyone but I can’t wait to finally visit it!

  • Location: 1931 Arlin Rhine Memorial Drive, Oroville, CA

Feather Falls

Highway 99-3

This area is a decent way off Highway 99 but it is one of the better waterfalls in Northern California. When it is flowing strong it is a sight to behold at over 410′ feet tall. The falls are accessed by a 9.5 mile hike but it is amazing if you have the time to do it.

Chico

Honey Run Bridge

Honey Run Bridge-1

Before you get into the city of Chico, you should take a short detour and head up to this amazing covered bridge. I love bridges, and I have even written about my favorite ones here, so this is something I recommend you see. You can’t drive thru it anymore, but you can walk into it and take pictures below as well.

Sierra Nevada Brewery

Sierra Nevada Brewery 18

As one of the largest craft breweries in the entire United States, Sierra Nevada is a must stop for beer lovers. The brewery has a full restaurant, tour (call ahead to get on one) and a company store. Even if you are not a beer drinker, it is still a fun spot to see with its picturesque copper vats.

National Yo-Yo Museum

yo yo-1

This small little room in the back of a store called “Bird in Hand” is the official National Yo-Yo Museum. It has all sorts of famous yo-yos from the history of the “sport” as well as videos playing showing all of the crazy tricks people can do on their yo-yos. I found it to be a fun quick stop and I was impressed with the talent of these people.

  • Location: 320 Broadway St, Chico, CA 95928

Red Bluff

This is the end of Highway 99. I have been to Red Bluff a few times and it is a nice little town, but I do not have many recommendations for it. If you head up to Redding be sure to stop at the Sundial Bridge though.

So there you have it, my guide for some of the best stops along Highway 99. Watch out for the next few weeks when I do the same thing for Highway 5.

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Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Cornelius

    Wow! You must have some really good foodie friends.

  • Claudia

    Love these types of posts, we always try to find fun spots to stop at when traveling with kids. Love Bravo Farms. Keep up the good work 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment and I am glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Dean Ross Smith

    For travelling through Bakersfield look for the Tam O’Shanter or one of the Italian restaurants such as Urrichio’s, Rosa’s or Sorella. Or Noriega’s or Woolgrowers or Pyranees Cafe for Basque food. Or there’s a bunch of great Mexican restaurants too….

    • Thank you for the suggestions, I will be sure to check out a few of these on my next drive through the area!

  • Autumn Siglar- Hudson

    Elk Grove has one of the best Thai restaurants in the Sacramento area,that I have found. Thai Chili located at 8696 Elk Grove Blvd, which is within the first mile after exiting the freeway. It’s definitely a place to try if your going to be in Elk Grove.
    If Thai is not your thing they have a fantastic, authentic Italian deli. The Italian Delicatessen located at 9020 Elk Grove Blvd, it’s about 4- 5miles after exiting the freeway in the heart of old town Elk Grove.
    There is limited seating, about 4 seats outside so it’s more of a take out place. There’s wonderful Park close by to enjoy the yummy food.

    • Thanks for the comment, those are great recommendations!