In the heart of California lies a quaint town named Angels Camp known for its Old Western architecture and culture.
This town, part of the Calaveras County in northern California, is home to roughly 3,000 inhabitants who are mostly descendants of the pioneers who thrived during the Gold Rush era.
The town is specifically situated along Highway 49, and it’s an excellent destination for day trips and short excursions with the family.
The town has an interesting story on how it was founded.
During the Gold Rush era, a shopkeeper decided to put up business in the area to offer miners their needed supplies.
His business did very well that more than 4,000 miners decided to make camp there and eventually settled down in the area that ultimately gave birth to the town.
Furthermore, Angels Camp is also known for being one of the places where famous American writer and humorist Mark Twain stayed.
Because of Twain’s short story, Angels Camp was put on the map of the United States.
Every year, the town celebrates two exciting festivals to honor Twain’s contribution to Angels Camp.
Angels Camp’s attractions are about history, nature, and heritage.
If you want to immerse yourself with the locals and experience its unique old western culture, you should head to its historic downtown.
Or perhaps visit its museums or grab a bottle of wine in one of its wineries.
Getting to Angels Camp is pretty easy.
It’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Francisco and a two-hour drive if you’re from Sacramento.
So, here are the 15 best things to do in Angels Camp to get you excited.
Celebrate the Calaveras Frog Jump
This town festival inspired by Mark Twain has been happening since 1928.
Every third weekend of May, people across Calaveras County converge in Angels Camp to celebrate the festival.
Twain’s well-known book, ‘The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,’ inspired the whole festival in Angels Camp.
Today, the festival is still being celebrated to cherish Calaveras’s tradition and commemorate the story that Twain wrote during his heydays.
The festival’s main highlight is the frog jumping contest, wherein participants can get their bullfrogs to jump at a certain distance.
Aside from this activity, there are dozens of food stalls, entertainment, and other activities lined up during the festivities.
Learn Rich History at the Angels Camp City Museum
The Angels Camp City Museum is a great place to start your tour around the town.
It’s the best place to immerse yourself into the town’s rich history and backstory.
This museum particularly offers you a lot of interesting history about the California Gold Rush.
You’ll surely have the entire day exploring and learning history in the museum that covers more than three acres, formerly the Angels Mine that operated back in the 1850s.
The entire museum spans out four buildings.
It features a vast collection of artifacts, old wagons, furniture, paintings, sculptures, and the famous Carriage House.
The Angels Camp City Museum is situated at 753 S. Main Street (Highway 49).
Score a Hole-in-One at the Greenhorn Creek Resort
Despite its small-town appeal, Angels Camp is home to a beautiful, top-notch golf course, the Greenhorn Creek Resort.
This championship golf course was the product of the creative mind of Robert Trent Jones Jr.
This golf course is friendly to golfers of all skill levels, so don’t feel intimidated.
Aside from golf, one of the best reasons to visit this place is the captivating view of Calaveras County’s rolling hills and forested areas.
Furthermore, the Greenhorn Creek Resort is popular for its country club restaurant, the CAMPS Restaurant.
It serves delicious comfort food to golfers and guests, while you can also indulge in its nice selection of fine wines at its cellar room.
The Greenhorn Creek Resort is situated at 711 McCauley Ranch Rd, Angels Camp, CA 95222.
Drink Fine Wines at the Ironstone Vineyards
Calaveras County is not just known for being an integral part of the Gold Rush era; it also boasts some of the best wineries in California.
One of the must-visit wineries in Calaveras County is the Ironstone Vineyards in Angels Camp.
To taste the best local wines, you can head to Ironstone Vineyards’ tasting room at 1184 Church St, Angels Camp, CA 95222.
The entire vineyard spans across Angels Camp and neighboring Murphys.
Ironstone Vineyards boast some of the best and award-winning wines at its tasting room nestled in a beautiful garden.
If you’re planning to have a wine tour in Calaveras County, you can start at the Ironstone Vineyards.
Visit the Historic the Angels Hotel
Mark Twain made this small but very charming hotel in Angels Camp popular.
During his three-month stopover in town, he stayed at the Angels Hotel, wherein he wrote his famous short story.
Twain got the inspiration to write the story upon hearing it firsthand from the townsfolk during his stay there.
Historically, Angels Hotel was a canvas tent built back in 1851 and eventually turned into what it is today.
The Angels Hotel has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places to protect its heritage and history.
Unfortunately, the hotel isn’t operational anymore, but it’s rather a place to revisit history.
The Angels Hotel is situated at 1287 S Main St, Angels Camp, CA 95222, United States.
Join the Mark Twain Wild West Festival in October
The Mark Twain Wild West Festival happens every October to celebrate Mark Twain's relevance to California’s Gold Rush history.
The festival features colorful costumes, delicious food, and exciting games highlighting Angels Camp’s history and Old-Western culture.
This festival is the perfect activity for learning more about Angels Camp’s history and having fun simultaneously.
Roam around the Utica Park
If you’re looking for an outdoor space in Angels Camp, you can head to Utica Park.
It is the town’s lone outdoor recreation area where you can stroll, jog, or bike during the mornings or afternoons.
Utica Park is also the home to the town’s farmer’s market, happening from June to September.
This community park in Angels Camp is where most locals spend their weekends to have a picnic and have quality time with the family.
Aside from the picnic area, the park also has a playground and the essential amenities of a nice community park.
Ultimately, Utica Park is near the town’s best shops and restaurants.
Utica Park is located at 1055-933 S Main St, Angels Camp, CA 95222, United States.
Utica Park is open every day from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm.
Check Out the Calaveras Visitors Bureau
If you’re planning to head further afield in Calaveras County, it would be best if you visit the Calaveras Visitors Bureau.
It’s the best place for all the best and most recommended attractions, restaurants, bars, shops, and places to visit in and out of Angels Camp and the Calaveras County.
The Calaveras Visitors Bureau staff will gamely answer your questions and gladly provide you with a map of the entire county and its attractions.
So, before you outline your adventure in Calaveras County, visit the Calaveras Visitors Bureau at 753 South Main St, Angels Camp, CA 95222.
Stroll along the Historic Downtown Angels Camp
Aside from the museum, you’ll also learn a lot about Angels Camp’s history on its historic downtown while shopping and dining at your heart’s desire.
The Historic Downtown Angels Camp boasts Old-Western Style architecture that you can see on the buildings lining the street.
These buildings now serve as the town’s shops, restaurants, and service centers.
Exploring this area lets you discover what the town has best to offer.
You can visit dozens of shops from antiques, handicrafts, art galleries, clothing, and restaurants.
You can also buy various paraphernalia related to Mark Twain.
You can visit either of these popular shops in the Historic Downtown Angels Camp; Art on Main, Arnold Independence Day Parade & Sierra.
Nevada Arts & Crafts Festival, Brownell Ceramics, Ebbetts Pass Sporting
Goods, Firefall Jewelers Valley Springs, Middleton’s Gold Crown Hallmark,
Murphys Music Company, and Nelson’s Candies.
Dine at the Angels Mexican Kitchen
If you’re craving delicious food in Angels Camp, you can dine in at the Angels Mexican Kitchen.
This restaurant is popular for its authentic Mexican cuisine served fresh and hot daily.
Before you visit Angels Camp’s attractions, you should take a bite of this restaurant’s famous burritos, tacos, and quesadillas.
The restaurant is nearby Angels Camp’s attractions like the Angels Camp City Museum, Greenhorn Creek Resort, and the historic downtown.
Angels Mexican Kitchen is situated at 206 N Main St, Angels Camp.
Buy Fresh Produce at the Angels Camp Farmer’s Market
Locally known as the “Fresh Fridays,” this farmer’s market in Angels Camp features the best locally-produced vegetables, fruits, artisanal food, and freshly-baked treats.
Also, you can buy local handicrafts, wares, and other interesting products you won’t find anywhere else.
Furthermore, Angels Camp Farmer’s Market has a lively atmosphere from the live musical performances from local bands.
The Angels Camp Farmer’s Market happens from June to September, and it’s open every Friday at Utica Park.
Other Things to Do Nearby
After visiting Angels Camp’s attractions and celebrating its famous festivals, there is so much to do outside of town.
You can head to the nearby towns and cities in Calaveras County that are teeming with attractions and exciting things to do.
Here are a few exciting places to visit nearby Angels Camp.
Explore the New Melones Lake
The New Melones Lake is nestled on the southern point of Angels Camp.
This natural attraction is a 13-minute drive or 7.0-miles south of Angels Camp.
The New Melone Lake features one of California’s most extensive water reservoirs that offer an excellent lakeside view.
New Melones Lake is equipped with a full-service marina, a recreational vehicle (RV) campsite, a recreation area, a museum, and a visitor center.
Ultimately, the New Melones Lake is a perfect outdoor destination for hiking, fishing, biking, and wildlife viewing.
Witness the Fun-Filled Calaveras Grape Stomp & Gold Rush Street Faire
Murphy’s locals participate in the Calaveras Grape Stomp Competition every first Saturday in October.
The event is in-line with the Gold Rush Street Faire, which is also celebrated in the town of Murphy, a 10-minute drive or 8.3-miles north of Angels Camp.
The winning pair of the grape stomp competition wins awesome prizes.
Spectating is fun, but it would be greater if you could join the competition as well.
After the grape stomping competition, you can join the street fair that features the best wines in Murphy.
Marvel at the Giant Trees at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park
The Calaveras Big Trees State Park is where you’ll encounter a towering 3,200-year-old sequoia tree.
This natural attraction 23 miles north of Angels Camp is a nature preserve for the giant sequoia trees while serving as an outdoor recreation area for everyone.
This state park was primarily designed to be accessible, fun-filled, and available for all seasons.
Aside from getting awed with the giant sequoia trees, you can hike on its scenic trails and come across local wildlife.
Uncover the Underground Beauty of the Moaning Cavern Adventure Park
Roughly 11-miles from Angels Camp leads you to the beautiful Moaning Cavern Adventure Park.
This natural attraction in Vallecito, California, features an extensive cavern to explore.
This underground beauty is perfect for caving adventure.
You’ll come close with beautiful limestone walls, stalactite, and stalagmite formations.
You can join the rappelling activities or try its zip line if you want a more exciting exploration.
The Moaning Cavern Adventure Park is 5350 Moaning Cave Rd, Vallecito, CA 95251, United States.
Aside from being Mark Twain’s setting and inspiration for his famous short story, Angels Camp has more to offer.
This northern California town calls for a laid-back weekend getaway with your friends or family.
After you’re done visiting the town, you can further explore other hidden gems in California that are surely worthy of your time.
So, bookmark this post if you plan to visit any of the attractions listed above.