Top 10 Summer Family Fun Activities in Nevada County

We are half way through summer…have you made the most of it?  Just a short drive away is a family fun paradise, with so much to do for kids of all ages!  Whether you want to get away from it all or be in the thick of things, Nevada County has you covered.  Here are some great activities that are fun for the whole family:

1. Camping

Inn Town Campground offers tent sites, RV sites, and luxury glamping tents. Photo by Erin Thiem

An oldie but a goodie, family camping trips are making a comeback, and Nevada County has it all!  From primitive camp sites deep in Tahoe National Forest, to glamping at Inn Town Campground a short walk from historic Downtown Nevada City, you can find the camping experience of your dreams right here just a short drive away.  We also have a wide variety of Hipcamp options.  Learn more about camping opportunities in Nevada County HERE.

2. Swimming

The Yuba River has endless swimming holes to enjoy. Photo courtesy of The Union.

Nothing says summer like a day in the water, and Nevada County is filled with opportunities to swim!  Whether you prefer the crystal clear water of the South Yuba River, a day on one of the several lakes in the region, or to lounge by the pool, it’s all here and better than you could imagine.

3. The Nevada County Fair

The Nevada County Fair will take place August 8-12, 2018, at the beautiful Nevada County Fairgrounds.  The theme for 2018 is “Bushels of Fun!”  New this year are goat yoga and a VR exhibit that will take you from the depths of the ocean to outer space!

4. Check Out some Live Music

Guitarfish Daytime stage. Photo by Black Owl Media

Nevada County is full of live music, especially throughout the summer, and kids are always welcome to attend.  In fact, most festivals and events have special activities just to get the kids excited and engaged!  Truckee offers Free Music in the Park every Wednesday through August 29, and The 8th Annual Guitarfish Music Festival is happening July 26-29 at the Cisco Grove Campground near Truckee.  Guitarfish has been referred to as ‘summer camp for music lovers with families’. The Festival prides itself on being one of the true family friendly music festivals on the west coast and this is evident in their ‘Kidsville’ program.  Jerry Bash takes place August 4, at Pioneer Park in Nevada City, and there will be plenty of kids activities to keep the young ones entertained for a delightful day and night of Grateful Dead-inspired music.

5. The Children’s Festival

Photo courtesy of The Union

The Children’s Festival is a one-day Renaissance Faire for children of all ages. It will be held in Pioneer Park on Friday, July 27th. This year’s festival will include over twenty arts and crafts tables, strolling minstrels, face-painters, a bridge-guarding troll, juggling, catapults, chess, medieval fencing, Queen Elizabeth, Pepper the Witch, Pyrate Skool, and Claude – the life-sized mechanical dragon. Children of all ages are welcome and costumes are encouraged!

6. Farmers Markets

Make the market a family affair. Photo from The Union archive

We have Farmers Markets nearly every day of the week in Nevada County, but on Saturdays they are especially fun for kids! The most popular of the Nevada County Certified Growers Markets happens every Saturday from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Historic North Star House, located at 12075 Auburn Road in Grass Valley, which continues through Nov. 17.  At this market, you can tour the historic North Star House, enjoy local live music in the shade, and bring the kids along to create a masterpiece with Children’s Art with Mim Meakin the first Saturday of every month or Metalworking with Jerry the third Saturday of every month.  On Thursday evenings, head to the Grass Valley Thursday Night Market for some fun for the whole family, including a bounce house, face painters, and balloon art for the kids, and area just for teens.

7. See a Movie Under the Stars

Movies Under the Pines 2017. Photo submitted by Jesse Locks

Head to Pioneer Park in Nevada City for the final two Movies Under the Pines of 2018.  July 28 will have a showing of The Karate Kid, and August 18 will be Best of Show.  For the younger kids, there will be two free movies showing at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley coming up July 26 with a showing of Ferdinand, and August 2 will be the final event with a showing of A Bug’s Life.  Movies begin at dusk, and concessions are available beginning at 7:30 p.m.

8. Catch a performance of James and the Giant Peach

Local theater company Sierra Stages is proud to present the musical “Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach” featuring words and music by the Tony and Academy Award-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and book by Timothy Allen McDonald, based on the book “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl. “Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach” plays weekends only August 4 at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.

9. Pan for Gold

Try your hand panning for gold. Photo by Valerie Costa

Grass Valley and Nevada City were built by and for the vibrant gold mining industry.  Docents at Bridgeport invite you to come try your hand and see if you, too can discover gold!  They provide step-by-step panning lessons, share stories about the history of our area, and describe other ways the precious metal was extracted during the California Gold Rush, such as hard rock mining and hydraulic mining.  Gold panning demonstrations at Bridgeport will go from 12-2 p.m. every weekend and holiday through Labor Day, Sept. 3.

10. Go Outside and Play

Bring the boat or rent one and take the kids tubing, fishing, or just cruising around the lake. Photo by Chad Wingo

It’s summer, so get outside and play!  Whether you like biking, boating, horseback riding, fishing, or just exploring the great outdoors, we have so much to do for the outdoor recreation enthusiast.  We also have endless miles of hiking trails, both urban and remote, waiting for you to discover.

So what are you waiting for?