About a 45 minute drive from Sacramento is the famous Jelly Belly Factory. The tour is free!!!! You get taken around the factory with a birds eye view of how the Jelly Belly goes from nothing to the fabulous gourment jelly bean I love to eat!!!!! And at the end you get a free small bag of Jelly Bellys (so you get to walk away with some of the great jelly beans even if you don't want to spend the money in the store). You even get to see great pieces of art made out of only Jelly Belly jelly beans!!!
spent in Apple Hill - wandering the apple orchards, sampling local produce (apples, pears, pies, cider, etc.), wine tasting, taking photos ... I once came home with more produce than I usually buy in a visit to the grocery store - fresh, too. During the peak of fall, you can park and ride a bus that goes between all the orchards - there're about 25 of them. It's about a 40 minute drive from Sacramento, and well worth the trip. If you have kids, they'll love it! There's miniature corn mazes, horse rides ..
During the summer go to Nevada City, it's 1 hour and a half from Sacramento. You should see the Yuba River: it's a relaxing place where you can swim, tan, and it's perfect if you are not too expert with free climbing; you can also hike and explore caves. There is also a nudist area.
If you prefer kayaking and rafting, go to the American River, a little bit more far: my favourite is the South Fork!
Sac is a great place to stroll along the river, visit the art museum, or sit with a book at a coffee house but if you want to stetch your limbs, it is also a perfect point of departure for countless daytrips into the hills of California. Head north for an hour to Grass Valley and Nevada City, they are old mining towns. Nevada City has been preserved from its old mining days and if you liked Old Town Sac, you will LOVE Nevada City. It is a charming little 3 street town with great restaurants, low key bars, and fun shopping. Head out of town a little ways to the Yuba river for breathtaking hiking, swimming, cliff jumping and sunbathing. This is where I grew up and no matter where I go in the world, I am always amazed when I go back to my home town. Don't miss it if your anywhere near it.
I doubt that anyone comes to California anymore without going to Napa for some wine tasting, and if you are coming and not tasting, I think you are wasting your trip!!! But, you don't have to fight the hellacious traffic in tiny Napa. Just a half an hour out of Sac is an excellent up and coming wine region known as Amamdor. I will most likely be shunned from the wine community for saying this but, I think Amador is more beautiful than Napa, and (ok I'm really skating on thin ice here)the wine is getting just as good. From Highway 50 East, take Highway 65 towards Jackson and you can follow the signs to some wonderful little wineries that aren't snobby enough to charge you for a tasting yet!! That translates into FREE WINE and what could possibly be more fun than that!?!?! Go here for info: http://www.amadorwine.com/
The thread that holds together California's Gold Country is the aptly named Highway 49. It connects the small, quaint and hospitable towns that sprouted up overnight 150 years ago in the foothills east of here. While the Gold Country suffers from the usual tourist traps, its history is also beautifully preserved.
You’ll see everything from the creek where gold was discovered to the trees where speedy justice was handed out. Take time to visit Calaveras County, where Missouri-born journalist Samuel Clemens wrote as Mark Twain; the hamlets of Placerville and Coloma, towns where the saloons once outnumbered residents; and Nevada City, the jewel of the Gold Country, with its old Victorians and perfectly preserved main drag. Many of the old mine towns still exist, and some of the mines can be visited today.