Old El Dorado

posted in: Family Getaways | 18


We love the small towns off highway 49 and that’s why we actually live in one of the gold mine towns ourselves. 

We spent three adventures days in El dorado. We learned that money never made anyone happy. Well, at least not John Sutter, James Marshall (was the man who found gold in Coloma), or Sam Brennan (sold all tools needed for gold panning/mining and became the first millionaire). All these men had the same goal: get rich; but died poor, alone, or drunk. We can learn so much from these men. Community is so important. When we neglect family or loved ones in pursuit to striking it rich (or anything else) we can be left lonely in the end. I’m so glad that we are spending our days together as a family listening, talking, playing, traveling, learning, and much more.

Did you know that research shows that experience provides more happiness than material goods. I know that this has been true for us. We are all different and like different things. Doing things that you enjoy is key when traveling. We love to see new places, meet new people, learn while we travel, enjoy nature, and have a great time together. We prefer less crowded cities or places. We don’t mind driving a few hours one way to get to our destination because we usually always listen to a good audio book which we check out from the library. What kind of experiences do you enjoy?


Shingle Springs Depot – El Dorado Western Railroad Rides


Have you ever been on a historic Gang Car? They are small (fit up to 6 people in each car), bright yellow, and might be something you’ve never seen before. We felt like we were inspectors checking out El Dorado. The Western Railroad is run by friendly volunteers. Every Sunday (weather permitted) you can enjoy a 30-40 min ride. Tours start at 11am and usually end around 2:30 pm.


Located at 4241 Mother Lode Dr.




After riding the Gang Cars we were ready to grab some lunch. We ate hot dogs, burgers, and fries at Shoestring. Now these aren’t just any plain french-fries. No, they were packed with pastrami meat and cheese.

Located at 1320 Broadway, Placerville, Ca 95667



Olde Coloma Theatre


This small theater was one we were so glad that we got to experience. It was so fun to watch and participate in because they encourage the audience to talk and make noise. Everyone  here is a volunteer and you can tell that they are passionate about the performing arts. This theater has a historic feel to it.  Almost as if it made so many individuals laugh throughout the years and that’s because it has.

Playing now is “All the Worlds A Stage” or ” Hey? Where’s My Script?”. Kids enjoyed throwing aluminum foil balls at the villain and getting all the cast members autographs.     

Located at 380 Monument Rd. Coloma, Ca.

My dress is from Lindy Bop.




The Lotus Inn

We really felt like the gold miners have moved on in search for new gold staying at The Lotus Inn. It’s a quite place and had an old feel to it. We stayed in room 3 and we had a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and a large bedroom.

Located at 1006 Lotus Rd, Lotus, Ca 95651




Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park


James Marshall found gold here. We have done a unit study on gold in the past and have been interested in the gold rush for awhile now. Most of the men who came to Coloma were hoping that they would become rich. They worked hard and long hours in the cold rivers with the hot sun shinning down on them. If you’ve ever done gold panning you’ll quickly see how after 30 minutes your back will become sore.

We participated in the walking  and the gold panning tour. We also ate at the Argonaut Farm to Fork Café.

Girls and I skipped across the bridge not knowing that someone was behind us. 🙂 We were told by the woman who saw us that she enjoyed watching us skip and I blushed a bit.





Ice House Reservoir


Hats anyone??? Last time we spent time in our canoe our noses got sunburned so big hats were in order for this outdoor adventure. We loved this reservoir and spent hours here.  It wasn’t crowded and we were able to see and catch trout here. The trout here are big too. We panned for gold here, swam, played in the dirt, canoed, and fished. It was a great place to relax ad cool down at.




Thank you Visit El Dorado for hosting our trip.

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18 Responses

  1. robin rue

    Oh wow, that sounds like such a cool place to visit! Being from New England, I am fascinated by old gold mining towns like this.

  2. What a beautiful place! It looks perfect for a family friendly getaway. We need to add this to our ‘travel bucket list’!

  3. The gang cars look awesome. Money doesn’t equal happiness, though it seems to become everyone’s main goal in life. Your canoeing looks awesome, I love the water!

  4. What a fun trip! You packed a lot of experiences in a short time. I love nature and that creek has me wanting to see it!

  5. This looks so beautiful. I would love a family trip here. The food looks amazing and the nature surrounding you is just gorgeous.

  6. This seems like a pretty nice place to visit. The food and scenery also looked amazing. Definitely a place to travel for the family friendly.

  7. Going there would be a great adventure for our family. Our fam’s a huge fan of adventures and we’ll always find time for it!

  8. Gosh, what a fun family time! I totally agree, experiences and memories are so much more important than material goods. I’m glad you had such a great time.

  9. reesann723

    What a beautiful place! My family would love to feel like gold miners too! I love your pictures!

  10. I’ve visited nearby before and never realized all of these cute places are in that area. I stayed in Rancho Cordova last time but will have to drive a little further out next time. I enjoy your posts because you are creating such wonderful memories with your family and show them that the time spent together is what is most important!

  11. I’ve visited nearby before and never realized all of these cute places are in that area. I stayed in Rancho Cordova last time but will have to drive a little further out next time. I enjoy your posts because you are creating such wonderful memories with your family and show them that the time spent together is what is most important!

  12. This looks like it was such a fun trip! It looks like a really beautiful place to see.

  13. Your adventure on this place sounds absolutely amazing. I totally love the photos and thank you for sharing your fun trip!

  14. What a fun adventure you all had! Also, I would like one of every food item that you tried—it all looks delicious! 🙂

  15. That looks like a great place to visit. I bet you all had a great time!

  16. Wow, what an amazing family trip. You took so many great family photos and spent a great amount of time exploring the outdoors together!

  17. I always love reading about you latest adventures. It’s nice to see how much you do together as a family.

  18. This looks like such a fun and educational trip! I will have to check out some of these places in my future travels! 🙂

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