Its agricultural prosperity and well-maintained downtown make Visalia one of the valley’s convenient stops en route to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks or the Sierra Peaks. Bypassed a century ago by the railroad, the city is 5 miles east of Hwy 99, along Hwy 198. Its downtown has old-town charm and makes for a nice stroll.
The original Victorian and Arts-and-Crafts–style homes in Visalia are architectural gems worth viewing on foot. Maps for many interesting self-guided tours are available via the website of the Visalia Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
The main draw in the area is the Kaweah Oak Preserve, about 7 miles east of town. With 324 acres of majestic oak trees, the kind that once stretched from the Sierras to (long-gone) Tulare Lake in the valley, it is a gorgeous setting for easy hikes. From Hwy 198, turn north onto Rd 182; the park is about a half-mile along on your left.