The Rampage Online

Best Summer Vacation Spots Not Too Far From Fresno

The+Las+Vegas+strip.
The Las Vegas strip.

The Las Vegas strip.

Photo by: Stefanie Verdugo Tholen

Photo by: Stefanie Verdugo Tholen

The Las Vegas strip.


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OK, let’s face it. Fresno isn’t topping any prime vacation lists anytime soon.

So with the semester coming to an end and summer already breathing hot air down our necks, it’s time to escape for a little R&R.

Although Fresno may not be a fabulous vacation city, we do have a great location in California. We are in the middle which gives us timely access to a mountainous retreat, a getaway to the beach or even a road trip to the desert for some bright lights and gambling.

One of my favorite California hot spots is Santa Cruz. The first thing most people think of is the famous boardwalk with delicious food to indulge in while taking a break from all the fun boardwalk rides. The boardwalk is a must when visiting, but there is so much more.

The northernmost edge town of the Monterey Bay offers picturesque beaches with gentle waves for surfers of all ranges. There are 14 state parks in Santa Cruz to satisfy your hiking, camping and exploring needs. If you are not the outdoorsy type, then you may prefer to lounge at the Dream Inn and get pampered while sipping on a piña colada poolside.

Speaking of poolside drinks, summer doesn’t feel complete without a road trip to Las Vegas. The road trip usually takes about six hours, or a flight from Fresno to Vegas is about an hour.
Either way, Vegas is a place every college student, of age, should visit to blow off some steam.

With non stop gambling, drinks flowing and nightclubs on every corner, it is very easy to forget about college for a while. Of course, there is more to Vegas than the sinful pleasures of the strip. Plenty of breathtaking canyon views…oh, who am I kidding? I have never been off the strip in all of my trips to Vegas.

I have some very cherished memories of my summer vacations, but the older I get, the more I cherish the tranquil vacation spots. I now enjoy heading up to the mountains to unplug for a while.

One of my favorite spots is Huntington Lake. It is about two hours away from Fresno and the weather is usually 20 degrees cooler than Fresno in the summer. The seven campgrounds that surround Huntington Lake are beautiful and peaceful. You may even be able to witness a regatta race, a fun and exhilarating boating race.

From San Francisco to San Diego and everything in between, California is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. and there is much to explore, even from Fresno.

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About the Photographer
Stefanie Verdugo Tholen, Reporter

Stefanie Verdugo Tholen is 41 years of age, lives in Fresno, California with her husband Tim Tholen and has a 2 1/2 year old daughter named Helena. She was born and raised in Fresno by her parents Joe and Margie, who were married for over 42 years.

She has two older brothers, and comes from a very large Mexican-American family. Stefanie attended San Joaquin Memorial High School, where she excelled in English and Drama. She was in various plays throughout her high school career and graduated with a 3.5 GPA. After high school, she attended Fresno City College and knew immediately that majoring in mass communications was her passion, however, life events led her down a path to working full time at a law firm and she decided to work full-time while trying to complete her college courses.

At the age of 19, she moved in with her boyfriend at the time, (who is now her husband of 13 years) and working full-time became her main focus to continue her status as an independent adult. As the years passed, she continued to take her general education courses in hopes of earning her degree in mass communication, however a full-time paycheck took precedence.

Later in life, she and her husband welcomed their one and only child into the world and life as she knew it changed for the better. She then realized she wanted to return to school to finish her degree and pursue her lifelong passion in journalism with a focus in broadcasting.

She is now in her last semester at Fresno City College, continuing her studies in journalism. She has previously taken Journalism 1, 3, 15, 16, and is currently enrolled in Journalism 11A and 16, to obtain her AA degree and transfer to Fresno State University in the spring. She also enjoys photography, is a member at Community Media Access Collaborative, has been an elite volunteer at Fresno Bully Rescue for the past six years and enjoys Zumba, golf, and spending time relaxing at home with her husband and daughter.

Contact Stefanie at [email protected]

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Best Summer Vacation Spots Not Too Far From Fresno