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The Ultimate California Toad Trip You Can’t Miss!

Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure that’s a little bit different? 

Maybe you’ve hit all the usual spots in California and you’re looking for something new and fun. 

Well, get ready for a journey that’s as ribbit-ing as it gets! 

Welcome to our ‘Toad Trip’ which is a one-of-a-kind road trip that takes you across California to explore everything froggy and toady.

Instead of just hitting the typical beaches and tourist spots, you’re on a quest to discover the quirkiest, funniest and most fascinating frog and toad-related places in the Golden State.

This isn’t just any ordinary drive – it’s a Toad Trip and it’s going to be toad-ally awesome!

1. Frogtown

Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr

Frogtown, located at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp, is a must-visit spot for any toad trip. 

It’s known for its famous Jumping Frog Jubilee which was inspired by Mark Twain’s story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”.

This place is hopping with fun every May, on the third weekend of the month. 

Eric Fredericks / Flickr

You can try your hand at frog jumping or just enjoy the spectacle as contestants from all over the world compete. 

Besides the frog festivities, Frogtown also hosts various events like concerts, rodeos and even BMX races throughout the year. 

Jasperdo / Flickr

Located not too far from Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, it’s a beautiful spot with rolling hills and stunning sunsets. 

Don’t forget to check out the Frog Hop of Fame in downtown Angels Camp, where past frog jump winners are immortalized with brass plaques.

2. American River Parkway

The American River Parkway in Sacramento is a 23-mile stretch of natural wonder along the American River. 

It’s a popular frog habitat with species like the Western Toad, Pacific Chorus Frog and American Bullfrog calling it home. 

You can explore the lush habitats where these amphibians thrive, especially in the riverside forests and marshy areas. 

jeimey31 / Flickr

The parkway offers plenty of activities like kayaking, fishing, horse riding and hiking on the scenic Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. 

You can also enjoy fishing, picnicking and bird-watching, with over 200 bird species spotted throughout the year.

Interestingly, this parkway is one of the longest uninterrupted parks in the country, providing a critical habitat for many endangered species. 

3. Toad Hollow

Wayne Hsieh / Flickr

Toad Hollow in Davis, which is just a 20-minute drive from Sacramento, is a quirky and charming spot that’s perfect for a toad trip. 

Located near the USPS on Pole Line Road, it’s known for its unique toad tunnel that helps toads safely cross the road. 

You can explore the whimsical toad village which comes complete with tiny toad houses, a toad bar and even a toad hotel. 

Built in 1995, the tunnel cost around $14,000 and was created to protect toads from traffic when a new highway was constructed. 

The tunnel has become a local legend and even caught the attention of The Daily Show! 

4. Toad Hollow Vineyards

Toad Hollow Vineyards in Healdsburg is a perfect pitstop on your toad trip. 

Located just 20 minutes from Santa Rosa, this vineyard is known for its quality wines that are simply delicious. 

Although the tasting room is closed as they are moving, you can still purchase wine by appointment and enjoy the frog-themed atmosphere. 

This vineyard is fun and quirky and, most importantly, it’s toad-themed.

Toad Hollow Vineyards has been family-owned and operated since 1994, adding a personal touch to every bottle. 

It’s a great spot to stop, relax and sip some wine before our toad trip across California continues.

5. California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is a fascinating stop on your toad trip. 

Located in Golden Gate Park, this museum is known for its incredible exhibits including a four-story rainforest and a living roof with seven hills. 

Frog lovers will be thrilled by the Osher Rainforest exhibit which is home to colorful poison dart frogs and other amphibians. 

gilliangauss / Flickr

You can also join the “Forests, Frogs, & You” program to meet live frogs and learn about their unique adaptations. 

Fun fact: the museum’s eco-friendly design uses recycled blue jeans for insulation and has a fog-based fire suppression system to protect its valuable specimens. 

6. Frog Pond Wetland Preserve

Frog Pond Wetland Preserve in Monterey is a hidden gem in Del Rey Oaks. 

This 17-acre preserve is known for its unique wetland habitat that is home to frogs, deer, hummingbirds and even western fence lizards. 

You can stroll along the easy, 3/4-mile loop trail and listen for the croaks of frogs or spot them hopping around the pond. 

The preserve is perfect for enjoying nature and bird-watching, with beautiful Coast Live Oak and Monterey Pine trees providing a scenic backdrop. 

Interestingly, wetlands like Frog Pond are incredibly rare in California which makes this spot extra special for preserving biodiversity. 

It’s a peaceful place to stretch your legs and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature on your toad trip.

7. Frog Wall

Doc Searls / Flickr

The Frog Wall in Santa Barbara is a quirky stop on your toad trip. 

Located on Paterna Road in the Riviera neighborhood, this unique attraction features a collection of frog sculptures, paintings and objects made from various materials.

It all started in 1989 when a single plastic frog appeared, and over the years, neighbors and visitors have added their own froggy contributions. 

Doc Searls / Flickr

You can walk along the narrow street and admire the colorful frogs or even bring your own to add to the wall. 

The frogs are all placed at waist or chest height which makes them easy to view and enjoy. 

8. Santa Barbara Zoo

Dick Culbert / Flickr

The Santa Barbara Zoo, located in Santa Barbara, is another fantastic stop on your toad trip. 

This 30-acre zoo is known for its beautiful ocean views and diverse animal exhibits. 

Frog lovers will particularly enjoy the FrogWatch USA program which allows participants to help with frog and toad conservation. 

Dick Culbert / Flickr

The zoo also features other fun attractions like the narrow gauge Zoo Train which offers a scenic ride around the grounds. 

With over 500 animals and plenty of frog-related activities, the Santa Barbara Zoo is a must-visit.

9. Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in Agua Dulce is a stunning 932-acre park known for its dramatic rock formations and rich history. 

Located 20-minutes northeast of Santa Clarita, it’s a popular spot for hiking, picnicking and exploring the unique geology of the area.

Frog enthusiasts can explore the seasonal stream that flows through the park which attracts frogs and other wildlife. 

The park is famous for being a filming location for movies and TV shows like ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Blazing Saddles’. 

The rocks were actually named after the notorious bandit Tiburcio Vásquez, who used the area to hide from law enforcement in the 1870s.

10. Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Loren Javier / Flickr

The Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Los Angeles is a must-visit on your toad trip. 

Located in Griffith Park, this 133-acre zoo is home to over 1,100 animals including some fascinating amphibians. 

Frog lovers can explore the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) exhibit, where you’ll find the southern mountain yellow-legged frog and the impressive Sonoran toad. 

Loren Javier / Flickr

The zoo also participates in conservation programs where they breed endangered frogs and release them into the wild. 

The zoo opened back in 1966 and features beautiful botanical gardens with over 800 plant species. 

It’s a great place to learn about amphibians while enjoying a day surrounded by nature and wildlife.

11. Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino is another fantastic stop on your toad trip.

Located in Los Angeles County near Pasadena, this 207-acre estate is known for its extensive library, art collections and stunning botanical gardens. 

While there isn’t a specific frog exhibit, the lush gardens including the Lily Ponds and Jungle Garden provide ideal habitats for frogs and toads. 

sadaqah / Flickr

You can wander through themed gardens like the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, where you might hear the croaks of hidden frogs. 

Fun fact: the Huntington opened in 1919 and houses over 8,000 miniature books, each one about the size of a penny. 

12. Aquarium of the Pacific

Tracie Hall / Flickr

And finally, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is the final stop on our incredible toad trip across California.

This aquarium is famous for its diverse marine life and engaging exhibits. 

Frog lovers will enjoy the “Frogs: Facing a Changing World” exhibit which showcases colorful tropical frogs and highlights California and Baja amphibians. 

smerikal / Flickr

You can also peek behind the scenes to see how the staff care for frogs from eggs to adults and you can even paint your own virtual frog. 

The aquarium is actually home to over 11,000 animals and attracts about 1.5 million visitors each year. 

It’s a fantastic place to learn about frog conservation while exploring the wonders of the ocean.

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Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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