Sailor Bar by Michelle McDaid in Fair Oaks, California

The Sacramento area is split between two rivers: the American River and the Sacramento River. Much of the recreation in the area centers around the rivers, with hundreds of miles of bike and walking trails lining both. Every river side community has it’s own inlets and parks with their own personality. Some are well-equipped county parks with ample parking, picnic tables and even some sandy beaches. Others are nothing more than trails hidden at the end of a residential street, dropping you down to the water. Sailor Bar is the jewel of Fair Oaks, providing a boat ramp for canoes and fishing boats to access the American River and miles of walking and bike trails with beautiful views.

Name:Michelle McDaid

Photographer and freelance writer.


It sounds trite and I’m sure everyone and their mother is here for this exact reason: adventure and travel. I’m just obsessed with exploring new places, new cultures, places that people haven’t been before or that they overlook.

Tell us about Fair Oaks:

The Sacramento region is the relatively overlooked capital of California, a poor cousin to San Francisco to the West and Los Angeles to the South. What it lacks in obvious glamour it makes up for in physical beauty. Known as the City of Trees, the region boasts an interesting mix of pines and palm trees, a little bit Pacific Northwest and a little bit SoCal. But most of all, it’s a great place to bring up a family with housing that’s inexpensive by Californian standards and a ton of fantastic places to take your kids for explorations, especially during summer.

A perfect day?

A hike and picnic by the river followed by a quick clean-up to head downtown to one of the new bars and farm-to-fork restaurants for a delicious meal.

What is the best thing about Fair Oaks?

It’s an inexpensive place for families to enjoy the Northern Californian outdoors.

What is the worst?

No beaches. Everyone wants a beach when they think of California. But we’re only 90 minutes from the coast!

What would be surprising about this place to an outsider?

How beautiful much of Sacramento is. It has a reputation for being a bit seedy but the reality is that much of Sacramento is covered with trees, gently rolling hills, river trails and natural beauty.

Who are three of your favorite artists?






























Photographer: Sam Abell
Band: The 1975
Writer: Elizabeth Gilbert


Name:Michelle McDaid

City:Fair Oaks

Favorite place to eat:

Sunflower Drive In. Eat the most delicious nut burgers for miles, sitting on wooden benches in the company of crowing roosters.

Favorite place to drink:

Dad’s Kitchen. Great beers and cocktails and an awesome family-friendly patio space to eat delicious, homey entrees like meatloaf and pork chops.

Favorite shop:

Moth Hole consignment boutique.

Local Tip:

Every Thursday evening, June through August, there are free concerts in the park in Fair Oaks historic village.

Must Do:

Walk the bike and hiking trails by the river, crossing the river over the historic Fair Oaks Walking Bridge, built in 1901, where there are beautiful views of the river and surrounding bluffs.