15 Exciting Things to Do in Ione

Nestled in the heart of Amador County, Ione is a charming small town in California that boasts a rich history and exciting activities for visitors to enjoy. With its stunning landscapes, delightful local wineries, and fascinating historical landmarks, Ione is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. 

You can have any interest like outdoors or wine, Ione will have something for you. So, let’s dive into 15 fantastic things to do in Ione, California that will make your trip unforgettable!

1. Attend a Special Event at Preston Castle

Preston Castle
Photo by https://www.gocalaveras.com/preston-castle/

Step back in time and immerse yourself in history by visiting Preston Castle, a magnificent structure that once served as a reform school. First operational in 1894, the castle offers guided tours, giving you a glimpse into its intriguing past. 

Throughout the year, Preston Castle also hosts special events like murder mystery dinners and paranormal investigations. The castle is a 3-minute (0.9-mile) drive from downtown Ione, making it an easy addition to your itinerary.

2. Explore Local Wineries and Tasting Rooms

Scott Harvey Wines
Photo by https://www.wine.com/list/wine/scott-harvey/7155-108274

Ione and the surrounding Amador County are renowned for their exquisite wines. Delight your taste buds with a visit to the region’s best wineries. Start with Scott Harvey Wines, located 15 minutes (10 miles) from Ione in Sutter Creek. 

Next, head to Drytown Cellars, a 12-minute (9.3-mile) drive away, to sample their award-winning wines. Finally, don’t miss the chance to explore Tanis Winery, a rustic and charming spot only a 5-minute drive from Ione.

3. Go Shopping and Explore the Charm of Sutter Creek

Sutter Creek
Photo by https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/lifestyle/charming-sutter-creek-makes-great-weekend-getaway/

A 15-minute (10.4-mile) drive from Ione will bring you to the picturesque town of Sutter Creek. Stroll through the historic downtown area, browse local shops, and marvel at the beautiful architecture. Sutter Creek is also home to several wineries and tasting rooms, making it a perfect destination for wine enthusiasts.

4. Shop for Unique Souvenirs in Amador City

Amador Whitney Museum
Photo by https://visitamadorcity.com/

Just 15 minutes or 12.6 miles from Ione, Amador City is another charming town worth exploring. Visit the Amador Whitney Museum to learn about the region’s history and women’s role during the Gold Rush. 

Afterward, take a leisurely stroll through the town’s historic downtown area, where you can shop for unique souvenirs and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.

5. Take a Relaxing Stroll Along Church Street

Church Street in Ione gives you a glimpse into the town’s history. Take a leisurely walk along the street and admire the beautiful, historic churches that date back to the late 1800s. The picturesque scenery and peaceful atmosphere make Church Street (Church St) an ideal spot for a relaxing stroll. And it’s only 12 minutes or 9.8 miles away, so you should have no trouble getting there.

6. Go Fishing or Boating at Lake Camanche

Lake Camanche
Photo by https://www.golakecamanche.com/

Head to Lake Camanche for a fun day outdoors, just 18 minutes (10.8 miles) from Ione. While there, you can use your time to try fishing, boating, or swimming. Pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful surroundings while you dine al fresco. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, hit the nearby hiking trails. You’ll see beautiful views of the lake and its surroundings.

7. Take a Guided Tour of the Kennedy Gold Mine

Kennedy Gold Mine
Photo by https://goldexplorers.com/kennedy-gold-mine/

Travel all the way back to the California Gold Rush Era with a visit to the Kennedy Gold Mine, 14 minutes (9.8 miles) from Ione. This historic site offers guided tours that provide fascinating insights into the mine’s operations and the miners’ lives. As one of the deepest mines in the world, the Kennedy Gold Mine is a must-see attraction for history buffs and anyone interested in the Gold Rush era.

8. Go Rafting or Kayaking at the Mokelumne River

Mokelumne River
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokelumne_River

A mere one-hour or 50-mile drive from Ione will take you to the beautiful Mokelumne River, a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The river offers excellent opportunities for water sports like rafting and kayaking, allowing you to experience the thrill of navigating its rapids. For a more relaxed adventure, consider hiking along the river’s banks. Here, you’ll find picturesque trails and an abundance of wildlife to observe.

9. Play a Round of Golf at Castle Oaks Golf Club

Castle Oaks Golf Club
Photo by https://www.castleoaksgolf.com/book-a-tee-time

Golfers will love the chance to play a round at Castle Oaks Golf Club, located just a 3-minute (1.6-mile) drive from downtown Ione. You can have a fun time at this well-maintained 18-hole course, no matter your skill level. Surrounded by oak trees and rolling hills, this course provides a picturesque setting for a relaxing day on the green.

10. Go Hiking at the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Grinding_Rock_State_Historic_Park

Discover Native American history and enjoy the beauty of nature by visiting the Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, about 30 minutes or 20 miles from Ione. The park has a massive bedrock mortar collection.

The native Miwok people used these mortars to grind acorns and other seeds into meals. Along with exploring the park’s historical significance, you can enjoy hiking trails that meander through serene meadows and lush forests.

11. Bike or Walk the Amador Central Railroad Trail

Amador Central Railroad Trail
Photo by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amador_Central_Railroad

Experience the scenic beauty of Amador County by biking or walking along the Amador Central Railroad Trail. This 14.5-mile trail follows the route of a former railroad line, providing stunning views of rolling hills and oak woodlands. The trailhead is located in Martell, just 7 minutes (4.4 miles) from Ione, making it a convenient outdoor activity to add to your itinerary.

12. Attend Local Events and Festivals

Amador County Fair
Photo by https://california49.wordpress.com/tag/amador-county-fair/

Ione and the surrounding Amador County host several exciting events and festivals throughout the year. Plan your visit around the annual Ione Homecoming Celebration. The celebration has a parade, live music, and delicious food. 

Alternatively, you can visit during the Amador County Fair (13 minutes or 10.7 miles away), held every summer. Enjoy carnival rides, livestock exhibits, and local entertainment during the festival. These events offer a fun way to experience the friendly community spirit that makes Ione such a great place to visit.

13. Experience the Thrill of Zip-Lining at Moaning Cavern Adventure Park

Moaning Cavern Adventure Park
Photo by https://twitter.com/cavernspark/status/1035625019030691840

Head over to Moaning Cavern Adventure Park, about an hour’s or 45-mile drive from Ione, for an adrenaline-pumping adventure. The park offers a 1,500-foot twin zip line, where you can soar through the air at up to 40 mph while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding landscape. 

The park also features guided tours of the impressive Moaning Cavern, where you can marvel at unique geological formations and learn about the cavern’s history.

14. Take a Guided Tour of the Historic Town of Jackson

Historic Town of Jackson
Photo by https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Historic_Downtown_Jackson,_California.JPG

A short 15-minute (10 miles) drive from Ione, the historic town of Jackson is another must-visit destination. Stroll through its charming downtown area, admiring the beautiful architecture and browsing the local shops. While in Jackson, visit the Amador County Museum to learn more about the area’s rich history, from the Gold Rush era to the present day.

15. Go Caving at the Black Chasm Cavern

Black Chasm Cavern
Photo by https://cavetouring.com/about-black-chasm

Located approximately 30 minutes or 21 miles from Ione, the Black Chasm Cavern is a stunning natural wonder that offers guided tours through its spectacular chambers. Admire the unique and rare helictite formations, and learn about the cavern’s fascinating geological history. This serene environment provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Hey, if you stick around the area make sure to check out these other towns:


Ione is truly a hidden gem offering exciting activities and attractions for visitors. From its rich history and charming small towns to its delightful wineries and breathtaking outdoor adventures, Ione has something for everyone. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a long vacation, be sure to include these 12 fantastic things to do in Ione on your must-see list. Happy exploring!

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