In 1848, gold was discovered on the American River, and everything changed. People rushed to California and mining towns sprang up overnight. The gold mines are long gone but Highway 49 is dotted with old West towns.
To find out where to see the biggest, brightest gold nuggets, read our blog post: "California Gold Rush Museums"
Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels, all styles and price ranges, convenient to fun things to do with kids in the Gold Country: