Counties Can Have Destination Cache: Placer County Proves It.

When you think destinations, you probably rarely think in terms of counties. There are only a few counties that come to mind as recognizable destinations, and a majority of them are in California: Napa, Orange, Sonoma. Here’s another one you should add to that list — Placer County.

Lots of folks have been to and through Placer County, California, particularly travelers from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Yet many are unaware that they have been there, though the County reaches from the Sacramento suburbs to Lake Tahoe. And there’s another head scratcher. The nearby City of Placerville, known for its Gold Rush history, is not in Placer County, which has interesting Gold Rush sites of its own.

Placer County’s charming towns, beautiful scenery and thrilling adventures along I-80 deserve a closer look. Even if your goal is fresh powder or paddling Lake Tahoe, there is so much to enhance that journey just minutes from the interstate. With this in mind, Visit Placer wanted to determine the best way to enhance and expand the visitor experience to North Tahoe, Placer Valley (Sacramento suburbs), Auburn set among the foothills, and all of the other great spots in between. What connects them all? What do they share? How can one area help advance another?

When you think destinations in Northern California, you likely expect or seek certain experiences when traveling there. You’re in the hunt for that rewarding, relaxing glass of wine or the freshest farm to table cuisine featuring peak season foods all year long. You’re on the lookout for a natural playground with hiking, skiing, or rafting or rich nugget of California history; for sports, competition, and endurance races or just being outside in great weather. Oh, and you want to try out that relaxed, laid back California attitude for yourself. You can find each of those things in different spots in Northern California, but you’re not going to find all of them in a single destination except for that new county on your list — Placer County.

Placer County is where your tense shoulders locked in a seemingly permanent shrug will relax. There are rewards at every turn — from great fruit stands to an innovative craft beer you didn’t realize you deserved to overlooks that should not be overlooked to peaceful nature strolls and rushing adventures just a couple of turns off I-80.

Visit Placer, a county organization with limited budgets, needed a cohesive brand and strategic message to support and enhance better-funded Destination Management Organizations at each end of the County (North Tahoe and Placer Valley) while tying together the diverse county and giving voice to the assets not served by the larger DMOs.

Following thorough research and a strategic positioning process, North Star and Placer County developed creative tools and an implementation plan to accomplish these goals and celebrate peak seasons, peak performances, and natural peaks found in Placer County. Implementation will focus partnerships within the County among organizations and communities but also affinity groups across the West and beyond that would enjoy the Placer County experience.

Now go find your map and reach up to Tahoe and enjoy everything on the way. It may take you longer to get to Tahoe with all the great stuff at every exit. And add Placer County (or just Placer) to your vocabulary and vernacular of counties people are destined to enjoy again and again. You’ll soon be hearing more about this relaxed, flavorful, thrilling place in Northern California where you can enjoy Life at its Peak.