This small California mining town was occupied by thousands of miners only shortly after the discovery of gold in the area. Dozens of banks, saloons, stores and hotels sprang up to serve the miners. Only a few years later the gold stated to dwindle and the miners started digging under the towns buildings. Probably inspiration for the western “Paint Your Wagon”.

Today many buildings exist and it is fascinating to walk the streets and explore the Wells Fargo bank, dentist office, pharmacy, firehouse and even a bowling alley! My kids played for hours around town and cried when it was time to leave.

Columbia does offer gold panning for the kids. They also perform historic reenactments on some weekends in the summer. Check their website for details.

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