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California Travel

July 10th, 2013 12:14 pm

California is an excellent travel destination because it really does have everything travelers want: excellent weather, beautiful scenery, the glamour of Hollywood and, of course, Disneyland.

If you are planning a trip to California, here are some other places that are well worth visiting:

The first place to visit on any trip to California is the ocean. Whether people are watching from Paradise Cove at Malibu or admiring the windswept views of Big Sur, the ocean provides a great backdrop to any visit to California. Try surfing or boogie boarding at Newport Beach or scuba dive at San Carlos Beach in Monterey. Those who are out to see classic California beach bodies should go to Long Beach.

People who are history buffs will find plenty to enjoy in California: There’s Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, the site of the first Gold Rush that lead to the state’s growth. There are also countless missions through which white settlers first reached out to the Native American peoples.

Those who like their history on the more unusual side should pay a visit to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Arms fortune, had this house built over 38 years, never finishing it because a spiritualist told her the construction sounds kept evil spirits at bay. For a more glamorous look at how the other half lives, visit Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, the home of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. It is impossible to see this complex in one day – there are several tours to choose from.

There is plenty of natural beauty to be seen in California. For starters, visit Redwoods National Park for its huge, ancient redwood forest, Death Valley for its miles of desert, the caves at Lava Beds National Monument or the mountain views of Yosemite or Kings Canyon National Parks. Those who prefer to see wildlife safely confined should visit the San Diego Zoo, the worlds largest with more than 5000 species on display.

Those traveling with children will be pleased to know that there are plenty of amusement parks throughout the state. The most well-known are Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. But there is also plenty of fun to be had at Legoland California, near San Diego, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia; and old-fashioned fun at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Younger children love Funderland in Sacramento. Gilroy Gardens calls itself the nation’s “only horticultural theme park”.

California, with its hot summer weather is ideal for water park fun and there are several to choose from. Wild Water Adventure Park and Knott’s Soak City Palm Springs are the two most well-known water parks in the state.

California wines have become justifiably popular. Did you know that there are more than 2,000 wineries in the state? Be sure to visit the beautiful wine country in the Napa Valley, such as Robert Mondavi Winery.

California Vacation Tips

February 1st, 2013 9:14 am

California’s beautiful weather, sophisticated culture and gorgeous scenery make it a natural destination spot for vacationers from all over the world. The list of possible attractions is endless—from the wonders of Yosemite to the glamour of Hollywood—and travelers can spend a full two weeks there and not even scratch the surface of all the things to see and do. Regardless of where you travel in California, however, it pays to prepare. A few vacation tips can save you a lot of time and grief if you heed them before entering the Golden State.

Distance Is a Factor

California is a big state—nearly 800 miles from north to south, making it larger than some European countries. Seeing all of it entails some travel time, which you should factor in if you want to see the whole state. Traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco takes 6 to 8 hours by car (it’s shorter by plane, though security delays at the airport often make it a wash). San Diego is a good 2 hours from LA, and Yosemite National Park is 3 to 4 hours’ away from San Francisco. If you know what you want to see, factor in the distance between each location, and plan for some driving time.

Public Transportation Is Not a Good Option

While travel by train in California is feasible, and the San Francisco Bay area has an effective and reasonably comprehensive public transit system, California as a whole simply doesn’t have the public transportation structure to make travel that way convenient. There are too many vacation spots that are too spread out to rely on train or bus travel. If you’re arriving in California by some means other than driving, plan to rent a car while you’re here; it will save you a great deal of trouble.

Plan for Alternate Routes

Going hand in hand with the public transit situation is the freeway situation, which is often every bit as bad as you’ve heard. When traveling in a major city like LA or San Francisco, avoid the freeways during rush hour periods and plan for alternate routes to get to your destination. A navigation system in your car can be invaluable in such circumstances.

Go During the Off-Season

One of the benefits of California is that they weather is pleasant all year round. That means you can visit favorite destinations like Disneyland or Alcatraz during the spring or fall—when crowds are lighter—and still have a great time. Look for destinations that are open on weekdays, and see if you can take your vacation sometime other than summertime or the holidays.

Habla Espanol?

While California is an English-speaking state (and you’ll have no trouble there if you only speak English), it also has a substantial Latino population, and the Spanish language remains a prominent part of its culture. It wouldn’t hurt to brush up on a few Spanish phrases when vacationing there.

Plan for Sun

It’s true what they say—it never rains in sunny California, and the balmy weather has a way of catching visitors by surprise. Take sunscreen with you wherever you go, and bring along a broad-brimmed hat to keep the rays away. Your skin will thank you if you end up spending long periods of time outside.