Within a radius of less than ninety minutes driving are desert oases, fan palm tree packed canyons, and a National Park full of the spikiest trees you will ever see. For an easy foray out of town, start with a short drive north. Once the watered lushness of the desert cities disappears from your rear view mirror, you realize how harsh, barren, and empty this landscape is. Ahead on the dusty brown hills, veiled in a shimmer of heat, is a lonely patch of green, the Thousand Palms Oasis. Imagine how welcome that sight would have been to the early travelers braving the desert en route to the west coast...read more »
Featured Destination - Moss Landing
It is always a wonderful surprise to discover a small village with a population of approximately seven hundred where the only B&B turns out to be not only in an extraordinary location but is also a work of ingenious creativity. Such was the case when we visited Captain's Inn located in Moss Landing, California situated on the eastern shore of Monterey Bay at the gateway to the Elkhorn Slough between Monterey and Santa Cruz.Moss Landing may be very close to Monterey in terms of driving distance however, it certainly is worlds away from its neighbor to the south....read more about Moss Landing
Featured Destination - Mill Valley...the charming village of Mill Valley, where narrow tree-lined streets boast a multitude of delightful shops and up-scale restaurants that all exude a quaint and ineffable feel. Protective hills border its three sides, offering endless meandering trails for avid hikers and cyclists, and the presence of hovering, heaven bound Mount Tamalpais creates a very Alpine-like village feel. Founded in 1834 by Irish-born, John Reed, the head of this narrow and heavily-wooded valley was a prime location for his thriving saw mill. Today, just a few blocks from the popular town square, the restored mill still stands amidst Old Mill Park's grove of redwoods. Other historical keepsakes include the 1902 Outdoor Art Club structure, that still continues to act as a meeting site for town events and, since its launch in 1905, the annual Dypsea Race. Every year, fifteen hundred participants run this historical seven miles of madness from Mill Valley's town square to Stinson Beach. (via the 2600 vertical feet of Mount Tamalpais!)....read more about Mill Valley, California
Featured Destination - Carmel and MontereyCarmel which is famous for having had Clint Eastwood as mayor and has also been the residence of people like Doris Day, Upton Sinclair, Henry Miller and Jack London, is on the Monterey Penninsula and is surrounded by areas like Monterey, Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Point Lobos, Pacific Grove, Salinas And Seaside. Tour 17 Mile Drive, golf at some of the world's best golf courses, visit Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, drive down the Big Sur coast, go whale watching in Monterey Bay and see Gray, Humpback and Blue Whales, camp at one of the many beach, river or redwood country campgrounds, go scuba diving, fish the waters off the penninsula for salmon, tuna, halibut, rockcod and more or just sit around and relax....read the entire article about Carmel and Monterey, California »
Featured Destination - Lake ArrowheadAside from the obvious charms that come with a mountain lake plopped in the middle of a scenic forest, Lake Arrowhead has a fun business district called the Lake Arrowhead Village. Not your typical shopping center, the village somehow combines high-end boutiques with tourist shops and carnival rides to appeal to just about any type of person who may visit. It's a five-minute walk from Lake Arrowhead Resort to the village, where you can also find several different eateries and, in the warmer months, listen to live music in a fairly elaborate concert area. While we were there, the Rockit Scientists kept the crowd rocking as they swigged micro-brews just footsteps from the dance floor.
To get an even better view of the lake, visitors can board the Arrowhead Queen, a Louisiana-style paddle-wheeler that takes guests on a 50-minute tour of the lake. On a busy summer day, you'll see lots of small boats, many of them towing water skiers. And, it's fun to look at the expensive waterfront homes and imagine what it would be like to have a lake in your backyard.
There also are plenty of hiking trails in the Lake Arrowhead area - trips of various lengths and degrees of difficulty. The lake is at 5,100 feet elevation and is nestled in a forest of pine, cedar and dogwood that give way occasionally to excellent views of the San Bernardino Mountains. A very easy trail to start with is at the Heap's Peak Arboretum, easily accessed on Highway 18. This half-mile interpretive trail identifies some of the 2,000 species of flora and nearly 400 species of fauna found in these picturesque mountains. You'll enjoy views that offer a reminder of why the Lake Arrowhead area has been chosen as a backdrop for so many motion pictures. There also is a special kids trail that shows what various animal paw prints look like.
Of course there are still more trails just a few miles further into the mountains where the Big Bear Lake resort community offers many recreational activities of its own. There are dozens of lodging facilities in the area as well - many more than Lake Arrowhead - creating a different atmosphere and experience altogether. Big Bear has more activities and lodgings; Arrowhead is quieter, more residential and quite a bit easier to reach from Los Angeles....read more about Lake Arrowhead, California »
Featured Destination - Palm SpringsPalm Springs, California is located just about 110 miles east of Los Angeles and is one of the most popular desert resort towns in the United States. The population is just about perfect with under 50,000 residents and along with eight neighboring cities including Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella makes up the Palm Springs area....read the entire article about Palm Springs, California
Featured Destination - Monterey CaliforniaJust getting to Monterey is an experience in itself. For most of your trip you will have California's gorgeous coastline on one side and beautiful forests and mountains on the other. In my opinion, the best way to visit Monterey is by car. Just driving through the Monterey Peninsula, with all of it's beautiful scenery and old Spanish architecture, can be an experience of a lifetime....read the entire article about Monterey, California
Featured Destination - Santa BarbaraNinty some miles north west of Los Angeles lies the lovely beach city of Santa Barbara, California where you will find some of the cleanest and best tended beaches on the west coast. The city of Santa Barbara which includes Hope Ranch and Montecito has a population of approximately 90,000 (not counting the students who reside at UC Santa Barbara.) yet it hosts millions of visitors each year. The residents of the city are, for the most part, friendly, courteous and helpful, the city is clean and thanks to a well enforced anti graffiti department, virtually free of graffiti. Crime rates are low and the police are courteous and willing to assist you in whatever you need. Whether you are a single traveler, traveling with a friend or spouse or taking the whole family, Santa Barbara is a great destination. There is something for everyone in or near Santa Barbara....read the entire article about Santa Barbara, California
Featured Destination - Lone Pine
Lone Pine, California doesn't look like much at first. It's a dusty desert town of a few thousand, on highway 395, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. There might still be only one traffic light. So what makes it a great vacation destination? .... My wife and I love Lone Pine. Where else in California, or anywhere else, can you - all in one day - go swimming, watch a gunfight, explore caves and rock formations in the desert, then drive up the mountain for a snowball fight? ...read more about Lone Pine, California >>
Featured Destination - San José
Located between the Diablo and Santa Cruz mountain ranges, San José encompasses 170-square miles at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay. It is about 45 minutes south of San Francisco and 70 minutes northeast of Monterey. With nearly 300 days of sunshine, San José registers an average 70-degrees in July and 50-degrees in January. "California casual" is appropriate for daytime and most evening outings. A sweater or light jacket is suggested for evenings, with coats advisable for November through March....read more about San Jose, California >>
Featured Destination - La Jolla
The perfect vacation, La Jolla, Spanish for “the jewel,” will quickly become a precious gem of your heart. Boasting some of California’s most beautiful terrain and attractions, La Jolla (pronounced la hoya) is also the home of exquisite arts, restaurants, activities, and shopping. Just a short drive north of San Diego, you won’t need a passport to visit this exotic paradise...read more about La Jolla, California >>
Featured Destination - Pacific GroveThere are many reasons to visit here: the views of the rocky coastline of Monterey Bay are spectacular, Point Pinos Lighthouse -California's oldest working lighthouse, an award-winning natural history museum, an 18-hole golf course, and Asilomar State Beach and Park. It is also very close to Monterey's Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and California's first outlet center located in the renovated tinnery which supplied the cans for the sardine industry on historic Cannery Row in neighboring Monterey between 1921 and 1946. You will be surprised at the bargains you can pick up at the outlet, as my wife Lily can confirm! Even noble-prize winning author John Steinbeck enjoyed many childhood memories in the area and in fact he used these locations in his novels Tortilla Flat and Grapes of Wrath. It is also the resting stop for Monarch Butterflies that every year flock to Pacific Grove from as far away as 2,000 miles away to escape harsh winter weather...read more about Pacific Grove California
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