A number of people are scaling down their travel plans this year from international destinations to domestic destinations. Here are eleven reasons you should consider a visit to California in your travel plans.
- – John Muir was right to propose the preservation of this amazing piece of real estate. It is possible to have travel very wide and very far from this valley carved through granite cliffs and still decide that this is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
San Diego Wild Animal Park
- – The San Diego Zoo would be a common choice of one of the best zoos in the country but for my money, the wild animal park north of San Diego is a better destination. I have been on safari in Tanzania and no zoo that I have visited comes close to that experience but the wild animal park comes the closest.
- This former island prison off the north coast of San Francisco offers a great view of the San Francisco skyline and its famous Golden Gate bridge. In addition, the self-guided audio tour provides a fascinating look at the history of “the rock”. The audio tour is narrated in many parts by former guards or prisoners.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
- – Tourists have been coming to Monterey and Carmel in great numbers for years before the construction of the celebrated aquarium on Cannery Row (made famous by local son John Steinbeck), but the old cannery turned fish tank has become the premier attraction on the Monterey Bay peninsula.
Paramount Studio Tour
- – Universal Studios gets a lot more visitors as it is a theme park, but real movie lovers should also consider a studio tour of a working studio that does not include rubber sharks attacking the tram.
Highway 1 – Big Sur
- – One of the best road trips in California is highway 1 between Morro Bay and Carmel by the Sea. The highway clings to the cliffs above the pounding surf of this rugged coast for much of the way occasionally leaving the coast to plunge into the redwood forests near Big Sur. If you are afraid of heights drive this from south to north to stay further from the edge.
- – Trying to pick the best beach in California can only lead to frustration. I have ruled out any beach north of Santa Barbara as too cold (currents in Northern California come south from Alaska). Certainly many of the beaches from Santa Barbara to San Diego merit consideration. Pacific Beach in San Diego is my favorite beach for actually getting into the water and for hanging out at a beach town, but Malibu, Santa Monica, and Long Beach are also worth considering.
- – William Randolph Hearst imported entire ceilings and walls from buildings in Europe to build his mountain top retreat above San Simeon on the rugged California coast. He had an indoor pool inlaid with gold that ended up being popular only with the servants.
- – No trip to California would be complete without stopping at one of California’s wine regions. It is difficult to find part of California that does not have a winery these days but some of the oldest wineries can be found in the picturesque Sonoma Valley north of San Francisco.
Sequoia National Park
- – There are two different types of redwood trees in California. Coastal redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and sequoia redwoods are the largest trees in the world (California also boasts the oldest trees in the world which are Bristle Cone pine trees). The largest of the sequoia redwoods can be found in Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains.
- – For more than 50 years this magical land has claimed to be the happiest place on earth and many of the devoted followers of Mickey Mouse would agree with those claims.