Our California Fave 5 from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay.

By Posted in - Featured Post on April 9th, 2011

California is America’s playground.  From the neon sex of the Sunset Strip to the knee-deep powder of the Sierra Nevadas, the Golden State offers up a smorgasbord of fun for travelers of all walks of life.  Despite California’s diverse landscape—24 climates in all—and renowned metropolises, there is one drawback to the 31st state; it’s huge, 158,706 square miles to be exact (that’s 411,048 square kilometers for the international travelers).

As the third largest state in the Union, its size can be overwhelming. The sheer size and population of the state can leave travelers looking to capture the local feel perplexed, until now. With multiple flights to Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco, you can easily pick the region you want to spend time in.

Below are our top picks:

Sunset Cliffs Park

Sunset Cliff in San Diego, California. Photo:Ginsbop five best kept secrets about California.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, San Diego

Picture perfect sunsets, great walking/ hiking trials and private beach coves, Sunset Cliffs is the locals reprieve from the city’s crowded summer beaches. A short drive from Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs offers a wonderful place for a romantic afternoon, exploring tide pools or just lazing the day away.  Ample free parking is available in the lots along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard as well as in the surrounding neighborhoods.

 

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

 

Labeled the “eighth wonder of the world,” the aerial tramway is a designated historic civil engineering landmark.  Renovated in 2000 to incorporate rotating tram cars, the 47-year-old tram travels more than 8,000 feet from the desert floor to the evergreens of San Jacinto State Park in about 15 minutes.  Riding the tram is a perfect afternoon activity offering travelers panoramic views of the Coachella Valley, or an excellent steeping off point for year round backpacking activities.  A rustic lodge located at the top of the mountain contains two restaurants and a lounge.

Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl

 

For the price of a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s, you could enjoy one of the many summer evening concerts at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. (For those of you who don’t know that is only $1.)  Set in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Bowl, which was built in 1919, is located only a few blocks from the bustling Hollywood Boulevard.  Concert-goers are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets filled with their favorite bread, cheeses and wine.

For the ultra budget traveler, daytime concert rehearsals for the summer series are free to the public.  Additionally, the Hollywood Bowl and its grounds are open to the public at no charge during the daytime.

Hollywood Bowl

 

Specs Twelve Adler Museum Cafe, San Francisco

 

A hold over from the blue collar, bohemian days of San Francisco, Specs, as one regular and poet described it, is an “easy, funky place.”  Located down a short alley in North Beach at 12 William Saroyan Place, Specs offers cheap drinks as well as crackers and cheese—sliced directly from wheel—for about $3.  The walls are plastered with photos, maritime memorabilia, and other eclectic pieces gathered throughout the bars storied 32 year history.

 

Bridgette & Mike wandering at the Sugarloaf campground in Sonoma.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Sonoma

 

Weekend wine tasting getaways are fun, but accommodations, even at the chain motels, can be costly.  Car camping in Sonoma’s wine country offers a great way to experience the lush valley without the financial hangover.  Sugarloaf Ridge State Park offers campsites for $30 a night.  The campground is a short drive to downtown Sonoma and the surrounding wineries.

 

 

 

 

 

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(13) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Kelsey -

    April 10, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Great post! I wish more bloggers would do posts about their own backyard, like this.

  • Scott – Ordinary Traveler -

    April 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Some great places some of them we’ve been to, but some of these places like the Palm Springs Tramway and the Hollywood Bowl are just hours away. I guess we better get on that. Thanks for mentioning them 🙂

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista -

    April 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Born and raised in California, I can attest to its beauty and myriad of great things to do. The Hollywood Bowl is divine! Before we moved to No CA, we had season tickets there one summer and to this day it is one of my fondest memories.

    If you haven’t made it to the San Luis Obispo area, that is a definite must.

  • Torre (@fearfulgirl) -

    April 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Ooh, I like the sound of the tramway and the museum café. I’ll have to check those out next time I’m in California. Thanks!

  • Lorna – the roamantics -

    April 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    perfect timing! while i’m still here and can travel via chinook 😉 can’t believe i lived in LA for 11 years and have never seen anything at the hollywood bowl. i should probably change that as a traveler! been to specs though- cool place 🙂

    • Bethany -

      April 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Hey we were just commenting on each others blogs at the same time! how funny!! I love Specs – that place is just classic. 🙂@Lorna – the roamantics,