“What kind of people do you think lived in the original Gaslamp Quarter?” my guide asks. Erm, prostitutes? San Diego has always been a port city, and where there are sailors…well, you know. Apparently this is the correct answer. The guide proceeds to talk about the Gaslamp’s salacious history, which is fitting for an area that is home to San Diego’s best nightlife.
I’ve brought the apocalypse to California. On Saturday I woke up to an earthquake in San Francisco, and on Monday I encountered flash flooding in the Sierra Nevada mountains that delayed the opening of the famous Burning Man festival. Given that the end of the world may be at hand, I’m taking what could be my last chance to travel on a summer getaway to California’s best kept secret: Lake Tahoe.
Mention Rancho Santa Fe to someone in San Diego and you’re bound to get a memorable reaction. “It’s where all the golf courses are,” some say. “It’s where all the rich people live,” others claim. “It’s where my favorite spa is,” my brother’s mother-in-law tells me. And it’s that last one that gets my attention. Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa is her favorite place to relax and rejuvenate, and I have a feeling it’s going to be mine, too.
There’s nothing quite like taking a road trip in California. The bright sun, the beautiful coastal scenery along the state’s iconic Highway 1, and the golden beaches make it one of the most popular routes in the world to travel. But there’s one catch. With so many wineries up and down the coast, it can be hard to stay focused on the road. That’s particularly true in Paso Robles.
If you made millions as a media mogul, how would you spend your fortune? Would you buy a private jet and travel the world? Use it to live the life you’ve always wanted? Give it all to charity? If you were William Randolph Hearst, you would build a castle. Hearst Castle.
It has been 10 years since the movie Sideways came out. That makes me feel two things: 1) really old, and 2) embarrassed that I have never retraced the steps of Miles and Jack’s wine tasting adventures in California. But now that I’m in Santa Barbara with Visit California, I have the perfect excuse to head over to the Santa Ynez Valley to follow in the footsteps of Sideways.
Despite growing up in California, I’m sometimes surprised at how little of the state I’ve actually seen. On this trip alone I have visited several new-to-me travel destinations in SoCal, and I’m excited to add another: Santa Barbara. The beautiful beaches, pretty hills, and famous wine country have beckoned for years, and now that I live 5,000 miles away, it only makes sense to visit. Yes. It does.
San Francisco and Los Angeles have always been rivals. Like Sydney and Melbourne, their geographic proximity belies their cultural competition. Having grown up in the former, I naturally side with San Francisco in the perennial debate over which city is superior. But some parts of Los Angeles challenge my belief, and downtown LA is one of them.
I am the only Californian that has never been to Palm Springs. How do I know? Every time I tell people I haven’t been, they raise their eyebrows in disbelief. “You’re from California and you’ve never been to Palm Springs?” they ask. Clearly this is because it is the most amazing place on Earth (Earth being California, obviously). To remedy this situation, I put Palm Springs at the top of my Southern California travel itinerary.
Santa Cruz needs no introduction. The famous city on the Pacific Ocean is known the world over for its great surfing. But my experience with Santa Cruz has always been a bit different. My family had a boat there when I was growing up, and most of my childhood weekends were spent sailing. When we weren’t on the water, we were usually at the beach, leaving a lot of Santa Cruz to be discovered.
Imagine your favorite childhood memory. Picture the sights, the sounds, the smells. Think way back to how excited you were and how magical everything seemed. Got it? Good. Then you’ll understand how I feel to be traveling back to Monterey, California.
California is known for its coast. From the Oregon border to the Mexican one, the state’s beautiful beaches are famous throughout the world. But the towns behind them are just as picturesque, and the prettiest of all is Carmel-by-the-Sea.
When you’re in California, you have to go wine tasting. It’s not just because we have great wines here, it’s because there are wineries all up and down the state. No matter where you are, there will be some vines nearby. In the case of San Francisco, those vines are in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The closest of them are in Los Carneros.
I know San Francisco. We’re old friends, and we go so far back I can’t even remember. But ever since I moved to London, I have found the city increasingly changed. At first the alterations were gradual, but now every time I return, the city’s face looks even more different. This trip is no exception, and I find myself discovering all kinds of new restaurants and sightseeing attractions in San Francisco.