Top 5 Tuesday: California-cation
After closing the book on yet another sweet summer and with cooler fall temps quickly rolling in, it’s no surprise we have our sights set on the west, where California spoils its residents with summer weather year-round. With a couple of thunderstorms here and there, the cloudy days drop temperatures to only as low as 50 degrees on a winter day. Even then, a light sweater is enough to keep you warm. With 840 miles of beautiful and extremely diverse coastline stretching from “NorCal” to “SoCal,” California is the ideal place to shake that end of summertime sadness.
1. South Lake Tahoe
California’s not all Hollywood and vineyards and Nevada’s not all casinos and deserts. Straddling the California-Nevada state line and perched high in the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is clearly a place of infinite beauty that attracts millions of visitors each year. Yielding breathtaking views across the enormous crystal-clear sapphire blue lake, there are boundless opportunities for the perfect photo op. Not far from the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe plays host to several world-class ski resorts, hundreds of miles of hiking trails and Vegas-style casinos. With year-round ways to play, anytime is the perfect time for a trip to Lake Tahoe.
2. San Francisco
A postcard-perfect city, there is so much to see and experience on the streets of San Francisco. Located at the tip of the peninsula between the Bay and Pacific Ocean, Frisco is a place full of natural wonders and diverse flair. This coastal city offers a variety of outdoor adventures including sailing charters, whale watching trips and kayak excursions. Yes, the streets may be steep, very steep, but you will be rewarded every step of the way with beautiful Victorian houses, cute little cable-cars and impressive architectural prowess, such as the striking Golden Gate Bridge. Known as one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the US, everybody can feel at home in San Francisco.
3. Los Angeles
Is there another city on earth that is within a reasonable driving distance from the desert, snow-capped mountains and the beach? Los Angeles is perhaps one of the most vibrant, surprising and beautiful cities in the world- surprising in that it’s hardly a city at all, but rather a collection of “micro-cities” and communities (Downtown, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Pasadena, the many canyons and so on.) You can take a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard to Grauman’s Chinese Theater and check out all of the celebrity handprints and footprints or spend the day window-shopping on twisty Rodeo Drive. There’s fun to be had for the entire family at one of L.A.’s theme parks. Disneyland, most commonly referred to as the “happiest place on Earth,” is the original flagship to all the Disney theme parks. Located in Anaheim, visitors can enjoy amusement rides for all ages, meet characters from favorite Disney and Pixar movies and experience musical entertainment. Don’t forget to have your picture taken in front of the Hollywood sign and swing by In-N-Out, a California staple, for a Double-Double and Animal Style fries- trust me on this.
4. Palm Springs
The beach isn’t the only place with sun and sand! More sophisticated than Vegas, more laid back than Los Angeles, Palm Springs is one of those places that looks awfully good to an awful lot of people this time of year. From the challenging Cactus to Clouds trail, to the relative walk-in-the-park vibe at Palm Canyons Preserve, Palm Springs is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream during the cooler months. Those who prefer to be a bit more light on their feet can ride the famed Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which ascends two and a half miles up Mt. San Jacinto, stopping at 8,516 feet above sea level to give visitors the chance to marvel at the snow covered peaks. Joshua Tree National Park, only a short drive away, also has many scenic hiking possibilities. Palm Springs offers an oasis of contemporary culture and a vast array of year-round activities in the midst of an otherwise desolate desert.
5. San Diego
If you’re looking for a vacation that lacks only one thing, humidity – you’ve found your destination in San Diego. With year-round sunshine and comfortable temperatures, San Diego is classified by 70 miles of immaculate coastline, rocky cliffs, and stunning reefs. Go kayaking in the La Jolla caves, surf in the paradise that is Pacific Beach, or take your sweet time sailing along in Mission Bay- the options are endless. Looking for a break from the beach? Stop by the San Diego Zoo, plan a visit to Birch Aquarium, or take in the sights from high atop the Ferris Wheel at Belmont Park (a locals favorite). If you are an animal-lover who enjoys outdoor recreation, in addition to appreciating the best weather year-round, you should stop reading this blog and start planning to trip to San Diego.
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