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Top 16 California Destinations

August 06, 2012

 

  Best places to travel to in California

Planning a trip to California? Doing a California road trip or just a vacation or get away? Need tips from a native? There are endless places to choose, as it is a magnificent state, bigger than most countries. Out of the 44 countries on 5 continents that we have been to on our open ended world tour these last seven years, California still rates as one of the most beautiful in the world.

“An afternoon drive from Los Angeles will take you up into the high mountains, where eagles circle above the forests and the cold blue lakes, or out over the Mojave Desert, with its weird vegetation and immense vistas. Not very far away are Death Valley, and Yosemite, and Sequoia Forest with its giant trees which were growing long before the Parthenon was built; they are the oldest living things in the world. One should visit such places often, and be conscious, in the midst of the city, of their surrounding presence. For this is the real nature of California and the secret of its fascination; this untamed, undomesticated, aloof, prehistoric landscape which relentlessly reminds the traveller of his human condition and the circumstances of his tenure upon the earth."  Christopher Isherwood

It's hard to limit it to just 16, but as a traveling family from Caliornia, here are our top 16 picks:

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” Jack Kerouac

SAN FRANCISCO

BIG SUR

YOSEMITE

LAKE TAHOE

WINE COUNTRY

MENDOCINO COUNTY

THE BATHS AT ESALEN

SANTA CANTALINA ISLAND

ASILIMAR

HEARST CASTLE

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

LAKE ARROWHEAD

SANTA BARBARA

LA JOLLA COAST

CAPITOLA/SANTA CRUZ

MONTEREY


“It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over.” Mark Twain

There are so many amazing places in California, more than one visit is needed, but this will give you a good start. I've lived in both San Francisco and Los Angeles for many years so have enjoyed the delights of both northern and southern California ( which are almost two different worlds). What are your favorite places in California?





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Nadine

I love that Mark Twain's quotation, it seems that it sums it all up, even today.
I remember the magical purple-pinkish color of the mountains on the way to Calico Ghost Town... one of my best memories ever.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

I love that quote too Nadine...and isn't it amazing that it still remains true? Perhaps because California is a transplant kind of place so tends to attract pioneering types and often makes it on the forefront of things...like the latest food labeling initiative.

Ooh, that purplish pink memory sounds lovely!

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