California has a reputation as a state that offers something for everyone. From the mountains of the Sierra Nevada to the green farmlands of the Central Valley, the great expanse of the Mojave Desert in the south, the slots play at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort and Spa and the stunning coastline that runs the length of the state, anyone can find a vacation paradise in California that meets their tastes and interests.
California, however, is huge. How do you find the vacation that best fits your needs for you and your family?
Check out some of California’s best vacation destinations.
If you’re in Southern California you will certainly want to take a couple of days to experience San Diego. San Diego offers the perfect vacation spot for singles, couples and families with plenty of entertainment, activities, art and cultural things to do. There are great beaches, plenty of water sports and museums which will keep anyone amused and busy.
In the historic Old Town State Park and Gaslamp Quarter you can take a tour and learn about the history of the city which dates back to the mid-1700s and moves through Spanish, Mexican and United States rules. You can follow the guided tour or explore the area on your own on the Old Town Trolley Tour or a Segway, walking or biking tour.
Joshua Tree National Park
The Joshua Tree National Park is at the crossroads of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. The park is home to a surreal geological landscape that houses a wide range of types of flora and fauna. The name “Joshua Tree Park” refers to the Joshua tree which is a kind of yucca tree that is found throughout the park.
You can take one of several nature trails to explore the scenic desert landscape or go further afield on a full day hiking adventure or on an overnight back-packing hike. The park offers numerous activities that allow you to experience the area including mountain biking, horseback riding and bouldering and rock climbing. Ranger-led programs give you a chance to hear more about the region in detail from a knowledgeable source.
Hollywood Studio Tour
Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Disney, Sony and other Hollywood studios offer tours of their studios that give guests a chance to see what is happening behind the scenes of their favorite TV shows and movies with their studio tours.
Groups book their tour in advance and on the day and time that they’ve booked, they board an open-air mini-bus for a chance to tour the premises. You’ll see movie sets and sound stages from movies and TV shows and, perhaps, meet some of the stars who are in-between takes.
Tours range in time from anywhere from one hour to three hours. Each studio operates its tours in its own way – Universal gives tickets to tours of the Universal Studios as part of an entrance fee to the Universal theme park. Warner Bros. tours includes an interactive sound stage where participants explore the entire process of making a film from start to finish.
Paramount Pictures actually offers three different studio tours including a 4-1/2 hour VIP tour.
Sequoia National Park
The stunning Sequoia National Park is a treat for all the senses. The park displays an astounding variety of natural wonders including the humongous Redwood trees which are some of the largest trees in the world. You can walk right into the forest or stop off first at the Giant Forest Museum where you’ll get an introduction to the area.
You can walk, hike or tour the park by foot, car or shuttle bus. There are wheelchair-accessible paths and paths for beginning, intermediate and advanced-level hikers. The park is located in northern California in the southern Sierra Nevada range.
Families may want to join the ranger-led activities to ensure that the youngsters receive a well-rounded introduction to the park, it’s history and its unique place in California.
Santa Catalina Island
Santa Catalina Island is located southwest of Los Angeles. It’s part of the Channel Islands and is home to numerous energy-filled activities that offer a great vacation destination for people who like to use their holiday time for challenging physical pursuits.
On the island visitor have their choice of a Zip Line Eco Tour, a Cape Canyon Expecition, an Ocean Runner Dolphin Tour, undersea expeditions, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, horseback riding, boating, camping and more. If you want to take a break from the physical exertion you can visit the Catalina Island Art Gallery or the Island Museum.
Just outside of Los Angeles is the Angeles National Forest where you can visit Sturtevant Falls. Start off at the Chantry Flat Recreational area off the 210 freeway, and hike down an easy 3.5 mile trail to reach the falls. There is a rather steep descent at the beginning of the trail (which becomes a steep ascent when you return) but once you’ve completed that short spurt you will enjoy the shaded trail that takes you to the 40-foot Sturtevant Falls. There is an open area next to the falls where you can relax and picnic.
McWay Falls is situated along the Big Sur Scenic Route in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, between San Simeon and Carmel. The falls are located approximately 34 miles south of Carmel which you can reach after a short (half-mile) hike along Waterfall Trail.
Along the trail you can see McWay Creek which plummets 80 feet to the beach below into McWay Cove which is one of the most iconic images of Big Sur.
Big Sur’s Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park harbors many other great scenic hiking trails that take you through old-growth redwoods, hardwood forests and highland meadows.