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Most Viewed Favorites in California

  • Blue Sea, Fresh Air, Perfect Summer in Carmel

    by lisabel_smith Written Sep 4, 2010

    Favorite thing: We stayed at the Monte Verde Inn. Excellent staff. We were a group of three families that stayed at the Monte Verde Inn. It was a great experience and we enjoyed every bit of it.

    Enjoyed the delicious breakfast and hung out at the small coffee shops in the town.

    Because its a budget hotel, and for the price it is a very good deal.

    We recommend Monte Verde Inn to anyone who is planning a trip to Carmel-by-the-sea.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Food and Dining

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Drive Big Sur

    by richiecdisc Updated Oct 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: In a state full of highlights, the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur has to be tops. It is coastal scenery as good as any in the world and a lot less developed than you might imagine. Thanks to much of it being designated state parks it will hopefully remain that way forever.

    Fondest memory: My first time in California was 1994. I was about three quarters through a four month trip around the US and had done a lot of hiking around the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest states. Yosemite was up next and the climb of Half Dome high on my list. It was a long day hike but at the time, I had not done any backpacking so it was my only option. It was also October and the days were short so an early start was essential and thankfully I was in great shape after a summer of hiking.

    It was quite a trail, climbing close to 5000 feet over its 8 mile length but when I arrived at Half Dome, something didn't look right. Half Dome is so slick and steep, the park has installed slats with cables to assist climbers to the top. They put them up early in the summer and take them down in early autumn when weather makes the climb too dangerous. Well, they were down but after coming so far, it was hard to turn back without at least trying. My girlfriend at the time went up first and was making good headway. It was pretty scary stuff and I was having a harder time but didn't want to have her summit without me. The sky was growing ominous and we saw some people coming down from above us. We went back down and it soon started to snow. It was a good thing we had aborted the attempt. Even if we had made it to the top, it surely would have been a lot harder coming down.

    I returned in 2008 with my wife and we did it as a backpacking trip, successfully making it to the top of Half Dome. For a full report, check out my Yosemite National Park page.

    Kristing & I circa 1994 after turning back the view of the cables when down
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park

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    STOP for Groceries

    by marinarena Written Aug 28, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: If you are taking an extended trip in California and you have access to a stove or microwave, you may want to cook in your hotel instead of eating out. So, you want to go to the grocery store. Here's my lowdown of major California stores (most I know are in southern California but northern/central California ones I know are included) :

    Safeway/Vons- has about everything you want productwise. The deli and salad bars is very good. Can be expensive, especially without savings card which local shoppers would have. Similar to Albertsons and Ralphs, tends to have more customer service from what I have experienced. Two names but same company. Safeway is in Northern California. Vons is in southern California.

    Ralphs- big general supermarket that's part of the national Kroger company. Similar to Vons. Found mostly in S Cal.

    Albertsons- a general supermarket with about everything you want. Tends to be good with deals on butchered meat and seafood. Locations found in Southern California, from the Santa Barbara area to San Diego.

    Bristol farms- very gourmet market , with the finest quality of meats and seafood. The selection of wines is incredible (some bottles a $100!). Prices run on the expensive side but deals are found. Mostly found in Los Angeles County, one also in San Francisco and Newport Beach (Orange county), Palm Desert (Palm Springs), and La Jolla (San Diego).

    Fresh and Easy- small, convenient market with great savings, some unbelievable! It's new to the Californian marketplace. Small version of Tesco stores, based in the UK. No savings card needed. Some organic products availablethe fastest growing market in state.

    Trader Joe's- MY FAVE !!! very good selection of organic products, not as much variety of a given single product but the stores are fairly small scale. Many deals, one of the least expensive to shop overall. Love the extra attention customer service gives. Perhaps the friendliest of all stores. Found statewide.

    Sprouts- a bigger version of Trader Joes. Found mainly in L.A. Orange and San Bernadino counties.

    Stater Bros- the most economical of all major stores. No savings card needed for the best deals. I got filet mignon here for $7.99 a pound. Mostly in Orange, L.A. , Riverside and San Bernadino Counties (S Cal).

    Whole Foods- the biggest store with the most organic, vegan and other healthier alternative specialties. Can be a bit pricey but deals are abundant too without using a savings card. Very popular in L.A. county, Bay area (N Cal) and with some locations in Orange County.

    Gelsons- a premier, deluxe supermarket, which like Whole foods, has several healthier alernative specialties but is more gourmet than the ladder store. The deli section is spectacular here. Found mainly in So Cal. (Gelson's in Pasadena is pictured).

    Henry's Market/Wild Oats- like Sprouts. Found mainly in Orange County and San Diego County (S Cal)

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Luxury Travel

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  • corey07's Profile Photo

    Rent a car and take route 101...

    by corey07 Updated May 20, 2009

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Rent a car and take route 101 all the way either from north to south or the other way round which I did..

    Fondest memory: My first visit in L.A. more than 10 years ago... I was visiting a pen pal of mine whom I never had seen personally before... that was a great experience.. unfortunately we lost contact along the way since then.. picture is taken in his garden having a relaxing conversation on a sunny late afternoon... seems like yesterday... P.S. ... thanks to Internet we finally found each other again ... and it's WONDERFUL .... so i'm looking forward to the next garden pic ... might be different, but that's what time is about, right? ... i loooooooooooooooooooove INTERNET .......

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    News about Entering the US

    by Kakapo2 Written Nov 24, 2008

    Favorite thing: Very good article from the New Zealand Herald (25 Nov 2008) about Immigration into the US. Title:

    Easing Pain of US Travel

    A lot of travellers still try to avoid going to - or through - the United States in order to avoid being caught up in the tougher security controls introduced in the wake of 9/11.

    Partly that's to do with the ramshackle facilities at Los Angeles International Airport, still the main gateway to the US for New Zealanders, which make the immigration process a tedious business whatever happens.

    But it's also related to the arbitrary way the new rules seem to be applied, with travellers singled out for special attention and sometimes even refused entry, without any prior warning.

    The situation is, however, improving. The last few times I've been through LA the process was slightly more welcoming. And work is well under way on a much needed new international terminal.

    In addition the US Government has now introduced an online system which will allow travellers to find out before they leave New Zealand whether there could be a problem about gaining entry (so it can be sorted out in advance) and to complain if they feel they have been given a hard time (hopefully preventing any repetition).

    If you haven't heard about these changes then it's a good idea to pay attention because early next year the online authorisation system - known as Electronic System for Travel Authorisation or ESTA - will become compulsory and turning up at the airport without having clearance in advance would not be a good idea.

    As part of the effort to see this change goes smoothly, US Ambassador Bill McCormick last week answered questions on how the new system will work.

    What is ESTA all about?

    In addition to remembering their toothbrush and passport, Kiwis travelling to the United States without visas from January 12 next year will need to complete a quick and simple online form before boarding their plane or cruise ship. ESTA is an automated and secure online system which determines whether visitors are eligible to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). It requires the same information as the green paper I-94w form which VWP travellers currently fill out en route to the US.

    And the Visa Waiver Programme?

    The Visa Waiver Programme allows qualifying nationals or citizens from New Zealand and 33 other countries to travel to the US for business or pleasure for up to 90 days without first having to obtain a visa. Further details on who can use the VWP are on the US Embassy website at: http://newzealand.usembassy.gov/ and click on "Visas to the US".

    Why is ESTA being introduced?

    US legislation enacted in the wake of 9/11 required the Department of Homeland Security to implement an electronic travel authorisation system to enhance the security of the VWP. ESTA adds this new layer of security. It allows DHS to determine, in advance of travel, whether an individual is eligible to travel under the VWP, and whether they pose a security risk either on board the plane or once they reach the US.

    ESTA brings the admission process for VWP travellers into the 21st Century. So much of how we travel is now automated and online - buying plane tickets, booking hotels, researching our destination. We are now automating our admission process the same way.

    Who will be affected by this change?

    All nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Programme countries who plan to travel to the US for temporary business or pleasure without a visa will need this authorisation. The important change is that they'll now need to get it prior to boarding a US-bound plane or cruise ship, rather than filling out a form en route.

    How do travellers apply for this authorisation to travel to the US?

    It's an easy online process. To apply for travel authorisation, just go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/. Answer the required questions and click the submit button.

    What information will a traveller need in order to complete the ESTA process?

    The same information travellers currently write on the green I-94W card: their name, date of birth, passport and travel information. They'll also need to answer questions regarding their eligibility to travel using the VWP.

    When will ESTA come into force?

    Voluntary ESTA applications have been possible since August this year. All travellers will be required to obtain a travel authorisation via ESTA for VWP travel as of January 12, 2009.

    When should Kiwi travellers start using ESTA?

    The sooner the better. The ESTA website has been up and running for a couple of months, and as of the end of October, more than 3000 Kiwis had successfully used the ESTA system. I suggest that all those eligible to travel to the US under the VWP begin using it as soon as possible. The deadline for advance travel authorisation becoming mandatory is January 12, 2009.

    How long is an ESTA travel authorisation valid?

    ESTA travel authorisations are valid for two years, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. A visitor may travel to the US repeatedly within the validity period without having to apply for another ESTA.

    How far in advance of a trip do travellers need to apply?

    Again, the sooner the better! While applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, we recommend that you apply as early as possible. Not all travel can be planned in advance, and applications for last-minute or emergency travel will be accommodated.

    Do travellers ever need to reapply for travel authorisation through ESTA?

    Yes, there are instances when a new travel authorisation via ESTA would be required: for example, if you've acquired a new passport or have changed your name or citizenship, or if the answers to any of the "yes or no" ESTA questions have changed, a new application must be submitted. When the ESTA travel authorisation expires after two years, a new authorisation is required.

    Can someone else apply for a traveller if they don't have access to the internet?

    Yes, a friend, relative, travel agent, or other third party may apply on a traveller's behalf. Alternatively, those without access to the internet can use the US Visa Information toll number on 0900 87847 and staff there can help with travellers' ESTA applications over the phone (though there is a charge).

    How long does it take for the system to process an application?

    Once a traveller's application has been successfully submitted online, most cases get an immediate determination of eligibility for travel. Worldwide, 200,000 travellers have sought electronic travel authorisation since the site went live, and more than 99.5 per cent of these ESTA applications were approved, most in less than a minute.

    How will travellers know whether their ESTA has been approved?

    They will get one of three responses: Authorisation Approved; Travel Not Authorised (the traveller will be advised how to apply for a visa to travel to the US); and Authorisation Pending. If it's pending, the traveller will need to check the ESTA website for updates within 72 hours to receive a final response.

    What should someone do if they are denied a travel authorisation?

    If an application for travel authorisation is denied and the traveller wishes to continue with the trip, they will be required to apply for a visa at the US Consulate General in Auckland. For more about visa application procedures, they can go to http://newzealand.us embassy.gov and click on "Visas to the US". This is why travellers shouldn't leave their ESTA applications to the last minute: they may receive a Not Authorised or Pending response, and it takes time to arrange a visa.

    If someone has a current and valid visa, do they need to submit a travel authorisation via ESTA as well?

    No, anyone who possesses a valid visa will be able to travel to the United States with that visa for the duration of its validity and for the purpose it was issued, and won't have to apply through ESTA.

    Is there a fee to obtain travel authorisation?

    No, the US Government will not initially collect a fee for ESTA applications. However, there may be an application fee in the future.

    What about travellers just transiting the US, say, on their way to London?

    Transit passengers will require either an ESTA or a visa. Transit travellers should simply write "In transit" in the US destination field in their ESTA application.

    What do you say to the complaint that another security requirement will simply deter travellers to the US?

    The US is an open society which welcomes travellers from around the world who genuinely want to visit, study, and do business there. We're dedicated to protecting their safety and keeping our doors open to them. Changes like ESTA reflect our concern for ensuring the safety of US residents and visitors alike.

    Beyond ESTA, are there any other recent visa or travel changes readers should know about?

    For those who do need visas, we're doing our best to make the visa application process as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

    Delays for travellers during screening on airport arrival can occur when they are identified incorrectly as someone who represents a safety or security risk. Last year DHS launched the Traveller Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) website to act as the one-stop for travellers who are denied or delayed airline boarding or entry into the United States, or feel they are being continuously referred to secondary screening. The TRIP website is: www.dhs.gov/trip.

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  • yozza2005's Profile Photo

    14 days in CA

    by yozza2005 Written Sep 11, 2008

    Favorite thing: So i'm back in the UK.
    The itinerary was as follows:

    Day 1 & 2: Hermosa Beach, LA.
    Accommodation: Surf City Hostel ($30 a night, 4 bed dorm)
    Bars worth giving a look: Sharkeez (expect to queue)
    Things to see/do: Cycle the broadwalk, early morning surf (1-2ft)
    Cafes: Mao's Kitchen (see review), Venice Beach, Pacific Avenue.

    Catch the 232 bus south to Long Beach, then the Orange County Bus Network Bus 1 down the PHW to reach...

    Day 2: Huntington Beach
    Accommodation: Couch Surfing (www.couchsurfing.com)
    Cafes: The Sugar Shack - very cheap and popular with locals.
    Things to do: Surf! It's the surf capital! Stroll along the broadwalk and admire the surfing. Fish on the pier.

    Bus 1 OCTA on PHW to;

    Day 3: Laguna Beach
    Accommodation: Couchsurfing. due to expense of area.
    Cafes: The chain Johnny Rocket's
    Things to do: Art galleries, take lots of photos, History museum, barbecue on beach.

    Bus 1 OCTA on PHW to;

    Day 4: San Clemente
    Accommodation: Couchsurfing.
    Cafes: Plenty on the seafront to choose from, or hit the popular taco cafe near the hospital.
    Things to do: Surf! Trussels is nearby. Photography (sunset), Skate.

    Amtrak to San Diego. ($18)

    Days 5,6,7: San Diego
    Accommodation: USA Hostels, Gaslamp Quarter. ($24, 4 bed dorm)
    Cafes: Head to Ocean Beach.
    Things to do: Gaslamp Quarter, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission, Little Italy, Modern Art Gallery.

    I would recommend only 2 days in San Diego, I do wish i'd spent longer in Huntington or San Clemente rather than spending 3 nights in SD.

    Cheaptickets.com ($40) Flight from SD to San Francisco

    Days 8,9,10: San Francisco, Union Square, Tenderloin area.
    Accommodation: Globetrotters Inn (Hostel) ($27, 6 bed dorm) Free Internet, great location.
    Cafes: Veseuvio Cafe, near China Town and North Beach. (Recommended in Lonely Planet. Plays Blues, Jazz. Great bar, hilarious locals, and good staff. Reasonably priced)
    Things to do: Alcatraz (overrated), Walk from Downtown to the GGB and over. Walking tour (see tip, which will be posted in two days or so), The Haight area, North Beach, ChinaTown, Fishermans Wharf (Tourist Trap) The Castro, Sunset Beach etc. Amoeba Records Upper Haight district, it's mind blowing!
    Places to eat: In and Out Burger, Subway ($5 footlongs), Great restaurants in China Town.

    Greyhound or Amtrak to Salinas ($15-20) then bus to Monterey ($3 day pass)

    Day 11: Monterey
    Accommodation: Couch Surfing
    Places to see: the bay, modern art gallery, broadwalk(tourist trap), relatively good surf beach.

    Either greyhound from Salinas, or numerous buses from Monterey ($3-10)

    Day 12: Santa Cruz
    Accommodation: CS
    Places to see: Lighthouse, the beaches! Surfing, skating, mixing with the locals in some of the saloons.

    Greyhound or Amtrak to;

    Day 13: San Francisco
    Accommodation: CS
    TTD: See above

    Cheaptickets ($45) to Los Angeles
    Bus 232 from LAX transit centre to Pier Ave, Hermosa. Walk 5 mins down hill.

    Day 14: Hermosa Beach/Redondo Beach
    Accommodation: Surf City Hostel.

    This is a little vague, i may amend this in the next few days/weeks.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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  • Traveling South From San Francisco to San Diego

    by howefortunate Written Aug 17, 2008

    Favorite thing: If you enjoy wine tasting, you will be driving through a number of California's wine regions as you travel along the central coast. Consider stopping at some of the wineries in Paso Robles....most are located right on Hwy. 46 just east or just west of Hwy. 101. In this area, a good stop for lunch or dinner is McPhees Grill...great food at reasonable prices.

    South of Pismo, you might want to check out Oceano Dunes. You can drive vehicles right onto the beach here (though I don't recommend it if you don't have 4 wheel drive as some do get stuck in the sand). This is a popular place to ride in the sand dunes. You can rent an ATV by the hour or be a passenger on a 4 wheel drive hummer. It is a blast. For more info on Oceano visit: http://www.cheers2wine.com/Oceano-Dunes.html

    Try to reach LA when its not rush hour. I have the best luck on Saturdays. I would probably just stay on 405 through Los Angeles. Then in Costa Mesa hop on the 73 Toll Road....this will let you see some of the uncrowded LA area and save you some time. The cost will be $4.30. When the Toll road ends you will be on Interstate 5 South which will take you all the way to San Diego.

    Have fun!

    Fondest memory: I have lived in California my entire life and my favorite place is (without any doubt) Yosemite. The huge granite mountains are absolutely awesome. I go backpacking in Yosemite for 5-7 days every year and always marvel at the beauty.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Traveling South From San Francisco to San Diego

    by howefortunate Written Aug 17, 2008

    Favorite thing: If you enjoy wine tasting, you will be driving through a number of California's wine regions as you travel along the central coast. Consider stopping at some of the wineries in Paso Robles....most are located right on Hwy. 46 just east or just west of Hwy. 101. In this area, a good stop for lunch or dinner is McPhees Grill...great food at reasonable prices.

    South of Pismo, you might want to check out Oceano Dunes. You can drive vehicles right onto the beach here (though I don't recommend it if you don't have 4 wheel drive as some do get stuck in the sand). This is a popular place to ride in the sand dunes. You can rent an ATV by the hour or be a passenger on a 4 wheel drive hummer. It is a blast. For more info on Oceano visit: http://www.cheers2wine.com/Oceano-Dunes.html

    Try to reach LA when its not rush hour. I have the best luck on Saturdays. I would probably just stay on 405 through Los Angeles. Then in Costa Mesa hop on the 73 Toll Road....this will let you see some of the uncrowded LA area and save you some time. The cost will be $4.30. When the Toll road ends you will be on Interstate 5 South which will take you all the way to San Diego.

    Have fun!

    Fondest memory: I have lived in California my entire life and my favorite place is (without any doubt) Yosemite. The huge granite mountains are absolutely awesome. I go backpacking in Yosemite for 5-7 days every year and always marvel at the beauty.

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  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    San Diego

    by traveldave Updated May 23, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Because of its almost perfect climate, scenic location on San Diego Bay, and miles of sandy beaches, San Diego is known as "America's Finest City."

    In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay and claimed the area on behalf of the King of Spain. He called the new territory San Miguel. In 1602, Sebastian Vizcaíno explored the area and renamed it San Diego de Alcalá. Up until 1769, however, there was not any sort of Spanish settlement. That changed when Father Junípero Serra established the first of a string of missions along the California coast. Over time, a small town grew up around the mission.

    During Spanish, and then Mexican, rule, San Diego remained an unimportant outpost far from the center of power in Mexico City. It only gained importance during the Mexican-American War, when a major battle was fought near the town. San Diego eventually fell to American forces, and the treaty ending the war ceded California to the United States. In 1850, California was admitted into the Union, and San Diego was incorporated as a city.

    The city began to grow in 1885 when the transcontinental railroad reached it. With easy access by train, people began moving into Southern California for its climate. San Diego went through periods of boom and bust, and even lost population on a couple of occasions.

    It was not until the First World War that the city's fortunes were assured. The military established several bases in the San Diego area, and in 1919 the United States Navy chose San Diego as the home base for the Pacific Fleet. Thousands of sailors and Marines passed through San Diego during the Second World War. After the war, many returned and settled in the city, mainly because of the climate they had grown accustomed to when they were stationed there. Since then, the population and economy has continued to expand, and now, San Diego is the center of a contiguous metropolitan area (which includes Tijuana, Mexico) of about 4,950,000 inhabitants.

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  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo

    Distance

    by SteveOSF Written Mar 20, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: As the state is large, it is not quickly traversed by car. Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco takes about eight hours. Driving from San Francisco to the Eureka, at the northern border, takes the better part of a day as well. Driving from the coast on the west to eastern slopes of the state's mountains is a good four plus hours of driving. When planning a trip, keep these distances in mind.

    Along the road in east of the Sierras
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Study Abroad
    • Road Trip

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  • gubbi1's Profile Photo

    Gold Country - Californias wild history

    by gubbi1 Updated Oct 28, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I think visiting California should include a visit to the Gold Country. In this area the first discoveries of gold were made which was a major factor in the development of California.
    Highway 49 is ideal to discover this beautiful and history loaded area. Each town, how small it might be, carries an important heritage of the past, which was so important for todays California and even the todays US.

    My recommendation is to follow Highway 49 from north to south and stop for the sites you are interested in.

    Here are links which help you to find your favorite sites:
    The official page for the historic Highway 49
    Advertising a book, but very valuable webpage.
    Wikipedia about Gold Country.

    These are links to my main destinations along Highway 49 southwards:
    Amador City...
    Sutter Creek...
    Jackson...
    Columbia...

    Fondest memory: I really like the architecture of the buildings and I am pleased to see that they did not disappear to make space for modern houses.

    Gold Country, CA, US Gold Country, CA, US Gold Country, CA, US Gold Country, CA, US
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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  • MarioPortugal's Profile Photo

    Postcard: "I miss my lung, Bob."

    by MarioPortugal Updated Sep 22, 2007

    Favorite thing: I first visited California in 1998 and noticed then a anti-tobacco campaign was going on the billboards and etc.

    This Picture (on this Tip) is a postcard that I collected then.

    I find this message really great. The scenario is the Marlboro cow-boy saying "I miss my lung, Bob".

    Great campaign, in my opinion.

    -----
    If you want to quit smoking call 1-800 7-NO-BUTTS for help.

    Si quiere dejar de fumar llame al 1-800 45-NO-FUME y le ayudaremos

    California Department Of Health Services.
    Funded By the Tobacco Tax Services.

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  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    San Francisco

    by traveldave Updated Aug 28, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: San Francisco is located on a peninsula bounded by the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay, and the two-mile (three-kilometer) gap of the Golden Gate, where the waters of the ocean and bay meet.

    In 1775, Spanish sailor Juan Manuel de Ayala sailed his ship, the San Carlos, through the Golden Gate and became the first European to explore the bay. A year later, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Father Francisco Palou, along with 200 settlers from Mexico, established the Mission Dolores and the Presidio. They named their small settlement Yerba Buena, which is Spanish for "Good Herb."

    In 1846, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War and ceded all of California to the United States. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco. It remained a sleepy outpost until gold was discovered in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1849. Then the city boomed as the jumping-off point for the thousands of "forty-niners" who flocked to the area in search of riches.

    The city further prospered when it became the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad. During its construction, thousands of Chinese laborers were imported to work on the railroad. Afterward, the Chinese settled in San Francisco, and founded what would be the largest Chinese community outside of China.

    In 1906, an earthquake, which measured 8.3 on the Richter scale, completely destroyed the city, leaving 3,000 dead and 100,000 homeless. San Francisco was quickly rebuilt and became the largest and most important city on the West Coast, until it was later surpassed by Los Angeles in the middle of the twentieth century.

    Nowadays, San Francisco is the center of a metropolitan area with about 7,530,000 inhabitants.

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    Mammoth Lakes

    by goingsolo Updated Apr 16, 2007

    Favorite thing: After Mount Whitney, this name seemed a bit of a misnomer. But this charming ski town was a great place to rejuvenate in the summer. Mammoth Lakes is a bit like Vail on a smaller scale. Mammoth Mountain is a popular ski destination in the winter, the less crowded summertime offers lots of opportunities to hike, bike and explore. You can also take a gondola ride up the mountain or just browse the shops in town. The higher elevation means cooler temperatures as well.

    Less than an hour from Mammoth Lakes, you'll find some of the most beautiful scenery of the Sierras. Areas such as Rock Creek and Mosquito Flats are hardly appealing sounding names. But they contain a lifetime's worth of hiking opportunities. For more information, feel free to browse my Mammoth Lakes page.

    Mammoth Lakes
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel
    • Skiing and Boarding

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  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Pine cones

    by SLLiew Written Feb 7, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: For tourist from tropical countries, one of the keen interests is about temperate conifers - about Christmas trees. On closer encounter, then there is the discovery of pine cones of different designs and sizes.

    As they are light, durable and "free", many have become collectible items by tourists abroad.

    Note that it is illegal to pick pine cones or anything in National Park. But should be OK in other non-protected places. Back home, the pine cones are proof of an overseas trip abroad.

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California Favorites

Reviews and photos of California favorites posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for California sightseeing.
Map of California

California Members Meetings

Aug 15, 2014 
Celebrate VT's 15th Anniversary
Aug 15, 2014 
VT's 15th Anniversary - The TMZ Hollywood Tour
Aug 15, 2014 
VT 15th Anniversary - First Dinner
Aug 16, 2014 
VT's 15th Anniversary - Beach Day!

see all California member meetings