Explore California with confidence - use the free information on
this site to select just what you need for your vacation. To start, we have organized the highlights.
We think California is the best vacation destination in the U.S. Come
for the first time or the fiftieth time - the possibilities are
endless. California’s vast size makes it more like a country than a
state – you’ll never finish exploring its many treasures. Not
surprisingly, many of the most enthusiastic travelers here are
California residents enjoying unexplored regions of their home state.
California has a vacation for everyone – from beaches to big cities,
forests to funky towns, desert oases to deep canyons, thrill rides to
timeless redwoods – this site is all you need to find your favorite
California’s unmatched natural beauty and cultural diversity will make
every visit special. There are 18 National Forests
, 8 National Parks
and 264 State Parks and Beaches
to explore. With 840 miles of
coastline, visitors have hundreds of access points to the Pacific
California’s 35 million people are concentrated mostly in the coastal
cities from San Francisco south to San Diego. Mid-sized cities in the
Central Valley like Bakersfield and Sacramento are growing as the
population moves slowly inland. Surprisingly, it is still easy to find solitude in California - away from it all.
Whatever the season or region you pick for your trip, get packing and go!
California Vacation Ideas
Start brainstorming with some ideas that suggest an itinerary for your California vacation.
"Kids + Parents – Keep Everybody Happy Family Vacation"
San Diego – Voted # 2 in America’s Favorite Family Trip Destination poll
by Travel + Leisure Magazine (June 2004) – just behind NYC. With so many
beaches, parks, attractions and great weather, adults and kids will
have plenty to do. More info at San Diego pages.
"What the Kids Really Want Family Vacation"
Lake Tahoe – In summer, kids are busy in the water on the California
side while parents enjoy the Nevada nightlife at Tahoe area casinos or
a hike on the trails around the lake. In winter, everyone can ski or
skate or sit by a fire. More info at Lake Tahoe Area pages.
"Get Away from It All Vacation"
"Road Trip! Vacation"
Disneyland – (Anaheim, in the Los Angles metro are) – What else? More info at Los Angeles pages.
Do the classic drives on Highway 1, hugging the coast, enjoying views
and beaches. Try the stretches from San Francisco to Fort Bragg or Half
Moon Bay to Big Sur. More info at the Pacific Coast Highway and Monterey Area pages.
Guess where Route 66 ended? Santa Monica, on the coast near Los
Angeles. Only remnants remain of the original route but many can be
spotted along the stretch between San Bernardino and Pasadena, just
north of I-10 and 210, west of LA. More info at Los Angeles-Riverside
"I Love Lighthouses! Coastal Vacation"
Pick any one of the Scenic Drives (22 in all) mapped and described on this site. Take your pick from the Scenic Drives pages.
"Visit the Biggest Trees on Earth Vacation"
California’s 1200-mile coastline offers the chance to get close to (and
into, in a few cases) some of the most beautiful and remote lighthouses
found anywhere in the world. California’s forty lighthouses can
be found as far south as San Diego (Point Loma) and as far north as
Crescent City (St. George Reef). Many are near cities (the first,
on Alcatraz Island, is in the center of the San Francisco Bay) or very
close to Highway 1, the main scenic coastal route.
For the in-depth redwoods experience, head north to Redwood National
Park along the coast between Eureka and Crescent City. More info on the Redwood Highway pages.
"Romantic Escape Vacation"
For shear mass, nothing beats the sequoia. On the southern edge of
Yosemite National Park, tour the Mariposa Grove. More info at the Yosemite National Park pages.
Monterey/Carmel area – charming places to stay, gorgeous beach walks,
fine dining – what else do you need? More info at Monterey Area pages.
Catalina Island – Take the ferry from Long Beach and spend a few days
car-free and carefree on this once-private island. More info at Los
"Extreme Scenic Vacation"
Mendocino – Looks like a New England village with picket fences,
cottages and a wildly beautiful perch on the coast. Nearby wineries and
forests with trails, too. More info at Pacific Coast Highway pages.
Yosemite – Start in the famous Valley and then head to Tuolumne Meadows. More info at the Yosemite-Mono Lake Area pages.
Point Lobos State Reserve – Just south of Carmel, this stretch of coast
is wild and beautiful. More info at the Monterey Area pages.
Joshua Tree National Park – Especially stunning in spring when the
desert blooms and the crazy joshua trees flower. Excellent hiking and
easy-to-hard rockclimbing. More info at the Palm Springs-Joshua Tree
Los Angeles – Concerts, nightclubs, top restaurants, shopping mecca for
any budget, celebrity-watching, beaches, museums, sporting events –
just go! More info at the Los Angeles pages.
"You Have to See it to Believe It Vacation"
San Francisco – Hip or not, you’ll never be bored in San Francisco –
even the fog changes every day. Take a Bay cruise, visit Golden Gate
Park, see a show, eat crab at Fisherman’s Wharf – or, just hang out and
take it all in. More info at the San Francisco pages.
Hearst Castle – The occasional home of the publishing magnate (where
his actress-girlfriend played hostess) is over-the-top decadent with
stunning views from many of the 165 rooms on the ground. Now a
California State Park. More info at the Central Coast pages.
Mono Lake – A saline lake with no outlet, high in the Sierra east of
Yosemite, attracts huge numbers of migratory and nesting birds.
Photographers love the weird limestone tufa formations poking from the
lake’s surface. More info at the Yosemite-Mono Lake Area pages.