California is a big state. It Stretches 770 miles from north to south and 250 miles from east to west. Only Alaska and Texas are greater in area. California’s geographic diversity includes the Pacific coast line, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mojave Desert and Lake Tahoe. Redwoods and Giant Sequoias are among the world’s largest, tallest and oldest trees. California has great beaches, fertile valleys and plenty of sunshine.
More people live in California than in any other state. Over 38 million people call the Golden State home. Many millions more visit the state each year. If you are trying to decide where to spend your next vacation, California is an excellent choice. Following are five different areas that offer fun attractions, great restaurants and the chance to relax and enjoy some of what California has to offer.
1. San Francisco
San Francisco is a modern banking and financial center and it is also a city that has many distinct neighborhoods and historic buildings. Take a drive through Nob Hill and see some of the exclusive homes of the very well-to-do. Enjoy the art galleries in the Mission District and wander through the liberal Haight Ashbury district. Fisherman’s Wharf is a center for cultural activities, shopping, restaurants and unsurpassed views of the Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge is a national landmark right up there with the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore. Taking a ride on a cable car or a short boat ride to Alcatraz are popular activities. You can do it all in the City by the Bay.
2. Silicon Valley
Just a short drive south of San Francisco is an area of California known as Silicon Valley. This area is the hub of new technology and venture capital. Google, Apple, Intel and hundreds of other high-tech companies are located in cities such as Mountain View, San Jose and Palo Alto. Silicon Valley is also wine country and a beautiful and very scenic part of California that features great museums, a fabulous coast line, mountains and much more to keep you busy.
3. Los Angeles
One of America’s biggest and most important cities, Los Angeles and the surrounding area is home to celebrities and movie stars. Watch the body builders workout and marvel at the talented skaters at Venice Beach. Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Universal Studios and a wonderful blend of cultures make this one of the top vacation destinations in America.
Join the more than 15 million people who go to Disneyland each year. Anaheim and Orange County have some of the best beaches in the state. History buffs can spend a few hours visiting the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library in San Clemente. Whether it is a day at Knott’s Berry Farm or a casual tour through Santa Ana or Laguna Beach, you will have a memorable vacation in and around Anaheim.
5. San Diego
If you have kids, take them to the world Famous San Diego Zoo and let them get acquainted with the elephants and the tigers. Don’t worry, even though the wild animals are not in cages, your children are safe and secure. Spend a nice morning at the beach and then have some lunch in Old Town. Golfers can look forward to the many championship golf courses and shoppers will have a blast going to the many boutiques and unique shoppes. Make sure to visit the nation’s largest urban park. Balboa Park spreads across 1,200 acres and is filled with museums, art, flowering gardens and much more. While museums charge a small entry fee, you can also enjoy the free play areas, eat at one of the many restaurants and have a day full of fun.
You could be on the ski slopes in the morning and getting a tan at the beach in the afternoon. California has the highest point in the Continental United States – Mount Whitney and the lowest point – Death Valley. Temperatures vary depending on the time of year and whether you are in the northern mountains, the expansive valleys or along the Pacific coast line. For the most part, temperatures in the south are warmer than temperatures in the north. San Francisco gets strong winds off the Bay and the winter months can get quite cold. Summer is warm in San Diego and Southern California. It can easily surpass 100 degrees in the Mojave Desert. Most of the time California enjoys great weather with moderate rainfall and temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
When is the Best Time to Take your California Vacation?
Summer is the peak travel season when most people take their California vacations. It does not rain too much and the weather is warm. Kids are out of school and families plan trips to Disneyland and all the other California attractions. Winter is a little less crowded, but, there are still many great and fun things to do. Fall is the perfect time to visit Napa Valley and take a tour of the wineries. Flowers bloom in the Spring, making it one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit. California is a great place to visit anytime of the year.
Getting Around California
Driving is the best way to get around and see California. If you are flying in to Los Angeles, you can rent a car and be within an hour or two of Anaheim, San Diego and most points of interest in Southern California. The same is true of San Francisco. Get in your car and explore the Bay City and then head south to San Jose and the Silicon Valley area.
California has an extensive highway and road system. Remember to be patient around all of the major population centers as the roads can get crowded at times. Rail or air transportation are other transportation options that may fit your needs.
Get Super Savings at the Best Budget Hotels
Taking an extended vacation to California with your family and staying in four or five star resorts is the way to go if you have unlimited funds. Who does not want to be pampered at the spa or have a deluxe suite overlooking the Pacific Ocean? Most families, however, do not have the means to stay in such luxury. By staying in a more moderately priced or budget hotel, a family can have more money to spend on attractions and other fun things. Budget hotels are no longer bare-boned and lacking amenities. Check out these three hotels that provide great service and lots of popular amenities starting at just $50 per night.
1. Camino Inn and Suites in Mountain View http://www.Caminoinn.com
Set in the midst of the Silicon Valley, this family friendly hotel offers a deluxe continental breakfast, complimentary wireless Internet and coin operated laundry facilities. It is close to restaurants, shops and some of the major technology companies like Google and Apple. Rooms have Jacuzzi tubs, microwave ovens and mini-refrigerators.
2. Anaheim Express Inn Maingate www.Anainn.com
Located within walking distance of Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center, the hotel features a nice outdoor pool, free wireless Internet access and a continental breakfast. Guests have use of a coin laundry and will enjoy the clean and nicely equipped rooms.
3. Mission Valley Resort in San Diego www.Missionvalleyresort.com
Enjoy resort style accommodations and facilities at budget prices. Rooms come with cable TV and Pay-Per-View movies, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet and in-room safes. There is an onsite restaurant and a sports bar, two heated pools, shuffleboard and a new fitness center. The hotel also features 7,000 square feet of meeting space.
About the Airports
San Francisco International Airport – San Francisco & Silicon Valley
One of the busiest airports in America, SFI handles 40 million passengers each year. The airport is very modern and offers free WiFi throughout the terminals. United Airlines is has the largest presence with a 44 percent market share. Hop aboard the train at the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) station to get to downtown San Francisco.
Mineta San Jose International Airport – Silicon Valley & the South Bay
The smallest of the three Bay Area airports, behind San Francisco and Oakland, about 8.4 million passengers arrived or departed from the facility in 2010. Travelers to the Bay Area can sometimes find better fares here than at the much larger San Francisco International Airport. Southwest Airlines is the dominant carrier.
Los Angeles International Airport – Los Angeles & Anaheim
You’ll know you are at LAX when you see the spaceship-like Landmark Theme Building as you come in for a landing. This is the world’s fourth busiest passenger airport, handling more than 60 million travelers each year.
San Diego International Airport – San Diego, Southern California & Mexico
Get a tremendous view of the San Diego Skyline and the Pacific Ocean as you approach from the east. Located about 3 miles northwest of the San Diego central business district, this is the second busiest single-runway commercial service airport in the world. Annual passenger count exceeds 17 million.
Make your California Vacation Plans Now
Fantastic cities, unlimited attractions and unsurpassed natural beauty are just a few of the reasons why California is the best place for family and friends to have a great vacation. There is something for everyone that will make them want to head west to California. Whether you have a few days, a few weeks or even a month for taking a vacation, you can not go wrong spending your time in California. Plan ahead so you can get the most fun out of your time in California.
More information about Southern California Vacations