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Your guide to California
All About California
As the third largest state in America and home to a number of famous sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and breathtaking Highway 1 coastline, California has a lot to offer.
In Southern California, Los Angeles is a mix of beach and city living, with world-class international cuisine spread throughout its many neighborhoods, legendary surf spots along its coastline, and hiking in canyons that offer stunning views of the glittering Downtown Los Angeles skyline. Day trips from this sprawling megatropolis bring you into the midcentury design hub of Palm Springs, or the desert landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park.
Up north, San Francisco is a compact city with rolling hills that make driving around or riding its famous cable cars feel like being in a slow-moving roller coaster. The prize for walking to the tops of its many neighborhood parks include views of the Bay Bridge and the iconic orange Golden Gate Bridge, as well as Golden Gate Park, which houses a number of notable museums. The city has a rich history of attracting artists, writers, musicians, who continue to make their marks in San Francisco concerts halls, dive bars, galleries, and museums.
Away from these big metropolises, Santa Cruz and Big Sur draw people to their dramatic Redwood-lined coastlines while Napa Valley and Sonoma bring wine lovers from around the world into town. Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is a haven for hiking, rafting, and rock climbing.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in California?
Depending on where you’re traveling, you could experience all four seasons or remain in the fog for your entire trip. Generally Los Angeles is dry and arid, with occasional heat waves in the summer, while San Francisco experiences a marine layer of fog that remains even through the summer (if you’re visiting San Francisco, always bring layers for the fog and the wind). Snow comes to the state’s mountain ranges in the winter, bringing cross-country and downhill enthusiasts to ski hubs like Mammoth, Lake Tahoe, and Big Bear.
What are the top things to do in California?
When it comes to Southern California beaches, San Diego has some of the best opportunities to swim and surf, with notably warm water and air temperatures year-round, great surf breaks, and plenty of outfitters offering gear and lessons. Back on land, San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park houses 17 museums as well as numerous historic and cultural attractions across 1,200 acres. Beer connoisseurs know the city as one of the country’s epicenters of craft breweries.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is known for its epic waterfalls; wildlife sightings of marmots, bobcats, and dozens of species of butterflies; and scenic trails winding to lookouts like Glacier Point. Catch a glimpse of El Capitan, one of the park’s highest peaks, and gaze in wonder at the breathtaking Bridalveil Falls, which are at their best in spring.
Lake Tahoe carries the prize of being the largest alpine lake in North America, and it’s one of the most iconic natural attractions in California. Its crystal clear waters make it seem like you could almost stare straight down to the bottom of its 1,645 feet. Come here to swim, hike or ride bikes along the paths that line the lake’s exterior, and in the winter, ski the slopes and Nordic trails nearby.