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Five Places to Visit in California That You Might Not Have Considered

by Madison Parker on 06/05/08 at 5:08 am

Since Europe has become unaffordable for most travelers, where will Americans be traveling here, in the USA for the foreseeable future?

There are a lot of sad faces around the US right now. I am one of them. We are those who love to travel to Europe. Paris is my addiction. But with the dollar at an all time low against the Euro, Travel to Europe, even for the well to do, is not in our immediate future.

I could spend a lot of time telling you how to get to Europe and do it on the cheap; but frankly, I think most of us, even the Europe travel diehards, are planning to “do America first,” this year; and perhaps for the foreseeable future.

Here are 5 spots to visit in our own hemisphere that will provide a pleasurable get-away. These 5 just happen to be in California.

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Whether you are an East-coaster or a west-coaster, a trip to California will provide a variety of vacation categories. If you like crowded freeways, smog and high temperature in summer, then Los Angeles may be your thing. But California is so much more than Hollywood and crowded L.A. beaches. I need to add a disclaimer here; I am a Californian, but there are some beautiful areas to visit, with lots of outdoor activities or city entertainment without having to cross into southern California, at all.

San Francisco Bay Area

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The San Francisco Bay Area is beautiful. The city itself is one of my favorite in the entire world, if I may say so myself. You could spend two weeks in the City by the Bay and never get to see and do everything on your agenda. From Golden Gate Park to world-class shopping, San Francisco has it all.

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I recommend a hotel near or on Union Square. From this point, you can walk to great restaurants, shopping venues, Theatres and more. Hotels here are a bit pricey. Forego the St. Francis; Try the Hyatt on the Square for a less pricey stay. The Hilton on O’Farrell is also not so pricey. Be sure you get a room in the main, or old tower. Some of these rooms offer views of the Bay and/or Golden Gate Bridges. Off-season, (not summer) rooms are reasonable for San Francisco. The Prescott is one of my old favorites in this area and a travel bargain for San Francisco. Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio Restaurant is attached to the Prescott’s lobby.

Liked it


May 6th, 2008

You mentioned some wonderful places to visit in California. Great job! =)

Madison Parker

May 6th, 2008

Yes, we are, Nousha,

I’m sitting in Texas in a thunder storm!!! I want my deck!!!!



May 17th, 2009

ithink that this is wonderful. I wouldlove to go there soon

Menas Beshara

May 26th, 2009

these places in californea are so cool i am so luckey that i choosed the state californea for my project.


Jul 9th, 2009

i live in california! trust me not that great actually its rather boring!


Aug 10th, 2009



Aug 25th, 2009

El Palomar in santa cruz has amazing mexican food!

Madison Parker

Aug 30th, 2009

Suger, Thanks for reading. The California coast is really beautiful; hope you get to visit soon.

Mensas, I hope your project turned out well! Lots to write about in California.

mmm, thanks for reading.

Jessica, thanks for the heads up! Where in Santa Cruz is El Palomar? Now you’ve got me wanting Mexican food!!!

Hanna, I think we all think the place we live is boring when we’re young. If you think CA is boring, visit Kansas in winter! LOL, hope no Kansas folks are reading, but you have to agree that the weather there in winter is brutal.


Oct 23rd, 2009

Hanna what part of california do you live at that you find Cali boring?? Girl you need to get out of your shell and into a car!! We have it all here in Cali whatever you feel like doing we have it… Very happy to live in California. I have explored almost all of Cali and still have more to see. We go from snow in the sierra to deadly desserts down south to beautiful coastlines to wine county to San Francisco and Los Angeles areas and then some… we have it all!!

Madison Parker

Nov 1st, 2009

Thanks for reading! Even though I grew up in the SF Bay Area, one of most memorable vacations that I can remember was when we took our two children and stayed in a condo that we had won at an auction in SAN FRANCISCO! It was a great time. You’re right, California is beautiful and amazing. Not to knock the mid-west, but I spend a lot of time in Kansas City visiting my grandson and, although the people are wonderful and the schools are excellent, the weather sucks and everything is so flat. Nope, California is not boring!


Nov 4th, 2009

Lawls, I used to live in California. Actually, it’s only boring if all you do is sit on the couch all day. If you actually get up and travel, California is a lot of fun. =]

Great article, by the way!

Madison Parker

Nov 22nd, 2009

California is so beautiful, you’re right. I just got back from the gold country in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. I really need to do a piece on the small gold-rush towns because they are so unique and there is, believe it or not, lots to do there!

Komal Machindar

Jan 27th, 2010

Hi Thanks for such a wonderful site and Information. I was looking at visiting California sometime in May this year. Let me tell you I come from India and would like to be there for a week. Can you suggest anything for me. I have two kids along so an amusement park is on the list…
take care

Madison Parker

Feb 14th, 2010

Sorry I am so late to reply! Crazy life stuff right now!

May should be beautiful here. With kids, I’ll give you a quick list of must sees.

Carmel: Downtown Carmel is beautiful and on a pretty day, a walk through the village, window shopping is every tourist’s destination. Be sure to take the walk on the path above the beach. Beautiful views. The beach is also Dog-friendly.

Also, and the best, a walk through Point Lobos, just south of Carmel on Highway one, affords beautiful scenes, sea life viewing and photo ops galore. A beautiful shoreline park; bring your own picnic, there is no food available.

The Monterey Aquarium; kids and adults all love it. Like no other aquarium you’ve ever visited.

For the kids, (if they are between 3yrs old and about 8 years old, My Museum downtown is a really fun place. My grandchildren never tire of this hand’s on creative childrens’ play area.

Fisherman’s warf, Monterey. Lots of restaurants, views of the Monterey bay, walk-away seafood cocktails.

Be sure to take the bike/walking path from Lover’s point to Monterey Fisherman’s warf. An easy bike ride, roller blade or walk along the beautiful coastline where you can see sea otters, sea lions and other wildlife from on the path. You can stop on Cannery Row for some tourist shopping or lunch, (that is where the Aquarium is located.) You will love the path; it’s amazing.

The drive to Big Sur is rather a curvy, dangerous drive but it is worth the effort to take it. Big Sur is beautiful and still pristine and undeveloped.

Santa Cruz: The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an old-fashioned amusement park right on the main beach. The kids will LOVE it!

Of course, a day in San Francisco should be on the list of to see’s. Rid the cable cars, shop, see Golden Gate Park, enjoy a plethora of great restaurants. You will either want to stay near Union Square or Embarcadero Center. I prefer Union Square near all of SF’s famous stores and the cable car line on Market Street–Powell Line.
Don’t spend a fortune on a hotel; Check out the Prescott Hotel or even the Hyatt with amazing city views is not so pricey.

Don’t miss Lake Tahoe. If you like partying and gambling, then SouthShore is for you, if not, the more pristine, less developed North Shore might suit you better. Contact me for ideas about condo rentals. They can be very reasonable for a family if you know where to look! Skip the trashy motels.

Good Luck! Have a great visit

Valentine Paulraj

May 6th, 2010

Hi Ms. Parker,

Thanks for your wonderful scoop. I am planning to visit the West Coast for the first time. I have lived on the East Coast and have never been to West. I have two teenage sons and intend to visit CA with my wife and sons. I wanted visit San Fran, LA and San Diego and then see Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam all in two weeks. Is it doable? What are your recommendations. Would appreciate your assistance.


Sep 13th, 2010

Thanks so much for this article – it was so helpful in planning a surprise getaway for my husband\’s birthday.

Madison Parker

Sep 27th, 2010

Jennifer, I’m so glad it helped! Thanks for the comment.

Valentine, I am REALLY sorry for the late response. I have been traveling, writing and taking care of my little grandchildren and have not been here on Triond lately.
I think you’re cramming a lot into 2 weeks but it is doable. I would stick with seeing San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vegas. Doing Arizona too would make for a lot of fast moving. San Diego and LA are so close that it’s an easy trip from one to the other. San Francisco is 400 miles or so from LA so that’s not a horrible drive either. Vegas is a LONG boring drive; I’d fly if you could. Maybe you could book your return flight home from Vegas; they have cheap flights to everywhere to and from Las Vegas.
Good luck and have fun. You can email me at madison.parker@comcast.net if you have other questions.


Nov 18th, 2010

people waz up i love california i live there in LA that the best part to live in and the best place to exsplor


Nov 25th, 2010

Great write. Would you recommend the San Fran and Wine area’s for a February trip? I have opportunity to stay for a week in Windsor the last week 2011.


Nov 25th, 2010

Great write. Would you recommend the San Fran and Wine area\’s for a February trip? I have opportunity to stay for a week in Windsor the last week 2011.

Madison Parker

Nov 29th, 2010

February can be really nice in the area or you might get our rainy stormy weather. It’s always hard to tell. You would have better luck in March or April which can be really warm and sunny. We moved into our home in Carmel on an April 1 years ago; it was 90 degrees! Very odd for us but, nonetheless, spring can be really warm here. I’m not sure about Windsor–is that in the wine country?


Dec 27th, 2010

Yes, I’m pretty sure Windsor is in the Sonoma Valley area. I think we fly into San Fran on the 18th or 19th. We have a week booked at a timeshare but do not need to stay there the whole time. Looking for a couple “day’ or “over night” trips.


Jan 27th, 2011

If you like animals, go to safari west in the Santa Rosa area. Fun day trip. They take you around on jeeps and give you a nice tour. Lots of great information about animals you would never see close up. I would suggest reservations. They have a website. Just google Safari West.


Jan 28th, 2011

California is the best place in the world


Feb 10th, 2011

Thanks for the article Madison! I too was born in the Bay Area, and as a child, moved up to the Gold Country! I’ve traveled abroad, and seen many fantastic places (France, Ireland, England, lived in Hawaii for 5 years, and Florida for 2). For some reason, California always draws me back, kind of like the, “Calif… here I come” song! There are SO many things to see and do in this vast part of the country, that I could never imagine anyone saying it is boring here (unless that person lives in Bakersfield or Barstow, and never goes anywhere)!! Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your article, and found it very informative! Thank you again! :)


Mar 8th, 2011

Carmel is nice but snobby, pricey and greatly over rated. There are so many places in the UK that would blow it away. I’ve been all over America 5 Times now and seen much more than the average American would see in a lifetime. I looked forward to going there and was somewhat dissapointed when I did , however Big Sur and all that coastline is very lovely.


May 11th, 2011

woww californias seems soo cool im in 7th grade n im from a smalll town called “santa maria” its in texas..haha..n im doin an assigment on california..n i needed ta have atleast 5 places ta visit in california n so far i only have three so if you can help me out i’d really appreciate it..thnx bye bye :)

Vows begin when hope dies. …

The eye sees a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake. …

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