California’s Best Road Trip — The Redwood Forests of Humboldt County

This is the summer that you’re going to do that road trip you’ve always wanted to do. The one to California’s north coast so you can finally see the world’s tallest trees, take a scenic drive along the Avenue of Giants, and explore The Lost Coast. I’ve been taking summer road trips to Humboldt County since I was a kid, and I haven’t even begun to experience everything this land of superlatives has to offer. It’s one of the best family road trips in the nation—a perfect combo of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and American kitch. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.

Gorgeous Fall Getaways to Sonoma Wine Country

Picture yourself cruising in your car on a sunny afternoon along the winding backroads of Sonoma Wine Country. It’s the fall season, the air is brisk and crystal clear, and as far as the eye can see are harvested vineyards blazing with colors of autumn: bright yellows, fiery reds, vibrant golds. There’s a science to […]

Fall Houseboating Getaways

Now stay with me on this one, because I’m about to let you in on one of my top outdoor getaway secrets: fall-season houseboating on Lake Shasta. Why? First, because you can save more than $1000 off summer rental rates. Second, it’s still plenty warm both above and below the water. And third, that lake […]

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Lassen Volcanic National Park

Here’s an idea: Instead of driving to Lake Tahoe again for your alpine getaway, consider a detour to one the least-visited national parks in the lower 48 states: Lassen Volcanic National Park. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t offer the same incredible scenery as Lake Tahoe (what place does?), but Lassen Volcanic National Park definitely has […]

Family-Run Farm Getaways

So there you are, sitting in your office or cubical on a sunny day, wishing you were working somewhere, anywhere else right now. Like on a small family farm for instance, planting strawberries and picking pears in dirty jeans and warm sunshine. It’s not an impossible dream you know. Mavericks such as Dee Harley of […]

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“Who Knew?” Wine Tasting Getaways

When you mention the Wine Country most people think of Napa or Sonoma Valley. But true wine geeks have long known that some of Northern California’s best wine and wine-tasting experiences can be found well beyond the valleys, often at family owned wineries tucked away on one-lane roads that would be impossible to find if it weren’t for the periodic signs pointing you in the right direction.

It’s experiences like these—casual yet captivating conversations with winemakers as you savor the fruits of their years of hard work—that make visiting these esoteric wineries worth the effort. Ergo, here are a few of my “Who knew?” favorites.

Feather Falls Casino and Lodge

Feather Falls Casino and Lodge

If you’ve been following my travel posts, you know I’m already a fan of Lake Oroville, which has some of the best bass fishing, house boating, and water sports in California. So when I have a free weekend on the calendar I love to head to Oroville—about a 50-minute drive north of Sacramento—and spend a […]

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Lake Oroville ~ The Perfect 3-Day Summer Getaway

As a travel writer, one of my favorite things to write about is secret getaways to places that most Californians have never experienced. Well, here’s another gem: Lake Oroville. Located 70 miles due north of Sacramento, Lake Oroville is the sleeper vacation spot that really does offer something for everyone: houseboating, fishing, biking, hiking, sailing, […]

California — A Tale of Two States

[Note: I would love to get a dialogue going on this topic , so I invite you to express your thoughts as well by submitting a comment below.]   It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to figure out that California suffers from an acute identity crisis. We Californians may, on the surface, appear to be one […]