The Top 10 Things To Do In Monterey Bay

As much as I loath superlatives, there’s just no getting around the fact that the Monterey Bay/Big Sur region of California is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth. Monterey is a pretty seaside community with beautiful ocean vistas, historic architecture, stately Victorians, and a number of quality lodgings and restaurants. More important, […]

Wine Tasting California

The Top 7 Wine-Tasting Tours in California’s Wine Country

As the former author of Frommer’s Wine Country I’ve visited a lot of wineries in Napa and Sonoma and taken dozens of tours. One of the questions I get asked most by readers is, “Which winery has the best tour?” Well, that depends. If you don’t know anything about how wine is made, I recommend a comprehensive tour by one of the major wineries—they’ve got the Wine for Dummies thing down. The seven listed here are my top picks for an enjoyable weekend of learning the wine-making process. – Matthew

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Northern California’s Top Lighthouse Tours

One of the best outdoor getaways in the Bay Area is the Point Bonita Lighthouse in Marin. “Bonita” means pretty or beautiful in Spanish, and the term couldn’t be more appropriate. Crossing the new 132-foot-long footbridge toward the lighthouse, you have a phenomenal view of the rugged cliffs and Pacific ocean to the west, and […]


Summer Spa Getaways

It’s always nice to have something to look forward to, especially if it’s a spa getaway. It feels good just to put it on the calendar… April 23-24: “Spa Trip To Napa Valley With Karen” Because you know it’s going to be relaxing, lying in the whirlpool spa, sipping cucumber water, nothing to do but […]

Ventana Campground Big Sur California

Big Sur’s Best Secrets

You know it’s there, and you know you’ve been wanting to go, yet when’s the last time you’ve taken a weekend getaway to Big Sur? That’s what I thought. So to help entice you to do the right thing for your body and soul, I’ve put together an insider’s list of my Top 10 favorite things to see and do in Big Sur.

As a Californian you have the rare opportunity to be within driving distance of one of the prettiest places on the planet, so grab the opportunity, regardless of your busy schedule. Find a free weekend in your day-planner, book one of our hotel deals near Big Sur, and make this happen…

Death Valley National Park Sand Dunes 770x525

Death Valley National Park

They call it Death Valley for a reason. Utterly inhuman, this scorching region of tortured rock, shifting dunes and fetid lakes is one of the hottest and most inhospitable regions in the world, an unnatural phenomenon so eerie it would make Hieronymous Bosch cringe with envy. Which, of course, is all the more reason to come and see it for yourself, simply because there is no other place like it on the planet: a haunting, primordial enigma that is both fascinating to behold and troubling to the soul—a geologic car wreck if you may. But describing the surreal beauty of a desert is like talking dirty on the phone; you get the picture, but it’s never as good as the real thing. For that, you must come.


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 […]

Rockaway Beach Pacifica California

Two Perfect Days in Pacifica

If you haven’t been to Pacifica in a while, you haven’t been to Pacifica. It’s changed. What was once the place you drove through to get somewhere else is now the place you want to visit. Over the past few years, Pacifica—a mere 15-minute drive south of San Francisco—has experienced an influx of seriously talented chefs, musicians, artists, and educators who have traded the hectic city life for the far more tranquil surroundings of this seaside community.

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 […]


My Accidental Date with Roseanne Barr

As if having a 45-minute conversation with a stranger about Brazilian wax jobs wasn’t peculiar enough for one day in LA, there I am sitting alone at the lobby bar of the St Regis Hotel at 10pm on a Saturday night, nursing an absurdly overpriced vodka rocks, when a woman sits next to me and […]

Getaway Deals. Delivered.

Why anyone wouldn’t want to get our free newsletter each week is beyond us. Who else is going to provide you with awesome California travel deals and advice?