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, […]
I remember as a kid driving north through Ventura County with my parents and seeing nothing but fields and farmland. Coming from L.A., I might as well have been on another planet. But times they are a changin’ and now the county’s three cities—Camarillo, Oxnard, and Ventura, otherwise known as Ventura County West—have become popular destinations for a California vacation. And with so much of land devoted to farming, Ventura County is home to a wide range of up-and-coming wineries and restaurants. Here’s what I recommend for first-timers wanting to get a flavor of the region.
I’m always amazed at how few Californians have spent time exploring the Sonoma Coast, or even knew that Sonoma County has 76 miles of gorgeous, pristine coastline. If you’re one of those people, then it’s high time you spent a long weekend exploring one of the prettiest regions of the state, brimming with golden beaches, […]
Spend some time in Marin County, at the “other” end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that the redwood-shaded, coastal hill country north of San Francisco has a ridiculous number of things to do. Miles of coastal wilderness and redwood forests to explore by foot or by bike, farm-to-table restaurants and artisan food-makers, charming towns, theaters and clubs where locals like Robin Williams, Carlos Santana, and George Lucas might be on stage or in the crowd—what’s not to love about Marin?
We’ve all stayed at nice a hotel during our vacation, but when’s the last time you stayed at a hotel that was so special it was the vacation? The seven Northern California hotels listed below offer that sort of experience. Yes, they’re expensive, but you can’t put a price on a lifetime of fond memories. […]
Have you ever seen anything as happy as a dog playing on the beach? Me neither. Sometimes I borrow my neighbor’s dog just to take him to the beach and watch him go nuts chasing after his tennis ball into the roiling surf, completely oblivious of the chilly water and crashing waves. It’s not only fantastic exercise for the dog, it’s cathartic for humans as well, being able to bring so much joy to a dog’s day. So open your day-planner right now, find a free weekend, then call your dog over and let him know that he’s about to have the best beach getaway a pooch could ever hope for. – Matthew
If you’re having a hard time letting go of summer, read this and you’ll be booking your family trip to San Diego faster than fall got here. When autumn arrives, San Diego’s the place to be where the weather stays warm while summer crowds quickly vanish. Fall offers some of the best reasons to visit San Diego, with “Kids Free San Diego” topping them all in October, not to mention beer and food festivals, horse racing, street fairs, and music fests that’ll take you into November. Seriously. San Diego goes child wild in October with special deals for families, so those of you traveling with the kiddos can enjoy your time in San Diego without emptying your wallet. Here’s a checklist of all the San Diego highlights to hit with the family… all October long and beyond!
If you’re not quite ready for summer to come to an end, and you feel the need to squeeze in one last sun-filled getaway, I have a recommendation you’re going to like: a road trip to the river communities of Sonoma County. If you’ve already been to Sonoma Wine Country you probably went wine tasting or drove along the coast, but when’s the last time you set out to explore the three rivers that flow through Sonoma County? If you do, I can promise you that many of your sentences will start with “Wow, I never knew….” – Matthew
Some of the best memories I have as a kid growing up in Sacramento include piling into the Country Squire station wagon (Seatbelts? What seatbelts?) and taking road trips to the mountains or coast. Every trip was a mini-adventure filled with discovery and danger (Don’t make me pull this car over!). Even now I still get that tingle of anticipation as I load up the car with luggage and hit the open road to anywhere but my office. So in the spirit of good times and grand adventures, I’d like to share you five of my favorite scenic drives in Northern California. – Matthew
The Lost Coast is proof that if you don’t build it, they won’t come. What wasn’t built along 90 miles of pristine California coastline north of Mendocino was a road: The topography of this rugged region—steep mountain ranges abutting rocky shore—wouldn’t allow it, forcing the builders of Highway 1 to make a detour far inland. The result of this absence of asphalt is the last untamed and undeveloped stretch of coastline in California, a place so devoid of urbanization that more cows repose on its beaches than people (seriously). In fact, you can spend days roaming the coastal range and without seeing a soul, making the Lost Coast the sine qua non of “get-away-from-it-all” experiences.