Fun & Affordable River Getaways to Sonoma County

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

Santa Barbara Bay

Your Summer Getaway to Santa Barbara, The American Riviera

If you don’t have time to go to the south of France, how about a summer getaway to beautiful, relaxing Santa Barbara? It’s no mystery why Santa Barbara’s been dubbed “The American Riviera” with its white-washed buildings topped with red tile roofs tucked between lush mountains and sparkling sea. This small city exudes warmth and friendliness. The sun shines nearly 300 days a year, making Santa Barbara a mecca for every kind of outdoor pursuit – both coastal and inland – along with an array of cultural attractions ranging from theater and dance to music and visual arts. Let’s go for a tour…

Your Summer Getaway to Lake Shasta

Now that summer has officially started, I figured I’d write about one of my favorite family road trips we’d go on every summer when I was a kid: Lake Shasta. As usual we’d pile up the Country Squire station wagon with camping gear and comic books, then head up I-5 in the blistering heat until […]

Yosemite Falls in Spring Yosemite National Park

Matt’s Top Tips to Yosemite National Park

It always amazes me to meet people who’ve lived in California for years and have never been to Yosemite National Park. But trying to explain the majesty of Yosemite Valley in words is impossible; you simply must experience it firsthand, and early spring—when the wildflowers are going nuts—is the best time to visit. Here’s what you need to know…

The 7 Man-Made Wonders of Northern California

Sometimes you have to go see something simply because somebody was crazy or determined enough to build it. Take the Winchester Mystery House for example: If someone spends 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for 38 years building a nuthouse, people will line up to see it (and they […]

San Luis Obispo View from Madonna Mountain

3 Perfect Days in San Luis Obispo

We always enjoy sharing a local’s perspective on California getaways. As seasoned travelers well know, a local’s insight is always the best. This one, written by our Guest Guru and longtime San Luis Obispo resident Kathleen Forster, is sure to inspire a visit to this Central Coast gem.

whale-watching-monterey-bay-california-ca

Blue Whale Watching Getaways

SPECTACULAR!! ORCAS-”KILLER WHALES!!”THE MIGHTY GIANTS “BLUE WHALES!!” HUMPBACK WHALES!! BEAUTIFUL WEATHER!! That’s a typical “Sightings Report” from the Princess Monterey Whale Watching company. Each year from May through November, whales and dolphins are routinely spotted off the California coast, and so far this is one of the best years for sighting the big blues and playful humpbacks in recent memory. Here are my picks on the best humpback and blue whale watching tour companies in Northern California.

FREE National Parks Week

If you’re already reeling from the taxes you have to pay on April 15, here’s a chance to at least recoup a little of your hard-earned money. On April 19th and 20th the entrance fees to all the national parks in the U.S. will be waived, including Pinnacles, Yosemite, Lassen, and Muir Woods. And because National Park Week (April 19-27) coincides with Earth Day (April 22nd) and National Junior Ranger Day (April 26), several parks are offering free family-oriented programs such as special ranger-led hikes and volunteer clean-up projects. Think of it as an affordable opportunity for you to be a rock-star parent, aunt, or uncle while enjoying America’s Best Idea—our national parks.

Your 3-Day Dream Getaway to Catalina Island

Mention to any Californian that you’re heading over to Catalina Island, and invariably you’ll get this response: “Ooh, I’ve always wanted to go to Catalina! It looks amazing!” Well, if you never been to Catalina (or it’s been ages since your last visit), now is definitely the best time to visit. There’s so much to see and do, in such a beautiful and idyllic setting, that you’ll find yourself wondering what kept you away so long. Here’s everything you need to know for your 3-Day Dream Getaway to Catalina Island.

Earth Day Getaways

On the weekend of April 20-21, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2013. Charitable events will taking place on and around this day throughout the world, and you can be a part of it via the dozens of volunteer opportunities available throughout Northern California that only require a few hours of your time, yet do a world of good. Check out the Earth Day getaways below, then rally your friends and family and help make a difference.