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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.

Le Parc Suite Hotel's Skydeck Pool & Cabanas

West Hollywood & The Sunset Strip

Donald Fagan had it right when he sang, “Drive west on Sunset to the sea…” in the famous Steely Dan tune Babylon Sisters. But only if a stay in West Hollywood is part of the journey. Officially founded in 1984 as the 84th city in Los Angeles County, West Hollywood is a young, vibrant community with a colorful and entertaining past. In WeHo, as the locals call it, you’ll find art, shopping, museums, music, dining and people watching at its absolute best.

A Night at the Symphony

It’s still there. In your closet. That sassy Kate Spade dress or Hugo Boss suit you bought at Nordstrom last year that’s just waiting for an excuse to be worn. Well, here’s your excuse: On March 3, at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek, the California Symphony will be performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, hailed as the most admirable, singular, artistic, and complex Beethoven concerto ever. To watch San Francisco Symphony’s Donato Cabrera conduct this renown orchestra—led by award-winning pianist Haochen Zhang—is a rare opportunity. To experience this level of talent for as little as $35 is a miracle.

Valentine’s Day Getaways

So you’re going to take your lover to a fancy restaurant on Valentine’s Day, eh? How original. C’mon people, let’s spice it up a bit. Let’s plan the kind of romantic getaway that will make you look like the most thoughtful person on the planet. This year Valentine’s Day falls on Thursday, so that gives you both a weekday and weekend opportunity to woo and wow your better half with one of our special Valentine’s Day getaways that will keep you out of the doghouse for months (well, for weeks at least).

Family Wineries & Fall Colors in the Sierra Foothills

Each year I plan a November visit to the wine regions of the Sierra Foothills to photograph the amazing vistas of fall color and visit some of my favorite winemakers in California. Harvest (and the few weeks following) is the most romantic time of year to be in a vineyard; the vines are heavy with […]

Laguna Beach: 4 Days of Coastal Fun & Romance

Looking for an easy, breezy romantic getaway? Well, picture this: 7.8 miles of sandy beaches, crashing waves, breath-taking views of the Pacific and sea lions, too. The artist enclave of Laguna Beach offers an eclectic fusion of sandy coves, stunning coastal bluffs, delectable treats, high fashion, coated with a surfer cool sheen. Halfway between L.A. […]

Ojai: Your 5-Day Dream Getaway

by Guest Guru Nancy Geller If romance is your goal, Ojai is your destination. And it all starts with a sunset. It’s a fleeting occurrence, but sunset in Ojai is just about as stunning as it gets. Twelve miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the city of Ojai lies in a small valley, north of […]

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.

PALM SPRINGS: Your 5-Day Dream Getaway

Palm Springs in the summer? It certainly isn’t the place to go for ocean breezes and kite-surfing, but if you’re looking for a smokin’ hot deal to match the sizzling temperatures, summer is the time to go. As a kid I loved spending my July 4th birthday in Palm Springs with no crowds, hours of […]