Many tourists flock to well-known destinations in Southern California such as San Diego, Disneyland, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. These are all great places to visit, but if you’re looking for a slightly different place from radar, check out the following amazing destinations:
My husband and I have lived in California for most of our lives, but somehow I have missed these gorgeous islands classified as one of the U.S. national parks. After watching some amazing pictures online, we made a short boat trip to Anacapa Island from Oxnard as part of this weekend’s memorial trip.
If you decide to go, get ready and fetch supplies. This adventure trek is in good physical condition. You will need to climb 157 steps to the top of this rugged little island where there is no food, services, water, or toilets. Now, I hate toilets, but I’m telling you – the views over the rocky shore, huge cliffs, and winding peaks were worth it. You can easily walk around the edge of the island in just hours with the Inspiration Point a big bonus for your efforts.
We visited in June when bursts of bright wildflowers covered the small island and thousands of fascinating sea gulls could be found on every corner. Just beware of their condom mothers who will pounce on your head if you come too close.
We returned two years later and visited the largest island of Santa Cruz for an exciting kayak tour of the historic marine caves. On the boat trip we saw a whale and two large dolphin schools. Water can be stiff at certain points, but the caves were amazing. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Some people consider these islands desolate, but if you have an adventurous and loving nature, the Chanel Islands are considered the Galapagos Islands in North America.
Huntington Botanical Gardens
This is another amazing place that we have failed to visit for decades. Located in Pasadena, this magnificent apartment is home to more than a dozen picturesque gardens spread over 120 acres. It’s hard to tell which park is the most impressive, but the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden and California Garden are some of my favorites.
We didn’t even get a chance to check out the art galleries. The Huntington Art Gallery includes British paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries, and includes the famous blue boy. To my shame as a writer, we haven’t visited the Huntington Library itself, one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States.
in the next time.
Ventura County Wine Trail
Napa may get all attention as a wine country in California, but my husband and I enjoyed drinking our way through the coastal hills near the coastal town of Ventura. We visited two wineries and nearly 20 tasting rooms.
You can book one of the many wine tours on offer. However, we decided to get a map and explore it on our own. Starting at Ventura at the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 101, we drive Highway 33 towards Ojai.
Surprises await this fairly lonely but charming road – from “the smallest Post Office in the United States” to the last place where James Dean saw alive. Our favorite discovery was the Old Creek Winery factory which felt like it was returning to a simpler place and time where friendly people and dogs welcomed us. We enjoyed the wine bottle purchased and strolled outside at tables enjoying the Americana view.
By the way, Ojai and Ventura are two worthy stops with charming inns, luxurious spas, bed and breakfasts along with a wide range of outdoor activities. In the summer, Ventura Harbor Village is a hub of activity with festivals and live music on weekends.
This charming beach town is located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. With over 20 different scenic bays, this beach area offers everything from surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, diving, canoeing and whale watching excursions.
Just be careful, the waves can be rough in places. As a teenager, I decided to surf despite winding waters and wiped on a massive wave (I think Beach Boys’ song: Heheheheheee’s wiping out!). In fact, I blame Beach Boys for the whole incident since they went and the romance of this individual thing surfers with songs she brought up like Surfer Girl. So their fault.
However, the scene cannot be overcome. Add unique restaurants, supermarkets and art galleries, and you’ll get the picture. There is even a Baby Boomer Club with dances on Saturday night. Every summer, they host Laguna Woodstock where a baby boom party like 1969.
Heisler Park is a good place to start, located just north of the main beach, with an easy half-mile stroll along the paved road with stunning views of the coast and the soothing sound of crashing waves. You can take a path to the beaches and the tidal pools. Lots of chairs, picnic tables, and barbecues are where you can enjoy great views. My husband and I stroll over one of the grassy areas and it was perfect!
Another great place, Treasure Island Park is located on the grounds of the five-star Montage Laguna Beach, where the accommodation is truly rich. Many observation seats are lined up in a beautifully winding path. Stairs and cliffs lead you to the beach, where you can walk through a beautiful rocky path during low tide, find a spot in the sand for sunbathing, and a large stretching pool. In addition, there are plenty of grassy picnic areas. I suggest bringing some wine and cheese to catch the romantic sunset.
Big Bear Lake
I live in the desert, so the Big Bear nearby is a wonderful mountain retreat with its magnificent lake and unspoiled forests. Boating, fishing and hiking are just some of the activities in this quiet little village.
Last summer my husband and I scooted around the lake, enjoyed a picnic, slid down the alpine slide, drove go-carts at speeds of up to 30 mp.h, and took a tour of the scenic sky chair for stunning views. After watching people take the lift chair to the mountain bike down the tracks, we put this on our to-do list next time.
For adventurers in the heart, parasailing and water skiing are also available.
Beach of the developer
Are you looking for a stunning coastline with white sand, tall cliffs, crashing waves and rocky rock formations in a semi-hidden location?
Look no further than El Matador, which is north of Malibu, off the Pacific Coast winding highway. It’s easy to miss the little sign and structure indicating a small parking lot on top of the road, so watch carefully between Broad Beach and Decker Canyon Roads. Once you find it, be ready to lift a trick 150 feet long with the help of some steep stairs.
Not for young children or those with physical disabilities, but if you can do it through the steps, you will be treated with stunning views. The locals know about this beach and you might see some pictures happening – we did!
There is little to do on this small but gorgeous beach, so have lunch or some wine and discover a hidden corner to enjoy an incredibly romantic setting.
Until now, you may have noticed that my husband and I are homeless on the beach. We found this beach by accident while searching for a nearby place to stay the night before traveling from Los Angeles airport the next morning.
The Redondo Quay is a landmark with panoramic ocean views and water activities including harbor cruises, seasonal whale watching, kayaks, rowing boards and pedal boats. The truth is known, we haven’t tried any of these, but we loved Tony’s views on the sidewalk where we enjoyed a happy hour!
The dock is also home to a large 16-foot white shark known as Georgette, on display in a large tank in Shark Attack on the dock. If you have grandchildren with you or are a youngster in the heart, you may enjoy the semi-submersible yellow submarine (Darn, now I have the Beatles song stuck in my head) to watch underwater for local marine life.
Definitely beats staying at the airport hotel if you are traveling to or from Los Angeles.
This island is more popular than some of my previous recommendations, but it is an emotional favorite. My husband and I spent our honeymoon 40 years ago and returned several times. It’s an attractive little island, with no stop lights or fast food restaurants. Typical traffic jam involves two golf carts and a bike designed for two.
On our honeymoon, we cycled with pleasure around Avalon, went horseback riding, and toured the famous casino, sunbathing on the small beach. We also took a bus to Two Harbors, which is the only other village on Catalina Island. Snorkelling, parasailing, fishing, underglazing, windsurfing, cycling, golfing and hiking are other popular activities.
After decades, we sailed on our boat to the island from Long Beach – which turned out to be one land trip. My husband and older children once again returned to dive into the open waters to become relied on to dive amid the famous kelp forests surrounded by the bright orange Garibaldi fish. The next time we visit, I want to try the new 600-foot-high zip line with one 1,100-foot run at speeds of up to 30 minutes per hour. Wei!
As you might say, Southern California has many great places to visit, it is impossible to list them all. But I hope I’ve given you some ideas to get started!