Posts

Located on the west coast of the United States, California is the country’s most visited state with pleasant year round weather and a diverse landscape that includes sunny pristine beaches, snowcapped mountains and lush sequoia redwood trees.

The state of California is so diverse that Southern California vacations can be quite different and unique from Northern California vacations. The best California vacations however, are the ones that suit your interests and tastes.

California Vacation Spots

Without a doubt California vacations will create some of your best traveling memories full of wonder, fun and excitement. Vacations in California deliver something for everyone. There are many California vacation spots to choose from including among others;

  • Exploring the many sandy beaches along the California coast
  • Driving the California coastal highway through Big Sur
  • Mountain climbing or skiing in California’s interior
  • Hiking through Northern California’s groves of giant redwood trees
  • Wine tasting in California wine country
  • Romancing through the streets of San Francisco
  • Sightseeing in Southern California celebrity hotspots like Hollywood and San Diego
  • Discovering the natural wonders of Yosemite National Park
  • Or just relaxing and soaking in the California sun

California is the ideal vacation hot spot for traveling with friends or family. Other California vacation spots worth exploring include Berkeley, Sacramento, Napa Valley, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Jose and Monterrey.

California Attractions

Other worthwhile California destinations to add to your travel itinerary may include the many of the more popular tourist attractions such as the Joshua Tree National Park, Japanese Tree Garden, Sea World Adventure Park, the famous Golden Gate Bridge, the notorious Alcatraz Island, Palm Springs, California Wineries and the amazing Yosemite National Park.

Another unique California attraction is Death Valley, the site of not only the lowest elevation in America (at 282 feet below sea level) but also the hottest place in North America with a record temperature of 134 degrees F.

Romantic California Vacation Spots

California is the ideal vacation spot for honeymooners and couples who long for romantic moments, quiet solace or peaceful relaxation while on vacation. California romantic hot spots include Eureka, Carmel, Bodega Bay and Mendocino, guaranteed to fill the heart with rich and intimate moments.

California Vacations by Caravan Tours

Fully escorted California Vacations by Caravan Tours are all inclusive tours along the California coast and include tours of San Francisco, California wine country, Yosemite National Park, Monterrey, Big Sur, the California redwoods, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Hollywood.

Visit Caravan’s California Vacations Reviews page to read what others have said about Caravan’s all inclusive fully escorted tours of the California coast.

Instead of asking about things to do in Los Angeles, it may be better to ask what’s not to do.

Visitors from around the world come to the “City of Angels” for many, many different reasons. While many vacationers to the Los Angeles county area come to visit Disneyland or to experience the magic of Hollywood, more than a few visitors travel to Los Angeles California to try their luck in the movie industry.

Vacationers and fans of movie celebrities view Hollywood and Beverly Hills as important “must-see” destinations. For these movie buffs, if you haven’t seen the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame or the mansions of the stars in Beverly Hills, then you haven’t experienced Los Angeles California.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills is truly a city of wealth beyond compare. It’s a great place to window shop but if you can afford it, don’t miss shopping in one of the exclusive stores on Rodeo Drive (pronunciation sounds more like “no way oh” instead of “rodeo” where you “ride the bull”). Beverly Hills hotels are very high-class so start saving your money now if you want to spend the night here. Make your reservations well ahead of time. Of course, the food in the various top-shelf restaurants is exquisite but prices do reflect the area you are in. Some of the “big name” Beverly Hills restaurants to check out are Spagos, La Scala, Polo Lounge and Regent Beverly Wilshire.

Hollywood

Every visitor to Los Angeles California should make a point to see the famous Hollywood sign standing on the side of Hollywood Hills. The Hollywood sign began as an advertisement for housing and has become a landmark icon of the movie industry that is recognized by people around the world.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

The other location that might be at the top of your “must see” list in the Hollywood area is Grauman’s Chinese Theater, accurately billed as “the most famous movie theater in the world.” Grauman’s Chinese Theater was used to premiere Hollywood’s most talked-about movies but the building itself is beautiful enough to be one of Hollywood’s top tourist draws.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Most visitors to Los Angeles California make a concerted effort to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, if only to be able to say that they’ve walked where the stars walked. Other tourist favorites in the area are Mulholland Drive, Laurel Canyon County Store and Hollywood Bowl, the famous venue for music performances and another important icon of Los Angeles California.

Sony Pictures & Universal Studios

While you are in the Los Angeles area you may want to take a tour of some of the giants in the movie industry including Sony Pictures and Universal Studios. Both are constantly busy with the production of movies, television shows and commercials and both offer excellent studio tours. Tour guides make the experience enjoyable and educational at the same time.

Santa Monica Pier

There are plenty of Los Angeles attractions that have little to do with Hollywood or the movie industry. For example, one of the highlights of a trip to the Los Angeles is Santa Monica Pier, now famous for its entertainment venues, excellent dining options and wonderful specialty shops. There is no admission charge at Santa Monica Pier where you can leisurely stroll along and experience exceptional musicians, artists and street performers. Santa Monica Pier is also one of California’s most amazing places for watching the coastal sunset.

Malibu California

When you are in southern California you may want to visit incredible Malibu, known for its beautiful landscape and California beaches. This area is also recognized as Los Angeles’ most famous residential area of the rich and famous. Malibu offers plenty of recreational opportunities including swimming, fishing and shopping in many of the beachfront stores.

Caravan’s All Inclusive California Tours

Places like Hollywood and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles are included as part of Caravan Tours’ 8-day, all inclusive California Tours, which are exceptionally priced, starting at just $1,395.

Visit Caravan’s California Tours Review page to read what others have said about Caravan’s fully escorted all inclusive California package tours.

For some, the name Monterey means John Steinbeck and Cannery Row.

Monterey California is also synonymous with music so you might want to plan your trip around the Monterey Jazz Festival in September. 2010 will be the 53rd year for the world famous Monterey Jazz Festival.

In truth, many California tours include Monterey as part of their itinerary because this Pacific coastal town has so much more to offer. Here are some things to do in Monterey California.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium is reason enough to include Monterey California your next vacation itinerary. Monterey Bay Aquarium is known around the world as a place for family enjoyment, education and marine exploration.

Hundreds of people take the opportunity to see this world-class display of nature every day. Find out about the secret life of seahorses. See sharks in the Outer Bay. And check out the fascinating Monterey Bay habitats. Monterey Bay Aquarium is currently in the process of adding another amazing display – Hot Pink Flamingos (due to open in March 2010).

Cannery Row

If the ocean world and undersea marine life are not your style, or if you have seen the world-renowned aquarium and want to experience more of Monterey California, plan to spend a day at Cannery Row.

Cannery Row is also the title of a famous novel by author John Steinbeck. The area is named for the sardine-canning companies that operated here decades ago. Developers have converted this historic region into an area of great hotels, excellent restaurants and family-oriented activities; a real tourism treat. In addition, you can wander through the many shops that offer quality merchandise.

Steinbeck, one of the most respected authors in modern history, wrote of the last days of what was once called the Sardine Capital of the World. For more than half a century the area has been known as Cannery Row, a must-see destination for visitors to the Monterey Bay area.

Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company

The recreation trail and IMAX Theater draw many visitors to Monterey California. Those who are familiar with the movie “Forrest Gump” will be pleasantly surprised to find the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company here.

Carmel by the Sea

If celerity sighting is your passion or if you want to experience the atmosphere of a quaint but exciting seaside town, visit Carmel by the Sea. Many movie stars and musicians make this their home. Well-known actor Clint Eastwood once served as mayor of Carmel, California.

Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Don’t miss the chance to see Old Fisherman’s Wharf on the Monterey Peninsula. Restaurants offer excellent seafood and other fare. Whale-watching and fishing are popular pastimes. You can also satisfy your shopping desire with a stroll through some of the lovely specialty shops.

San Luis Reservoir

For an outdoor experience, take some time to visit San Luis Reservoir and the surrounding state park. This gorgeous, wind-swept site attracts thousands of visitors annually.

You may also want to experience 17-Mile Drive at world famous Pebble Beach. Some of the words you might use to describe what you can see and feel during this wonderful journey include cypress trees, seals, sea otters, wildflowers, marvellous golf courses…and much more.

Whatever your tastes, it’s a sure bet that you’ll find it in amazing Monterey California

All Inclusive California Tours Include Monterey

Monterey California is just one of the many excellent stops included as part of Caravan Tours’ all inclusive California Tours package.

These are 8-day, all inclusive and fully escorted tours, exceptionally priced starting at just $1,395.

Visit Caravan’s California Vacation Tour Reviews page to read what others have said about Monterey California and these all inclusive fully escorted California tours.

For a good part of United States history, San Francisco was first on the list when people were asked to name the city where they would most like to live.

The “city by the bay” is still a favorite destination not only for those who are relocating but for those who are vacationing in California as well. Why? Perhaps it is because there is no shortage of things to do in San Francisco California.

San Francisco Attractions

San Francisco is famous for its Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Lombard Street (dubbed the world’s most crooked street). San Francisco city is also recognized for what may well be its most “infamous” attraction, Alcatraz Island. No matter what reason you choose to visit San Francisco City, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be disappointed.

Golden Gate Bridge

Among the most popular of San Francisco’s tourist attractions is the Golden Gate Bridge, considered to be a marvellous feat of 20th century engineering.  The Golden Gate Bridge is photographed as often as such European icons as the Eiffel Tower. Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge is a treat in itself for first-time visitors but one should not miss the opportunity to take a more leisurely stroll by foot across this magnificent bridge.

Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

Along with the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf should also be on your list as one of the city’s “must see” places to visit. Fisherman’s Wharf is a stretch of waterfront property that features great seafood restaurants and specialty shops right on the bay. It’s also a great place to see San Francisco’s sea lion population. Some visitors also make a point to visit nearby Ghirardelli Square (the name means “chocolate” to a lot of people). Visitors often take chocolate treats home as souvenirs.

Alcatraz Island San Francisco

Though the site may seem a bit tainted, even morbid to some, visitors with an interest in criminal history in the United States should take the Alcatraz audio tour. Alcatraz prison is where America’s most notorious gangsters (like Al Capone) were sent in the heydays of post Depression America. Thousands of tourists tour Alcatraz Island every year after taking a short boat ride across the frigid bay waters. Advance reservations are recommended. Get these passes well ahead of your scheduled visit and soak up some of the most infamous atmosphere in United States history.

San Francisco’s Cable Cars

At one time in San Francisco there were no cars on the streets. People walked, travelled by horse and carriage or took one of the now world famous cable cars. These cable cars are still used as transportation by some, but they have become one of the top “things to do” on any tour itinerary. San Francisco’s cable cars are considered a historic landmark. The cable cars can take you through Chinatown and over Nob Hill, with the opportunity to hop on at one of the turn-table locations or at various marked spots along the route. Tickets are $3 for a one-way trip or $9 for a day pass.

China Town & Knob Hill

Since we mentioned Chinatown and Nob Hill, we should probably take a little closer look at these two wonderful San Francisco destinations. Much of San Francisco’s Chinatown is really a representation of what architects thought “typical” Chinese architecture would look like. However, the city does have a rich heritage of Chinese culture, much of it still alive in small Chinese specialty shops along side streets.

Visitors who want to see some of San Francisco’s mansions, which were built by the city’s upper-class families in past years, may want to take in Nob Hill. This was a favored location for wealthy merchants and entrepreneurs more than a century ago and is still home to many who are considered “upper crust.”

Other City Attractions

These are just a few of the many highlights of San Francisco, considered one of the most beautiful and “liveable” cities in the world. Other San Francisco attractions include Union Square, Golden Gate Park and Coit Tower. Experienced travellers urge first-time visitors to allow plenty of time to enjoy the special atmosphere of this amazing “city by the bay”, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Part of Caravan’s All Inclusive California Tours

San Francisco California and many of the city’s attractions mentioned above are included as part of Caravan Tours’ all inclusive California Tours.

Other tour stops along the California coast include places to visit like Monterey, Big Sur and the giant redwoods of California. These are fully escorted, 8-day tours, exceptionally priced starting at just $1,395. The bus tour includes a 2-night stay in San Francisco.

Visit Caravan’s California Coast Tour Reviews page to read what others have said about Caravan’s all inclusive California tours.

Say the words Yosemite National Park in virtually any home in the United States and chances are whoever is listening will be familiar with the name.

In fact, the same can be said for many homes around the world thanks in part to the popularity of Warner Brothers’ animated Looney Tunes character “Yosemite Sam”, who represented much of the best and worst the “old west” had to offer.

Yosemite National Park in California is now a World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most visited national parks attracting over 3.5 million visitors annually. Yosemite Park is also a part of many professional California tours and viewed by most international visitors as a symbol of America’s natural beauty.

Yosemite National Park’s more popular attractions like Half Dome and El Capitan are also recognized by those who are familiar with Yosemite National Park and its geography.

Yosemite Park History

But what is the story of Yosemite National Park and how did it become one of the most popular travel destinations in North America? A brief look at Yosemite Park’s history and important facts should give the reader some clues.

One of the first men involved with the Yosemite region in an “official” capacity was Galen Clark who said he was “overwhelmed in the sudden presence of the unspeakable, stupendous grandeur.”

The park is also closely associated with naturalist and writer John Muir, an early proponent of preserving the park.

By the Civil War era hundreds of people had made the trip to the Yosemite Valley but the numbers were limited by the area’s rugged landscape. Only the most adventurous travelled by horseback in order to gain access to this amazing part of California.

By the late 1800s, railroad construction helped to open up access to Yosemite Park and brought many more visitors who came by the thousands. Yosemite Valley soon became home to miners, gold-seekers and fortune hunters, prompting the construction of hotels that catered to upper-class citizens.

Yosemite was officially established as a national park in October of 1890. Before long, members of the seven resident Native American tribes were displaced by visiting tourists; from U.S. residents in the east to European visitors and travellers from around the globe.

Yosemite Park Attractions

What draws visitors to Yosemite National Park by the thousands every day, aside from the magnificent scenery?

Yosemite National Park museum is an amazing museum that contains thousands of books, magazines articles and photo information associated with Yosemite National Park and its history. In addition, the museum holds many natural and archaeological treasures from the region.

And even though Yosemite National Park is comprised of 95% wilderness, the majority of park visitors explore only about 7% of the total park area according to information from the National Park System.

Within the park there is nearly 800 miles of trails for hiking, plus numerous magnificent waterfalls, giant sequoia trees in old growth forests and almost 1600 miles of creeks, rivers and waterways to explore.

Yosemite Falls is the tallest on the North American continent at an astonishing 2,425 feet. The sheer granite faces of Half Dome (at 4,800+ feet) and El Capitan (at 3,000+ feet) present unique challenges for rock climbers who come from around the globe to make the ascent.

Sentinel Dome is another unique attraction offering hikers who make to the summit a complete 360 degree view of the surrounding Yosemite Valley.

And of course, Yosemite National Park’s unique varieties of vegetation and animal species are also important tourist draws including mule deer, black bears, king snakes and bobcats.

“Yosemite Lodge at the Falls” is a perfect place to establish accommodations and act as a “home base” for exploring one of the most beautiful National Parks in the world. Re-designed just a decade ago Yosemite Lodge fits perfectly within the gorgeous surroundings.

Yosemite Park – Part of Caravan’s California Tours

Yosemite National Park in California is included as part of Caravan Tours’ all inclusive California Tours.

These fully escorted 8-day tours are exceptionally priced, starting at just $1,395.

Visit Caravan’s California Coast Tour Reviews page to read what others have said about Caravan’s all inclusive California tours.

There are literally hundreds of different California vacation package deals and tour programs available, ranging from one-day guided tours at specific California attractions to extended bus tours that span several weeks and stop at multiple destinations.

It’s not difficult to find a cheap California vacation package. There are plenty to choose from in the Golden State so it’s best to weigh your options and compare similar California vacation packages to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Winery Vacation Package Deals

Wine aficionados usually gravitate towards one of the excellent California vacation packages featuring a few of the hundreds of wineries scattered across the central California landscape. Sonoma Wine County alone has more than 150 wineries and vineyards to choose from. Napa Valley is also a great location for sampling some of the world’s choicest wines.

A typical California wine tasting vacation package generally includes overnight accommodations with continental breakfast and no parking charges. During the full-day tour participants can see some of the California winery region’s most beautiful scenery and taste some of the most sought after, world-class wines. Prices vary depending on the length of the tour and the number of wineries on the tour itinerary.

San Francisco California Vacation Packages

If the city by the bay is your choice, there are a number of good San Francisco package deals available among the dozens of California vacation packages offered. If you have already travelled to this fascinating city and want to get a different look at some of the more famous sites, you might choose a helicopter tour over San Francisco, with prices beginning at about $150. A tour of the Golden Gate Bridge costs only $22 per person. When you are looking for travel and accommodations among the San Francisco vacation tour packages, consider one of the all-inclusive travel packages.

California Parks Vacation Package Deals

Tours of famous national parks, such as Yosemite National Park, are very popular with families, seniors and group travel. Several companies offer one-day, two-day and three-day vacation packages for Yosemite National Park. A typical three-day tour from San Francisco includes one full day and two half-day excursions. Nearby overnight accommodations is also available including at Yosemite Lodge.

Los Angeles & Hollywood Vacation Packages

When the call of movie stars and celebrities is at the top of your priority list, you may want to select a Hollywood vacation package tour. Schedules range from ½ day to several days, with such options as Universal Studios, Disneyland and a tour of stars’ homes or the best shopping districts like Rodeo Drive.

California Coast Vacation Packages

When you plan a California trip, include a California coast tour in your itinerary. California tour companies offer a dizzying array of choices but one of the most popular is the Los Angeles to San Francisco trip billed as “Tinsel Town to Golden Gate.” Tours range from overnight to seven days, depending on location and time of year.

All Inclusive California Vacation Packages

A California vacation package deal would not be complete without visits to Big Sur, Monterey, Yosemite National Park and the giant California redwood trees. These and many other excellent California vacation stops are included as part of Caravan Tours’ 8-day, all inclusive California Vacation Packages, which are exceptionally priced, starting at just $1,395. Visit Caravan’s California Vacation Tour Reviews page to read what others have said about these all inclusive fully escorted California vacation packages.

Just saying the words “California coast” conjures up visions of a beautiful landscape defined by the crashing waves of the warm Pacific Ocean.

To some, the phrase “California coast” might also mean the California coast highway, surfing, boats skimming along the surface and marine wildlife that awes even the veteran coastal visitor.

Evidently, a trip to the California coast is on the wish list of most travellers to the US since California tours are quite popular and California is the most visited state in all of the USA. In fact, many choose to stay after visiting the California only once.

California Coast Attractions

People are drawn to the “Golden State” by the warm weather, the landscape and of course the amazing California coastline but what makes the California coast so alluring for travellers are the many unique attractions. Of course, the most popular California must-see attractions are places like Hollywood, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park but other prominent California coast destinations include:

Pacific Grove Sunset Drive – Take a leisurely journey along Pacific Grove Sunset Drive. Long used as a retreat for the rich and famous, Pacific Grove has prompted many to use such words as “dream-like,” “rugged” and “stunning.” In addition to the outstanding scenery, Pacific Grove has more than 1,000 houses on its historic-homes list. Dining, shopping and entertainment are “top-shelf” in Pacific Grove as well.

Big Sur – Many have heard the term “Big Sur” but most have never experienced this one-of-a-kind location on the California coast. A favorite destination for California residents and out-of-state visitors alike, Big Sur offers just about everything: art galleries, gift shops, excellent restaurants, unrivalled camping and hiking, along with some of the finest natural landscapes in the world. If you enjoy wildflowers, birds and other native animals, this may be the perfect place for you. It’s possible to spot a California condor or a whale during your visit here.

Beach lovers are reminded that the beaches of Big Sur and the immediate area are not like the warm beaches of the Southern California coastline. Weather conditions are generally cool in this region, making the beaches better for hiking in a good pair of shoes, with a jacket along (just in case).

Pfeiffer Burns State Park – A visit to Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park should probably be on the itinerary of every traveller to the Big Sur region. The waterfall, granite cliffs and lush tree growth make this a great place to spend a day. Located just half-an-hour’s drive from Carmel, this state park joins Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park as two of the most popular spots in central California.

Giant California Redwood Trees – One of the most amazing sites that central California has to offer is the giant redwood. Some of these older “coast redwood” trees have been here for more than 2,000 years. If this bit of natural history isn’t fascinating enough for you, the sheer size of these trees surely will be. Sequoia redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and grow to more than 375 feet in height and more than 25 feet in diameter. In addition to this magnificent site, visitors are urged to experience the Santa Lucia Range that extends from Monterey to San Luis Obispo (more than 100 miles). While not the highest mountains (the tallest peak is about 6,000 feet) the Santa Lucia Mountains are one of the most beautiful sections of the Pacific California Coast range.

Bixby Bridge – Visitors to the Golden State should also experience such engineering marvels as the Bixby Bridge, just a short drive south of the wonderful community of Carmel on the California coast. Bixby Bridge was constructed in 1932, with a length of more than 700 feet. Another popular stop not far from Bixby Bridge is Bixby Ocean Ranch. Groves of redwoods, open grasslands and views of the rugged coastline make this a great place for sight-seeing and photography.

California Coast Tours by Caravan

Big Sur, the giant redwoods and other popular California attractions like Yosemite National Park are included as part of Caravan Tours’ all inclusive California Tours. These are fully escorted 8-day tours, exceptionally priced starting at just $1,395. Visit Caravan’s California Tours Reviews page to read what others have said about these all inclusive fully escorted tours of the California coast.