Photo via Flickr by lightmatter
When it comes to California, travelers have a choice of luxurious hotel stays in major cities, mountain getaways, and everything in between. For those looking to experience the natural side of California, here are the best options for trips into the wilderness.
Island Trip to Catalina
Not far away from Los Angeles, travelers can hop a daily ferry to Catalina Island. Spend a day in the resort town of Two Harbors. On a sunny day, rent a cabana in Descanso Beach and paddleboard the calm waters. Divers can book a two-tank dive to explore the Avalon Underwater Park where kelp forests and shipwrecks are filled with marine life. Hikers can spend days making their way along the Trans-Catalina Trail and set up camp.
Nightlife is always great at the Catalina Casino where one can see shows and performances and explore the historic sites. The best perk is a complimentary ferry ride on your birthday.
Into the Hills Outside San Diego
One does not have to go far from San Diego to find untouched wilderness and nature. After a day’s hike around the historic Sickler’s Grist Mill in Pala, spend the afternoon at Bernardo Winery where chocolate is included with wine tastings. On day two, hike the 3,000 acres along Volcan Mountain which is also a wilderness preserve of over 150 species of birds and more than 30 plant communities.
For viewing colorful neighborhoods during your return to home base, rent a three-wheeled yellow “GoCar” or a segway to make getting around the San Diego suburbs more fun.
Mountain Escapes in San Gabriel
Renting a cabin in the woods is an ideal vacation in California. Head to the San Gabriel Mountains for an endless amount of cottages and quaint hotels to choose from. Hikers can enjoy views from the Pacific Crest Trail, which passes through this mountain range. Climb Baldy Bowl along Mount San Antonio and check out the scenic views of the lands below. Big Bear Lake offers recreational activities any time of the year, including skiing and snowboarding in the wintertime. One can find ski sales through Expedia Coupons.
National Park Adventures
In Northern California, visitors can take day or weekend trips to the many National Parks. Visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park for their famous trees. Redwood National Park is also a favorite for walking among its high forests. Take a canyon walk through Crystal Cave where one can witness stellar rock formations. For higher elevations, head to Yosemite Valley’s Half Dome where you will need a permit to enter. If you want to view Yosemite’s iconic waterfalls, plan for a spring trip since this is the best time to view them after the winter thaw.
Desert Life in the Valley
Relax and detox in the desert while remaining close to civilization. Death Valley reaches deadly temperatures in the summertime, but it’s perfect for visiting during other times of the year. Gaze out into the Black Mountain range and Titus Canyon in the distance. Visit the ghost town and old mines of Rhyolite. Hike into the salt flats at Badwater Basin which are protected and is the lowest elevation point in the United States, and catch a glimpse rare pupfish living along the Salt Creek Trail.
California has some of the best destinations for outdoor exploration and trips away from the cities. Choose an ideal urban home base, then take a day or two to explore beyond the city lights at one or more of these gorgeous natural getaways.
*This post is proudly sponsored in cooperation with Good Search. All opinions are my own.