Cyclists race through California each February during the annual Amgen Tour of California, covering terrain through the redwoods, wine country and Pacific Coast, among other fabulous destinations. Top teams compete in the 700-mile, eight-day race, with visitors flocking to such popular California cities as Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Solvang and Santa Barbara. This race has attracted 1.6 million spectators and elite cyclists from around the world – and proven itself as a premier cycling event. Visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com for more information.
Travelers come to California to get away from it all – from mud baths in Calistoga to massages specially designed for the busy executive or couple in love, luxurious pampering is always available at the finest spas and hotels. The best place to mingle romance and relaxation, California offers exquisite service, plush accommodations and the best, most natural ways to unwind and let go. Custom-made for romantic walks along the beach (or hikes in the mountains), California offers the best for those in love and those who love to indulge.
With more wineries than any other state and famous chefs serving the freshest ingredients, California is also one of the world’s top wine and food destinations.
There’s an eco-revolution, and California’s restaurants and vineyards have always led the way. Restaurants across the state have turned to sustainable ways to support the environment, along with local farmers and ranchers. From the freshest produce at hundreds of farmer’s markets to numerous farm-to-fork operations, California began the trend of producing the finest and most abundant array of organic, slow, locally grown, vegetarian, vegan and eco-friendly food. Visitors can tour the farm their produce came from, eat while listening to the farmer explain his methods, or learn first-hand where milk and cheese come from, providing a deeper connection to the food they eat. Wineries embracing green winegrowing and winemaking practices also provide tours and offer tastings of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines. There’s never been a more delicious way for consumers to go green!
Speaking of green - California is a golfer’s paradise – with pleasant temperatures year-round, the green is always calling. Visitors can experience the famous Pebble Beach course or take a swing at any of the hundreds of specially-designed courses around the state – San Diego alone has 92. Golf lovers can purchase custom-fit golf clubs or receive special golf massages while staying in private suites – complete with their own putting greens.
Where else but in California can you visit the highest and lowest points in the lower 48 states – in the same day? From the 14,495-foot-tall Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park, it’s just a couple hours to Badwater in Death Valley National Park – 282 feet below sea level. Travelers can hike up the mountain from Lone Pine and marvel at the pristine Sierra Nevadas, then get their desert fix with Death Valley’s incredible scenery (and temperatures). This breathtaking journey of opposites is just one example of California’s enormous variety of climates and landscape – deserts, beaches, mountains and wide open valleys are all represented.
Even though California is the third-largest state in land area, covering 158,693 square miles, visitors travel easily within its 12 regions. With the regions divided into bite-size pieces visitors can enjoy spending time in the North Coast, Shasta Cascade, Gold Country, San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley, High Sierra, Central Coast, Los Angeles County, Desert, Orange County, Inland Empire and San Diego County regions. From the coast to the desert to the mountains to urban oases, California has a little slice of heaven for every audience – and something every visitor will love.
Travelers frequently visit California to try something new and learn what it’s like to be someone else. Whether learning the wine trade at COPIA or receiving cooking classes from famous chefs, California is the place to become what you aspire to. Dreams of surfing or acting? Hit the coast or the theater to learn the trade from the finest in the business. With the chance to learn everything from windsurfing to sushi-making, visitors bring back not only new skills, but fabulous memories!
Shopping Is a Year-Round Indulgence. So indulge! With retailers offering everything from the hippest fashions to handcrafted one-of-a-kind pieces, you’re sure to find all you’re seeking at California’s world-class shopping malls and destinations. Whether it’s a glittering metropolitan department store, an outlet bargain mecca or a unique specialty store, you can find it all in California. Most well known for shopping (and celebrity watching) are a three-block area in Beverly Hills called Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. No matter where you visit, California has a shopping experience everyone will enjoy.
California’s hundreds of state and national parks provide incredible opportunities for communing with nature and learning about California’s fascinating history. From state beaches covering most of the 1,264-mile coastline, forests filled with the largest trees in the world, and museums and historical sites preserving priceless cultural artifacts, California’s 4.1 million National Parks acres and 1.3 million State Parks acres offer a place for the entire family to learn, grow and participate in the most exciting adventures. Visitors can camp, hike, swim, ride, bike and play for days, all while seeing some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
A fun-in-the-sun California vacation is the ideal adventure for an exciting family getaway! From perennial favorites Disneyland (and Disney’s California Adventure) and Universal Studios for tweens and teens and Knott’s Berry Farm for the little ones, to newer adventures at Legoland, SeaWorld, Santa Monica Pier and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, families can find fun for every member. Plus, kids can learn the fun way about science and history in children’s museums across the state. Parents across the country are loading up the car and heading to California.
California is one of the best spots to catch a jaw-dropping performance or first-rate concert. From live music in restaurants and bars across the state to music festivals throughout the year, along with amazing venues old and new, the spotlight shines brightly on music and entertainment in California. Don’t miss the new Walt Disney Concert Hall or Shakespeare and concerts in the open air at Lake Tahoe. Listen long enough, and you might help discover the next superstar!
There’s more to California than bright lights and big cities. Hundreds of rural areas across the state hold hidden treasures and unexpected surprises, not to mention fun events and festivals throughout the year. Hit Murphys for some gold country goodness, or Red Bluff for the annual Round-Up. Visitors can hunt for ghosts in Calico or herbs in Squaw Valley. A few steps off the beaten path can reveal incredible scenery, fun museums (learn about Pez in Burlingame!) and engaging people.
Wording courtesy of California Travel and Tourism Commission