Remember that song by Albert Hammond, “It Never Rains in Southern California”? It does rain … sometimes for several days in a row. Some areas of California see more rain than others. When I lived in Sacramento, it rained frequently. The best part of all that rain is that the lawns are always green.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia about California. The highest point is Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet above sea level. The lowest point is Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level.
Next I’d like to tell you about the wide variety of California landscapes and some points of interest with which I am familiar.
If you’re a ski enthusiast, I’ve got good news! In the winter there’s usually plenty of snow, and several ski resorts. I don’t ski, so I don’t have any recommendations.
I love taking trips to the mountains during the spring, summer and early autumn. Surrounded by tall trees, breathing the fresh air, smelling nature’s bounty, visiting the museums many national parks have (Angeles National Forest near La Canada Flintridge is one).
Idyllwild is a mountain community east of the city of Hemet (in Riverside County). Idyllwild is a seasonal community and many live there year-’round. It’s geared up for tourists and local area visitors in the spring and summer. In addition to live entertainment, there are several restaurants and unique gift shops. In one of the shops, Earth ‘n Fire, you can purchase a ceramic item and paint it, then the shop fires it in the kiln. You couldn’t have a better souvenir than one you decorated yourself, in my opinion.
California boasts many beaches and marinas up and down the coast. Again, there are several types of beaches, although most are family-friendly.
There are beaches where surfers hang out because of the high waves. Families out for some summer fun and sunbathers are likely to have a favorite. Some beaches have amenities and some do not. You can check it out in advance. The beaches featured in this article are the ones I’ve visited. There are many others.
The boardwalk at Venice Beach is a culture of its own. Along the strand, many vendors set up shop, much like a giant swap meet. Various people perform their talents for the people visiting. The shows are free, with donations gladly accepted. Amidst the throng of walkers and watchers are the roller bladers and bicycle riders. It’s really quite a unique place which I highly recommend to anyone visiting southern California.
Santa Monica Pier is another great beach with a carnival-like ambience. Here are some pictures to whet your sightseeing appetite.
Long Beach is nice and a visitor can climb aboard the Queen Mary and browse through the Aquarium of the Pacific, nearby attractions.
Balboa Park in San Diego is one of my favorite places to go. The museums are interesting, and I like the architecture of the buildings as well. The San Diego Zoo is nearby, so if you’re ready for a lot of walking and “eye candy,” you’re in for a treat.
The deserts, home to wild critters, cactus, sand and sagebrush, offer a lot to folks who enjoy things like rock hunting, searching for gold, dune buggy riding, or just soaking up the sunshine. The deserts are beautiful in the spring. All the wild flowers are in bloom — acres and acres of poppies, and yellow flowers (I don’t know the name of them). Another thing about being in the desert is that at night one can see the stars clearly, even shooting stars on occasion.
Some folks love the city life. I do, personally. I can visit the other places for fun and change of environment, then come home to the city. In addition to the metropolitan areas and suburban cities, Beverly Hills and Hollywood are big hits with tourists.
In terms of distance from one place to another, which is often lengthy in terms of miles, people often express distance in terms of driving time — it’s about half an hour from here (depending on traffic).
Los Angeles as a whole includes Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Even though they are separate towns on their own, it’s hard to tell one area from the other except for the scenery and price tags.
Speaking of prices (medium), the Farmers’ Market at Third and Fairfax is nice, where there’s a lot more than produce. I haven’t been there in several years, so it might have changed. I used to enjoy shopping there on occasion.
In addition to the places mentioned above, my personal list of “must see and do” in California includes the following:
- · Disneyland
- · Solvang (an interesting Danish community near Santa Barbara)
- · Hearst Castle (located near San Simeon)
- · Cambria (a unique seaside town near Hearst Castle)
- · J. Paul Getty Museum (Santa Monica)
- · Griffith Park Observatory (Los Angeles)
Wherever you go, bring a sweater because it cools off quite a bit after the sun goes down.
It’s true that there are earthquakes in California. However, tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters are rare or non-existent in California.
California means many things to different people — I think the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day gives a lot of people in the east a sense of wanderlust, tired of the freezing cold, snow and ice. I’ve heard that we do have an influx of people moving to California in the early part of the year. Is it because of the gorgeous weather we have on January 1? It could be!
Welcome to California.