California is known as the “Golden State” – and for good reason. From sunny beaches to sun-kissed vineyards, towering redwood forests and world-famous theme parks, there’s plenty to see and enjoy on a California holiday.
Miles and miles of sandy beaches rim the California coastline, from San Diego to San Francisco and everywhere in-between. Though Los Angeles beaches such as Venice and Manhattan get the most attention, it’s the cozy coastal gems like Carmel that capture the real heart of California living. From the minute you sink your feet into the silky, delicate sand curving along this charming oceanfront city, you’ll fall under the “Carmel Spell” of emerald-green waters, crashing waves and small-town California culture. Make sure to visit Carmel’s renowned art galleries, and take the Scenic Bluff Path to Carmel River State Beach.
As part of the largest, most prestigious wine-growing region in the United States, Napa Valley cradles the flagship vineyards that started it all. Sip and sample vintages across the entire valley, including the signature Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. Wine lovers can stay in historic chateaus, ride the vintage Napa Valley Wine Train, dine with world-renowned chefs at “winemaker dinners,” and learn all about handcrafted cheese-and-wine pairings. Snag a one-of-a-kind bottle of vino while supporting charities at the prestigious Napa Valley Wine Auction every June.
The magic of California isn’t reserved just for Disney and Universal Studios theme parks. In fact, many consider San Francisco to be the most authentic cultural enclave in the state, home to the dazzling Golden Gate Bridge, iconic Fishermen’s Wharf and Golden Gate Park. History digs deep in San Francisco, with its still-operating manual cable cars, cliff houses, indie music shops and historic waterfront saloons. Make sure to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, where blues singer Otis Redding wrote his nostalgic tribute to California, “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay.”
California is a land of contrasts, each city offering mystery, magic and endless days of exploration. It’s the quintessential holiday destination in America, and it’s more than earned its glittering reputation.