California news, stories & travel reviews

The Queen and her subjects

I haven’t owned a camera for 30 years and don’t yet have a smartphone. I’ve been writing about photography for 30 years, and when I was very young it shaped my sensibility in ways I’m ...

Discovering San Francisco's City Hall

One of SF's less-touristed treasures.

There are the usual San Francisco tourism sites: the Golden Gate, Lombard Street, Chinatown, etc. There are my favorites: the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Museum of Modern Art and de Young Museum. And ...

Urban hiking in Maple Canyon

A hidden canyon trail in the heart of the city.

Like much of California’s coast, San Diego’s topography is unique. Mountains in the east give way to plateaus, which in turn give way to labyrinths of canyons that eventually find their way into the ocean. ...

Go green in Encinitas

Day tripping to a couple North County public gardens.

When most people think of Encinitas, the beach is probably the first thing to come to mind. Moonlight and Swami’s are two of the best in the county. But the seaside community is also home ...

Winter skiing's finally on in the Eastern Sierras

The Pineapple Express has been dumping snow the past two weeks.

Just when SoCal skiers and snowboarders thought winter would never come, the Pineapple Express has opened up and is dumping tons of snow on Mammoth and June Mountain. The weather phenomenon picks up moisture-laden air ...

Bailing out the last frontier

There’s been a lot of talk about the northern part of California breaking away from its nether regions to form one or more new states. Last September, before a standing-room-only crowd of 40, Modoc County ...

Local travel: the Bayshore Bikeway

Get your bike out to see another side of the South Bay.

As a family of four with two preadolescent children, we’re often looking for fun, active ways to explore our own beautiful city without spending too much money. San Diego’s sunny, laid-back disposition creates an ideal ...

Flying like a bird in the Mojave

Glider flight at Southern California Flying Academy.

The Air Force prayer has a line that goes, "I slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the face of God." That’s pretty heady stuff – but the next time you're feeling trapped by ...

Hunting big trees in California

From Western Sierra sequoias to Humboldt redwoods.

With its varied climates, landscapes and ecosystems, California is a one-of-a-kind state. When European settlers first arrived here, one of the signs of this uniqueness they discovered were the mammoth trees of California, the sequoia ...

Anza-Borrego camping: a review

Desert camping apprehension overcome.

Being a little nontraditional when it comes to Thanksgiving (I hate turkey and brown food, and avoid it like the plague), we were thrilled when our friends, who feel the same about Thanksgiving, invited us ...

Randsburg, CA: a living ghost town

Gold Rush–era relic just three hours north of San Diego.

If you're a fan of Westerns, at one time or another you've seen one filmed in Randsburg, where the spirit of the old West is alive and thriving just three hours' drive from San Diego. ...

From cactus to clouds in SoCal

One of California's hardest hikes... the hard way.

“You in town?” Little did I know my text would lead to hiking 22 miles within the next 24 hours. Seriously. A marathon minus four miles – but with 10,500 feet of climbing, hurting, bonding, ...

California's castle in the sand

The historic Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park.

When castles and California are mentioned in conversation, Hearst Castle, which dominates a stretch of Central Coast skyline, usually comes to mind. You might be surprised to learn that a less opulent but even more ...

The art of GMONIK

San Diego painter spent time traveling the world, now he's committed to decades in front of a canvas.

“I incorporate a lot of garbage and trash imagery because that’s the byproduct of our culture. When we all die, we’re leaving our garbage behind. It’s like when we find old pottery, or whatever, from ...

Afton Canyon: Grand Canyon of the Mojave

Check out this desert highlight on the way to Vegas.

Often called the Grand Canyon of The Mojave, Afton Canyon is a little-known gem along the road to Vegas, excellent for a pit stop or a quiet camping trip (never mind the trains; they're part ...

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