Central California stories & travel reviews

Liftoff on the Central Coast

Take the train or drive – here are tips for seeing a launch at Vandenberg AFB.

We older folks who remember the moon landing or seeing the space shuttle land at Edwards can check one more item off our bucket list – and do it just five hours north of San ...

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 ...

Dharma Travel: California seeking

Third in a spiritual tourism series.

It doesn't take traveling to remote or exotic places to escape the distractions of the outside world, I've found. In California, regardless of denomination, dharma travel is big business. Whether 50-room or single-room hermitages, expansive ...

Old-time California in Cambria

A classic coastal town on the PCH.

Unexpected. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about my recent trip to Cambria, California. Cambria, located roughly a half hour north of San Louis Obispo, reminded me of the Midwest somehow. ...

Serenity in the Channel Islands

Visiting Channel Islands National Park is like entering a time machine and being transported back a few hundred years to a wild and natural, pre-automobile, pre-industrial California. Located off the coast of Ventura, the Channel ...

Death Valley – Why?

Transcendence found in the California desert.

Deep in the belly of Death Valley National Park, I pitched my tent up against sage bushes looking out at snowcapped mountains. Campers sat in their vehicles, some huddled in their tents, all dodging the ...

Old World Solvang, CA

A continent away, just 4 hours north of San Diego.

Usually it's places with some sort of dark, twisted history that attract me. If a place doesn't have that, it's pretty rare that I'll visit, much less make it a regular stomping ground. So, considering ...

Taste Carmel Valley, CA

Wines, olive oil, fresh produce and herbs near the PCH.

Enjoy a few leisurely hours driving east along picturesque Carmel Valley Road, just off Highway 1 near Carmel, California, where you can stop, taste and shop for veggies and herbs on an organic farm and ...

Travel with Your Dog in CA

With an estimated nine-million-plus dogs in California alone, it’s no wonder there are so many dogs at parks, beaches and recreation areas throughout the state. The mile-long Huntington Dog Beach, the epitome of a perfect ...

S.D. to S.F. – by Bike

A not-so-relaxing honeymoon

Held every October, the Million Dollar Challenge is a fundraising bike ride for challenged athletes in which participants cycle down the California coast from San Francisco to San Diego. The reverse route, however, can be ...

California's Active Volcanoes

A tour from the Mojave to Mono Lake

There are more than 550 active volcanoes in the world, five of which are in California. It's to be expected from a state sitting on the eastern edge of the Ring of Fire. Between Barstow ...

At the World’s End: Ballarat Ghost Town, Death Valley

Death Valley must be seen to be believed. From the turquoise flats rolling out beneath lofty Dante’s View to the salty vertigo of Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, it is a place ...

King's River Rafting: Not Your Average Family Vacation

Originating high in the mountains of central California near Sequoia National Park, the Kings River boasts the largest watershed of any river in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Last year I took the family on ...

Three Days in Santa Cruz

A hidden gem along the Californian coast, Santa Cruz offers lush natural parks, eateries with local charm and the traditional boardwalk. It has a relaxed feel like most beach towns, and the locals prize natural ...

A Long Weekend in Sequoia and Yosemite

On a whim, I decided to drive up to explore a spectacular stretch of California natural beauty for a four-day vacation: Sequoia National Park and Yosemite. I hadn’t been to Yosemite for years, and I ...

Finding It in Shoshone, California

For the record: I’m not a fancy, gotta-have-posh type of woman; I’m OK with “rough around the edges.” I’m instinctively drawn to character, whether quaint and endearing or quirky and eclectic. I like spice, color ...

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