Southern California

Digital detox in Julian

Unplug with this guide to the East County mountain town.

A digital detox vacation is one where you can’t get cellphone, satellite or internet service of any kind. Ok, I might've just sent you into a panic attack with this thought – so take a ...

Camping at Doheny State Beach, CA

Train to bike from downtown San Diego.

Our growing family of four is always up for an adventure, and recently we began mulling over this idea of a bicycle-train-camping expedition. Unsure if we'd be getting in over our heads, we decided to ...

Biking the Great Western Loop

This East County route should be on every S.D. cycler's list.

A few friends and I went riding East County's Great Western Loop on a clear November morning. The GWL is a popular rural cycling route along Willow Glen, Dehesa, Japatul, Lyons Valley Roads and Jamul ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Coachella Valley by jeep

A new way to see the desert beauty of the Palm Springs area.

Who would think that parts of the desert are full of water? Especially since the Coachella Valley gets only six to eight inches of rain every year. But when I took the Desert Adventures Red ...

East County trekking (and sliding)

Hike to Devil's Punch Bowl and Three Sisters Falls, both near Julian.

I love hiking, but I forget to do it again for months at a time. It usually plays out like this: 1) I trek along a path (or non-path) getting lost in the moment… sometimes ...

Cheap art in L.A.

Museum tour via Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.

An old friend and his fiancee were flying into Los Angeles from Texas in July, on their way up to Santa Barbara. They were staying one night in L.A., and asked me to join them ...