Southern California

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 ...

Why Big Bear?

What to do in this four-seasons getaway, a 2.5-hour drive north.

I've got a few days off and not a lot of cash... what can I do? I know – I'll go to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. I've taken my family there ...

The Mad Greek

Fear and gyros: illusory roadside attraction in the Mojave.

What am I doing out here in the middle of the desert? The lights of Las Vegas are a distant memory, faded away into the early morning, and now about a hundred miles into the ...

Unexpected L.A.

With time to kill, the City of Angels reveals a couple surprises.

It’s amazing how one person on a business trip in Los Angeles can have a really cool adventure for three bucks. I wish my husband and kids could have been here – it would've been ...

I survived Carlsbad Village Faire

Nation's largest street fest attracts 100,000+.

Today I was a very brave person. Despite my inner voice telling me to stay home, give my busy self a relaxing day for a change, I put the leash on my dog and we ...

Queen Califia's Magical Circle

Take the kids to this sculpture garden in Escondido.

Thirty miles up I-15 from San Diego, in Escondido, you’ll find Queen Califia’s Magical Circle. This is the unnatural habitat of wild animals that escaped from the imagination of Niki de Saint Phalle. She’s the ...

Borrego Springs's Mud Caves

Spelunk away: one of the world's most extensive mud cave formations is just two hours east.

In the geographical wonders of the Anza-Borrego desert, you will find a unique Southern California feature: mud caves, deep caves created by flowing silt from an ancient lake bed, eroded by wind and rain. They're ...

Desert Inspiration in Palm Springs

It makes an ideal place to write, says local author Edward Cozza.

Dreams. Patterns in the clouds. Drug-fueled hallucinations. A life thoroughly well-lived. There are many answers to the question: where does a writer find their inspiration? But for some, it's all about the location. Some places ...

Surviving the Swarm in Anza-Borrego

Just 2 hours from S.D., the great outdoors can still have its surprises...

As a young woman on a budget, I've found many ways to travel on the cheap, and one of my favorite destinations is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in east county San Diego. It's close, it's ...

Simi Valley's Skateboard Museum

Say the high-brow word “museum,” and I’ll generally shell out any price to visit, but when the Ventura Visitor’s Center handed me a brochure that suggested a museum collection of over 2,000 skateboards, I did ...

Coronado is haunted

Across the bay, tales of the paranormal at the Hotel Del and Loews resort.

“You see that too, right?” Lacey held her wine glass at half-mast, staring at the steps leading from the Hotel Del Coronado to the Pacific Ocean. We were outdoors at Babcock & Story, the Del’s ...

Cabins, Karaoke and Snow Pain in Wrightwood

Giving the mountains a second chance.

Wrightwood, CA, is a ski town just 1–10 hours away from L.A., depending on traffic. Mark and I were excited for our fully stocked rented weekend cabin. It belonged to a friend’s soon-to-be ex-wife. We ...

San Clemente, No Car Necessary

Take Amtrak 1.5 hours north for an authentic beach town vibe.

Halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles is the charming coastal town of San Clemente, CA. Somewhat akin to San Diego in its wholesomeness, San Clemente also boasts beachside ambiance without the pretensions commonly found ...

Leonard Knight and His Mountain

Revisiting this labor of love in the Southern California desert.

Mahatma Gandhi believed that we should not let the idea of seeing individual actions as insignificant deter us from contributing to and participating in the changes we wish to see. Apparently, he isn’t alone in ...

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