California Travel Guide

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What to Know About Visiting Santa Cruz in the Channel Islands

April 9, 2015 at 3:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

View from the Cavern Point Loop of Scorpion Bay

Yesterday, we showed you a glimpse of what it's like to hike around Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park. We continue that showcase today with more photos, but also with some practical information on how to make a visit a reality. Because of its location off the coast and the lack of services available on the island, all visitors, both overnight campers and day trippers, must be prepared and aware of what to expect.

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Wish You Were Here: Visiting California's Channel Islands 25 Miles Off the Coast

Where: Santa Cruz Island [map], Channel Islands, California, United States
April 7, 2015 at 5:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

California's Channel Islands are a group of five islands about 25 miles off the central coast, most dramatically visible from the shores of Santa Barbara County. Preserved as a National Park, outdoor recreation is the big draw for visitors to the chain. Hiking and kayaking are the most popular activities, and camping is permitted on all five of the islands.

This past weekend, we made our way to the largest island, Santa Cruz, and set up shop at Scorpion Bay camp site. With no services on the island, visitors must bring everything they need for the length of their stay. This week, we'll walk you through what you need to know: How to get there, what to bring, and what to see and do.

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Which Of Tahoe's Three Airports Should I Fly Into?

March 16, 2015 at 5:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

As the largest alpine lake in North America with over a dozen ski resorts and epic Ponderosa Pine covered wilderness, Lake Tahoe is a year round destination for active, adventure travelers. The town of South Lake Tahoe is slowly but surely developing a softer side to complement that once-rugged atmosphere, but we'll dive into that later this week. First, let's take a look at the best way to get there.

Lake Tahoe's own small airport hasn't run commercial flights in over a decade, and there remains three options for travelers flying in: San Francisco, Sacramento, or Reno. Where you're coming from will obviously determine the best fare and route, but all those things being equal, the Reno airport shines through as the clear winner in terms of proximity and convenience once on the ground. Driving times from San Fran and Sacramento are three and two hours respectively, but the drive from Reno to South Lake is just over an hour.

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Harrison Ford May Have Ruined the Santa Monica Airport For Good

March 6, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | Comment (1)

So this was kind of weird, even for Los Angeles.

Harrison Ford, a pilot in his own right, crashed landed on a small public golf course in near Venice yesterday after the engine in his World War II-era plane stalled.

The accident happened just a few blocks away from the Santa Monica Airport, a municipal airport where mostly private planes takeoff and land. Apparently, Ford knew he needed to make a crash landing but wouldn't reach the airport in time, so he headed for the open space of the golf course. Reports say he hurt his head bad, but is otherwise ok.

What's not ok is the future of the airport, since residents have been asking the city to close it because of noise, pollution and yes, scary accidents like these.

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Hyperloop Train Technology is About to Enter the Testing Phase in California

March 5, 2015 at 9:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

We're known for daydreaming of future travel concepts in this neck of the woods, and one particularly nice dream revolves around the idea of reducing the time it takes to travel from one place to the other. California has debated the idea of a high-speed train from Los Angeles to San Francisco for quite some time now, but now things look to really be progressing beyond political chatter.

Known as Hyperloop, the concept is tubular train travel that allows for speeds of up to 600 miles per hour. This is the type of speed that would really aid to connect cities across our own country, reducing travel times greatly. For example, San Fran to L.A. would take about 45 minutes. Things have come so far that the company that makes Hyperloop has now began testing its technology.

But before we get too excited, there are hurdles to overcome. Here's the latest that's coming out of camp Hyperloop:

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Did You Know You Can Ski Inside Yosemite National Park?

November 18, 2014 at 3:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

As you prep for ski season by tracking snow reports and searching for deals, you're no doubt making a mental list of which hills you'd like to hit. We'd like to put another on your radar, one you may not have known existed: Badger Pass Ski Area inside Yosemite National Park.

That's right. As if Yosemite couldn't get any more glorious, it's best kept secret is that it offers downhill skiing during the winter. To be fair, it is pretty modest when compared against the other major players over in Tahoe. It only has 10 runs, a maximum vertical drop of 800 feet, and 85% of its terrain is dedicated to beginner and intermediate levels. But it's a cool choice for beginners who want to learn to ski in style, especially this season as it celebrates its 150th anniversary.

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SFO's New #Converge Room is the Most San Francisco-y Thing Ever

November 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

From yoga rooms and prayer rooms to wineries and food trucks, airports sure are thinking outside the box lately. Now, the folks over at San Fransisco International Airport have done the most San Francisco-y thing ever and created a new concept room for travelers to spend a few final minutes brainstorming and networking on the ground before boarding a flight.

A special space called Converge is now set aside for SFO passengers to come together and exchange ideas about technology, start-ups, the shared economy, "disruption," travel, politics, and ways to change the world. While the room is not limited to these ideas, the airport thinks these are good ideas to start. The #Converge brainstorming room is designed to create more of a community for those flyers who might feel lonely on a long layover, or who maybe just seek fresh input. Kitted out with free wi-fi, tables, chairs, power outlets, a white board and a magnetic chalk board, the #Converge room actually sounds like it might also be useful for "digital nomads" in transit.

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There's a New Reason to Revisit Alcatraz This Winter

October 14, 2014 at 4:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you've been to San Francisco before, you've probably taken a trip out to Alcatraz, one of the world's most infamous golden cages. If the beautiful city views and deep history aren't enough to bring you back for a second visit, the fact that the prison has been taken over by an art exhibit may entice.

At the end of September, a Chinese artist - who is coincidentally under house arrest at the moment - launched a seven-installation exhibit called "@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz." The installations are found throughout Alcatraz and carry a theme of "protest songs." The most attention-getting exhibit has arguably been one called Trace, which features 176 portraits made of Lego bricks, each presenting "an individual who has been imprisoned or exiled because of his or her beliefs, actions, or affiliations."

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Inside the New Oneworld International Business Lounge at LAX

September 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

Freshly opened back in June, the new International Business Lounge within the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport is the result of a combined effort from Oneworld alliance partners Qantas, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Located on level 5, it can accommodate up to 400 people and is open from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Earlier this month, we swung through to take a look around during an 8-hour layover from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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This Website Highlights the Small Towns Most Pass By on California's Highway 1

Where: Highway 1, California, United States
September 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

We all know that Highway 1 runs nearly the entire coast of California, from Mexico up through San Francisco to the Oregon border. Most people drive it in a day or two from San Diego or Los Angeles up to the Bay Area, with many itineraries including stops in Santa Barbara, Carmel, and Monterrey. Sprinkled between these well-known tourist towns is what this writer considers to be one of the best kept secrets in the country, the rural Central Coast of California.

San Luis Obispo has made headlines in recent years for its happy citizens, and San Simeon draws its fair share of attention thanks to Hearst Castle. Still, the Central Coast is largely bypassed and just a drive-through for out-of-state and international travelers in favor of the bright lights and beaches of Los Angeles and the beautiful bay of San Francisco. As a former resident of Santa Barbara, I had the pleasure of exploring this area in all its untouched glory, where the sea, mountains, and vines of wine country all come together along the coast.

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Locals and Tourists Once Again Clash in California at LA's Hollywood Sign

August 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

Remember when SF decided to close one of its most infamous tourist attractions, the crooked Lombard Street, on certain weekends due to complaints by locals? Well, its rival city in the south, Los Angeles, is now experiencing similar problems with one of its landmarks, the Hollywood Sign.

According to the LA Times, an impromptu task force consisting of eight police officers has formed in response to "growing complaints from residents who say their neighborhoods are being overrun by tourist vans and rental cars drawn to the sign." Problems include double parking and congestion that has resulted in both physical damage and logistical frustration.

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How to Travel from LAX to Santa Barbara on the 'Airbus'

August 5, 2014 at 1:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

Savvy frequent fliers know that there are many tricks of the trade to saving money on air travel. One of the most basic is to fly into an airport that's close to your final destination, one that might offer better deals and cheaper flights. For example, when traveling to Philadelphia, it is often significantly cheaper to fly with Frontier into Wilmington, which is only about a 20-minute drive from Philadelphia International Airport. Or, flying into Trenton instead of New York. Sometimes, you can end up saving a good chunk of change if you're willing to bear a small amount of extra ground transportation.

Such was our approach last weekend when making a last-minute decision to go to Santa Barbara for the weekend. Prices to fly into SBA are always on the high end - especially last minute - and we were very much in the market for alternatives. The most logical choice was LAX, but unlike the Trenton and Wilmington scenarios, LAX is quite a haul from Santa Barbara, about 90 miles. That said, as we searched, prices to fly into LAX were almost $200 cheaper than SBA, so we were determined to make it work.

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