Tag: California Travel

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Travel Contest Roundup: Five Ways to Visit California for Free

October 31, 2014 at 8:36 AM | by | Comments (0)

We realize travel budgets may be limited, but it’s free to dream. This is where contests come into the picture, and there's always the chance that you could be the big winner—just don't forget to tell us if you are!

Here are five vacation contests to enter right now that will get you some California fun in the sun:

Pik-Nik Dolphin Tale 2 Sweepstakes

We’re not going to discuss the cinematic masterpiece that is Dolphin Tale 2, but we’re fans of the movie if it gets us to California for free. Enter by today—October 31—for a chance to win a trip to four to Los Angeles along with airfare, three nights accommodations, and VIP tour of Warner Bros. Studios.

Sunset Flavor Tour Napa Dream Trip Sweepstakes

California is all fun in the sun, but do not forget about all that agriculture as well—like the vineyards and the grapes. Win a trip for two to beautiful Napa, and you’ll be enjoying round-trip airfare, private car service, a personalized wine tour, and a four-night stay over at the Andaz Napa. There’s a few more surprises in store for the big winner, but just be sure to enter by the end of the month—that’s today.

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Where and When to Join in the SF Giants World Series Victory Celebration

October 30, 2014 at 8:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, as last night in Kansas City they defeated the Royals 3 to 2—and took home their third World Series title in the last five years.

Now it’s time to celebrate over in San Francisco, as the city is getting ready to welcome home the champions. With all these victories in the last few years they know how to throw a party, and it sounds like the celebration and parade is scheduled for this Friday, October 31. That just happens to be Halloween, which is perfect, as the Giants love both orange and black.

We’re sure more and more details will trickle out during the day, but here’s what you need to know to start planning things. The parade is going to star right at noon—local time—over at Market and Steuart streets, and then things will travel down Market Street. The shindig will end at Civic Center Plaza, and we can only expect lots of ticker tape, cheering, celebrating, and general merriment.

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Golden Gate Bridge Tolls Would Hurt SF Tourism

October 29, 2014 at 9:36 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you’ve been to San Francisco there’s little doubt that the Golden Gate Bridge was on your travel to-do list, and rightfully so—it’s pretty darn snazzy. Taking things to the next level involves actually getting out of the car and walking or biking across the bridge, but it sounds like there are plans to monetize that experience.

Nothing is official as of yet, but city officials are kicking around the idea of charging tolls to both pedestrians and cyclists making their way across the bridge. We don’t want to get political—nor would we know what we’re talking about—but it was a close vote. So now what they’re going to do is study things to see what kind of impact the tolls would have, and also likely how much cash they could raise. We’d imagine that bridge is pretty expensive to maintain.

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Road Trip to These 5 National Forests for Fantastic Fall Foliage

October 1, 2014 at 10:01 AM | by | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 23 marked the first official day of Autumn and, while some parts of our nation are still basking in overly Summer-y temperatures, the mercury is dropping in others. This is the time of year that Mother Nature sheds her green clothes in lieu of a more vibrant and colorful wardrobe and there's no better place than to witness this in our National Parks and Forests.

These protected pockets of nature are devoted to conservation and education efforts, not to mention they provide a dazzling kaleidoscope of hues once the season changes. With this in mind, we've compiled a list of the the best places for scoring a few captivating snaps of this fall phenomenon:

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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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How Napa Valley is Faring Following Yesterday's Earthquake

August 25, 2014 at 2:55 PM | by | Comments (0)


Above: Robert Mondavi in Napa, which was not damaged

At 3:20am PST on Sunday, a 6.1 earthquake shook the earth 6 miles from Napa, in the heart of California's heavily touristed wine country. Now dubbed the "South Napa Earthquake," the event did cause damage enough to interrupt businesses and tourism, but operations are quickly returning to normal, despite broken wine bottles and power outages.

CNN named a few wineries which felt the shake quite severely: Silver Oak Winery, Etude Wines, and Signorello Estate.

The Downtown Napa tourism board issued an update on the hotels unaffected by the quake:

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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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Road Trip to These 5 Historic US Ghost Towns

June 18, 2014 at 1:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

Remember that real ghost town in Wyoming we told you about earlier the week--the one Amelia Earhart loved? Well, we know the U.S. has plenty more abandoned and spooky towns to offer up for an ideal summer road-trip.

The abandoned towns that exist in American today were primarily mining towns, once living high-on-the-hog before the local industry turned. Others were decimated by natural disasters, sending remaining residents to greener pastures. Regardless of the reason for their dilapidation, these ghosts towns need to make it to your list of things to do over the next few months:

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Geronimo! The Most Scenic Skydiving Destinations in the United States

June 16, 2014 at 10:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

Since the physical rush of skydiving is bound to occur regardless of your location, the components of a good skydiving destination are found more in the surroundings than in the act of jumping itself. Aka, the scenery.

Why jump out of a perfectly good plane? One answer is the view. After the first ten seconds of freefall, everything begins to calm down as you reach terminal velocity. Suddenly, it doesn't feel like you're falling - it feels like you're floating in a wind tunnel. Aided by your guide who will point out major landmarks, the perspective and outlook over the landscape below is absolutely amazing. Once the parachute is open and you gently descend back to earth, the ground gets closer and the scenery begins to engulf you, a calm complement to the rush of the plunge.

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Travel Movie Tuesday: 'Sideways'

June 3, 2014 at 11:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

From Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck falling in love in Rome to Julia Roberts circling the globe to find herself, film has played an important role in shaping both the golden years and current day of travel. Thus, we present our newest series, Travel Movie Tuesday, where we detail the most inspiring travel films.

A movie about two middle-aged men traveling through California's wine country might not sound like much fun if you're not a huge oenophile, but we'd say the 2004 hit film, "Sideways", is more than just a mid-life crisis story. It stars Paul Giamatti as Miles Raymons, an unsuccessful writer and wine afficianato, and Thomas Haden Church as Jack Cole, Miles' actor-friend planning to get married the next week. The two plan an elaborate trip into Santa Ynez Valley to relax and sip some perfect Pinot noir, not Merlot.

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Lesser Known Islands of the USA: Catalina Island, CA

May 22, 2014 at 1:47 PM | by | Comments (0)

According to the calendar we’re just days away from the start of the summer season, and that means it’s time to turn our attention towards some great warm weather destinations. So get out on the water, wave goodbye to the mainland, and set you watch to island time.

What’s Catalina Island?

You’ve been to Southern California and visited its tourist attractions, must-sees, and hidden gems; however, we would have to guess that you have not made you way out to Santa Catalina Island. Known just as Catalina Island or Catalina to its friends, the spot does its thing as part of Los Angeles County roughly 22 miles off the coast from Los Angeles itself. It belongs to a larger chain of islands, and they’re all part of one big happy family—the Channel Islands. Some estimates put visitors at close to a million per year, so it’s probably one of the more well known of our lesser known islands.

How To Get There

Paddling a kayak isn’t going to be an option here, and the car is going to need to stay back on the mainland. Ferry service is available from a couple spots along the California coast, but it seems like the major route heads back and forth between Avalon—on the island—and San Pedro. Catalina Express is responsible here, and they also have options from Long Beach and Dana Point. Rates start at around $80 per adult including some mandatory wharf charges, but plan to add a few more bucks if bringing your bike or surfboard.

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