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All About California - Virtual Travel Guide

California is one of the largest states in the United States, located on the west coast and facing into the Pacific Ocean. Known as The Golden State, California offers many diverse travel opportunities and memorable adventures for those who choose to visit this amazing place

Two distinct parts

An interesting aspect of California is that is has two distinct parts that have distinct sets of characteristics. Using San Francisco as a midpoint (home to cable cars, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and The Golden Gate Bridge), the state is unofficially divided into northern and southern sections. While this “dividing line” is not official, there are definite differences between the two general areas.

   

In the north

Northern California is home to forests of redwood trees, the towering stature of Mount Shasta, and vast areas of lush, green vegetation. One of the biggest attractions up north is the world famous wine country - the valleys of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. Popular activities include hiking, biking, riding, fishing and hot air ballooning.

Visitors to wine country will find towns rich with historical roots from the original settlers from Spain and Mexico, scenic ocean views, and of course lots of vineyards. Wineries and tasting rooms abound, with the busiest times of year being summer weekends and the fall crush. Regardless of whether you are a wine “novice” or a long time aficionado, you will find much to enjoy in California's wine producing areas.

   

In the south

Southern California is home to the most populous areas of California as well as some of the greatest variation in geography and natural attractions. Coastal cities such as San Diego and Santa Barbara have blue sky, sparkling surf and palm lined beaches, while the Monterey peninsula offers Pacific beaches, forest parks, golf courses, spas and a revitalized Cannery Row as made famous by John Steinbeck's novels. Monterey is also where you will find one of the world's best marine aquariums as well as the highly acclaimed annual Monterey Jazz Festival.

This area is the gateway to stunning natural beauty in places such as Yosemite National Park and the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Travelers are often surprised at how these rugged wilderness areas are located so close to the bustling, vibrant cities of Southern California. The most famous city, of course, is Los Angeles. This is “movie town” where you can see sights such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard and Venice Beach. Who knows, you just might catch a glimpse of a movie star or other famous personality in one of the great restaurants or nightclubs.

   

What's the weather like?

California weather is generally warm and mild, but there is substantial variation when you get up into the mountains and other rugged terrain. Coastal areas are typically quite temperate; shorts and shirtsleeves are common in the summertime, but the evenings can quickly turn cool. Inland areas, on the other hand, can get extremely hot and dry during the summer so travelers must stay hydrated, not over exert themselves, and focus their activities during the cooler hours of mornings and evenings.

   

Getting there

California is easily accessible by air, rail, car, or bus. International airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles serve the majority of travelers, while a vast system of interstate highways and roads make it possible to drive a car into the state from all sides. There is regular passenger train service to many cities in California, with some of the most spectacular routes going through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

 

All About Palm Springs - Virtual Travel Guide

Palm Springs is a year round, luxurious desert destination, situated in California, USA, 84 miles North East of San Francisco. Visitors flock to Palm Springs for its hot desert climate and abundance of recreational activities, which include biking, tennis, horseback riding and swimming. Many travel to Palm Springs purely for the golf, as the resort has some of the most famous golf courses in the US.

Many holiday makers visit Palm Springs because of its glamorous reputation; between the 1930s and 1970s celebrities used to retreat to Palm Springs and it was known as the ‘Playground of the Stars'. Today, Palm Springs still caters for the jet set, with accommodation including luxurious private apartments and elegant sun bathed resorts, but you can also find more modestly priced but still comfortable hotels and other places to stay.

If outdoor activities don't sound like your idea of vacation fun, tour the great shopping areas, soak up the sun or head for one of the spas and relax in the rejuvenating, healing mineral waters which gave the village its name.

Temperatures in Palm Springs from June to September range on average from the low 70s up to the scorching 100s. Palm Springs is very accessible to travellers, with many flights in and out of the Palm Springs International Airport.

 

All About Lake Tahoe - Virtual Travel Guide

Lake Tahoe is situated along the border of two western US states, California and Nevada, bordered by the Sierra Nevada to the west and the Carson mountain range to the east. Formed by ancient glaciers, this beautiful lake is famed for its clarity and pure waters. It is the eighth deepest lake in the world and is surrounded by dramatic granite peaks, providing a stunning year round backdrop.

People the world over are drawn to the premier vacation destination of Lake Tahoe for its wonderful winter sports, which include ice skating, sledding and tubing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing and snowmobile rides. And don't forget the skiing and snowboarding in the mountains above the lake – there are 18 world class ski and snowboard fields around the lake, with deep powder and long runs. In the summer, choose from golf, sailing, hiking or many other pursuits.

Lake Tahoe is renowned for its pleasant dry climate – low humidity and sunshine for three quarters of the year. At the same time, it gets lots of snow, an average of 125 inches at lake level annually.

Choose from luxury hotels and cabins or go camping in the great outdoors. At night, relax in the Lake's many restaurants or casinos.

 

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