Hidden Gems in Southern California

Many vacationers flock to well-known locations in Southern California like San Diego, Disneyland, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara. These are all nice locations to go to, however should you’re in search of someplace completely different that is a bit off the radar, try the next unbelievable locations:

The Channell Islands

My husband and I’ve lived in California most our lives, however someway missed these spectacular islands which might be categorized as one of many U.S. Nationwide Parks. After seeing some gorgeous images on the Web, we took a brief boat experience to Anacapa Island from Oxnard as a part of a weekend anniversary journey.

In case you resolve to go, be ready and produce provides. This journey is for adventurous folks in good bodily form. You have to to climb 157 stairs to the highest of this rugged little island the place there is no such thing as a meals, companies, water, or flushing bathrooms. Now, I HATE outhouses, however I am telling you – the views of the rocky shoreline, huge cliffs, and jagged peaks had been price it. You’ll be able to simply hike across the rim of the island in simply hours with Inspiration Level a grand reward on your efforts.

We visited in June when bursts of vibrant wildflowers coated the small island and 1000’s of lovable child sea gulls had been to be discovered round each nook. Simply watch out for their protecting mamas who will swoop at your head should you get too shut.

We returned a few years later and visited the bigger Santa Cruz Island for an thrilling kayak tour of the historic sea caves. On the boat experience there we noticed a whale and two massive colleges of dolphins. The waters might be tough at sure factors, however the caves had been superb. This was a once-in-a-lifetime expertise.

Some folks think about these islands desolate, however you probably have an adventurous spirit and love nature, the Channell Islands are thought-about the Galápagos of North America.

The Huntington Botanical Gardens

That is yet one more gorgeous place that we failed to go to for many years. Situated in Pasadena, the magnificent property is dwelling to greater than a dozen spectacular gardens unfold throughout 120 acres. Exhausting to say which backyard is essentially the most dazzling, however the Japanese Backyard, the Rose Backyard, and the California Backyard are just a few of my favorites.

We did not even get an opportunity to take a look at the artwork galleries. The Huntington Artwork Gallery, homes 18th- and 19th-century British work, sculptures, and ornamental arts, and consists of the well-known Blue Boy. And to my disgrace as a author, we didn’t go to The Huntington Library itself, one of many largest and most full analysis libraries in the USA.

Subsequent time.

Ventura County Wine Path

Napa could get all the eye as wine nation in California, however my husband and I loved sipping our approach by way of the coastal rolling hills close to the seaside city of Ventura. We visited two of the almost 20 wineries and tasting rooms.

You’ll be able to e-book one of many many wine excursions provided. Nonetheless, we determined to get a map and discover on our personal. Starting in Ventura on the junction of Freeway 1 and Freeway 101, we drove up Freeway 33 towards Ojai.

Surprises await on this considerably lonely however charming street – from the “USA’s Smallest Submit Workplace” to the final place anybody noticed James Dean alive. Our favourite discover was Previous Creek Vineyard which felt like returning to a less complicated place and time the place pleasant people and canine welcomed us. We loved our bought bottle of wine and a picnic outdoors on tables having fun with the Americana view.

By the way in which, each Ojai and Ventura are worthwhile stops with charming inns, luxurious spas, and mattress & breakfasts together with a big selection of outside actions. In the summertime time, the Ventura Harbor Village is a hubbub of exercise with festivals and dwell music on the weekends.

Laguna Seaside

This charming seashore city is positioned midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. With over 20 completely different scenic coves, this seashore space presents every little thing from browsing, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and whale watching excursions.

Simply beware, the surf might be tough in locations. As a youngster, I made a decision to physique surf regardless of the churning waters and worn out on an enormous wave (suppose Seaside Boys’ track: Heheheheheheee wipe oooout!). Really, I blame the Seaside Boys for this complete mishap since they went and romanticized this entire surfer chick factor with songs I grew up on like Surfer Lady. SO their fault.

Nonetheless, the surroundings cannot be beat. Add ultra-chic eating places and retailers and one-of-a-kind artwork galleries and also you get the image. There’s even a Child Boomer Membership with Saturday Night time dances. Each summer time, they host the Laguna Woodstock the place child boomers get together like its 1969.

Heisler Park is an efficient place to start out, positioned simply north of the principle seashore, with a simple half-mile stroll alongside a paved path with spectacular views of the shoreline and the soothing sound of crashing waves. You’ll be able to take one of many paths to the seashores and tide swimming pools. Benches, picnic tables, and barbecues abound the place you may benefit from the magnificent views. Hubby and I had a picnic on one of many grass areas and it was good!

Treasure Island Park is one other great place, positioned on the grounds of the five-star Montage Laguna Seaside, the place the actually wealthy keep. Exquisitely landscaped, a number of lookout benches line the easy-to-walk winding path. Stairways and ramps lead you right down to the seashore, the place you may stroll by way of a gorgeous rock archway throughout low tide, discover a spot within the sand for sunbathing, and a big tide pool. As well as, there may be loads of grass areas for a picnic. I might counsel bringing some wine and cheese to catch a romantic sundown.

Huge Bear Lake

I dwell within the desert, so close by Huge Bear is a superb mountain escape with its attractive lake and pristine forests. Boating, fishing, and mountaineering are simply among the actions on this small, laid-back village.

Final summer time, my husband and I cycled across the lake, loved a picnic, zipped down an alpine slide, drove go-karts with speeds as much as 30 m.p.h., and took a experience on the scenic sky chair for terrific views. After watching folks take the chair lifts to mountain bike down the paths, we put this on our to-do listing for subsequent time.

For the adventurous at coronary heart, parasailing and ziplining are additionally out there.

El Matador Seaside

In search of a spectacular shoreline with white sands, towering cliffs, crashing waves, and craggy rock formations in a semi-hidden location?

Look no additional than El Matador, positioned north of Malibu off the winding Pacific Coast Freeway. It is easy to overlook the small, brown signal pointing towards the small parking zone on the trail-head, so watch rigorously between Broad Seaside and Decker Canyon Roads. As soon as you discover it, be ready to hike down a 150-foot bluff with the assistance of some steep stairs.

Not for young children or those that are bodily challenged, but when you may make it down the steps you may be handled with breathtaking views. The locals learn about this seashore and you might even see some picture shoots going down – we did!

There may be blissfully little to do on this small however superb stretch of seashore, so deliver a picnic lunch or some wine and discover a hidden nook to get pleasure from an extremely romantic setting.

Redondo Seaside

By now, you’ve got most likely observed that my husband and I are seashore bums. We discovered this seashore on accident whereas in search of a close-by place to remain the evening earlier than flying out of LAX the subsequent morning.

The Redondo Pier is a landmark with panoramic ocean views and water actions that embrace harbor cruises, seasonal whale watching, kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal boats. Reality be identified, we did not attempt any of those out, however we cherished the views from Tony’s on the Pier the place we loved Completely satisfied Hour!

The pier can also be dwelling to a 16-foot nice white shark affectionately often known as Georgette, on show in a big tank at Shark Assault on the Pier. If in case you have grandchildren with you or are younger at coronary heart, chances are you’ll benefit from the semi-submersible yellow submarine (darn, now I’ve acquired the Beatles track caught in my head) for underwater viewing of the native sea life.

Certain beats staying at an airport resort should you’re flying to or from Los Angeles.

Catalina Island

This island is extra well-known than a few of my earlier suggestions, however a sentimental favourite. My husband and I spent our honeymoon there 40 years in the past and have returned a number of occasions. It is a small, quaint island, with no stoplights or quick meals eating places. A typical site visitors jam includes two golf carts and a bicycle constructed for 2.

On our honeymoon, we blissfully rode bikes round Avalon, went horseback using, toured the well-known on line casino, and sunbathed on the small seashore. We additionally took a bus to Two Harbors, the one different village on Catalina Island. Snorkeling, parasailing, fishing, glass backside boat rides, paddleboarding, Segway excursions, {golfing}, and mountaineering are different fashionable actions.

Many years later, we sailed our boat to the island from Lengthy Seaside – which turned out to be one wild experience. My husband and grown kids returned once more for our open-water dives to turn out to be scuba-certified amid the well-known kelp forests surrounded by the brilliant orange Garibaldi fish. Subsequent time we go to, I wish to attempt the brand new zip-line that is 600 ft above sea stage with one run that’s 1,100 ft lengthy with speeds as much as 30 m.p.h. Wheee!

As you may inform, Southern California has so many nice locations to go to, it is unattainable to listing all of them. However hopefully I’ve given you some concepts to get you began!

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