• King Kong 360 3-D, at Universal Studios Hollywood: The world’s largest, most intense 3D experience, combines thrilling visceral effects to create a next-generation theme park experience. Guests don 3-D glasses then enter a tangled jungle to witness a titanic struggle between a 10-metre Kong and equally large dinosaurs.
• LEGOLAND: World’s first LEGO-themed waterpark. Highlights include a Build-A-Raft river where visitors can construct their own LEGO raft; water slides; a 14-metre high tower playground; two sandy beach wading areas and Clutch Powers 4-D Adventure, a combination of wind and rain topped with 3-D effects in a 10-minute action-packed film. San Diego.
• Wineries shuttle: In Paso Robles wine country, the Wine Line allows tasters to hop on and off the shuttle, choose the wineries to visit and stay as long as desired. The service operates from Thursday-Sunday on a circular route to more than 20 premier wineries.
• Marriott Opens In Redding: Marriott Fairfield Inn has opened in Redding offering comfortable guest rooms, suites and garden tub rooms at a superior value and free hot breakfasts, close to downtown Redding, the Sundial Bridge, Turtle Bay, Sacramento River and Shasta Lake.
• New Routes From AC: Air Canada launched two new routes from Toronto to California – daily, year-round service to Orange County (Santa Ana) and San Diego.
Disneyland Resort• Disneyland Park: Disneyland features more than 60 attractions in eight themed lands. Nearby, Disney’s California Adventure includes three themed lands. Anaheim.
• Universal Studios Hollywood: Experience the sights, sounds and excitement of the movie capital of the world with a tram ride through the backlots, and adventure rides like King Kong 360-3D, The World’s Largest 3-D Experience. Los Angeles.
• Copia: American centre for wine, food and the arts. Explore American culture, innovations and approaches to food and drink through programs, exhibitions and demonstrations. Napa.
• Motion Picture Hall of Fame: Honours film legends and educates the public about movie making. Los Angeles.
• J. Paul Getty Museum: Home to a world-class collection of European and American art. Los Angeles.
Knotts Berry Farm• Knotts Berry Farm: 60 hectares of rides, shows, and family attractions in six themed areas. The coaster collection appeals to first-time riders as well as seasoned ride warriors; Camp Snoopy was the first-ever theme park area dedicated solely to kids; live shows include the Wild West Stunt Show, Camp Snoopy Theatre and the all new Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular. Anaheim.
• Alcatraz Island: Tour the infamous maximum-security prison and enjoy spectacular views of the city. San Francisco.
• The Tech Museum of Innovation: Interactive exhibits and unique floor programs showcase not just how technology works, but how it affects daily life. Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater. San Jose.
• Charles M. Schulz Museum: Contains more than 6,000 of his original comic strips. Exhibits and programs illustrate the scope of Schulz's multi-faceted career. Santa Rosa.
• Skiing & Snowboarding: California boasts elite downhill skiing and boarding regions including the High Sierras with the Lake Tahoe Ski Area, South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Sierra-At-Tahoe mountain resorts on the south side and Northstar, Sugar Bowl, Mt. Rose, Alpine Meadows, and Boreal on the north; the Central Sierras with Bear Valley, Dodge Ridge and Mammoth Mountain; Mt. Shasta Ski Park in northern California; and Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts a few hours from Los Angeles and San Diego.
• Hearst Castle: This palatial estate built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst is now a State and National Historic Landmark. Open for public tours. San Simeon.
• Napa Valley Wine Train: Journey through the beautiful wine country of Napa Valley in restored vintage rail cars. Also provides a culinary experience featuring seasonal menus prepared to order. Special events include wine tasting dinners, lunch with a local vintner and a Murder Mystery dinner theatre. Napa.
• Aquarium of the Bay: Walk through crystal clear tunnels surrounded by the marine creatures that live in the San Francisco Bay and nearby waters. Exhibits include: The lair of the Giant Pacific Octopus; The Mesmerizing World of Jellies; and PG&E Bay Lab, and interactive climate change exhibit. San Francisco.
• Top 10 Sinatra Sites: Free, detailed list of Frank Sinatra’s favourite haunts. Includes Twin Palms Estate, his former home with Ava Gardner; Frank Sinatra Drive; Melvyn’s, Riccio’s and Lord Fletcher’s, Sinatra’s favourite hangouts and Desert Memorial Park, the final resting place of Ol’ Blue Eyes. Palm Springs.
• San Diego Wild Animal Park’s zip-line: “Flightline,” a new 1.5-hour zipline experience across the Asian and African field exhibits. Covers about 1.6 kilometres in total. Two-hour Wilderness Ridge Mule Rides through the Park’s coastal sage scrub habitat allows visitors to experience backcountry trails containing more endangered species than any other county in the U.S.
• Museum of Flying: Featuring nearly two dozen aircraft chronicling the beginning of flight – from a replica Wright Flyer, to the jet age, with the BD-5 micro jet and the FedEx 727 nose section. Santa Monica Airport.
• Golfing: The state is filled with internationally renowned public access courses like Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, PGA West and Torrey Pines. Highlights include Sierra Star Golf Course with the highest elevation course in California; The Golf Club at Whitehawk Ranch with its peaceful setting and a stout test of skills. Pasatiempo Golf Club, in Santa Cruz, is listed on Golfweek’s Best Top 100 golf courses while The Course at Wente Vineyards, east of San Francisco, hosts the Nationwide Tour Wine Country Championship.
• San Diego Wild Animal Park: “Flightline,” is a 1.5-hour zipline experience across the Asian and African field exhibits. Covers about 1.6 kilometres in total. Two-hour Wilderness Ridge Mule Rides through the Park’s coastal sage scrub habitat allows visitors to experience backcountry trails containing more endangered species than any other county in the U.S.
• Tournament of Roses Parade (January), Pasadena.
• Masters of Food & Wine (February), Carmel-by-the-Sea.
• Return of the Swallows Festivities (February-March), San Juan Capistrano.
• Santa Barbara Whale Festival (March).
• Santa Maria Strawberry Festival (April).
• Stockton Asparagus Festival (April).
• Amgen Tour of California (May).
• Pismo Beach Classic Car Show (June).
• San Francisco Gay Pride Parade (June).
• Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival (June), Winchester.
• Lights on the Lake (July 4), Lake Tahoe.
• U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition (July), San Diego.
• Gilroy Garlic Festival (July), Gilroy.
• Central Coast Shakespeare Festival (July/August), Avila Beach.
• Old Spanish Days Fiesta (August), Santa Barbara.
• Annual Steinbeck Festival (August), Salinas.
• California State Fair (August), Sacramento.
• Monterey Jazz Festival (September).
• Danish Days (September), Solvang.
• Route 66 Rendezvous (September), San Bernardino.
• Civil War Revisited (October), Fresno.
• California Avocado Festival (October), Carpinteria.
• San Francisco Bay Area: First-class attractions, celebrated wineries, cultural diversity, remarkable skylines and breath-taking views make this region one of the world’s most popular destinations.
• Los Angeles County: Ever since filming began in Los Angeles in 1913, the world has been fascinated by moviemaking and Hollywood’s great dream factories. Wide range of activities available – snowboarding, surfing and hiking deep into the wilderness just off a busy freeway.
• Central Valley: One of the world’s most productive farming areas. This thriving region includes a wealth of culturally diverse communities, historic sites, exceptional outdoor recreation, abundant wildlife and the California Delta – a unique 1,600-kilometre waterway fed by five major rivers.
• Central Coast: Dramatic seascapes and coastal resorts, together with the pastoral atmosphere of its inland agricultural communities, make this tranquil expanse between San Francisco and Los Angeles an idyllic destination. Just a few of the highlights: Monterey, home of the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row; Salinas, birthplace of John Steinbeck and site of the National Steinbeck Center; the romantic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea; the dramatic coastline of Big Sur; Pismo Beach, gateway to Hearst Castle and the Oceano Sand Dunes, the most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California; Santa Maria, home to family-friendly attractions like the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum and the Museum of Flight, as well as several wineries that welcome visitors: Santa Barbara, the “American Riviera”, where travellers can go whale-watching, step into the past at the Santa Barbara Mission, visit vineyards; Solvang, which boasts the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, and the nearby Old Mission Santa Ines.
• California’s Islands: California’s many islands include Santa Catalina, near Los Angeles; Channel Islands National Park, located off Santa Barbara; Coronado Island, directly across the bay from downtown San Diego; Negit and Paoha Islands in the middle of Mono Lake, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Range; and Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.
• Golden Gate National Recreational Area: The largest urban park in the world and the largest single open space in San Francisco.
• Huntington State Beach & Bolsa Chica State Beach: Eight kilometres of sandy recreation south of Los Angeles with wildlife-watching in the adjacent, ecologically sensitive wetlands.
• Orange County: Since the opening of Disneyland in 1955, Orange County has become the ultimate family vacation destination, with sunny beaches, luxurious resorts, theme parks and unlimited opportunities for shopping and dining.
• North Coast: Stretching along more than 640 kilometres of coastline from San Francisco to primeval redwood forests at the Oregon border. The region also offers lush vineyards and quaint villages filled with antique shops inland.
• Ventura: Dubbed “The land of endless summers” by early Spanish settlers, Ventura is the place to discover the Real California. Just an hour north of Los Angeles, the city boasts abundant arts and cultural activities, lush farmlands and ocean beaches. Channel Islands National Park lies just off shore, the Los Padres National Forest is found in Ventura’s foothills and two of California’s longest flowing open rivers help to form the city’s boundaries.
• Fairfield: Located between San Francisco and Sacramento; home to the Jelly Belly Candy Company, where free tours attract nearly 500,000 visitors a year; Budweiser Brewery tours; produce markets; wineries in Suisun Valley; Suisun Marshes, the largest in the Western United States; and plenty of golf on local courses.
• Pismo Beach: Long white beaches, spectacular sunsets and the most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California, as recognized by scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public. Others activities include touring Hearst Castle or a collection of local wineries, golf at four local courses, horseback riding, surfing, body boarding, fishing from the 365-metre pier and strolling the award-winning boardwalk adjacent to the pier.
• Inland Empire: Soaring mountains, alpine lakes, historic sites, lush vineyards and colourful entertainment.
• Gold Country: Preserves remnants of its wild days when the 1849 Gold Rush triggered the largest human migration ever known. Trace the gold miners’ saga along historic Highway 49 in Sacramento, the state capital.
• Deserts: California’s deserts are a study in contrasts: soft sand dunes and deeply eroded cliffs, golden poppies and spiny cacti, creeping tortoises and soaring eagles, and snow-capped mountains and glittering resort cities.
• Shasta Cascade: This outdoor lover’s paradise is a beautiful and unspoiled region boasting towering mountains, lush forests, crystal-clear lakes and thundering waterfalls. The perfect base for the region is Redding, the second-sunniest city in the nation and home to plenty of great attractions itself. Must-sees include the spectacular and car-free Sundial Bridge, a 213-metre long, glass-floored suspension bridge over the Sacramento River; and the 121-hectare Turtle Bay Exploration Park, which includes an art and history museum, arboretum and gardens, a butterfly house, logging and ecology exhibits and aquarium.
• Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve: A few miles north of the hustle and bustle of downtown Huntington Beach, this 486-hectare reserve boasts one of the country’s most diverse nesting grounds, with more than 200 species of birds documented.
• Free Friday Night Bands on the Beach: Warm sand, a panoramic view of Monterey Bay and the music from a fun-loving band on Friday nights. Santa Cruz.
• Fresno County Fruit Trail: Find out where locals go to get the very best fruits, berries, and nuts direct from the family farms in eastern Fresno County.
• Point Loma Tidepools: Home to flowery anemones, scampering shore crabs, elusive octopuses, spongy deadman’s fingers and many other magnificent creatures of the sea. The best time to visit the tidepools is during winter and spring low tides. The Cabrillo Monument offers ranger-guided tidepool walks at most low tides.
• Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Takes passengers from Valley Station (806 metres elevation) to Mountain Station on the edge of the wilderness, elevation 2,596 metres. At the top are a restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, visitor centre, the Long Valley Ranger Station, picnic area, ski centre, a self-guided nature trail and Desert View Trail.
• All About The Movies: Home to thousands of film productions over the years, California offers movie buffs the chance to vacation on shoot locations. San Francisco is a favourite among cast members and directors, with many famous films shot at various Bay Area venues including Milk (2008) with actor Sean Penn. Visitors might glimpse major stars and directors at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, the historic movie theatres in Westwood Village, and theatres on the UCLA campus. The Hollywood International Film Festival in October, also features top celebrities and directors, along with dozens of new films, with most screenings taking place at the ArcLight Cinema. Other star gazing events include the red carpet at the Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival in March, which screens top-notch independent films, documentaries and shorts from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa; and the Sundial Film Festival in March.
The newly released California Road Trips 2010 encourages visitors to travel around the Golden State, especially by car, with special two-to-three-day driving getaways along with more detailed routes for longer vacations.
“California has long been known for its scenic drives, from highways that hug the coast to routes that explore the mountains and everything in between,” said President and CEO Caroline Beteta of the California Travel and Tourism Commission. “California Road Trips 2010 is the best resource to help visitors experience all California has to offer while enjoying the exhilaration of the road.”
This year, the theme of the guide is “Scenic Byway Adventures,” which highlights nationally and state-designated scenic byways, as well as other hallmark scenic driving routes that are not officially designated. Routes are based on how California tourists actually drive, and feature one region prominently, but may also run through more of California’s 12 distinct regions for the most logical route.
Inside are inside scoops on things to see and do, and the abundance of activities throughout the state. For example, the “California Wine Heritage” trip travels up the coast and inland through quintessential wine country dotted with quaint and historic towns and hamlets. In “Dunes to Peaks,” visitors experience California’s lows and highs as they climb from sweeping desert vistas to the Eastern Sierra’s alpine splendor. They can also circle the San Francisco Bay on scenic byways from big city attractions to small towns, tall trees and sandy beaches in the guide’s “San Francisco Baylands and Byways.” The “Save & Splurge” sidebar offers great insider tips for a variety of budgets.
California Road Trips 2010 is available for download at www.visitcalifornia.com/visitorsguide.
Cook Like A Californian
A highlight of any California getaway is sampling the destination’s cuisine. Now, as culinary travel increases in popularity, programs across the Golden State are inviting travellers to put down their fork, tie on an apron, and learn how to bring a taste of California into their own kitchens.
Below are some of the top culinary programs from regions across California. From haute cuisine to down-home cooking, there’s something for every would-be chef or epicurean traveller.
• Kitchen on Fire, Berkeley: The school’s classes are designed to make easy entertaining accessible to everyone, and students are encouraged to try improvisational cooking, rather than strictly following a recipe. Class topics range from how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies to preparing a Basque country-themed dinner. In Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto,” within its Epicurious Garden. www.kitchenonfire.com
• In the Kitchen with Lisa, San Francisco: Held at the famed Ferry Building, provides foodies with the rare opportunity to tour the building and meet with specialty farmers and artisan foodmakers, as well as sample some of the region’s most delicious offerings. After their tour, students enjoy a hands-on cooking class and lunch in one of the area’s many restaurants. www.inthekitchenwithlisa.com
• Central Coast
Montecito Country Kitchen, Santa Barbara: Hosts cooking classes based on Mediterranean foods, with an emphasis on those of Provence and the Italian countryside. Classes are composed of two‐hour demonstrations of three- or four-course meals and are followed by a lunch or dinner of the meal prepared in class and wine tasting. www.montecitocountrykitchen.com
• Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Paso Robles: The Guest Chef Dinner Series at the Justin Vineyards and Winery treats participants to a feast prepared by one of the country’s leading chefs. Diners can witness the artists at work while sampling delectable dishes from around the U.S. www.justinwine.com/events_dinner_series.php
• California Sushi Academy, Los Angeles: The Academy helps sushi-lovers, from beginners to experts, master the art of sushi making. Classes cover every facet of the process, ranging from sushi rice to properly using knives, and participants can also dabble in classes about macrobiotic food and sake. www.sushi-academy.com
• The Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena: The Culinary Institute of America’s Napa Valley campus immerses visitors in the richness of California’s wine country. Students attend courses surrounded by vineyards, organic gardens and renowned restaurants. Cooking demonstrations, held at Greystone, focus on the tastes of Napa Valley and change in topic every three to four days. www.ciachef.edu/california
• Laguna Culinary Arts, Laguna Beach: Laguna Culinary Arts focuses on skill-building for the home chef. Hands-on course topics range from sushi preparation to the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner. In addition to classes, there is a specialty cookware store, a bakery and cafe, professional chef school and corporate teambuilding. www.lagunaculinaryarts.com
• San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, San Diego: The San Diego Wine and Culinary Center showcases the region’s culinary offerings in an educational setting. Located just outside the city’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, the Center provides guests with a variety of wine and food classes led by Kitchen staff, local chefs and cookbook authors. www.sdwineculinary.com
• Balboa Wide & Food School: Treats guests to wonderful food and beautiful scenery. Within the largest urban cultural park in the U.S., the School offers visitors fun, unstructured courses that keep the cooking process entertaining. www.balboafoodwine.com
Did You Know?
State Motto: Eureka!
State Flower: Golden poppy
State Bird: California quail
America’s Byways: Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway-Route 110, Death Valley Scenic Byway, Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, Route 1-Big Sur Coast Highway, Route 1-San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway, Tioga Road/Big Oak Flat Road, Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.
Direct Flights: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, WestJet
Cruise Lines: Alaska Sightseeing/Cruise West, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Clipper Cruise Line, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line Ltd., Hapag Lloyd, Holland America Line, Japan Cruise Line, Mitsui OSK, Norwegian Cruise Lines, NYK Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, Trans Ocean Tours
Info: California Travel and Tourism Commission