East of the City of Angels and San Diego the landscape of Southern California comes alive with surreal vigor. Stark and punishing desert landscapes dotted with dust-blown scrub, rocky mountains, craggy canyons and epic national parks makes the entire southeast quadrant of the Golden State a boon for adventure buffs. Hikers, bikers and nature photographers won’t want to miss Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the landlocked Salton Sea. If you’re a golf nut, there’s no better place on the planet than Palm Springs, home to more than 130 courses in the immediate area.
Strung between the bursting cityscapes of Southern California and the laid-back vibes of San Francisco Bay is the Golden State’s best kept secret—the Central Coast. Speedy Highway 101 links the City by the Bay with Hollywood in about six hours of driving, but take the scenic route instead. Hop on U.S. Highway 1, which hugs the meandering Pacific coastline, and pencil in a few days worth of aimless exploring while enjoying one of the country’s most scenic drives. Don’t miss the cliff-side city Big Sur, massive Monterey Aquarium and historic Santa Barbara.
Battling boredom certainly isn’t a problem in Southern California, where the attraction-rich cities of Los Angeles and San Diego anchor a region-wide spirit of world-class fun and adventure. Think Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and Knott’s Berry Farm. And when you’re done with thrills and ready for frills, head for Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood or the sparkling ocean-front beaches of Malibu west of downtown L.A. There’s no end to SoCal’s red carpet of incredible sights, attractions and family-friendly activities.
This is the breadbasket of the United States. The agricultural output from the thousands of farms in this region is simply breathtaking. Get a taste of the area’s bounty by visiting a farmers market or one of the many restaurants and vineyards in the region. You’ll get a new appreciation of the veggies that you find on your plate at every meal.