Six (Other) Reasons to Visit California

{Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post for Visit California My opinions are 100% my own.}

You know by many of my travel posts that although we live in Arizona, we travel to California as often as we can.  We only lived in Southern California for two years, yet most of our major vacations and road trips involve a trek back to California.  This year alone, we have been five times, with our sixth trip coming up next week.  Many of our trips involve a trip to Disneyland or the beach, but did you know there are so many other reasons to visit the golden state?  Here are six reasons to visit, especially if you live in Arizona.

It’s Close

Los Angeles and San Diego are an easy six hour drive from Phoenix.  Palm Springs is three hours, and Santa Barbara is eight hours.  We can throw a few suitcases in the car in the morning, hop on I-8 or I-10, and get where we need to be by lunchtime.  And while there is plenty to do in the cities, some of the most fun is in the smaller towns in between.  We’ve ridden bicycles in Coronado, collected sea glass in Morro Bay, hiked the Channel Islands, surfed in San Diego, and done a night grunion run in Cabrillo Beach.   

There is always something to do!

There is so much to do in California, it would take us 100 years, and we would still not see everything.  Each trip is a new adventure, and even going to some of our favorite places again and again bring new experiences.  We’ve been going to Coronado every summer for ten years; six at the same resort, yet we find new restaurants, activities, and shopping each time we go.  We have been boating, surfing, hiking, and exploring in California more than any other state in the US.  I dare you to get bored in California…you can’t do it!

Fun Learning Experiences

California hosts some of the most beautiful museums, aquariums, zoos, and historic landmarks in the entire world, making it easy to incorporate fun learning into your travel plans.  You name it, they’ve got it.  On our road trip two weeks ago, we had at least one learning experience a day, including the Hearst Castle, John Steinbeck Center, The Academy of Sciences, and The Reagan Presidential Library, and the kids (and I) enjoyed each one better than the one before! Some of my sons favorite days in California are at a museum!

Perfect Road Trip Roads

I’ve been to California dozens of times, but each and every time I go, I marvel at the breathtaking views from the road.  Want gorgeous ocean views?  Drive the king of classic road trip roads, Rt 1, from San Diego up to San Francisco.  Want to marvel at the mountains?  Take the Cascade Wonderland Hwy (Rt 5)  from Redding north, up to the Oregon border.  Want to see (and drive-through) some of the biggest trees of your life?  Try the Redwood Highway, Rt 101 from Willits to Eureka, stopping in Leggett to drive through the “tree”.

Farm Fresh Produce

Some of the best food in California is straight from the fields.  Did you know California grows about 60% of the nations produce?  Stop by those roadside farm stands and grab fresh strawberries in Oxnard, artichokes in Castroville, garlic in Gilroy, and almonds in Sacramento.  Want a different kind of fruit?  With over 3700 wineries in California, you can get your “grape” on from Paso Robles to Heardsburg.

Travel Around The World

Want to take a trip around the world just by traveling California?  In Solvang, visit an authentic danish village complete with windmills and danish cuisine.  In San Francisco, take part in a traditional tea ceremony at the Japanese Tea Gardens, or grab a bowl of Cioppino in Little Italy.   See (and taste) an authentic look at a Mexican village at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, in Los Angeles.  The many pocket communities that make up the cultural diversity of California allow travelers to experience the entire world in one state.

Going to the beach, especially in the dog days of summer, are one of the best arguments for going to California, but as you can see, there are so many other reasons to visit California!

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Julie is the Arizona-based lifestyle writer/editor of A Cork, Fork, & Passport. She is an accomplished chef, traveler, kid wrangler, dachshund chaser, and social media expert.
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