The Most Popular Travel Places In The Golden State
What are the top 10 vacation destinations in California?
Easy! Just follow the crowds.
Well, theres’ more to it than that and here are not just the major tourist spots but a few quieter – but very nice – places that make for a great vacation.
To tell the truth: I don’t actually know the visitation numbers in this list– that’s a question for the state’s tourism board – but these are the Top 10 places I recommend as vacation destinations in California and there is no doubt most of them are indeed the most visited locations.
So get ready to travel in the Golden State!
1.) Los Angeles
The largest city in the state is not just the top vacation destination in California, it’s one of the top ones in the world. LA has it all – beaches, celebrities, major sports teams, concerts by the biggest touring artists and nearly endless sunshine.
As well as traffic, smog and little public transportation, but that’s beside the point. Los Angeles is as diverse as it is big and there’s no way to see all of it unless you really move there. The top tourists areas are Hollywood and Santa Monica, tho I also recommend the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach areas.
2.) San Francisco
The City by the Bay is popular for a reason: there’s so much to see in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge is iconic (did you know you can ride a bike over it!?), the neighborhood restaurants are almost all great (you can’t really go wrong by walking in any door) and Fisherman’s Wharf is legendary as a hot tourist destination.
Just be sure and always carry a jacket or sweatshirt with you. Another PubClub.com tip is not to rent a car while you are in what locals call “the City.”
3.) San Diego
The world headquarters of PubClub, San Diego is a compact version of L.A. Families like to go to Sea World, and the world-famous zoo, while PubClubbers prefer Pacific Beach and the Gaslamp Quarter for nightlife.
Everybody loves Coronado Beach and, of course, the iconic Hotel del.
4.) Palm Springs
Two hours east of Los Angeles is the desert town of Palm Springs. Once home to many of Hollywood’s top celebrities – Sonny Bono was the mayor, after all – it is a warm (and often hot) paradise. That’s ideal for laying by the pool at your fancy hotel. It also has so many golf courses that Bob Hope once joked that “after the first tee, you see which course your ball landed on and play that one.”
5.) Santa Barbara
Known as the “Riviera of America,” Santa Barbara is two hours north of L.A. And hardly as big and congested. There’s a lot of wine tasing (downtown has some 20 wine tasting rooms) and luxurious hotels can be found in town and on the beach. There’s also a mile of shops, restaurants and bars along State Street.
Speaking of bars – watch out for those local college students. UCSB is one of PubClub’s Top Party Schools in the nation!
6.) Napa Valley
One of the world’s most famous wine countries, Napa Valley has more wineries than one could possibility visit, all featuring excellent California wines. It is next to the Sonoma County wine county. Many people spend entire vacations tasting (and drinking) California wines in these two robust areas.
This is one of those quieter places that I mentioned at the beginning of this article. They are neighboring towns located on the Monterey Peninsula 2 1/2 hours south of San Francisco and the coastline is absolutely gorgeous.
This is where you take the famous “17-mile drive” to the Pebble Beach golf course and see sea otters laying on their backs cracking open crabs and sea urchins in the kelp.
Point your car south from Carmel and take one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. Do note that a part of PCH is closed now, but you can still get to Big Sur from Carmel.
9.) Paso Robles
Speaking of wineries and wine tasting, “Paso” as locals call it, is a less expensive wine tasting vacation area than Napa and Sonoma. Wineries are located in the golden rolling hills of Central California and an excellent day trip is to tour the Hearst Castle along the beautiful coastline.
This is, a friend of mine once mentioned to me, “one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.” And that friend has been all over the world. It has huge waterfalls, cliffs, camping and nature.
10.) Mammoth Mountain
A mammoth size of a mountain, it’s the No. 1 ski area in California. The season can run from November until, sometimes, the first of July.