Rachid Dahnoun

California: Outdoor

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Spotlight: San Francisco

With towers soaring 746 feet/227 meters into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay, and all of it painted bright red-orange, the Golden Gate...

Discover the Central Coast

Follow one of the world’s most celebrated routes on this coast-hugging drive. You can start this trip at either end. Here, the trip begins in San Diego, at the southern...

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Pro Picks: California's Best Bike Routes

Add these rides—suggested by Amgen Tour of California professional cyclists—to your Golden State cycling bucket list

California has a few distinct advantages when it comes to cycling: year-round mild temperatures, varied terrain, natural beauty, and the honor of...

Culinary Institute of America at Copia
Bob McClenahan Photography/The CIA at Copia

8 Great Learning Vacations in California

Cook like a pro, make cheese, or even get on a Hollywood stage at one of these fun classes

Everyone knows that if you want to learn to surf, California is the place to do it. But the great talent that the Golden State has to offer is...

David H. Carriere/Getty Images

California’s Spring 2017 Wildflower Forecast

Where to find this year’s extraordinary bounty of blooms, from poppies to lupine and chocolate lilies

The most abundant winter precipitation to hit California in a decade has flower aficionados budding with optimism about the...

California’s Best-Kept Secrets

Discover 8 of California’s Best-Kept Secrets

These remote and surprising spots fly under the radar for even the most well-versed California travelers

Think you’ve seen all of California? Think again. We traveled to eight different remote locations to showcase some of California’s lesser-...

Coachella Valley’s Desert X
Photography by Dakota Higgins/Courtesy of Doug Aitken Workshop

Coachella Valley’s Desert X

Go on this “wonderful treasure hunt” of outdoor visual art before it ends on April 30

You don’t have to be an art aficionado to appreciate Desert X, a 16-piece collection of visual installations housed in a unique gallery—...

10 Super-Scenic California Road Trips
Jeffrey Murray/Getty Images

10 Super-Scenic California Road Trips

Follow these classic routes for magical scenery and worthy stops

The Highway 1 road trip that passes through Big Sur on California’s Central Coast is perhaps the most famous scenic drive in the...

CLIF Bar/Mason Mashon

The California Questionnaire: Greg Long

Although he’s traveled the globe in search of big waves, this professional surfer will always call California home

California native Greg Long has carved out a name in the world of competitive big wave surfing by conquering the most challenging waves on the...

The mountains are calling and I must go.
John Muir
Clint Farlinger/Alamy

Klamath

Redwoods, salmon, and California’s largest tribe all thrive in this small North Coast town

Klamath is so far north that many people assume this tiny town is in Oregon, not California. Set along its...

The California Questionnaire: Gabrielle Reece
Photograph by Peggy Sirota

The California Questionnaire: Gabrielle Reece

The former volleyball champion and model—now an author and fitness guru—shares her California favorites

After retiring from a successful beach volleyball career, Gabrielle Reece didn’t slow down—instead, she kept adding to her résumé: mother,...

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Find whitewater rafting fun for all—from newbies to nerves-of-steel experts

Think of a river, and chances are you’ve got your own daydream. Maybe you want to float on inner tubes, or maybe your style is to careen through raucous rapids in an eight-person inflatable raft....

Groveb/Getty Images
Spotlight: Mammoth Lakes
Rebecca Garrett

Spotlight: Mammoth Lakes

Snowy winters, wildflower summers

Surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the west, folks in this laid-back mountain town know they’ve got a good thing going. It’s a land of...

CLIF Bar/Mason Mashon

The California Questionnaire: Jeremy Jones

The professional snowboarder’s biggest conundrum is deciding which Sierra Nevada adventure to tackle next

As a pioneer of big mountain snowboarding, professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones has climbed treacherous backcountry peaks all over the world just...

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Search for Nemo and Dory's ocean friends on the edge of the Pacific

California’s western border is edged by oceans, bays, and other tidal waterways filled with life. While you're not likely to run into Nemo (unless you're lost like Dory), you will find popsicle-...

California’s Amazing Coastal Preserves
David Gomez/Getty Images

Trip 4 days 10 stops

Wild North Coast

Wine, Romance & Sunsets
San Francisco

Start your trip to one of the world’s great cities. For a novel way to explore “the City by the Bay” park your car and explore by foot, bike, and unique public transportation. Pedal bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then explore the lush Presidio, a former military base that’s now a...

Crescent City

The last stop on this spectacular road trip ends at the very last city in California. Only 20 miles south of Oregon, sea-faring Crescent City is home to the northernmost of California’s lighthouse stations. Overlooking the town’s harbor, the 1856 Battery Point Lighthouse, built with 22-inch/56-...

It [Pinnacles] represents what nature often does, all the great conflicts and tensions are there, of volcanic activity and fault lines, and the sort of geology of it is just spectacular to see on display.
Ken Burns
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Bring your board or just watch pros catch big air at these skate parks

What started as a fad in the late 1950s and early '60s morphed into a global phenomenon–and a multibillion-dollar business that’s now recognized across the planet. But the soul of skateboarding...

Pink Helmet Posse
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Get into the coastal vibe

Maybe it’s the sun-streaked hair, the frequent smiles, the eyes always gazing west, looking to the horizon to see when the next set might roll in. It’s the unmistakable look and vibe of a...

Surfing Hot Spots
Rachid Dahnoun/Aurora Photos

Spotlight: Lake Tahoe

Majestic peaks encircle a turquoise-blue, year-round playground

Blue as a topaz and circled by majestic peaks, this High Sierra gem straddling the California-Nevada border is a bucket-list essential. Where else...

Kodiak Greenwood

Spotlight: Big Sur

Art and nature merge on this rugged coast, one of California’s most spectacular settings

Welcome to one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. This roughly 90-mile-long stretch of redwood- and fog-trimmed waterfront...

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Get insider tips on visiting our top natural wonders

Ask a local the best things about California, and somewhere at the top of the list would be the sheer beauty of the place. See for yourself with this dream list of incredible national parks, with...

California is blessed to have the most designated National Parks in the United States.
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See a few amazing wonders of the sea first-hand

Each year, about 20,000 gray whales make an epic 6,000-mile/9,656-km journey between Alaska and Mexico—and then back again. These whales travel from feeding grounds in the Bering Sea to mating and...

Michele W/Flickr
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Feel really, really small at these wow-worthy parks

Get ready to look up—way, way up. California has the biggest, tallest trees on the planet. Discover them at outstanding parks and preserves dotting the state. Coast redwoods, some...

Kai Schrieber/Flickr
Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the continental U.S., at 3.3 million acres.
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Where to see buildings and settings fit for a king (or queen)

Think of castles, and you probably imagine a turreted wonder in Europe. But California has its own surprising crop of palaces and estates fit for a monarch, created by people with imaginations as...

Stuart Black/Getty Images
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Endless explorations in any setting

Imagine being in the desert beneath a clear night sky. You’re peering up, through binoculars or a small telescope, with an astronomer at your side, helping you find distant nebulas and galaxies....

Alberto/Flickr
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fly Fishing

Cast a fly in blue-ribbon waters

Between the volcanic summits of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen flow some of California’s most celebrated fly fishing rivers. Blue-ribbon waters lace...

There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.
Edward Abbey
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Explore these urban oases

While you might think of a city park as an appealing splash of green amidst the asphalt jungle, California’s urban parks stand out as cultural hubs, with outstanding and innovative...

12 Great Urban Parks
California State Capitol