California is known as the Golden State for good reason – from sun-kissed beaches to the glamour of Hollywood, this is a state rich with opportunity and adventure.
Its diversity is evident on arrival through the contrast between the gateway cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Each offers a totally different Californian experience. The former the glitz, glamour and sunshine that epitomises Southern Californian, the latter a cultural big hitter that is the home of 'California cuisine'.
Or if you want to venture away from these iconic cities there's much more to see.
From the top of the state, towering forests of redwoods and dramatic coastline contrast with the wild splendor of Yosemite National Park, and the epic grandeur of Southern Californian deserts, the state is wonderland of natural diversity. California's 1,110 miles of beaches offer limitless water sports and a unique surf-inspired culture while inland, the Sierra Nevada mountain range provides some of the world's finest hiking and skiing.
But the Golden State owes more to its name than sunny skies and warm sands. Built on a history of chasing dreams and seizing opportunity, California offers a cultural kaleidoscope from the excesses of Tinsel Town to the rarefied museums and historic attractions of its towns and cities.
Californians forward thinking attitude and love of the good life is always evident. Its diversity and emphasis on natural produce has resulted in one of the most exciting food and wine scenes in the world. The desire to look good and feel great means that there are spas to suit every taste and budget from natural hot springs to opulent celebrity hangouts.
Its when the sun sets that California really heats up. LA's star studded clubs contrast with San Francisco's alternative hangouts and Southern California's relaxed poolside scene. Yet entertainment for the entire family has no better place than the original Disneyland and the beautiful San Diego Zoo. The chic Central Coastal area of Carmel hosts the stunning Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a short drive north brings you to the 100-year-old Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park.
With so much to see and do the best way to see the wide array of California's offerings is on a road trip. Scenic Highway 1 stretches from the cool fog of San Francisco to the warm sunshine of Los Angeles, while Highway 395 showcases the amazing contrast between fiery Death Valley's deserts and the crisp alpine air of Mammoth Lakes.
Enough to convince you to go to California?
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