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Drenched alternately in sun, fog, mist and rain, the North Coast changes moods with the weather. Forests of lofty redwood trees thrive in this moist, cool climate. Wild salmon swim up the Klamath, Eel, Smith, and other ancestral streams. Eagles soar overhead, whales cruise offshore, and sea lions lounge on the rocky outposts amid wild, crashing surf. Travel north on the rocky, wind-swept coast on Highway 1, then venture inland to Highway 101- head further north to verdant redwood groves or southward to beautiful vine covered river valleys and dense forestlands of the wine country.
Breathtaking vistas enthrall visitors with towering mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, whitewater rivers, dense lush forests and glistening lakes. An outdoor-recreation wonderland, a scenic venue for camping, hiking, biking, hunting, fly-fishing, swimming, boating, whitewater rafting, house boating, and water-skiing spring through fall. Where winter brings snow shoeing along with downhill and cross-country skiing and the region boasts some of the nation's finest birding and wildlife viewing, the Shasta-Cascade is an out of door wonderland.
Whether you want to climb the hills of the San Francisco Bay Area or explore the more urban delights of the "Cities by the Bay", you will never run out of things to see and do. Within every neighborhood, from San Jose in the "South Bay", Oakland in the "East Bay", San Francisco or Mill Valley, a diversity of tastes and interests are thriving! You will see it in the cuisine, the boutiques, the theater and the arts, word-class museums and boundless recreational opportunities.
Situated in the heart of the one of the country's largest agricultural lands, visitors are treated to the charming Central Valley town of Merced. At any given point during the year, Mother Nature treats the senses with some awesome inventory. Awe nuts? You bet. See one of everyone's favorite, the pistachio, makes its way from the golden fields to the grocery shelf. Spring finds travelers take in the sweet heavenly scents of Merced County's Blossom Tour. Rewards of the blossom's harvest line the aisles of the "Fruit Barn" featuring out-of-this-world vine-ripened fruits and vegetables. Your next stop should be the Hilmar Cheese Company where appetites are treated daily to savory cheese samplings of a Zesty-Italian Jack, Pesto Jack, Aged Cheddars and freshly baked crackers of course!
LOS ANGELES VALLEY
More than movies, Los Angeles offers a cultural diversity that is reflected in its museums, architecture, art and restaurants. Even the geography is diverse: Where else can you go snowboarding in the morning and catch a wave in the afternoon, or hike deep into the wilderness just off a busy freeway? Los Angeles county stretches over 4,000 square miles, encompassing high deserts, sparkling beaches, snowy peaks, and meandering megalopolis that, since its inception, has inspired legions of dreamers -from de Mille to Steven Spielberg.
Orange County is one of the world's premier visitor destinations and offers a diversity of things to do and see. A place that has sparked the imagination of travelers worldwide, it is comprised of 33 cities and 48 miles of warm, sandy beaches. Orange County, with a picture perfect climate, provides outstanding dining, shopping, museums, and art galleries, great theater, major league baseball and hockey teams, missions, golf courses and, of course, Disneyland Resort and Knott's Berry Farm. While in Orange County, go for a sunset stroll or on a whale-watching cruise, visit a state park or maybe catch a movie in production. You'll find sun-soaked days and neon-nights in Orange County, California.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY
For many visitors and most residents, Oceanside is quintessential California. Picture a quaint beachfront community where visitors enjoy a near perfect climate. Known as a mecca for water sports, Oceanside's Harbor offers a convenient boat launch area as well as services for kayaking and jet skiing. The "Beach Boys" probably said it best back in the '60s when they sang, "Surfing is the only life for me, now surf, surf, with me" and surfing in Oceanside is no exception. Surf's up! The 6 miles of beachfront is also perfect for walking jogging, biking or rollerblading. Try your hand at surf fishing along the coastline, or drop a line off the end of the 1,942-foot wooden pier and wait for the fish to bite. Steeped in history just minutes away is Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, the "King of Missions" and nestled behind the Mission is Heritage Park Village and Museum with an idyllic main street lined with many of Oceanside's historic buildings. Cruise down Historic Route California/US 101 to downtown Oceanside, where you can shop and dine at the many downtown businesses. Regional talent abounds at the Oceanside Museum of Art and down the street, learn about the sport and lifestyle of surfing at the California Surf Museum.
Often referred to as the "gateway to California's outback," the Morongo Basin is conveniently situated just a short drive to some of Southern California's great outdoor destinations. With the majestic Joshua Tree National Park on its southern border, the basin communities play host year-round to visitors and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from all over the world. The region's California Welcome Center is found on State Route 62 in Yucca Valley, a high desert community located about 30 miles northeast of Palm Springs, and just an hour from the Big Bear area mountain resorts. The highway is a favorite route for southern Californians headed to the Colorado River vacation spots.
California Vacation and Holiday Travel Information
California's Mount Whitney measures as the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Its most famous climb is Mount Whitney Trail to the 14,495 feet summit. Wilderness permits are required.
In 1925 a giant sequoia located in California's Kings Canyon National Park was named the nation's national Christmas tree.
The tree is over 300 feet in height.
More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the United States.
Pacific Park, on the venerable Santa Monica Pier, re-creates the amusement parks once dotting the ocean areas along the Pacific Coast. Featured are 11 amusement rides including the 1910-vintage hand-carved merry-go-round appearing in the movie "The Sting." Alpine County is the eighth smallest of California's 58 counties. It has no high school, ATMs, dentists, banks, or traffic lights.
Fallbrook is known as the Avocado Capital of the World and hosts an annual Avocado Festival.
More avocados are grown in the region than any other county in the nation.
In the late 1850s, Kennedy Mine, located in Jackson, served as one of the richest gold mines in the world and the deepest mine in North America.
An animal called the riparian brush rabbit calls Caswell Memorial State Park (near Manteca) its home.
Endemic only to the state's park system, the critter lives in approximately 255 acres stretching along the area's once-vast hardwood forest.
In Pacific Grove there is a law on the books establishing a $500 fine for molesting butterflies.
The largest three-day rodeo in the United States is held on the Tehama County Fairgrounds in Red Bluff.
Demonstrations on making toothpaste from orange by-products were popular attractions at the Los Angeles County fair in 1922.
The fair is held in Pomona.
Located in Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is the largest museum of its kind in North America.
Several celebrities are buried at Hillside Cemetery in Culver City. Included gravesites are those of Al Jolson, George Jessel, Eddie Canter, Jack Benny, and Percy Faith.
California Caverns claims the distinction of being the most extensive system of caverns and passageways in the Mother Lode region of the state.
Totaling nearly three million acres, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the country.
On Catalina Island in 1926, American author Zane Grey built a pueblo-style home on the hillside overlooking Avalon Bay.
He spent much of his later life in Avalon. The home is now a hotel.
Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge contains the largest winter population of bald eagles in the continental United States.
Author Richard Dana (1851-1882) wrote the novel "Two Years Before the Mast." He inspired the name for the beach community of Dana Point.
In Atwater the Castle Air Museum has the largest display of military aircraft in the state.
The Country Store in Baker has sold more winning California State Lottery tickets than any outlet in the state.
Reputed to be the most corrupt politician in Fresno County history, Vice-leader Joseph Spinney was mayor for only ten minutes.
The Iron Door Saloon in Groveland claims to be the oldest drinking establishment in the state. It was constructed in 1852.
The Hollywood Bowl is the world's largest outdoor amphitheater.
The first person to personally receive a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood was actress Joanne Woodward. She received it in 1960.
Death Valley is recognized as the hottest, driest place in the United States.
It isn't uncommon for the summer temperatures to reach more than 115 degrees.
The first motion picture theater opened in Los Angeles on April 2, 1902.
Inyo National Forest is home to the bristle cone pine, the oldest living species.
Some of the gnarled trees are thought to be over 4,600 years old.
San Francisco Bay is considered the world's largest landlocked harbor.
Sequoia National Park contains the largest living tree.
Its trunk is 102 feet in circumference.
Yorba Linda is home to the Richard Nixon Library.
The Coachella Valley is nicknamed The Date Capital of the world and The Playground of Presidents.
One out of every eight United States residents lives in California.
California is the first state to ever reach a trillion dollar economy in gross state product.
California has the largest economy in the states of the union.
If California's economic size were measured by itself to other countries, it would rank the 7th largest economy in the world.
Los Angeles is ranked the fourth largest economy in the United States compared to other states.
Simi Valley is the home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
It is estimated there are approximately 500,000 detectable seismic tremors in California annually.
> During his engagement at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, Otis Redding stayed on a houseboat in Sausalito.
While there he wrote his last song and greatest hit: "The Dock of the Bay.
The state motto is Eureka!, a Greek word translated "I have found it!" The motto was adopted in 1849 and alludes to the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada.
California is known variously as The Land of Milk and Honey, The El Dorado State, The Golden State, and The Grape State.
There are more than 300,000 tons of grapes grown in California annually.
California produces more than 17 million gallons of wine each year.
The redwood is the official state tree.
Some of the giant redwoods in Sequoia National Park are more than 2,000 years old.
The California poppy is the official state flower.
The California grizzly bear (Ursus californicus) is the official state animal.
California holds two of the top ten most populous cities: Los Angeles and San Diego.
Fresno proclaims itself the Raisin Capital of the World.
The highest and lowest points in the continental United States are within 100 miles of one another. Mount Whitney measures 14,495 feet and Bad Water in Death Valley is 282 feet below sea level.
Castroville is known as the Artichoke Capital of the World.
In 1947 a young woman named Norma Jean was crowned Castroville's first Artichoke Queen.
She went on to become actress Marilyn Monroe.
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