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Ten Essential Travel Tips

I recently read a fantastic article in the Travel section of The New York Times on tips for travelers called “How the Tough Get Going” by Stephanie Rosenbloom. She interviewed a cadre of Bay Area travel gurus (criminally, not me) to glean their top tips for ameliorating many of the common inconveniences of traveling. So whether you’re a blue moon traveler or TripIt junky, there’s a tip here that’s going to make you mumble, “Doh! Why didn’t I think of that.” Tip: I recommend reading this next to your laptop—most everything mentioned below can be downloaded or purchased online.

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Fun & Affordable River Getaways to Sonoma County


If you’re not quite ready for summer to come to an end, and you feel the need to squeeze in one last sun-filled getaway, I have a recommendation you’re going to like: a road trip to the river communities of Sonoma County.

If you’ve already been to Sonoma Wine Country you probably went wine tasting or drove along the coast, but when’s the last time you set out to explore the three rivers that flow through Sonoma County? If you do, I can promise you that many of your sentences will start with “Wow, I never knew….”

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A Visit with The Queen Mary

Queen Mary Ship Hotel Long Beach CaliforniaIf you’ve ever been to Long Beach you’ve probably seen it from a distance: the majestic RMS Queen Mary, one of the most beautiful ocean liners ever built and a pristine time capsule of Art Deco artistry.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Queen Mary was officially retired from service in 1967 and is now permanently moored on the sunny docks of Long Beach, gracefully living out her retirement as one of the most historic floating hotels in the world.

If you’ve never set foot upon this astonishing piece of history, there is no better historical getaway to Southern California than a date with Her Majesty, The Queen Mary, enjoying a taste of what travel was like when luxury ocean liners ruled the seas.

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The Top 7 Wine-Tasting Tours in California’s Wine Country

wine_tasting_tours_headerAs the former author of Frommer’s Wine Country I’ve visited a lot of wineries in Napa and Sonoma and taken dozens of tours. One of the questions I get asked most by readers is, “Which winery has the best tour?” Well, that depends. If you don’t know anything about how wine is made, I recommend a comprehensive tour by one of the major wineries—they’ve got the Wine for Dummies thing down. The seven listed here are my top picks for an enjoyable weekend of learning the wine-making process. – Matthew Read full article »

The 7 Natural Wonders of California


Sometimes we need to remind ourselves how lucky we are to be living in California. We have it all: beaches, mountains, volcanoes, coastal forests, and a host of natural wonders—the world’s tallest and largest trees; the country’s highest peak, tallest waterfalls, and largest alpine lake; and even the continent’s deepest submarine canyon. So consider this a wake-up call to everyone who loves the outdoors but has yet to explore all of The 7 Natural Wonders of California. Read full article »

Huntington Beach – Surf City USA

Huntington Beach Surfer

Cue up the Beach Boys tunes and let’s kick this off with some SoCal trivia!

Did you know that the famous Huntington Beach Pier in Orange County, California is the longest recreational pier on the West Coast at 1,856 feet, making it a must-see for any visitor to Southern California? First opened in 1904 and rebuilt several times since then, the Huntington Beach Pier remains a classic Orange County landmark and… drum roll, please… celebrates its Centennial Anniversary this year!

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Top 5 Secret Adventures to Marin County


Spend some time in Marin County, at the “other” end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that the redwood-shaded, coastal hill country north of San Francisco has a ridiculous number of things to do. Miles of coastal wilderness and redwood forests to explore by foot or by bike, farm-to-table restaurants and artisan food-makers, charming towns, theaters and clubs where locals like Robin Williams, Carlos Santana, and George Lucas might be on stage or in the crowd—what’s not to love about Marin?

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Christmas Getaways to the Central Coast

Celebrate a Central Coast ChristmasThere’s nothing more relaxing than sipping a glass of cabernet by a cozy, crackling fire on the California coast in wintertime. This holiday season, “SLO Down” and take a festive road trip to San Luis Obispo where spectacular coastal views, wine trails, and off-the-beaten-path adventures could make it a new annual tradition. Here’s my very own checklist for this year’s Christmas on the Central Coast. I hope it’ll inspire one of your own. – Trisha

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Endless Summer in San Diego

Crystal Pier San Diego

If you’re having a hard time letting go of summer, read this and you’ll be booking your family trip to San Diego faster than fall got here. When autumn arrives, San Diego’s the place to be where the weather stays warm while summer crowds quickly vanish. Fall offers some of the best reasons to visit San Diego, with “Kids Free San Diego” topping them all in October, not to mention beer and food festivals, horse racing, street fairs, and music fests that’ll take you into November.

Seriously. San Diego goes child wild in October with special deals for families, so those of you traveling with the kiddos can enjoy your time in San Diego without emptying your wallet. Here’s a checklist of all the San Diego highlights to hit with the family… all October long and beyond!

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7 Summer Adventures to California’s Great Outdoors


Now that winter has passed, it’s time to start planning your summer getaways to the great outdoors. But instead of sitting on your fanny in a camp chair all weekend (not that there’s anything wrong with that), consider taking a recreational getaway that gets your blood flowing and calories burning. As a serious outdoors nut I could write a book on Northern California’s recreational getaways, but for this week’s theme I’ve narrowed it down to my seven top picks for getting some healthy exercise while exploring some of my favorite outdoor adventure destinations.

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