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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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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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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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Fun Fall Getaways to Southern California

Hello, sweet autumn. So nice to have you back. While it’s difficult saying goodbye to those carefree summer days and balmy nights, California in the fall is always a treat. Take it or leaf it, we rustled up some fun SoCal fall getaway suggestions, including family-friendly apple picking, Day of the Dead fest, a WeHo Halloween Carnival, Knott’s SCARY Farm, The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor and, of course… there’s still plenty of time to celebrate Octoberfest. PROST!  - Trisha Clayton

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The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Northern California

the best dog friendly beaches in california

Have you ever seen anything as happy as a dog playing on the beach? Me neither. Sometimes I borrow my neighbor’s dog just to take him to the beach and watch him go nuts chasing after his tennis ball into the roiling surf, completely oblivious of the chilly water and crashing waves.

It’s not only fantastic exercise for the dog, it’s cathartic for humans as well, being able to bring so much joy to a dog’s day. So open your day-planner right now, find a free weekend, then call your dog over and let him know that he’s about to have the best beach getaway a pooch could ever hope for. Read full article »