Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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10 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A DISCOVER THE SEDUCTIVE STATE OF CALIFORNIA is large in every sense of the word. It's the most populous state in the U.S. and the third largest in terms of geographical size. Its economy ranks eighth in the entire world. When it comes to visitor attractions, Cali- fornia presents travelers with as wide a range of riches as many countries. Whether you're passionate about natural activities, cultural pursuits or dining and wining, the Golden State has diverse delights to entice you. Outdoor Adventurer If you're a nature lover and active adven- turer, you'll be dazzled by the state's spectacular spectrum. On the western edge there's the Pacific Ocean, the largest body of water in the world, perfect for surfing, sailing and swimming. In the east there are the magnificent mountains of the Sierra Nevada, a haven for skiers and snow- boarders in winter and hikers and bicyclists in summer. This region is home to Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the "Lower 48" and a mecca for climbers, topping off at 14,505 feet. Among Cali- fornia's most moving experiences are walking through the natural cathedral of Muir Woods and camping in the granite grandeur of Yosemite National Park. PACIFIC OCEAN The world's largest ocean, the fabled Pacific, embraces California's entire western boundary. It's a place to dream, to ponder life's possibilities and endless mysteries, and a place to play. Surfers ride the sea's prodigious waves; sailors ply her waters; boogie boarders and body surfers splash in her surf; kayakers explore her coves and shore breaks; children of all ages wade in her froth and comb her beaches. Life happens on the edge of the Pacific, where the sun shines, and sets in ethereal colors. For boaters, birders and fishermen, there's Lake Shasta, home to an abundance of fish and fowl. For whitewater fans, more than a dozen rivers, including the mighty American and Sacramento, provide thrilling rides. Kayakers and canoers find paradise in Point Reyes National Seashore in the north and watery wonders at Morro Bay on the central coast. In the southern part of the state, visitors savor the sere splendors of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley, the lowest point in North America, 282 feet below sea level. If tidepooling tempts you, Shaw's Cove Tidepools in the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve and the Terranea Tide- pools in the Point Vicente State Marine Conservation Area in Rancho Palos Verdes showcase sea anemones, crabs, urchins, sea slugs, sea stars and more. The five islands of Channel Islands National Park, accessible only by boat or plane from Ven- tura and Oxnard, provide a peaceful, pristine home for more than 2,000 plant and animal species, including 145 found nowhere else on the planet. Cultural Connoisseur If you love culture, you'll find a treasure trove of activities in the Golden State, from California Dreaming The Golden State is a special place with a world's worth of experiences to be savored BY DON GEORGE IRINA MOS/SHUTTERSTOCK

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