Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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130 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 B Y J I L L K . R O B I N S O N T he coastal region from Santa Cruz through Big Sur stretches south of one of the largest urban areas in the state—the San Fran- cisco Bay Area. Here, visitors are encouraged to slow down and adopt an appreciation of the great outdoors and a laid-back lifestyle. There's no need to spend too much time with your smart phone here. With views that rival the rest of California, this region is where many Cal- ifornians go ditch the stress and chill out. The two biggest population centers of the region are Santa Cruz and the Monterey Peninsula. In historic Monterey, small-town Pacific Grove and fashionable artist retreat Carmel-by-the-Sea, there are beautiful beaches, ample performing and fine arts venues, outdoor pursuits, stylish shops, epicurean delights and an inland region known for wine and agri- culture. Much of the same can be said of funky Santa Cruz, but away from the redwoods, the university town resembles a beachside playground, with its historic boardwalk and many surf spots. The grand Big Sur coastline inspired artist Francis McComas to claim that the area was the "greatest meeting of land and sea," and the wild coast perched on the edge of the continent has lured artists and fans of the great outdoors to enjoy its remoteness as well as its rich restaurant choices— from Nepenthe to the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant. On the other side of the Santa Lucia Range lie the otherworldly spires and crags of Pinnacles National Park, an extinct volcano on a long voyage north on the edge of MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ/SHUTTERSTOCK . OPPOSITE: KERRICK JAMES/SEEMONTEREY.COM MONTEREY BAY & BIG SUR TOP CITIES Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Salinas INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 62 miles (100 km) from Santa Cruz; 101 miles (163 km) from Monterey TOURISM WEBSITES POPULATION 700,000 MONTEREY BAY & BIG SUR Where Californians go to relax

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