Travel Guide to California

2017 Travel Guide to California

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92 2 0 1 7 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 S outh of the San Francisco Bay Area, the coastal region from Santa Cruz through Big Sur has views that rival the rest of the state. Within earshot of the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, this is where many Californians vacation, so it's the ideal place to slow down and adopt a California-style appreciation of the great outdoors and a laid-back lifestyle. The Big Sur coastline inspired artist Francis McComas to claim that the area was the "greatest meeting of land and sea," and the wild coast 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 at the edge of the San Andreas Fault. Both regions lure hikers, bikers, climbers, campers and birdwatchers. 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, performing and fine arts venues, outdoor pursuits, stylish shops, epi- curean delights and an inland region known for wine and agriculture. Much of the same can be said of funky Santa Cruz, but away from the red- woods, the university town resembles a beachside playground, with its historic boardwalk and many surf spots. LYNN Y/SHUTTERSTOCK . OPPOSITE: JEJIM/SHUTTERSTOCK ; SEAN LEMA/SHUTTERSTOCK MONTEREY BAY & BIG SUR TOP CITIES Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Salinas, Gilroy 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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