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Drives and Destinations

Drives and Destinations

Searching for Brangelina? Aiming to see movie-making in action? Here's where to find it all in the Golden State. For more than a century, California has been the world's entertainment hotspot, ever since legendary director Cecil B. DeMille shot Hollywood's first major motion picture in 1913. Studios soon followed, establishing headquarters here, with filmmakers traveling statewide to take advantage of California's diverse landscapes—perfect for everything from cowboys and Indians to classic thrillers. Now, a century later, the romance and glamour of Tinsel Town is as much a part of Southern California's allure as its fabled beaches. And other parts of…
With less than 400 California condors in existence, this endangered species is still an uncommon sight. Even rarer is the opportunity to watch condor parents incubate an egg, and raise a chick. That is, until now. He's on his wayVisit the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy's new web camera, Condor Cam (www.sandiegozooglobal.org/video/condor_cam), to see Sisquoc and Shatash, the first condor pair ever to be observed by the public, raising a chick on a live web camera set up in an off-exhibit area for condor care at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. For decades, field biologists, behaviorists and zookeepers…
Travelers today seek more than a hot little hammock to tick away their vacation time. According to the Travel Industry of America, adventure pursuits are taking a front seat in travel planning, including activities such as kayaking, scuba diving and mountain climbing. The new breed of "experiential travelers" is also on the rise, according to TravelZoo's Gabe Saglie. This concept translates into less time "zoning out" and more time learning or experiencing a destination's assets from the ground up. According to Saglie, more than 50 percent of Americans are interested in this type of travel. This new travel niche is…
Cruise ships about to pass under bridge and out to Pacific. Originally completed on May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge, named for the strait leading from the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Bay, is one of the city's most popular and most photographed landmarks. Spanning 6,450 feet, the single-span suspension bridge will mark its 75th anniversary this year with a public celebration to be held May 27, 2012 along the waterfront between Pier 39 to the foot of the bridge at Fort Point. Visitors and locals can enjoy dramatic views of the bridge from several points throughout the…
Frog Jumping Champ.    photo courtesy of Calaveras County It's difficult anymore to find a corner of Earth where we are separated from our electronic devices. Even at  30,000 feet, two little syllables - Wi-Fi - keeps travelers plugged in. But California's Gold Country, the state's northeast/central region connected by meandering Highway 49, offers some steller spots where visitors can disconnect from technology for a digital detox. Whether unplugging is a choice or a geographic happenstance, California's Gold Country offers everyone the chance to unplug and recharge. Here are twelve places to drop the call: Rock Climb and Hike, Amador County:…
On Christopher Street in West Hollywood. LA's trademark industries — entertainment, fashion, art, design and cuisine, among others — have been magnets for creative gay and lesbian trendsetters for more than a century. And by their sheer numbers and substantial influence, these pioneering men and women have left a permanent, positive and gay-friendly legacy on LA's culture, political climate and sense of community. LA's gay scene goes back to before Christopher Isherwood wrote about it in A Single Man (reborn as the 2009 Tom Ford movie). That story was set in the 1960s, when there was a Stonewall-style riot in…
LA may be known largely for its red carpets, velvet ropes and a lot of other activities that go deep into the night, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the City is a fantastic place to explore with the family. From its miles of wide, sandy beaches to sun-kissed baseball games at Dodger Stadium to its dozens of museums, LA lets a parent give the kids a one-of-a-kind adventure that's long on excitement and short on the typical. There Are Parks, and Then There Are Parks Make no mistake: Griffith Park is big. How big? It's the…
Steeped in seafaring history and teeming with art galleries, one-of-a-kind shops and charming restaurants, San Pedro is one of Southern California's hidden gems. This pedestrian-friendly, waterfront destination blends the charm of a small town with urban sophistication with its tapestry of historical sites, hip residential lofts, and the distant sounds of fog horns announcing the arrival of cruise ship passengers from far-flung destinations. An Unforgettable Seaside ExperienceSan Pedro Fountain. San Pedro's rich maritime history is evident at almost every turn. The Port of Los Angeles, where luxury cruise ships dock regularly amid a succession of ceremonial bon voyages, features a…
Los Angeles conjures up images of movie stars, sunny beaches, unique museums and great theme parks. It's a The Encounter Restaurant at LAX.world-class destination deserving of time, but if you just have some lag time between flights at LAX, you can step outside the airport and start your California dreamin'. Even a little bit of Los Angeles is sure to whet your appetite for a return trip. For a Two-to Three-Hour Layover Before the next leg of your journey, head over to the Encounter Restaurant outside Terminal 2. It's easy to spot. Look for the iconic, spider-shaped restaurant that is…
With the $2.5 billion L.A. LIVE entertainment complex continuing to re-establish a buzz east of the Harbor Downtown LA Skyline on Summer Night. Freeway, thousands of people moving into center city's lofts, condos and apartments each year, and even a new football stadium on the way, there's been no shortage of press about the resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles. The good thing is that, as with any dynamic urban district, there are more than a few less-than-obvious, if not downright hidden, places to check out and feel in the know about Los Angeles. It's Not Easy Being Green: Downtown's Gardens…
If the number of people visiting Death Valley National Park’s Ranch at Furnace Creek at lunchtime in July is any indication, then some people truly do like it hot. Lots of people, in fact. This arid, desolate and ruggedly beautiful park typically draws some 230,000 travelers during the summer months, when the temperatures can be as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Situated in east-central California on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the park hosts as many as 900 tour bus travelers each day. Nearly all of the visitors are from European countries; most come from Germany, France and the…
Take either of two roads from Occidental to the coast. Less than an hour north of San Francisco is some of the best bicycle riding in Northern California. You can travel flower-lined country roads that pass organic farms, ride under towering redwoods or pedal down quaint lanes past vineyards and wineries. You can also try winding routes that follow the gentle Russian River to the wild Pacific coastline. The area is synonymous with good riding. With 2,250 kilometers/1,400 miles of lightly traveled secondary roads and a growing system of off-road bike trails, Sonoma County appeals to a wide variety of…
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