Clovis Vacations: California Vacations

A view of Bixby Bridge out to the Pacific Ocean near Big Sur, California on the Pacific Coast Highway 1. PHOTO COURTESY OF ENVATO ELEMENTS

It’s time to get out of town! Clovis Roundup is back with some more destination ideas, this time throughout all of California –– that’s right, pack your bags for some weekender trips or even week-long vacations! 

South Lake Tahoe

You can’t go wrong with Tahoe. There are plenty of activities for people of all ages. From kayak rentals, hiking, camping, dining, casinos, lakeside relaxing, shopping, it’s all there. Lake Tahoe is pretty big, though, so it’s wise to figure out exactly what part of the lake you want to visit. 

South Lake Tahoe is perfect for people who may not yet be comfortable with staying in the trees and wilderness but are within close proximity. There are plenty of boutique hotels and larger resorts to choose from (casino hotels included). People can walk to the lake from the hotels and resorts because most of them are situated right along South Lake Tahoe’s shore! And, plenty of these accommodations are within walking distance to Heavenly Village, South Lake Tahoe’s shopping center. 

If you want to immerse yourself in nature, check out Emerald Bay State Park –– just a brief 15 minute drive from South Lake Tahoe’s center. Emerald Bay is filled with stunning panoramas of Lake Tahoe, and it’s home to Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that sits right on the edge of the bay. 

San Francisco

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Eat Clam Chowder at Pier 39. Go shopping in Union Square. Drive down Lombard Street. Do an Alcatraz Tour. San Francisco is known for these landmark spots, but there is more to it than the often-advertised destinations. 

For starters, San Francisco is home to the California Academy of Sciences, a research institute and natural history museum that’s located in the city’s Golden Gate Park. The main areas of the academy include an aquarium, a planetarium, a rainforest, and the museum. Of these main areas, I’d recommend going to the rainforest. It’s set inside of a glass dome where visitors can “climb” on a (paved, wheelchair accessible) path to the top of the dome. Because it is in Golden Gate Park, visitors can easily access surrounding museums after they’re done touring the academy. Surrounding attractions include: the Japanese Tea Garden, the de Young Museum, the Conservatory of Flowers, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. 

If you’re someone who prefers to stay near tourism hot spots, head straight to the Ferry Building. Located on the Embarcadero and right at the start of Market Street, the Ferry Building is within proximity to cable car rides, a short distance from numerous San Francisco piers, a ride away from Little Italy and Chinatown, and just a few BART stops away from Union Square. The Ferry Building offers plenty of food stops, a bookstore, a farmers market, garden shops, kitchenware merchants, and more. Furthermore, visitors can go to the back side of the building, take a seat on a bench, and get views of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and other surrounding piers. My recommended stop? The Humphry Slocombe ice cream shop.

Los Angeles 

You will never run out of things to do in Los Angeles, whether it’s going to the beach, dining at a high-end restaurant, ordering from a food truck, spending time at a museum, or even taking a tour of celebrity homes. 

If you’re into doing something “Hollywood” that doesn’t require hiking to, or taking pictures of, the Hollywood side, considering taking a tour of the Warner Bros. Studios. It’s a little less crowded (I think) than the Universal Studios tour. Depending on the Warner Bros. tour package you purchase, you’ll get the chance to see sets from Harry Potter, Friends, Batman, The Big Bang Theory, various backlots, and more. The Studio is situation right next to Griffith Park, so after your tour, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hop on over to the Griffith Observatory. 

Apart from all the available tourist attractions –– some of which include the Huntington Library, The Broad, The Getty Villa, more studio tours, Rodeo Drive, and the Walk of Fame –– Los Angeles is also a city filled with sports. Go to a Dodgers (or an Angels) game in the summer. Both stadiums put visitors within proximity of other Los Angeles destinations. If you’re going to a Dodgers game, you’re right outside of downtown; check out The Broad and The Last Bookstore before or after a game. If you’re going further south to Angel Stadium, you’re only 15 minutes away (without traffic) to Disneyland and the Anaheim Packing District (foodie heaven). 

Pacific Coast Highway Tour

One of the best ways to see California is doing a Pacific Coast Highway tour. It’s one of the best ways to take in California’s nature and scenery, as well as encountering a multitude of eateries. It’s also a way to meet new people. Whether you start in the north or the south, you’ll have the time of your life. I recommend doing this drive over the course of a week (going one way). This will give enough time to see everything on your PCH checklist.