California, USA

Venice Beach - The skating area is like a free show.

I remember the first time I saw San Francisco. I think I left my heart there. I wasn’t even there for The Golden Gate Bridge. So it really wasn’t the place that I had good memory of it. It was the people in the street and their agendas. I see a line of tables of people playing chess on one scene. I see street dancers on the other corner. I remember a woman verbally attacking a man. Everyone has their own businesses, I guess. Those are very California-ish/esque/like. You go to Santa Monica and it’s not just the beach. As soon as I stepped on a sidewalk, I saw a meditator in the park with a stereo playing serene music. There are apocalyptic preachers, street performers like musicians and dancers, the homeless, people who are showing their talking parrots and jugglers. You go down the beach, and there is an acrobat and exercise area set up for fitness buffs. Beaches are the playing field for outdoor activities such as biking, walking the dog, jugging, skating and running. Of course, pleanty of water activities as well. Although, beaches in California have cold water. To say the least, people in California are attractions in itself. I’ve been in many places, but it wasn’t as various and diversified as you might find in California.

If you’re ever in Los Angeles, don’t exclude Venice Beach Broadwalk as your sidetrip.

Other Beaches and Waterfront: Malibu, Santa Catalina, Santa Monica, La Jolla and Pismo Beach

scenic Highway 33

California highways are also blessed with scenic views. Getting to your destination alone will have you rubbernecking out your window. Every pull over to one of the numerous vista points in Pacific Coast Highway is worth the stop. It’s no wonder why there are so many RV’s around. Many of you may have heard of the ever famous Historical Route 66. You might wanna readjust your roadtrip if you’re on the way of this route. Actually, the major downside of traveling in California are the traffic, the high cost of living and the soaring price of gas. I suggest you arrange your route preference into lesser use of freeways when driving during busy hours. Or, if you truly are a traveler, you’d know to either avoid the cluster by driving early or stay patient for the love of looking at the scenic views.

As a matter of fact, I sometimes get out without paying a dime for the places I go to (except for gas and parking of course). California is generous with open-to-public locations. Take note about the plenty of inviting hiking trails along the way of the beautiful California highways.

Recommended Natural California and Parks: Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Parks, Mount Shasta, Joshua Tree Park, Redwood and Channel Islands Island Tours.

By the way, seagulls, to me are very representative of California.

painters admiring nature are often found in various places

However, California offers many art exhibits and museums, theme parks, zoos and tours of historical sites, and plenty of wineries around Central and Southern coasts. There are so many arts and crafts in California. The Museum of Contemporary Arts is probably the most visited art museum in the state. Los Angeles alone offers a variety of amusement parks such as Universal Studios, Six Flags, Knotts Berry Farms and the ever-magical Disneyland. You can find Sea World in San Diego. There are just a ton of parks and family fun in California. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is highlighted in my bucketlist.

Recommended Family Fun: San Diego Zoos, Monterey and Disneyland Resort

Wineries: Santa Barbara, Napa Valley and Ojai

Californians boast about the weather. Having resided here for accumulated 2 years, I can attest that they do have a reason to praise. Exploring the places ain’t that bad at all. It just guarantees to satisfy whatever it is that you are aiming for. I suggest to make good use of Information Centers that often located right on the tourist spots and city centers. Bring quarters to pay for parking in case you get lucky to find a spot on the side of the road. Pack your lunch, or indulge in variety and multi-cultural choices of food California serves. Don’t miss out on vista points en route to your destinations. Avoid paying at the counter when going to museums and theme parks. It’s better to go online and check for discounts. Also, taking tours are recommended saving gas and the hassle of traffic esp. in San Francisco and Hollywood. Make good use of  the train. Two-way ticket costs less than $30 anywhere in California.

Recommended Landmarks: Golden Gate Bridge, Hearst Castle, Alcatraz, Disneyland and Hollywood Sign (Griffith Park offers a good picture-taking spot)

LA by night

Note: A lot of places mentioned are from research. All photos are mine.

Here are some more overview and previews of my California travels. Be sure to click on my California tag.

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Going to California, check out Compass Tales


The compass reached the summit of the Yosemite. An accomplishment I’m reaching for. The blog offers views and suggestions on many trails and other travel adventures to various locations in California and its neighboring states to include other close boundaries such as Mexico and Canada.

33 replies »

  1. Yup…grew up there. You nailed it. 🙂 And we LOVE Solvang. Did you try Æbleskiver (also known as “Ebelskiver”)? The little round pancakes? Yum!

    • Oh hi Karina. Then you and I will get more closer. 😀

      Did I really nail it? Me so afraid this post won’t come out good. I’m only one man and still have plenty to explore.

      No, sorry but I didn’t tried that. 😦 I did have an entry for Solvang, by the way.

      Where in California?

      • I grew up in Eureka, California, up among the redwood trees. It is beautiful up there, about six hours by car north of Eureka.

        I know you had one about Solvang–that’s why I mentioned it! 🙂

      • Ow, you from the good part of the north. I don’t know when or if I ever go there, but I sure will put it on my bucketlist now that you mentioned it.

  2. I also loved San Francisco. I have only been once, but I thought it was a great place. I have been many times to LA on my way to New York. There are some great spots there as well.

  3. Superb post Rommel. Informative and really gives many flavours of California. Makes me want to jump on a plane – but first a small lottery win is necessary! Love your first pic of the skate-boarder. Those guys are so clever.

  4. Such beautiful memories! You are a great ambassador for all the places you’ve visited Rommel. Great shots! I only want to go and visit Switzerland one day. 🙂

    • Switzerland! We did passed it by, actually stopped, but only for a very short while. I wished we could’ve explored more so then I have something to blog about the place.

  5. I’d love to saddle up and ride through some of California’s terrain. They can keep the freeways and their high gas prices, I’d rather see it from the back of a horse anyway. LOL. I’ll bet there are a diversity of people there … they say it’s the land of fruits and nuts, and I suspect that includes some of the people. Given the length of the States, I’m sure the scenery there matches the other 49 States put together, with the exception of Alaska perhaps. This was a wonderfully, informative post, Rommel. Thanks for sharing the info. 🙂

    • Many uses bicycle. 😉 There’s a little town in Santa Catalina where the main mode of transportation is GOLF CARTS!!! Their garages are actually small. I haven’t seen it, though will surely check it out in the future.

    • Weee! I always have a problem with night photography. I actually think that picture needs a lot of improvement. Coming from an impressive snapshooter like you, I worry no more. Thank You.

    • Your blog is awesome, and informative. Most of my most wanted places in California you’ve already been to. I want Muir Woods, Yosemite and Monterey so so so bad.

  6. When The Daughter heads that way around Christmas I will tell her to check some of these places out…
    Oh and BTW…you don’t have HIGH gas prices…try $2.19 a litre…

  7. Bro, just like you, I left my heart in San Francisco and California in general. My son was a year old when we went to the Pier and the surrounding harbor for the last time before moving to Texas. I had the fondest memories there. Today, you made me remember how beautiful and fun that place is. Amazing post with wonderful photos and narratives. I’m coming back to Texas after a short unforgettable Philippine visit. I left my heart there too..,

    • It’s not hard to admire San Francisco.

      Wee, I go to Philippine this month as well. 😀 I hope I have the same fun as you did. Looking forward to your entries.

  8. on jet lag after being in Brussels – just spent an hour roaming through your blog and remembering swimming 13 years at the cove in La Jolla, swimming with two whales, an enormous octopus, dolphins etc. thanks for your blog. It’s fun – a lot of work goes into it,’Carla

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