Image source: Flickr - brewbooks
California is blessed with beautiful weather and landscapes, award winning wines and renowned chefs, but it’s also a goldmine for adventure travelers seeking an active getaway. From surfing to skiing, the Golden State has it all.
Situated on the Pacific Coast, California is known for some of the best surf spots in the world. The television shows you see with workers going surfing on their lunch break – yeah, that really does happen in California. Southern California is often called the capital of US surfing – from San Diego up to Santa Barbara you’ll find plenty of beautiful spots to hang ten.
Not only is California a prime spot for activities on top of the water, it’s home to ample adventure under the water as well. California even passed legislation approving the creation of numerous marine protected underwater parks.
Real adventure seekers will want to consider making their way down to San Diego for a white-knuckle diving experience. Suit up and take a couple hour boat ride through the choppy seas to go diving with none other than Great White Shark. Divers are lowered down in metal cages that have been “chummed” for a chance to get up close and personal with these terrifying creatures.
From coastal locations to inland rivers and lakes, kayaking and canoeing are popular pastimes in California. An ideal location for kayaking is the Channel Islands, just off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura. This national park is teeming with natural wonders like caves, tunnels, grottoes and blowholes. Add dolphins, whales, sea lions and rare sea birds, and you have the perfect kayak adventure at your fingertips.
Head north to Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada Mountains for some true whitewater thrills. Rivers like Truckee, American, Upper Klamath, Upper Sacramento and Main Trinity are a few of the rivers where you can find whitewater rafting trips ranging from family-oriented Class 1 up to hardcore Class 5 rapids.
With renowned spots like Tahoe, Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Big Bear, wintertime can’t come fast enough for skiers and snowboarders. There are over two-dozen resorts and one of the longest ski seasons in North America, making California one of the prime destinations for travelers itching the hit the slopes.
If it’s hiking you are after, adventure travelers can even find scenic hikes in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. There are a number of hiking groups, meets, and clubs you can research and join up with while on your stay. And don’t just think inland mountain hikes, the further north you head up the coastline, the rockier it gets. Visit Tomales Bay and the Point Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco, where you can enjoy scenic trails and then relax with a glass of wine and the best oysters around.
Much like the abundance of hiking trails found throughout the state, California also has ample bicycle trails available. Many of the popular beach cities in Southern California have dedicated bike paths where you can cycle, run, or try your balance on a pair of Rollerblades. And with mild temperatures year round, taking a January bike ride along a Southern California beach doesn’t require a heavy winter jacket.
If it’s rock climbing you are after, California is the perfect vacation spot. From the crags near large cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, to the sprawling Joshua Tree National Park in Twentynine Palms, the state is home to literally thousands of rock climbing options. The best rock climbing? Head to the lesser-known town of Bishop, said to be home to some of the world’s best rock climbing, along with the best professional climbers in the world.
Travel insurance for trips to national parks: Why is it
Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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