Luxurious Destinations
Northern California
Destinations Within Northern California

Northern California Trip Itineraries

Top 10 Fun Restaurants in California

Top 10 Fun Restaurants in California
Destination(s): Yosemite National Park

Fresh, inventive, laidback, and knows how to have a good time – now that’s California for you. Just take a look at the list we’ve compiled of our top 10 picks for fun restaurants in California, which includes: Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco for an over the top five course dinner with wacky comedy and circus acts inside a vintage circus tent (under the tagline “Love, Chaos, and Dinner”); classy supper club (and vaguely retro) Vibrato Grill Jazz … etc. in Los Angeles for upscale American food and live jazz performances; Napa Valley Wine Train in Napa Valley for California food and wines aboard a restored 1917 train (also try one of their events, like the murder mystery dinner or full moon dinner); and Three Twins Ice Cream in Napa for organic ice cream in crazy flavors like strawberry with balsamic vinegar and three types of smashed cookies swirled into vanilla ice cream. read more about Top 10 Fun Restaurants in California... Read More

Top 10 Things to Do in California

Top 10 Things to Do in California
Destination(s): Napa Valley

From the forests and towns of northern California down to the beaches and suburbs of southern California (without forgetting cultural hub San Francisco, technology mecca Silicon Valley, and entertainment wonderland Hollywood, of course), California is perpetually abuzz with activity. To get you moving like a Californian (i.e. fast), we’ve put together a list of our top 10 picks for things to do in California. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge for some incredible views of San Francisco, the Bay, and the Pacific Ocean and walk across this monumental symbol of California as the land of opportunity (then head to Baker Beach for views of the bridge); admire the historic architecture of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel church and compound, built by the Spanish in the 18th century; challenge yourself by hiking the Half Dome Trail in Yosemite National Park; and taste some wines at the Latin-flavored Ceja Vineyards Wine Tasting Salon in Napa. read more about Top 10 Things to Do in California... Read More

First Time in San Francisco

First Time in San Francisco
Destination(s): San Francisco

The best thing about visiting San Francisco is that the city has a little something for travelers of every stripe. World-class museums and performing arts? Check. Glorious, gorgeous nature? Check. Outstanding food? Check. Cool neighborhoods to explore? Check. Fun for the whole family? Check. And if you’re the kind of traveler who likes it all, taking in the following sights is a surefire way to have an unforgettable first visit. Note that while we've packed a lot into four days, you can easily spread out the fun to last a week or more! read more about First Time in San Francisco... Read More

Dog-Friendly Carmel Weekend -- with Great Food & Wine

Dog-Friendly Carmel Weekend -- with Great Food & Wine
Destination(s): Carmel

Dogfriendly.com named Carmel the most dog-friendly village in the U.S. Hotels, restaurants, shopkeepers, and even random passersby go out of their way to welcome your canine friend(s). Dog at your feet, lovers of wine and food can still indulge their palates, too. Make sure to pick up one of the Carmel Dog Calendars, which benefit the Monterey Bay SPCA. Pity the poor visitors who didn't bring their pooch along! read more about Dog-Friendly Carmel Weekend -- with Great Food & Wine... Read More

San Francisco's Best Art

San Francisco's Best Art
Destination(s): Sausalito

San Francisco is a city where creativity soars, from world-class art museums to abundant galleries to vibrant public art. Museum lovers can rejoice in the city’s myriad offerings, from global indigenous art at the de Young Museum, modern masters at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, edgy contemporary creations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, or unusual exhibits at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Special mentions go to the grand permanent collection of ancient to modern artifacts at the Asian Art Museum, unique takes on history at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and funky Americana at the Crafts Museum. Love browsing galleries? Check out hip 111 Minna Street Gallery, featuring the works of local artists, happy hour DJ’s, and killer cocktails. Alternatively, head to quaint Sausalito, home to tons of local artists. Exploring the Mission District—in particular Balmy Alley, Precita Eyes, and the Women’s Building—reveals an explosion of murals and public art. read more about San Francisco's Best Art... Read More

Family Fun

Family Fun
Destination(s): Santa Barbara

When you have kids in town, you can't go wrong with the Santa Barbara Zoo, barbecue, gardens, pasta, and more. read more about Family Fun... Read More

Lake Tahoe Get-Away!!

Lake Tahoe Get-Away!!
Destination(s): Lake Tahoe

My wife was away in Japan for a while, and I decided to surprise her with a trip to Lake Tahoe for the weekend! Just 2 days and 1 night, stayed at a nice Bed and Breakfast, and went snowboarding at Homewood! Lots of fun! read more about Lake Tahoe Get-Away!!... Read More

The Best Cultural Experiences in Yosemite

The Best Cultural Experiences in Yosemite
Destination(s): Yosemite National Park

Yosemite has a cultural importance on a global scale, in that our nation preserved it as a park before Yellowstone, and it is now one of America's small number of World Heritage Sites. Twenty percent of Yosemite's visitors come from other countries and Yosemite has sister national park relationships with Chile and China. Shop the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center's bookstore for the best selection of Yosemite literature and arts, and catch the free film there every half-hour. On summer nights, the film is replaced by live theater; watch John Muir come to life or legendary rockclimber Ron Kauk describe his craft. Right next door is the Yosemite Museum where there is a rotating gallery exhibit and a unique Indian Cultural Museum staffed by area Indians. Right out back is the reconstructed Indian Village, a great place to learn, and still used by Yosemite's First People for ceremonies 4 times a year. Just across the road is the Yosemite Cemetery where some of the park's important historic people are interred; a book you can find in the Visitor Center gives you all their stories. On the other side of the Valley Visitor Center is the renowned Ansel Adams Gallery, where the great landscape photographer's work is displayed. Just down the pedestrian mall, beyond the Village Store is the Yosemite Art and Education Center where every week a different professional artist displays their work and teaches free classes from 10 am - 2 pm most summer days. In the park's high country it's worth taking the stroll across Tuolumne Meadows to Parson's Lodge, a unique structure designed by Bernard Maybeck and which hosts a summer speaker series and an August Poetry Festival. Hetch Hetchy Valley is Yosemite's twin and the center of America's first great conservation battle; a visit to the dam highlights the issues at stake historically and today. In the south part of the park is the small community of Wawona where the Pioneer History Center displays historic buildings from around the park. Just above this is the delightful Hill's Studio which serves as the Wawona Visitor Center; included in the wealth of art displays is the painting featured during President Obama's inauguration. For more depth on Yosemite, sign up with Yosemite Association (www.yosemite.org) for a field seminar on park history, Native American culture, painting, or photography. They even host a special series called "A Park for All People" highlighting the contributions made by people of color to Yosemite's preservation and future. read more about The Best Cultural Experiences in Yosemite ... Read More

Yosemite done differently

Yosemite done differently
Destination(s): Yosemite National Park

Yosemite’s not all about searching for parking, going to see the most popular waterfall, and waiting in line for an ice cream cone. Some folks have figured out some of the cooler things to do in a Yosemite visit and we’ll share them here. It starts with your basecamp at the locally cherished Yosemite Bug Hostel, or “The Bug” as we call it. This place has funk and soul, is a great spot to meet fellow travelers from many countries, to have a great meal, get an inexpensive bed, and from which to make forays with companions into Yosemite. There’s often live music and there’s always a fun vibe. You can catch the public transport just down the driveway and not have to drive into the park (see www.yarts.com), or you can hop in with carpool and hiking partners. It’s not quite an hour up the gorgeous Merced River canyon into Yosemite Valley. In the summer, especially, there is so much going on in Yosemite. Take a free art class, sign up for an easy rockclimbing lesson with an excellent school, watch the sunset from a remote yet accessible prominence, be one of the few to visit Yosemite’s shy twin sister, or eat at what is probably the nation’s very best gas station mini-mart. Unexpected? Yes. Worth doing? Oh, yes. Yosemite? Most definitely! read more about Yosemite done differently... Read More

Spend a romantic weekend in sultry Palm Springs

Spend a romantic weekend in sultry Palm Springs
Destination(s): Palm Springs

Beautiful Palm Springs has been a playground for many of Hollywood's best and brightest stars since the 1950's. Its natural seclusion and rejuvenating hot springs create a romantic haven for those looking for a sultry stay in the desert. Whether you want to escape to Le Vallauris and indulge on fine French cusine, savor the flavor of gourmet Italian food at Augusta, or just enjoy the beauty in your lavish room at the Viceroy Palms you will find yourself and your partner lost in all of the magic that the beautiful Palm Springs has to offer. read more about Spend a romantic weekend in sultry Palm Springs... Read More