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California Vacations: Northern & Southern California: Rentals, Restaurants, Activities & Attractions

Southern California
Central California
Northern California

Whether it involves long, lazy days on the beach, sampling Napa's crisp wines or hitting every roller-coaster from San Diego to Los Angeles, California can be custom designed for any family vacation. Below, we describe some of the thousands of attractions and activities California has to offer.

Disneyland Resort AnaheimSouthern California

From Sea World and Disney's California Adventure to Surf City and Rodeo Drive, Southern California has a wealth of activities and attractions that the entire family can enjoy.

San Diego: San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World and the Steven Birch Aquarium at UCSD showcase the planet's most exotic and unusual animals and plants, in an up-close and personal venue. Just 45 minutes north in Carlsbad, Legoland and the Aquarium of the Pacific provide children of all ages with exciting, hands on activities that ignite their brains encourage creativity.

Palm Springs: After enjoying the Southern California coastline, a two-hour drive inland brings you to Palm Springs where, even in February, it is a balmy 80 degrees. Here, you can golf some of the most popular and famous courses in the world while choosing from a array of five-star luxury hotels that often have discount prices available.

Big Bear / Lake Arrowhead: On your way out to Palm Springs, however, you might have missed the turn to the mountain towns of Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains and built around Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead, these quaint towns can offer a mountain hideaway of towering trees and rugged terrain. Their summer season involves hiking, canoeing, site-seeing and water-sports. In the winter, you will find ski slopes, snow sledding and ice skating.

Surfer at Surf City Huntington Beach CAOrange County's “Surf City:” Huntington Beach: Those looking for the quintessential California experience must make a stop at Huntington Beach. The subject of songs by the Beach Boys (“Surfin' Safari”), the Surfaris (“Surfin' Joe) and most notably, 1960's pop group Jan and Dean's number one hit “Surf City,” Huntington Beach stretches 8.5 miles and offers some of the best surfing on California's coast. On a hot summer day, these wide, clean beaches encourage a dress code of bikinis, shorts and flip flops, even in restaurants. On the beach, volleyball nets, wet suits and colorful umbrellas are common. If you wish to participate, but do not have the supplies, you can find plenty of places to rent surfboards, kite surfers, kayaks, bikes and more. In 2008, Huntington Beach was officially recognized as the owner of the trademark, "Surf City."

Named for railroad magnate Henry Huntington, the city offers activities and entertainment for everyone. The Huntington Beach Pier, conveniently located steps from downtown, is the longest concrete municipal pier in CA. Stretching 1,856 feet into the Pacific Ocean, fisherman, families and loving couples gravitate to the pier to fish, walk and watch the waves roll in.

While the pier offers a great view of surfing competitions, pelicans and gorgeous waves, downtown is not to be missed. Shops range from high end designer boutiques to the typical t-shirt, surfboard and sunglass shops.

Hollywood SignLos Angeles: Hollywood, with its luxurious Rodeo Drive, forms the center of some travelers' idea of Absolute Paradise. By frequenting the high-end restaurants and strolling along the palm tree studded avenues, chances are good you will spot a movie star.

Close by are Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Downtown Disney, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. These two Disney parks often offer packages where you can take three to five days to enjoy both parks while staying in one of the Disneyland hotels at a discount price. These multiple-day passes allow you to enjoy the parks without feeling rushed. Whether you stay there or not, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel is steeped in the early 20th Century's Arts and Crafts architecture and design style. Studded with raw timber beams and accented with tiffany-style stained glass windows, this hotel's lobby features a huge fireplace surrounded by overstuffed chairs.

Call 949-278-5727 to speak to a Villa Specialist today!

Central California: Attractions, Restaurants, Activities, Beaches & more

Combine Hearst Castle, wine-tasting and beach exploration as you drive north of Los Angeles toward Carmel, California. Highway 1 winds along some of the most dramatic mountain and sea cliffs you will find anywhere. At Big Sur, the giant Redwoods stretch 200 feet into the sky all around you. Carmel itself showcases gorgeous homes on a rugged, seaside mountain face.

Hearst Castle San Simeon Central California

Hearst Castle San Simeon Central California Head inland, and you find the heart of California's agricultural industry. With rolling fields and pasture after pasture, central California has a remarkable beauty all its own. John Steinbeck's stomping ground, here you will find the Grapes of Wrath author's home and a museum dedicated to his life and work. Get up high enough in Central California and you run into Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park tucked into the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Home to bear, moose, mountain lions and coyotes, waterfalls, hiking trails and hot springs, Yosemite National Park and Sequioa National Park deliver a unique change of scenery. These national parks have luxury hotels, camp sites and back-country overnight passes.

Slightly north of Yosemite lies Mammoth Mountain and Lake Tahoe, two of the nation's favorite ski and outdoor recreation escapes. Both resort towns offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation and exploration in both summer and winter.

Call 949-278-5727 to speak to a Villa Specialist today!

Northern California: Attractions, Restaurants, Activities, Beaches & more

Award-winning wineries stud your path to paradise? How about a coastline more dramatic, varied and sheer than any in the United States? The Napa and Sonoma Valley regions of Northern California have the idea soil and weather conditions to win its vintners international awards. Close by lie Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen Volcanic Park, where hot springs bathers work off their winery-inspired hangovers in bubbling comfort.

San FranciscoGolden Gate Bridge San Francisco California

San Francisco, “The City by the Bay,” provides rolling hills, trolley cars, China Town, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Island, the Embarcado and the Museum of Modern Art.

California Museums: With headphone guided tours, science, art and historical exhibits are on display at the many museums throughout California. From the most respected traditional museums like the Los Angeles Museum of Science and History to Death Valley's History of the Borax Industry, you and your family are sure to find fascinating, useful (and sometimes just plain weird!) facts. California is full of golf museums (particularly in Palm Springs), surfing museums, technology museums (Silicon Valley), gold rush museums, natural history museums, science museums, anthropological museums and art museums, both contemporary and classical.

Call 949-278-5727 to speak to a Villa Specialist today!