*** Things to Do When Visiting California & the West ***

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Dec 15, 1998
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About an hour & a half east of Disneyland lie the San Bernardino Mountains and the resorts of Lake Arrowhead & Big Bear. Lake Arrowhead is surrounded by private homes, but Big Bear Lake offers a nice retreat for a couple of days. Big Bear Lake

Response to question on visiting redwoods & other things in the LA area:

The redwoods are located along the coast of California, starting from San Francisco area, and going up north. These are the tallest trees in the world.

The sequoias are the largest trees in the world (not as tall as a redwood, but much wider in diameter). The closest sequoias are located in Sequoia National Park. It's about a 5.5 hour drive to get there.

We have gone several times - this link shows the pictures I took while we were there in 2002. The General Sherman is located there & is the largest living thing in the world. One of it's branches is 6.7 feet in diameter. Here's the link: MJ's Sequoia trip Click on Day 3 to see a picture of the kids by a sequoia.

The most beautiful place in the world is about a 7 hour drive north of Los Angeles in Yosemite National Park. This site has a lot of Yosemite Links

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Central Coast
Solvang - a Danish-heritage tourist village
Hearst Castle at San Simeon (stay in Cambria, eat at Linn's )
Morrow Bay
Madonna Inn (extreme kitsch, stay one night, definitely eat one meal there, Hobees is right down the road also)
Big Sur

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Pt. Lobos State Reserve
Carmel,17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach
Monterey - the Monterey Bay Aquarium is wonderful, stay in the wharf area
Capitola Beach has nice shops and restaurants... drive along East Cliff Drive, check out the tidepools, drive by the marina in Santa Cruz, eat breakfast or lunch at Aldo's or a fancier dinner at the Crow's Nest
Santa Cruz Pacific Garden Mall (very interesting shops, rebuilt since major earthquake, college town, quite hip :) )
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (historic coaster and carousel)
Drive along West Cliff Drive, by the light house, stop and see the seals, drive over to Natural Bridges State Beach

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You don't have to go north of SF to find the most beautiful redwood forests! The Santa Cruz Mountains in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties have some of the oldest and tallest stands of redwoods, and some incredibly nice places to camp and hike.
Rt. 9 and Skyline Drive, through the Santa Cruz Mountains (especially if you decide not to do the 5 hour drive to Yosemite or longer to the Sequoias... stop in Boulder Creek for lunch or dinner at Adelita's, check out the Brookdale Lodge, lots of interesting restaurants on that route)
Big Basin State Park with the 12-mile Skyline to the Sea Hiking Trail (incredible redwoods, waterfalls, leads right to the ocean) is California's oldest state park. Lovely!
Ano Nuevo State Reserve (especilly if the elephant seals are there)
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve for excellent tidepools

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Gilroy Gardens Theme Park
If you are driving on I-5 and crossing over at Pacheco Pass to get to 101 through Gilroy, be sure to stop at Casa De Fruta which is a combination roadside fruit and vegetable stand, gift shop, gourmet shop, restaurant, gas station, car wash, and really nice kiddie park including a miniature train ride. A family favorite, good for a 30 minute fun stop.

Great America (park with great coasters, if you need your coaster fix :) )

If you see a Hobee's Restaurant, definitely choose that over other chains. Trust me! :)
For Burgers, on the go, you want In-N-Out Burgers Drive In

If you see a Max's Opera Cafe around stop in for dessert.

In San Jose consider

Winchester Mystery House for a spooky little tour or The Tech Museum for educational fun for the entire family (well maybe not the litttlest ones).


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