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Rachid Dahnoun

California: Outdoor

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Spotlight: Lassen Volcanic National Park

In winter and spring, Lassen is a popular ski mountaineering and backcountry snowboard destination, but even snow-sports novices can strap on a pair of snowshoes and tromp...

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Discover Los Angeles County

Come springtime, get ready for an eye-popping show—staged by Mother Nature—in the far northeast corner of L.A. County. In the remote hills west of Lancaster, in a...

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California: Luxury

Kicking back after you kick off your boots is a snow-country tradition, and there’s plenty of post-slopes fun at California’s top alpine resorts. Have a beer or warm up...

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There are tons of reasons why you might plan a winter trip to Big Bear. Here are some you might not have thought of

With plenty of groomed runs and terrain parks at Big Bear Lake’s two alpine resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, it’s easy to see why skiers and boarders head here when the snow flies. But this...

Big Bear Lake in Winter
Courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resorts
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Escape to snowy wonderlands at these snug retreats

Snowflakes falling outside your window, a crackling fire in the woodstove, down quilts on the bed—these tucked-away cabins and lodges, surrounded by California mountain finery, let you tap into...

9 cozy winter cabins & lodges
Courtesy of Highlands Ranch Resort
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Where to take in the best of California’s mountain majesty

Go ahead and gawk. With wraparound views of lakes, mountains, and winter wonderlands, the Golden State’s alpine resorts offer not just great places to ski and enjoy other snow sports, but legit...

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Bill Stevenson/Aurora Photos
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Bring your board or just watch pros catch big air at these skate parks

What started as a fad in the late 1950s and early '60s morphed into a global phenomenon–and a multibillion-dollar business that’s now recognized across the planet. But the soul of skateboarding...

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Courtesy of Lake Cunningham Skate Park
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From Gold Rush history to the 8th wonder of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
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Get into the coastal vibe

Maybe it’s the sun-streaked hair, the frequent smiles, the eyes always gazing west, looking to the horizon to see when the next set might roll in. It’s the unmistakable look and vibe of a...

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Family-friendly resorts, snowy escapes

High Sierra peaks, deep drifts on a Mammoth volcano, family-friendly resorts, snowy escapes on the edge of Yosemite and more—California has enough alpine destinations to keep any skier or boarder...

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Get insider tips on visiting our top natural wonders

Ask a local the best things about California, and somewhere at the top of the list would be the sheer beauty of the place. See for yourself with this dream list of incredible national parks, with...

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Rebecca Garrett

Spotlight: Mammoth Lakes

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Snowy winters, wildflower summers

Surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the west, folks in this laid-back mountain town know they’ve got a good thing going. It’s a land of...

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See a few amazing wonders of the sea first-hand

Each year, about 20,000 gray whales make an epic 6,000-mile/9,656-km journey between Alaska and Mexico—and then back again. These whales travel from feeding grounds in the Bering Sea to mating and...

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Michele W/Flickr
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Lava, geysers & naturally heated hot springs

From the snow-capped heights of Mount Shasta in California’s far north to Amboy Crater in the Mojave Desert, signs of California’s volcanic past—and present—dot the landscape. Explore these...

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Grant Montgomery/Flickr
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Feel really, really small at these wow-worthy parks

Get ready to look up—way, way up. California has the biggest, tallest trees on the planet. Discover them at outstanding parks and preserves dotting the state. Coast redwoods, some...

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Calaveras Big Trees State Park by Kai Schrieber/Flickr
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Trip 4 days 10 stops

Wild North Coast

Wine, Romance & Sunsets
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Start your trip to one of the world’s great cities. For a novel way to explore “the City by the Bay” park your car and explore by foot, bike, and unique public transportation. Pedal bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then explore the lush Presidio, a former military base that’s now a...

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The last stop on this spectacular road trip ends at the very last city in California. Only 20 miles south of Oregon, sea-faring Crescent City is home to the northernmost of California’s lighthouse stations. Overlooking the town’s harbor, the 1856 Battery Point Lighthouse, built with 22-inch/56-...

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Rachid Dahnoun/Aurora Photos

Spotlight: Lake Tahoe

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Majestic peaks encircle a turquoise-blue, year-round playground

Blue as a topaz and circled by majestic peaks, this High Sierra gem straddling the California-Nevada border is a bucket-list essential. Where else...

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Vast landscapes, spectacular desert vistas

Both vast and intimate, the California desert is a region that ranges from arid, barren expanses to oasis-like canyons with hidden waterfalls. Towering sand dunes rise above the desert floor,...

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Alex Farnum
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Endless explorations in any setting

Imagine being in the desert beneath a clear night sky. You’re peering up, through binoculars or a small telescope, with an astronomer at your side, helping you find distant nebulas and galaxies....

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Alberto/Flickr
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Gold Rush history, epic high-country landscapes, hidden wine country, and charming country towns

Granite monoliths, waterfalls, alpine meadows—it’s no secret that Yosemite delivery some seriously big wow moments. But what is a secret is the bounty of awesome things you can see and do on your...

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Kodiak Greenwood
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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Flyfishing

Cast a fly in blue-ribbon waters

Between the volcanic summits of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen flow some of California’s most celebrated flyfishing rivers. Blue-ribbon waters lace the...

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Explore these urban oases

While you might think of a city park as an appealing splash of green amidst the asphalt jungle, California’s urban parks stand out as cultural hubs, with outstanding and innovative...

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California State Capitol
March

Get into the checkered-flag spirit at this big and loud NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Cheer for your favourite drivers as they zoom for the front in this 5-wide race event. The action kicks off...

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Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway
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July

Yoga meets alpine wow at this ohm-filled, 5-day event. Daytimes are filled with workshops and workouts lead by eminent yoga instructors, all taking place in indoor and outdoor settings that...

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Christen Vidanoviv/ Wanderlust Festival
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Kodiak Greenwood

Spotlight: Big Sur

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Art and nature merge on this rugged coast, one of California’s most spectacular settings

Welcome to one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. This roughly 90-mile-long stretch of redwood- and fog-trimmed waterfront...

July/August

With a nickname like “Surf City, U.S.A.,” Huntington Beach is the obvious place for this 9-day, sun-and-wave extravaganza, the world’s largest surf event. Top pros including Kelly Slater and Rob...

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William Fovall/Flickr
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Find whitewater rafting fun for all—from newbies to nerves-of-steel experts

Think of a river, and chances are you’ve got your own daydream. Maybe you want to float on inner tubes, or maybe your style is to careen through raucous rapids in an eight-person inflatable raft....

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Groveb/Getty Images
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Stop to smell the roses—and see orchids, poppies, and weird cacti—at these horticultural hot spots

Whether you’re an amateur botanist, a backyard gardener, or even just a curious kid, you should beeline to California’s incredibly diverse botanic gardens. These protected oases are often peaceful...

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Foto Voyager/Getty Images
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Take an offbeat adventure to these far-flung finds

California has the largest population of any U.S. state, so you might think there’s no place left that hasn’t been posted and Instagrammed. But wait: The Golden State has plenty of off-the-beaten-...

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Go subterranean at hipster bars, crystal caves, and gold mines

Say “down under” and you might think you’re bound for Australia, but not so fast—or far. California has a wacky-cool mix of ways to get down—way down. At Shasta Lake in the state’s northeast...

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Courtesy of David Seibold
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Courtesy of Mammoth Resorts

Family Snow Adventures

From riding snowmachines to old-fashioned snowman-building, here’s where to find kid-friendly adventures off the slopes

Taking your family to the mountains this winter? Whether your crew is full of avid skiers or contented snowman-makers, the California snow...