English (US)English (US)
California Now News
Local Tips
Visit Native California
Family Vacations
Road Trips

Travel Videos
Travel Guides
Welcome Centers


Bi-weekly podcast

Road Trip: Searching for Stars

Experience the cosmos in San Diego, Julian, Borrego Springs, and Twentynine Palms

On the first-ever road trip edition of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson gets out of the studio and explores Southern California’s awe-inspiring night sky. His stargazing adventure begins in sunny San Diego: After selecting the perfect set of wheels, Johnson jets to the Fleet Science Center to get a sense of our solar system and learn the best practices for star sighting. Then it’s time to dig into some earthly delights (hold the hot sauce) at Roberto’s Taco Shop before heading east toward the desert.

A stop in the mountain town of Julian provides the opportunity to visit a bed-and-breakfast, that caters to amateur astronomers. Just before sunset, Johnson arrives in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the only International Dark Sky Community in the state of California, to enjoy a guided tour through the universe. After a luxurious night at La Casa Del Zorro, Johnson drives through Joshua Tree National Park—he takes the less-traveled Southern Entrance and as a result enjoys relative solitude—as he continues on to learn about a star party in Twentynine Palms.

To order a copy of California Road Trips: 50 Life-Changing Adventures, a high-end publication that includes more about this itinerary (and 49 others), please click here.



Our road trip starts in San Diego where cloudless skies produce many clear nights.

A trip to the town of Julian means a stop at the Observer’s Inn, a bed-and-breakfast and observatory with 11 professional-grade telescopes.

In the Anza-Borrego Desert, astronomer Dennis Mammana provides a tour of celestial beings.

A drive north to the Sky’s the Limit Observatory is punctuated by stops at an imaginative sculpture garden and an endangered animal sighting.


About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and is just getting to know his surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.