Share the Love in the Golden State sharethelove_keyframe_-_youtube_5

Share the Love in the Golden State

Share the Love in the Golden State
Santa Barbara, Ventura, Sonoma and Napa have bounced back beautifully from recent challenges, and there’s never been a better time to visit

California is a profoundly resilient destination — something you can see for yourself in Visit California’s new spot, “Share the Love”. In the wake of wildfires and mudslides that impacted Santa Barbara early in 2018, restaurateurs, winemakers, hoteliers and others have worked tirelessly to make sure visitors can once again enjoy a magical experience. Similarly, business owners in Ventura County and Wine Country have rebounded from wildfires and are open for business.

Locals are eager to share their California love, and if you’re looking for a way to help, please visit. Here’s a quick look at some of the dreamy destinations featured in the “Share the Love” commercial.

The Santa Barbara Waterfront provides breath-taking views and abundant activities—the perfect way to start a perfect day. If you want to get out on the water, head to Santa Barbara Harbor and rent a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or perhaps a Jet Ski. (Whale watching excursions and water taxis are available too.) Santa Barbara’s newest lodging option, Hotel Californian, is just steps from the harbour and offers stunning views on its rooftop bar.

Nothing beats oceanfront dining, and The Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach is so close to the Pacific you’ll feel like you can reach out and literally catch a wave. Whether you’re in town for a few days or a few weeks, you’ll be spoiled with the many culinary options available in Santa Barbara. Be sure to try LoquitaBlackbird, and Smithy Kitchen + Bar, and then ask locals for their recommendations when you’re wandering around the paseos or sipping Pinot Noir in one of the urban wine tasting rooms.

Speaking of wine, no Golden State vacation is complete without a stop in Sonoma County and the Napa Valley. Located within the Rutherford appellation in the eastern Napa Valley, Quintessa offers an exclusive Wine Country experience that includes panoramic views, acclaimed wines and the sort of personalized customer service that stays with you long after your visit. Across the Mayacamas Mountain range in Sonoma County, Kunde Vineyards features four distinct tasting experience options, including a Mountain Top Tasting 1,400 feet above the valley floor.

If you’re heading to Wine Country during the summer months, consider the Secret Garden Tour at the Hill Family Estate, an idyllic way to drink in the scenery and sample some great vintages. And don’t miss out on the region’s burgeoning distillery scene: Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastopol creates bespoke vodka, gin, sloe gin, and whiskey and a tasting room tour will give you a new appreciation of what goes into your glass.

Wherever you find great wine, fantastic food is sure to follow—and that is certainly the case in California Wine Country. Acclaimed chef Christopher Kostow nailed his line during filming at The Charter Oak in St. Helena; he always seems to get it right at his family-style restaurant that celebrates local bounty and a deceptively simple approach to cooking. When you’re in town be sure to try Acacia House, the latest offering from celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, as well as The Fremont Diner, a delightful roadside joint known for its folksy fare.

And if your trip to Wine Country includes a stop in San Francisco, do yourself a favour and order the fried chicken at Tyler Florence’s genial Wayfare Tavern. This always-humming Financial District hotspot possesses a feel-good vibe and specializes in crowd-pleasing plates—it’s a sure-fire winner for lunch or dinner.

St_rm_edxnry San Luis Obispo County
Alex Farnum

SAN LUIS OBISPO

Your next stop, San Luis Obispo, may just be the perfect embodiment of the Central Coast. With its nuanced food and wine scene, rich history, and a decidedly mellow vibe, SLO (as the locals call it) is a must-see. This college town also features a slice of ranch culture—thanks to the area’s Santa Maria-style barbecue—and has ranked in past surveys as one of the happiest cities in America.

The spirit of downtown SLO is captured in Mission Plaza and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, which dates back to 1772 and overlooks the plaza. Explore the mission and its museum or show up on summer Friday nights for live music on the plaza. Year-round the first Friday of the month offers Art After Dark, with downtown SLO galleries opening their doors for wine tastings, snacks, and chats with local artists. A few blocks away, every Thursday evenings, you can find the city’s farmers market, a showcase for San Luis Obispo’s culinary landscape, including local tri-tip, tamales, craft beer (sample those at The Libertine Brewing Company), and the acclaimed clam chowder from Splash Café. Enjoy the locally sourced scene more intimately at Novo Restaurant & Lounge, which pairs a globally inspired menu with an idyllic creek-side setting.

Be sure to pay a visit to the 110-room Madonna Inn when you are in town. You can finish the day with a slice of the famed pink champagne cake and then retire in one of its quirky themed rooms, such as the Caveman, the Love Birds, and the Fox & Hound.

SLO delivers the goods on the wine-tasting front. Bottles bearing the world-renowned Paso Robles appellation can be found only about 30 miles away. But don’t miss the nearby Edna Valley region, in particular the Chardonnays of Edna Valley Vineyard and the Pinot Noirs of Tolosa. Then, check out the under-the-radar wineries of Arroyo Grande Valley, including the sparkling wines at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery.

San Luis Obispo County—a.k.a. SLO CAL—is home to an array of cool small towns, too. On your way into SLO, try the epic tri-tip at Jocko’s steak house in Nipomo, explore the dunes at Pismo Beach, and then say hi to the lounging sea lions off the coast of Avila Beach. Other essential stops as you then head north toward Hearst Castle include the harbour village Morro Bay, beachy Cayucos, and picturesque Cambria, set on beautiful seaside bluffs.

Bixby Bridge
Chris Axe/Getty Images

Highway 1 Reopens

There’s never been a better time to visit the iconic roadway that snakes along the Big Sur coastline

California’s Highway 1 has officially reopened and motorists can now drive from Monterey...

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Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

5 Great Ways to Experience Highway 1

Discover your favourite way to take in this iconic drive through Big Sur and beyond

Now that repairs are complete, you can once again drive the legendarily scenic Highway 1 through Big Sur. With its redwood forests, towering...

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Highway One's Most Scenic Stops

California’s coast-hugging Highway 1 is what dream drives are made of. The iconic roadway—which extends for more than 650 miles from ...

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San Luis Obispo’s Bubble Gum Alley is filled with more than 1.7 million pieces of bubble gum.
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Spotlight: Santa Barbara

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Mediterranean style magic and a perfect ocean breeze

Bougainvillea twining across red-tiled rooftops, birdsong mingling with the ocean breeze, islands and whale spouts on the horizon—...

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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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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...

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April

Get ready for the Central Coast’s ultimate gathering of the culinary world. Now in its ninth year, this luxurious event is one of those star- and spectacle-studded experiences you simply have to...

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Courtesy of Coastal Luxury Management
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February

See an all-star line-up of top golfers and A-list celebrities take to the manicured, ocean-hugging greens at this premier golf event. This ultra-prestigious tournament, held annually at Spyglass...

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Courtesy of Monterey Peninsula Foundation
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Castroville produces 95 percent of the nation's artichokes. In 1948, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the town's first "Artichoke Queen."
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Laura Flippen

Central Coast Wine Country

Miles of coastline, sunny hills, relaxing wineries

Historic ranch lands, a romantic coast, country roads, stay-a-while towns and grapes—lots and lots of grapes—make the Central Coast an outstanding...

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Get the inside scoop on California's most celebrated commodity

With more than 3,000 wineries statewide, California lets you sample award-winning wines almost anywhere you go. These classic and up-and-coming wine roads—some too packed with wineries to tackle...

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Temecula Valley by Kodiak Greenwood
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Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...

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John/ Flickr
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Linda Tanner/ Flickr

Spotlight: San Luis Obispo County

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Central California

This fertile stretch of the California coast, roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, has undeniable appeal, with buzz-worthy farm-...

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
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Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
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Discover the awesome sports scene in the Golden State

With nearly twice as many professional teams as any other state, California is big league all the way. But the state’s sports scene goes far beyond football and baseball, with a diverse line-up of...

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Christina Lauren/Flickr
July

Vampires beware: this is one garlic-infused weekend that you’ll want to miss. Everyone else—go, at least once, to this unforgettably odiferous and one-of-a-kind event. See how creative chefs can...

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Bill Strange Photography
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Ken Lund/Flickr

Ventura County Wine Trail

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Visit vineyards in coastal hills and communities

Sip your way along the Ventura County Wine Trail, where you will find nearly 20 wineries and tasting rooms in settings ranging from urban...

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David McGlynn/Getty Images

Oxnard

Discover California’s “Strawberry Coast”

Oxnard is where strawberries meet the sea. In this city 40 minutes south of Santa Barbara, you will find 7 miles of unspoiled beaches, plus farm...

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Bixby Bridge

California Welcome Centers in the Central Coast

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Find the perfect balance between urban and rural on California’s Central Coast.

Stop in at one of three California Welcome Centers along Highway 101, each fully staffed seven days a week and loaded with maps, brochures and...

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Big-city-worthy events liven the sleepy Central Coast

Bookended by the big cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Coast may be known for its mellow pace, but the closeness of those major gateways bring big names to relatively small...

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Photo courtesy of Monterey Jazz Festival
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Spotlight: Hearst Castle

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Wraparound views, lavish designs

Mansions are abundant in California, with film stars and tech power brokers building palaces and adding wings, pools and yoga pavilions with...

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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Beautiful locations, luxurious comforts

Get the starry nights, the campfire stories, the cosy sleeping bag and all the best parts of camping in some of California’s most beautiful settings—but without the hassle of...

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El Capitan Canyon
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Spotlight: Pinnacles National Park

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Winding caves, uncountable stars

California’s newest national park is home to cliffs, crags and cave formations that were formed by an ancient volcano. Shaking and quaking along...

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Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city park charmers and boisterous adventures - smaller theme parks and attractions offer an array of ways to play. These smaller parks offer...

Safari West
Tai Power Seeff
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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Solvang

A Danish stronghold makes a charming outpost surrounded by ranch lands and vineyards

Imagine a villagewhere fresh-cut flowers and warm-from-the-oven pastries scent the air. Add gingerbread architecture, twirling windmills and...

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Central Coast Missions

Visit some of California’s most beautiful missions to discover the state’s Spanish roots

Strung like Spanish pearls along an 824-mile trail from San Diego to Sonoma, California’s 21 historic missions offer a wealth of treasures, from...

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Santa Barbara ranks in the nation’s top 20 counties for bicycle commuters, with nearly 5,000 residents commuting to work by bicycle.
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Zachary Miller/Getty Images

Spotlight: Ventura County

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Absorb the relaxed vibe of this classic California destination on the coast

When it comes to places in California that feel like one big outdoor playground, Ventura County, on the south end of the Central Coast, stands out...

Ragged Point

Trip 3-4 days 8 stops

San Luis Obispo to Ragged Point

Venture from San Luis Obispo up Highway 1 to discover pristine coastline, small beach towns and a fabled landmark
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Your next stop, San Luis Obispo, may just be the perfect embodiment of the Central Coast. With its nuanced food and wine scene, rich history and a decidedly mellow vibe, SLO (as the locals call it) is a must-see. This college town also...

Ragged Point

On the way to Ragged Point from Piedras Blancas, take in the stunning, untouched coastline views to your left as Highway 1 twists and climbs up the southernmost cliffs of Big Sur. Stroll through the...

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Casa de Fruta Courtesy of Casa De Fruta

Casa de Fruta Orchard Resort

Part fruit stand, part theme park, this Central Coast stop is the perfect place to fill your belly

What started as a humble cherry stand in 1908 is now a massive roadside attraction, welcoming more than 3 million visitors each year. Located 40...