Welcome to sunny Los Angeles, a shiny city of reinvention where small talk always starts with a question: ‘Where are you from?’ This query reveals what’s driving the city’s energetic buzz – a perpetual in-fl ow of dreamers, go-getters and hustlers primed with unabashed optimism.
San Diego & Around
Whoosh – here comes a skateboarder. And there goes a wet-suited surfer toting his board to the break, while a Chanel-clad lady lifts a coffee cup off a porcelain saucer. San Diego’s coastal communities offer all that and more.
Disneyland & Orange County
Orange County Beaches
It’s true you’ll find gorgeous sunsets, prime surfing and just-off-the-boat seafood when traveling the OC’s sun-kissed coast. But it’s also the unexpected, serendipitous discoveries you’ll remember long after you’ve left this blissful 42 miles of surf and sand behind.
Palm Springs & The Deserts
California’s outback is where the Wild West lives on. Though spliced by ribbons of interstate, the desert state of mind is as far from Los Angeles as Shangri-La. It’s the lair of escapists, hedonists, rabble-rousing ranchers, prophetic environmentalists, Native American tribes, eccentric folk artists and daredevil test pilots.
Disneyland & Anaheim
Mickey is one lucky mouse. Created by animator Walt Disney in 1928, this irrepressible rodent caught a ride on a multimedia juggernaut (film, TV, publishing, music, merchandising and theme parks) that rocketed him into a global stratosphere of recognition, money and influence.
La Jolla & North County Coast
Immaculately landscaped parks, white-sand coves, upscale boutiques and cliffs above deep, clear blue waters make it easy to understand why ‘La Jolla’ translates from Spanish as ‘the jewel’ – say la-hoy-yah, if you please.
Palm Springs & The Coachella Valley
The Rat Pack is back, baby, or at least its hangout is. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Palm Springs, some 100 miles east of LA, was the swinging getaway of Sinatra, Elvis and dozens of other stars, partying the night away in fancy estate homes. Once the Rat Pack packed it in, though, the 300-sq-mile Coachella Valley surrendered to retirees in golf clothing.
Around Santa Barbara
Can’t quit your day job to follow your bliss? Don’t despair, a long weekend in the mountains, valleys and beaches between Santa Barbara and LA will keep you inspired until you can. In this land of daydreams, perfect waves beckon off Ventura’s coast, shady trails wind skyward in the Los Padres mountains and spiritual Zen awaits you in Ojai Valley.
Primetime soap The OC may be over, but the angst-ridden adventures of its glamorous teens have given a hipper, youthful sheen to the city’s longstanding image as a paradise for wealthy yachtsmen and their trophy wives.
Joshua Tree National Park
Taking a page from a Dr Seuss book, the whimsical Joshua trees (actually tree-sized yuccas) welcome visitors to this 794,000-acre park at the convergence of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. It was Mormon settlers who named the trees because the branches stretching up toward heaven reminded them of the biblical prophet Joshua pointing the way to the promised land.
It’s easy to love Laguna: secluded coves, romantic cliffs, azure waves and waterfront parks imbue the city with a Riviera-like feel. But nature isn’t the only draw.
Hawaiian-Irish surfing star George Freeth, after being hired by railroad magnate and real-estate developer Henry Huntington, gave demonstrations in Huntington Beach (HB) in 1914, and the city has been a surf destination ever since.
Death Valley National Park
The name itself evokes all that is harsh, hot and hellish – a punishing, barren and lifeless place of Old Testament severity.