Sitting on Rainbow Harbor you’ll find one of Long Beach’s top attractions: Aquarium of the Pacific. Home to more than 11,000 aquatic animals and approximately 500 species, there is much to see throughout their 32 exhibits. In fact, many people arrive at opening time and don’t leave until closing. Get up close to playful seals and sea lions, visit a lagoon with more than 150 sharks, see ultraviolet sea animals against a black light, take in otherworldly jellyfish of all shapes and sizes and roam the numerous indoor and outdoor exhibits.
Many of the exhibits are also interactive, allowing you to pet fish, manta rays and even small sharks; feed birds in the Lorikeet Forest; and partake in tropical reef feedings. Check the schedule when you arrive to see what shows and lectures are going on for the day. If you’re traveling as a family, stop at the desk to pick up special worksheets and scavenger hunt-like tasks for kids to fill out while exploring the museum.
Marilyn Monroe? 6774 Hollywood Blvd. James Dean? 1719 Vine St. Elvis Presley? 6777 Hollywood Blvd. No, not last known addresses, just the exact spot for the brass star honoring these celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
These stars and many others are sought out, worshiped, photographed, and stepped on day after day long this stretch of sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard. Since 1960 more than 2,000 performers - from legends to long-forgotten bit-part players - have been honored with a pink-marble, five-pointed sidewalk star.
Follow this celestial sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street, and along Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset Boulevard.
The highest measured waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls is the superstar attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the snow melts and water flow is at its peak. With a cumulative drop of 2,425 feet (739 meters), Yosemite Falls actually consists of three falls and is also the sixth highest waterfall in the world (seventh according to some sources). Though there is some discussion about its place in the world's highest list, it's an incontrovertible fact that Yellowstone Falls is the centerpiece of the valley and the park.
The best views of the cascading torrent can be seen from various vantage points, including Yosemite Village and Yosemite Lodge. For active viewers, a one-mile loop trail leads to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall and also possible to hike to the top of Yosemite Falls as a strenuous, all-day hike. For a unique experience, on a clear night with plenty of moonlight and enough water to create mist.
In 1958, Monterey’s most famous waterfront street changed its official name from Ocean View Avenue to its long-time nickname Cannery Row in honor of the 1945 John Steinbeck novel of the same name.
Today’s Cannery Row is a far cry from that of the “tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron …” described in Steinbeck’s novel. There has not been a cannery here since 1973 and the street is now filled with shops, from boutiques to chain stores, hotels and restaurants -- and usually populated by more tourists than locals.
It is a wonderful place for strolling, admiring ocean views, snacking on salt-water taffy, gaining easy beach access and watching the many characters that gravitate here. The world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the northern end of Cannery Row, housed in what was once a sardine cannery.
I nesten 150 år har Alcatraz gitt de uskyldige frysninger og de skyldige kaldsvette. Gjennom tidene har Alcatraz vært nasjonens første militære fengsel, deretter en ugjestmild høysikkerhetsanstalt og er nå blitt en nasjonalpark. Det er ikke rart at idet du går av fergen og tar ditt første steg på «The Rock» er det som om du hører den illevarslende musikken: dunh dunh--dunnnnh!
Turen til Alcatraz er populær og plassen er svært begrenset. Kjøp billetter til Alcatraz så tidlig som mulig i forveien, opptil 90 dager. Alcatraz’ innsatte utgjorde noen av USAs mest ettersøkte fanger. Kjente kriminelle har sonet på Alcatraz, inkludert mafiabossen fra Chicago, Al «Scarface» Capone, den stilige kidnapperen George «Machine Gun» Kelly og den hissige mafiosoen og amatørpoeten fra Harlem, «Bumpy» Johnson. Selv om Alcatraz har blitt sett på som rømningssikker, fløt Anglin-brødrene og Frank Morris av gårde på en provisorisk flåte i 1962 – og de ble aldri sett igjen. Et besøk på Alcatraz er så mye mer enn bare synet av et gammelt fengsel.
Packed into 40 hectares, the San Diego Zoo presents a stunning variety of nature's largest, smallest, noblest, oddest, and most endangered creatures. This famous zoo has more than 3,000 animals representing over 800 species.
Stop first at the San Diego Zoo visitor center to pick up a map. Highlights of the zoo include the Tiger River bioclimatic exhibit, which realistically recreates an Asian rainforest environment, and Gorilla Tropics, which does the same with an African rainforest. The koalas and the rare giant pandas are also popular.
The gardens at the San Diego Zoo are renowned and some of the plants are used for the specialized food requirements of particular animals. Especially for kids, the Children’s Zoo allows young ones to pet small critters; they will also enjoy the animal nursery, which shows off the zoo’s newest arrivals. For an aerial perspective on the park, take a ride on the Skyfari.
One of LA's most distinguishing icons, the famous HOLLYWOOD sign proudly stands on the hillside of the Hollywood Hills, overlooking its namesake city and the movie industry it has come to symbolize.
LA's most famous landmark first appeared on its hillside perch in 1923, as a advertising gimmick for a real-estate development called Hollywoodland. Each letter stands 50 feet (15 m) tall and is made of sheet metal painted white.
Once aglow with 4,000 light bulbs, the sign even had its own caretaker, who lived behind the letter L until 1939. The last four letters were lopped off in the 1940s as the sign started to crumble along with the rest of Hollywood. In the late 1970s, Alice Cooper and Hugh Hefner joined forces with fans and other celebrities to save the famous symbol.
Cinema buffs believe Alfred Hitchcock had it right: seen from below at Fort Point, the bridge induces a thrilling case of Vertigo. Fog aficionados prefer the lookout at Vista Point in Marin, on the north side of the bridge, to watch gusts rush through the bridge cables. Crissy Field is a key spot to appreciate the whole span, with windsurfers and kite-fliers to add action to your snapshots. Unlike the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge provides access to cyclists and pedestrians.
From the Golden Gate Bridge itself, you can see stunning vistas of San Francisco and Marin County, as well as Alcatraz, Angel Island, and oceangoing liners passing through the bridge’s tall red towers. Golden Gate Bridge connects the city of San Francisco with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sausalito and the Muir Woods National Monument.
Also known as State Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, runs north-south along most of the United States Pacific Coast. The California stretch is known for its endless scenic locales, making it one of the nation’s most popular road trip routes.
Segments of Highway 1 vary greatly. In some locations it can be a twisting, slow-moving two-lane road, while in other spots, the PCH is and moves like a freeway. As a general rule, speed is not the highway’s strength, which goes hand-in-hand with its scenery, leading many drivers to happily roll along at a slower pace. From beaches to mountains and forests, just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new appears. At some points, little separates the road from dropping into the Pacific below, so be prepared for major coastal views.
Across the bay from downtown San Diego, Coronado is a pleasant escape from the jumble of the city and the buzz of the beaches. Follow the tree-lined, manicured median strip of Orange Avenue toward the commercial center, Coronado Village, around the landmark Hotel del Coronado. Then park your car; you won’t need it again until you leave.
Locals call Coronado an island, but it's connected to the mainland by the spectacular, 2.1 mile (3.4 kilometer) Coronado Bay Bridge, as well as by a long, narrow spit of sand known as the Silver Strand. The visitor center doubles as the Coronado Museum of History and Art. And then there’s the fabulous, easily recognizable Hotel del Coronado, the interior of which is filled with warm, polished wood, giving the hotel an old-fashioned feel of Panama hats and linen suits. Guests have included 10 presidents and world royalty. For a taste of the Del without the stay, have breakfast or lunch at the beach-view Sheerwater restaurant.
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Just like its San Francisco counterpart, Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf is crammed full of souvenir shops, candy stores, street performers and seafood restaurants all vying for tourist dollars.
Though it is most definitely a crowded tourist scene, Fisherman’s Wharf is more than worth a visit for the bay views, sea lion and pelican-spotting, and eating clam chowder from a sourdough bowl. Many restaurants offer free samples of chowder to passersby, so you can compare before settling on a place to eat. Several restaurants also offer more incentives such as free calamari appetizers.
The neighboring Wharf II is the heart of Monterey’s fishing industry and you can watch the trawlers unloading the day’s catch. Charter boat companies offer deep-sea fishing cruises, and other activities on offer include glass bottom boat tours and whale watching tours.
See what life is like under the ocean without getting wet at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, which contains more than 60 tanks teeming with colorful marine life. Along with coral reefs, sharks and jellyfish exhibits, the two-story, 70,000 gallon kelp forest will capture your attention. Hands-on displays, exhibits and dailyfeeding presentations offer the chance to learn about ocean science while having fun.<//p>
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is home to more than 5,000 specimens that represent more than 380 speciesof fishes and invertebrates. Tide-Pool Plaza has three tide pools where visitors can touch and learn about residents that include starfish, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, and lobsters. Docents are on hand to answer questions. Tide-Pool Plaza comes with the added perk of a Pacific Ocean view.
All aboard for the best train in the West! The beautiful and romantic Napa Valley Wine Train takes the most stunning parts of the Napa and Sonoma valleys and sandwiches them together in a spectacular glide through the rolling countryside. Watch the sun set from elegantly restored vintage Pullman cars as you sweep through the wandering valleys of Napa and Sonoma wine country sipping some of the world’s best wine and nibbling exotic cheeses. Little could be more breathtaking or romantic than this train ride through some of the world’s most famous wineries and some of the most beautiful land in California.
Perfect for those that don’t have much time to spend in this little slice of heaven, the Napa Valley Wine Trail gives you a sweeping view of the Napa and Sonoma valleys while regaling you in luxury, history, and of course, superb wines.
17-Mile Drive is often said to be one of the most scenic drives in the world and is an essential experience on any visit to California. Driving along the road offers some of the best views of Monterey Bay and many scenic lookouts with designated stopping points.
The drive runs along a winding road, through upscale neighborhoods from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach and goes past forested areas, along the oceanfront and past several golf courses. Some of the best places to stop are at Cypress Point Lookout, where you can see harbor seals basking on sand and rocks; Spanish Bay where you can follow a paved coastal trail to Asilomar State Beach, and the iconic Lone Cypress, which has stood on its wave-lashed, wind-beaten rocky perch for more than 250 years.
Yes, it's a big rock, but what makes El Capitan a must-witness sight in Yosemite is the fact that it's the largest exposed-granite monolith in the world. Oh, and people climb it. Rising 3,593 feet (1095 meters)—more than 350 stories—above the Valley, El Capitan was once considered impossible to climb. However, since Warren Harding first conquered the "nose" in 1958, El Capitan has become the standard for big-wall climbing.
Take binoculars to spot the little bits of color that pinpoint adventurous climbers tackling the smooth and nearly vertical cliff.
Much cooler and higher than the neighboring Great Basin Desert to the north and the Sonoran Desert to the south, the Mojave Desert is considered a rain shadow area, which occurs when an area of land is forced to become a desert due to mountains that block out rain that would otherwise allow most plants to grow. The Mojave Desert spans across a large region of southeastern California and through portions of Nevada, Arizona and Utah. In total, it encompasses more than 25,000 square miles of land.
The most notable areas by name are the Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks. The area also includes Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Mojave National Preserve, meaning the Mojave Desert is home to an array of stunning, protected areas. The desert sits between 3,000 to 6,000 feet in elevation, much higher than the nearby Sonoran Desert. The elevation keeps temperatures slightly cooler.
There is a reason that Monterey Bay is considered the top aquarium in the country and draws around two million visitors a year. The nearly 200 exhibits and galleries feature 623 different species of plants and creatures: from adorable sea otters to otherworldly jellyfish, swirling sardines and crafty sharks that glide through the water. Visitors can get up-close with bat rays at the petting pool, and watch divers hand-feed sharks and fish at the kelp forest and blackfooted penguins in the Splash Zone.
What makes Monterey Bay Aquarium so special is its commitment to environmental conservation and education. The aquarium continuously pumps Monterey Bay ocean water through the tanks. During the day the water is filtered for clarity and at night the unfiltered water brings in food in the form of plankton. Waste ocean water from the aquarium is returned to the bay – making the aquarium essentially a part of the ocean.
An overlook with an incomparable view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite's high country (stay for stargazing if you have the time), Glacier Point is accessible by car during the summer and by cross-country ski during the winter. Perhaps it's getting to Glacier Point that is half the fun!
During the winter, skiers are rewarded only after a 10.5 cross-country tour; during the summer, hikers can choose from the misleadingly named Four Mile Trail (it's actually closer to five miles long), the nearly nine mile Panorama Trail or, for the truly ambitious, a combination of the two trails, to reach the promontory.
However, if you lack the time, desire or stamina to climb the nearly 3,200 feet (975 meters) above the valley floor, consider the four-hour Glacier Point Tour, which departs daily from Yosemite Lodge.
With its world-class museums, manicured gardens, and world-famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park tops the list of sights in downtown San Diego. Its 1,200 acres (485 hectares) makes it the largest urban park in the United States. Apart from its many attractions, Balboa Park also features lengthy hiking trails, distinctive landscaping, Golden Age Spanish buildings, and the world’s largest organ.
Balboa Park is divided up into three sections. The central part of the park has the most attractions. The main attraction here is San Diego Zoo, which has more than 3,000 animals, typically in enclosures that replicate their natural habitat. At the Museum of Man, part of the California Quadrangle and its distinctive arch, you can see Native American artifacts. Nearby, the San Diego Museum houses a number of works from European masters from the Renaissance to the modernists.
Few waterways carry the prestige and iconographic status of the beautiful San Francisco Bay. From the first years of its European discovery the Golden Gate became known as a pivotal access point to the American West.
Trade and military strategy aside, The Bay is California’s most important ecological treasure. A natural nursery for crab, halibut, waterfowl, seals and sea lions, as well as endangered species, the San Francisco Bay provides a great ecological treasure to residents and visitors alike. Whale watching, ferrying out to Alcatraz and Marin, or simple sunset tours with the glistening Golden Gate Bridge are favorite pastimes, while residents simply feel assured looking out of their windows and knowing that its calm waters are there.
You’ll enjoy the views as much as the wine at Sonoma County’s Viansa Winery & Marketplace.
Viansa produces a variety of wines including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. In addition to these well know wines, they also produce traditional Italian varietals. What makes a visit to Viansa particularly unique is the view that comes with its location. Of course they have grapes, but perched atop a hill, the Winery & Marketplace looks down over 113 acres of natural wetlands. When the winery assumed stewardship, the wetlands had been converted for grazing. Now restored, over 500 species of birds have been seen and as many as a thousand waterfowl have been counted in a single day. Visitors could see canvasback ducks, great blue herons, Canadian geese and a number of other birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.
Built in the late 19th century, the Gaslamp Quarter is a 16½ block historical neighborhood, filled with streets lined with wrought-iron street lamps, trees, and brick sidewalks. Along with its many historic buildings, the Gaslamp has the city’s highest concentration of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. Many of the bars double as restaurants as well, making the whole district the prime nightspot in San Diego.The Gaslamp Quarter is also home to many events and festivals, including Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp, Street Scene Music Festival, the San Diego Comic-Con, Taste of Gaslamp, and ShamROCK, a St. Patrick's Day event. PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres is located one block away in downtown San Diego's East Village. Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar, named after famous singer Jim Croce, is also located in the Quarter. For a break from the bustling streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, head over to Third Avenue. This is the historic heart of San Diego’s Chinese community.
Some of the best hiking near Palm Springs—and in the deserts of California—can be found at Indian Canyons, which is located at the western edge of Palm Springs. The land is owned and protected by the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians, who settled in the Palm Springs area centuries ago. Today, these people diligently care for the trails and invite visitors from near and far to experience the stunning desert scenery.
There are three primary hikes in the Indian Canyons: Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon and Murray Canyon. All three are thought to be easy to moderate trips, but more advanced hikers can combine different hikes and take small paths with greater elevation gains up the mountains. Some of the features of the hikes include waterfalls, panoramic views and of course, the sprawling desert landscapes. All of the trails are clearly marked.
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