Valley Wells, California

Valley Wells, California is a unique region in the Golden State. Located in Inyo County, this beautiful, exotic region is similar in many ways to a postcard, complete with rolling hills, blooming wildflowers and towering mountains. Though located near Death Valley’s seemingly merciless stretch of desert, Valley Wells is actually quite beautiful. Nestled snugly on the eastern side Yosemite National Park, it boasts a warm, moist climate. Valley Wells also has a perfect view of California’s snow-capped Mount Whitney.

Inyo County was the territory of indigenous Californian tribes for years. Four primary tribes roamed the region, living near the Owens River Valley. Today it is known as Death Valley National Park. Valley Wells and the surrounding Inyo County area was not settled by pioneers due to the heavy Indian population and nearby desert terrain. During the 1980s, the government purchased some of the land in order to divert the water from the Owens River into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It is now a big supply of fresh water for the entire Los Angeles region.Valley Wells Plaque, California

People today love to visit Valley Wells to experience the beautiful natural landscaping. The most prominent draw is the stunning view of Mount Whitney, one of the highest peaks in the United States. Nearby is also Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America. Another natural tourist magnet is Methuselah, an old Bristlecone pine tree. It is considered one of the oldest trees on earth. The ancient bristlecone pine forest is also a great attraction.

No visit to Valley Wells would be complete, however, without a trip to the Laws Railroad Museum. An 11-acre museum dedicated to the Southern Pacific Railroad, visitors can browse many historical artifacts from the glory days of the steam engine. Keogh’s Hot Springs, the Rock Creek Pack Station, Buttermilk Country Loop bike trail and the Monument Bank are just a few of the extra attractions Valley Wells has to offer.

Valley Wells, since it is located near to Death Valley, can have unusually long bouts of arid weather. The climate can be scorching during the summer but pleasant during the fall and winter. Early spring or later winter is often a time of sporadic rainstorms, which can cause desert floods; short, intense bursts of flooding that moves across the desert landscape and drags sediment along with it. Always be prepared for rapid weather fluctuation while visiting.


Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California, lies just 14 miles from Los Angeles city center. Yet its beaches and well-known Third Street Promenade are somehow set apart from the LA giant that surrounds it on three sides. Before it was the chic suburb of Los Angeles County, it was a town founded by the Spanish and inhabited by the Californians. Much of the city was originally one of two rancheros that eventually became part of the town. In 1871, for instance, some 875 acres were purchased for the tidy sum of $11,000 in area where an acre is now worth millions.
Santa Monica Pier and Beach in Southern California
The Mediterranean Climate of the area is a big attraction. There are 310 sunny days and temperatures rarely exceed the 80s or drop below the 60s. The special beach biking and skating path is one of the recognizable features of the beach, especially with its prominence in films and tv shows such as the modern hit Psych and the 1970’s hit, Three’s Company.

A Nevada senator created the Los Angeles & Independence Railroad linking Santa Monica in the 1870s. Soon visitors flocked to its beautiful beaches. By 1890, the town was busy with area commerce not just the tourism trade. A 4700-foot railroad wharf became a memorable sight on the horizon. Ships stopped at the train line there to unload, but it did not become the major port that its investors had hoped to create.

The early 1900s saw the creation of amusement piers. The five in Santa Monica offered roller coasters, casinos, theaters, restaurants and other amusements. The area grew, expanding with the addition of new ranches such as the one bought by Will Rogers, famous writer and Vaudeville star. He entertained such well-known visitors as movie mogul Walt Disney and movie star Spencer Tracy.

The mid-1900s saw the gradual change of the city into its current form. The Douglas aircraft manufacturer employed thousands in its heyday. The Rand Corporation was founded there. The Santa Monica Freeway allowed car traffic to move freely between the beach town and the ever-expanding Los Angeles. The area was home to the 1960s counterculture, which took over just as the last amusement piers failed. For years the city was divided between a more bohemian southern area and a wealthier northern one. Now the entire town is home to Hollywood executives and stars, but it still retains much of its relaxed beach charm.


Palos Verdes, California

Situated in California west and south of the Pacific Ocean, Palos Verdes, California is a picturesque cluster of cities consisting of Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Palos Verdes Estates. Palos Verdes is actually a peninsula rising high above the surrounding cities of San Pedro, Torrance and Lomita. Los Angeles is north of Palos Verdes accessible by way of the 110 and 405 freeways. Palos Verdes’ history dates back thousands of years. It was originally the home of a group of Native Americans called the Tongva-Gabrielino. Around the 18th century, it was owned by Spain. In the mid 19th century, ownership switched to Mexico. A group of American investors took ownership after the turn of the 20th century. Today Palos Verdes is an affluent community of approximately 92,000 residents.Palos Verdes Peninsula, California

There is much to see in Palos Verdes, and the best way to see it is probably by driving. Palos Verdes is supported by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority, which provides service in and around the Peninsula. It also provides service to Los Angeles International Airport and the Long Beach Airport. The drive along Palos Verdes Drive to the west and south offers breathtaking views overlooking Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean. Many believe this drive rivals the 17-Mile Drive along California’s rugged coastline where you will see the much photographed Monterey cypress trees.

Another must see place is Malaga Cove. This can be found along Palos Verdes Drive West. It is a shopping plaza and library featuring Spanish Renaissance architecture. Before leaving the Malaga Cove area, be sure to stop by the Neighborhood Church. It is truly stunning. It was built by one of the finest Italian architects, and it overlooks the Pacific Ocean. As you drive along Palos Verdes Drive South, you will run into the Point Vicente Lighthouse. It sits on eye-popping cliffs facing Catalina Island. If you love to hike, you will find many trails around the lighthouse worth discovering. The centerpiece of any tour of Palos Verdes is a visit to the Wayfarer’s Chapel. Designed by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, it is made of redwood, glass and stone from the local area. This chapel is surrounded by beautiful gardens and trees, and it too overlooks the Pacific Ocean. For individuals interested in shopping, there is the upscale Promenade on the Peninsula. There is also the Malaga Cove Plaza. It is small and charming with Italian architecture.

In addition to the must see sites, the Peninsula offers five golf courses, tennis, and horseback riding. There are six parks and the not to be forgotten South Coast Botanic Gardens. The Peninsula also has some famous residents. Tennis players Tracy Austin and Pete Sampras live there. George Takei, Mr. Sulu, of Star Trek fame has a home there. Nancy Kwan, the figure skater resides there also.


Redondo Beach, California

Redondo Beach, California is best known for its wide beach, unique pier and laid-back lifestyle. While we will cover many different features for this beachside city below, it’s first important to note that many people from Los Angeles will drive here for the day just to walk around and enjoy themselves. That fact alone is a good indication that this is a city worth visiting.

The most popular attraction in Redondo Beach is the Redondo Beach Pier. What makes this endless pier so fascinating is that it has been rebuilt time and time again. All of these adjustments have led to one of the most oddly shaped piers in the world. Instead of jutting out into the ocean, it’s more of an angular pier with sharp turns.Redondo Beach, California The Redondo Beach Pier is officially called Municipal Pier, but not many locals call it that. This is just important to know in case you’re looking in a travel brochure or looking for directions on a map. The Redondo Beach Pier was even more popular than it is today prior to 1982. That was the fateful year when the nearby Seaport Village had to file for bankruptcy. This had a major impact on the amount of tourists to the pier. In 1988, the pier was damaged by two storms as well as a large fire caused by a short circuit. However, repairs and adjustments were completed. While more tourists are visiting the pier today, it’s possible that crowds will once again reach peak levels because of a planned boutique hotel next door.

Another popular spot in Redondo Beach is The Strand. This is a paved path that stretches all the way from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica, passing through Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach along the way. The majority of the path takes you along the water, and it’s a great spot for looking out over the Pacific Ocean without having to venture onto the actual beach and getting your feet full of sand. You will find many cyclists, skaters and walkers on The Strand. If you choose to venture onto the actual beach, you will likely be very pleased. This is a wide beach, and the water is warm and clean. This beach is also known for its surfing and beach volleyball.

If you would like to stroll around a beautiful area with restaurants, boutique shops and wine-tasting shops one evening, go to Riviera Village, which is located downtown. The Marina is also a good option as it features six restaurants, one bar and a seafood store.

One final note is that The O.C., Baywatch and Riptide were all filmed in Redondo Beach. If you remember the beautiful scenes in those shows, then you know that Redondo Beach is well worth visiting.


Malibu California

Malibu California has the best of both worlds, with the beautiful rugged mountains on one side and the spectacular ocean views on the other. Nestled between these two wonderful vistas is a population of 12,645. Since its incorporation on March 28 1991, this city continues to draw people in with its charm.

Located on 19.8 square miles in the northwest corner of Los Angeles County, it has become a favorite spot for both surfers and movie stars. Surfers come from all over to hit the waves, while celebrities enjoy the seclusion the mountains can provide. The Pacific Coast Highway runs directly through the center of the town. This popular California Highway carries travelers who want to enjoy the exceptional Pacific Ocean views.
Malibu, Southern California
Malibu’s 21 miles of coastline is dotted with some of the best beaches in the United States. Zumba Beach is one of the most popular, drawing in 800,000 visitors over Labor Day weekend alone. Malibu State Beach is the ideal spot for families. They provide surfing, swimming, and plenty of warm sand for relaxing under the sun.

It’s not just the sun worshippers and surfers who are drawn in to Malibu’s natural beauty. Malibu Bluffs Park has many family friendly activities. Visitors enjoy hiking within Trancas Canyon Park, and running and biking are popular activities at Legacy Park. People who discover the many trails here are rewarded with some of the best views in this area of California.

Malibu got its start with the Native American Chumahs. They called it Humaliwo, meaning surf sounds loudly. It is the basis of the name Malibu, as the “Hu” were not pronounced. The Spanish explorers came next. Their mark has been left in many of the area names and architecture. Soon it was flooded with Americans who fell in love with the combination of mountains and water. The Adamson House in Malibu is open to visitors, and it helps tell the rich history of the area.

The weather in Malibu is ideal. One can count on sunshine just about every day of the year. This is a point vacationer’s appeal to. With very little rainfall the summer temperatures are wonderfully in the mid 70’s. Spring and summer are between the high 60’s and low 70’s, while winter only reaches a low of 50 to 60.


Long Beach, California

Visitors to Long Beach, California, find a lot to enjoy. The Southern California city features cultural, historical and natural attractions offering something for people of all interests. The community is dominated by the harbor and has a long history of serving the maritime trades.

Long Beach, like much of coastal Southern California, enjoys a Mediterranean climate. This means moderate temperatures year around with little seasonal change. The difference between the average high in January and the average high in July is 13 degrees. Winter months do bring some fog and rainfall but still produce a majority of enjoyable days. Visitors year around should find enjoyable weather at Long Beach.Long Beach Harbor, California

Beaches are a primary attraction at Long Beach but certainly not the only things to see. Visit the RMS Queen Mary at Long Beach Harbor. This ship was the fastest thing on the oceans during its days as an ocean liner. The ship now is permanently docked and serves as floating museum and hotel. One of the largest aquariums in the world, the Aquarium of the Pacific, is located at Rainbow Harbor. The aquarium is an educational institution as well as home to displays of more than 10,000 fish and other maritime animals. Pet lovers may want to spend some time on Rosie’s Dog Beach. This is the only beach in Los Angeles County allowing dogs to roam off leash.

Art lovers can enjoy some time at the Long Beach Museum of Art. This museum includes about 3,000 items in a variety of media. Other art venues include the Museum of Latin American Art along with the many street murals throughout the city.

If Music is your passion, take in a concert of the Long Beach Symphony at the Terrace Theater located at the city’s convention and entertainment center. Musical Theatre West also shares the convention and entertainment facilities producing great musical productions. The Long Beach Shakespeare Company presents a world-renown summer schedule of productions.

Sports fans can enjoy the Long Beach Grand Prix. This Formula One auto race has been held annually since 1975 on the streets of downtown Long Beach. The city is also home to international water polo competitions.

Long Beach is located directly south of Los Angeles with the two cities sharing a boundary for a brief distance near the ocean. It is served by Los Angeles International Airport for international flights and the John Wayne Airport in Orange County along with the Bob Hope Airport at Burbank.


Catalina Island, California

Catalina Island, California is located about 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, and its two major municipalities are Avalon and Two Harbors. It is accessible via a one-hour boat ride from several California coastal cities. Two firms offer boat transportation to Catalina Island on a set schedule of departures from San Pedro, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Dana Point.

Visitors to Catalina can get a history lesson about the island by touring the many interesting buildings in Avalon. For example, there is the Catalina Casino Building which is the most prominent structure in the town. The round, 12-story edifice was constructed in 1929 and, contrary to what its name suggests, it is not a place for gambling but rather a venue for entertainment. During the Big Band era of the 1930s and 40s, the Casino Building rocked with the sounds of Harry James, Kay Kyser and Glenn Miller. The Catalina Country Club and Golf Course in Avalon evokes memories of the years that the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball held spring training on Catalina Island. From 1921 to 1951 the Cubs trained on Catalina, and the Catalina Country Club served as the clubhouse for the players.Avalon Harbor on Santa Catalina Island, California

Today, tourists come to Catalina because it offers beautiful scenery, pristine waters, and excellent beaches. There are so many ways for visitors to enjoy the waters that surround the island. For example, the glass bottom boat tours afford the opportunity to observe the colorful and exotic undersea marine species that thrive around Catalina. In fact, it was the people of Avalon on Catalina who invented the glass bottom boat. There is also para sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and ocean rafting. Anyone who enjoys scuba diving probably knows that the waters around Catalina Island are ideal for this activity. Tourists who would rather expend their energy on dry land can choose from golfing, hiking, zip lining, ghost tours of Avalon, the Avalon Museum and much more.

Accommodations on Catalina range from tent sites to luxury condominiums and four-star hotels. In between, there are quaint cottages, family-oriented inns and comfortable hotels on the beach. Catalina can offer an attractive and pleasant place to stay to all visitors regardless of the size of their vacation budget.


Burbank, California

Burbank, California is a community located 12 miles north of Los Angeles, California. The city has a population of just over 100,000; however, many tourists flock the city to see what Burbank has to offer. The early occupants of the city dedicated themselves into making Burbank the thriving city it is today.

The city of Burbank was named after Dr. Burbank, a dentist from Maine who moved west in 1853. Dr. Burbank became one of the most prosperous sheep farmers in California. He purchased land and raised sheep near Los Angeles. With a population of 500, the town of Burbank was incorporated in 1911.
Burbank California
In the 1920s, Lockheed Aircraft Company bought land near Burbank. Because of World War II, numerous planes were being produced, bringing jobs to the community. Around the same time, the movie business was established in the area. The aviation and entertainment industries are a large influence on the growth of Burbank.

Because it is situated just minutes from Hollywood, Burbank is also known as “The Media Capital of the World.” The town is home to many entertainment companies, such as Warner Bro., NBC Universal, PBS and The Walt Disney Company.

The most popular thing to do in Burbank is tour the studios. You can even see a television show being taped, and you might even have the opportunity to go backstage. While you are in Burbank, you want to take advantage of the numerous shopping opportunities that the city has to offer. You can also enjoy the De Bell Golf Course, the Burbank Spa and Garden and the Pickwick Garden.

The city boasts a mild climate with plenty of sunshine throughout the year. The summer months are warm with temperatures in the 70s or 80s, and the winter months are cooler with temperatures in the 40s. The most rain in Burbank falls in the month of February.

Burbank is an exciting place to visit as there are so many things to see and do. The community is rich with history, and it is home to numerous entertainment opportunities. You can find mouth-watering restaurants, and you can find affordable accommodations. The city is bustling with activity, so you will have the adventure of a lifetime in Burbank.


Beverley Hills, California

One of Southern California’s most affluent and glamorous cities, Beverly Hills offers visitors much to see and do. From world-class shopping to unique and interesting museums, this fashionable city has something great for everyone to discover. For those looking to visit the Los Angeles region of Southern California, a stop in famous Beverly Hills is an absolute must.

Contrary to popular perception, Beverly Hills is an independent city and not a district of Los Angeles. The city of Beverly Hills was first settled in 1828 and officially incorporated in 1914. Since then, it has grown into one of Southern California’s wealthiest and most coveted cities, being home to a wide array of upscale homes, shops, restaurants, hotels and galleries. The city boasts warm, sunny weather year round and offers stunning views of the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding scenery. It is widely known as one of Southern California’s safest and most desirable cities to live, work and visit.Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California

Beverly Hills boasts a wide array of great attractions, landmarks and other sites of interest to visit. The city truly does offer a little bit of something for everyone. One of its top destinations is the world-famous Rodeo Drive, one of the world’s most expensive and fashionable shopping districts. Home to a plethora of upscale shops, fine galleries and luxurious boutique stores, Rodeo Drive is a prime destination for shopping as well as sightseeing in Beverly Hills. Another top destination in the city is the Museum of Radio and Television, one of the world’s foremost cultural institutions on media history and its cultural impact. A unique and fascinating museum, the Museum of Radio and Television offers a wealth of exhibits on media and its history, development and the way it shapes our lives. Yet another must-see destination in the city is the beautiful and historic Greystone Mansion, a grand mansion built in the 1920s that is now operated by the city of Beverly Hills and is open to the public.

From interesting museums to world-renowned shops and restaurants, Beverly Hills has it all. No matter who you are, you’re sure to find something intriguing and enthralling about this iconic and fashionable Southern California city.


Hollywood, California

Synonymous with fame and fortune, Hollywood, California is one of the top travel and tourism destinations in the world. One of Los Angeles’ most famous neighborhoods, it has enraptured the minds of generations of people with its penchant for stardom, glitz and glamour on the big screen. Beneath all this glamour however, the district boasts many fascinating attractions and historic landmarks to explore. From the iconic Walk of Fame to the shops of Hollywood Boulevard, this area offers plenty to see and do.

No trip to Hollywood is complete without seeing the famed Hollywood Sign. This world-famous landmark rests on Mount Lee and can be seen throughout the area. Another must-see destination in Hollywood is the Walk of Fame, the sidewalk that immortalizes famous movie, television, radio and theater personalities. A true icon of Hollywood, it cannot be missed.The world famous landmark Hollywood Sign, Hollywood, California

Griffith Park is yet another great destination, home to beautiful views of Los Angeles as well as the Griffith Observatory. This popular and interesting attraction holds an array of science and space themed exhibits and is fun and educational for people of all ages. Nearby, Grauman’s Chinese Theater still stands as one of Hollywood’s most famous movie theaters and offers tours to the public that focus on its history and cultural impact.

Hollywood also plays host to a number of fun and interesting museums to explore. The Hollywood Wax Museum is a top destination as is Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a museum that showcases some of the world’s most interesting and unusual exhibits. The Los Angeles Fire Department Hollywood Museum 27 offers a fascinating look at the history of the Los Angeles Fire Department and is another top museum in the area.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, visitors will find a wide array of shops, restaurants, galleries and fine boutique stores. Vine Street and Hollywood Boulevard are especially great places for shopping, dining and celebrity watching.

With so much to see and do, Hollywood is one of the top travel destinations in Los Angeles and a global icon. From the Hollywood Sign to Vine Street, the Hollywood Wax Museum to Griffith Park, there’s no shortage of great attractions in this truly unique and famous district.