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Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Travels may be postponed, flights may be cancelled and passports may be collecting some (temporary) dust… but we here at Dame Traveler don’t believe that means adventure must end. We’ve become refined in the art of armchair exploration – either through the pages of an excellent book, viewing a travel documentary or a virtual tour of the world. While we can’t necessarily hop on a plane to experience the world – we wanted to curate a collection of resources and virtual experiences from the best wineries and wine shops around the globe. This is our virtual wine tour you can experience right at home!

Typically, we always love to add a wine tour to our itinerary – especially when we’re in an area that has a deep vineyard culture and history. Let’s raise a glass, remotely! Gather your wine glass, a cozy blanket and get comfy on your couch. Our virtual wine tour brings the beautiful wine destinations we wish we could experience right now. Cheers! You ready? Let’s go!

Under The Tuscan Sun

We had to begin our virtual wine tour with a little taste of Italy! Tuscan wines have drawn millions of tourists for centuries, and there’s no doubt why. The landscape? Insanely beautiful. The food and wine culture? Intentional, historic and downright delicious. Why not escape into “la bella vita” and learn a little bit about the history of Tuscany and its wines?!

Wine has been a part of Tuscan culture for over three hundred years. Some historians believe that the Etruscans brought Asian vines with them when they settled in the Tuscan area. However, others are convinced that the countryside was already ripe with wild graphs before the Etruscans ever settled there. Nevertheless, the Etruscans really mastered the art of cultivating and domesticating Sangiovese and Lambrusco grapes!

Flash forward to the Duke of Tuscany establishing a boundary to focus Chianti production to the Tuscan region, regulating the wine trade in 1716. Wine became a major agricultural product of Tuscany (and Italy!) – in fact, WW2 nearly devastated the region and the national debt when the winery land was decimated.

Tuscany has become more and more associated with excellent wineries! Travelers today flock to the Tuscan region to get a taste of the good stuff, right from the source, to learn about the individual winery practices passed on for generations. It’s simply a must when exploring the heart of Italy!

What To Sip

Tuscany’s rich and deep legacy of wine-making can seem overwhelming, especially when choosing a bottle! We love sifting through a Verve Wine’s  selection of Sangiovese wines because they really explain what and where individual bottles and vintages come from. Traditional, silky, aromatic and delicate – we love a Sangiovese glass to go with a savory dinner.

Verve Wine has the mindset we love – “best part of drinking wine is the discovery of it all.” As adventurous women, you better believe this speaks to our soul! Their commitment to giving access to great wine, regardless of experience and budget (and without any pretentious attitude!) as us so thankful. Their group sources excellent wines for guests and customers, making a curation of bottles that have us feeling excited and informed!

They have a great monthly wine club with delivery, winemaker events, seminars and tastings too. (P.S. Verve Wine has an excellent wine shop – with same day delivery – in NYC and San Francisco. Once we’re cleared to visit, you better believe we’ll be right there to pick up some of their classics!)

Tuscany Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Discover Rosé in Provence

Yes way Rosé! The pink stuff has slowly become one of our favorite wines. Crisp, citrusy, and fresh – its always been a dream of ours to experience a rosé in the sun-drenched, sunflower and lavender kissed land of Provence.

Rosé has an incredible history – aging all the way back to the ancient Greek age. Many of the first recorded rosés were made by watering down blends of white and red grapes. However, it wasn’t until the Romans brought over their field blends to the south of France that rosé really became coveted!

Now, rosé is synonymous with Provence’s rolling hills and rich parcels of land. Provence has been producing wine for over 2,600 years, making it the oldest wine region in all of France! Provence is committed to the art of rosé, as it is the only region to focus on its production and is home to the only research institute dedicated to it.

What To Sip

We’re absolutely obsessed with the legendary Miraval rosé! It’s full of freshness, well-balanced, fruity aromas and citrusy touches too. It’s both refreshing and flavorful, leaving us feeling elegant and celebratory all at once!

Issued from the Miraval Estate’s best parcels of land, right in the heart of Provence – there truly isn’t anything that comes close to having the real thing abroad than this! The château in which the grapes have been issued are the best of the whole of Provence. The vineyard has terraces of clay and limestone, soaking in the cold air pulling throughout the valley, which are truly excellent conditions to make a fresh and elegant rosé. The pure petal pink color have us oohing and ahhing even before our first sip!

Provence & South Of France Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Explore California Wine Country

California’s “wine country” is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s truly the perfect addition to any destination on the West Coast, especially for those who have a love and appreciation for vino! A California wine tour draws visitors from every corner of the world, seeking to soak up the sun and taste the delicious bounty of California’s delicious wineries. In fact, wine tours are the second most popular tourist activity in California (after a visit to Disneyland)!

California wine’s history starts with the Spanish Missions in San Diego, establishing themselves throughout the state and growing Criolla grapes to make low-quality wine. Later, French immigrants settled and planted the very first European grape varieties in the bountiful lands.

There was a huge turning point in California’s wine legacy – known as the Judgement of Paris on May 24, 1976. On this pivotal day, the world’s view of California wines forever changed. A legendary French judging panel titled California wines as higher ranking in Chardonnays and Reds than any other in the world… thwarting expectations and catapulting the production of California wines into a legendary status. Now, California is the leading wine producer in the USA, and the fourth largest producer in the world!

What To Sip

Empathy Wine’s bright and delicious white has us drooling! Its summery, light, with tones of lemon, anjou pear and peach. It has us dreaming of early summer temperatures, BBQing in the back porch, hosting friends and family.

We also love Empathy Wine’s transparency and commitment to sustainability and the quality of their wines. They know the absolute ins and outs of each of their wineries, all the way down to the names of the farmers and growers! Sipping on this fresh white gives us the peace of mind that we’re supporting a family (in this case, the white’s heritage comes from Lodi, California, made by Markus & The Mettler Family) and an industry that cares deeply about their product.

California Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Adventure To New Zealand’s Lush Wineries

New Zealand – its diverse landscapes, natural beauty and wondrous views have travelers awestruck. For those of us who aren’t quite able to hop on a plane to soak in the beauty of New Zealand, there’s so much to learn about its wine history!

At first glance, New Zealand’s wine culture seems short and sweet, but there’s so much to uncover. The first recorded planting of grapevines ages back to 1819, when Anglican missionaries planted them at the Bay of Islands. Despite the later prohibition movement, New Zealand wine development boomed during WW2 when imported wines became overly tasked. From there, wine production really blossomed until the 1960s (when restaurants were officially allowed to sell wine) and the 1970s improvements to the creation of the Kiwi-classic full dry wines. Less than thirty years ago, there were less than a hundred New Zealand wineries… and now there are over seven times that amount! Wine today in New Zealand are an essential part of growing its thriving food culture.

What To Sip

Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc is the iconic wine we turn to when we’re craving a little slice of New Zealand’s good life. It truly defined New Zealand’s wine and established the Marlborough wine region globally, especially bringing the Cloudy Bay brand into popularity. Their vineyards are located along the gorgeous Wairau Valley, rolling along the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions. (We dream of taking a real wine tour in this region one of these days, but for now virtual will have to do!) Thanks to the iconic region’s stable warm weather during harvest, Cloudy Bay’s grapes are able to steadily ripen for much longer periods of time.

At first sip, we fell in love with its mouthwatering flavor, filled with lots of juicy stone fruit, tropical flavors and a little taste of lemon acidity. It has us dreaming of road tripping around the North and South Islands, windows open, soaking in a sunset by the beach.

New Zealand Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Explore Spain’s Catalonia Wine Country

Romantic, lush and downright dreamy than the Spain countryside. The Catalonia region on Spain is flanked by rolling mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, truly an idyllic setting to explore no matter what a traveler’s interests are. In between the modernist architecture of Barcelona, medieval history, verdant valleys and seaside towns – explorers who’ve experienced Catalonia know its undeniable charm.

Catalonia’s wine history has over ten dominant wine regions that focus on full bodied, high alcohol drinks with intense minerality because of its deliciously warm weather. It’s been said that Catalan wine is older than Catalonia itself! Wine production began in the Catalonia region when the Phoenicians and Romans planted the first vines over two thousand years ago. Monks throughout the Arab occupation of the area preserved the wine tradition throughout the region, and nowadays the exportation of Catalonia’s wine is a major part of the regional economy and draws 19 million wine-seeking travelers every year!

What To Sip

There’s nothing quite like a smooth, buttery red straight from heritage Spanish vineyards. Matt Parish’s Spanish Garnacha is intense with flavors of dark cherry and plum, savory and smooth. It’s sourced from the 35-year-old vineyards in the iconic Montsant region of Catalonia. It’s easy to drink, but endlessly bold and flavorful… and Matt was named 2017’s Winemaker of the Year by US Angels! We love serving this up at a dinner party with Spanish style tapas and paella – just like you’d have in Spain!

Nakedwines.com’s mission is to connect wine drinkers (like us!) to the world’s best winemakers, producing hundreds of unique, indie wines we just can’t find anywhere else. Unlike other wine clubs, customers can choose when they’d like to try a wine. Their “angel” members also fund and invest the world’s best independent winemakers by prepaying $40 a month towards their next order. It’s a passion project into discovering more about top-quality wines without inflated marketing costs, and peace of mind knowing that each winemaker is also getting a fair and sustainable deal. It’s one of our go-to resources when we’re feeling curious about distinctive wines out there in the world!

Spain Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

The Heart of Organic Wine Movement

In recent years, there’s been a new trail blazed in the wine industry. Organic wines! What’s this? Essentially, the base of any organic wine must come from grapes from 100% certified organic vineyards. Organic wines reduce the use of dangerous chemicals, and it’s the next addition to any wine tour wine lover should investigate!

Organic wine creation methods began in Europe as early as the 1960’s. Later in the early 1980’s, US vineyards began to adopt and experiment with organic production. However, the acceptance of organic wines didn’t come easily! For years, traditional wine industries saw the organic movement as a threat and suppliers worried about them spoiling without preservatives.

What truly made the change? The purity of the wine in combination with the organic food movement. Artisanal cooking and the farm to table movement directly shifted the perspective of many food and wine aficionados. In the early 2010’s, fine dining establishments began boasting lists of organic wines on their menus… and the rest is history!

What To Sip

Bonterra Organic Winery has an excellent Merlot that we love to cork open when we’re longing for a real treat. Its 2017 bottle has an excellent balance, filled with notes of black cherries, smoke, plums and vanilla spice. Sourced from one of the oldest and most sustainable farmland, this Merlot is the definition of the organic wine movement… perfect for any wine-lover who’s hoping to learn a little bit more about their favorite drink.

Bonterra’s commitment to their wines is inspired by their biodiverse vineyards with extremely healthy soil, which creates flavorful organic wines. Their mindful farming and winemaking process all begins with their devotion to the backbone of their wines – the grapes. Grown organically from select growers, trading tractors for sheep for weed prevention and running on green power, Bonterra is the epitome of the organic wine movement.

Wine Education Inspo

  • SOMM – a documentary inside the intense world of wine and oil tasting
  • I’ll Drink To That! Wine Podcast 
  • Wine for Normal People Podcast
  • Other Virtual Wine Tours Around The Globe

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Pacific Northwest Wines

The Pacific Northwest of America isn’t necessarily the first destination travelers think of when it comes to wine. But, in recent years Oregon and Washington have really made a splash in the wine industry! These two states have what many wine experts believe to be the “best of both worlds.” Meaning, their locations can support New World wines because of their warm weather (which results of ripe fruit) and their cool nights can maintain the acidity needed in Old World wines.

Washington’s wine history does not go back as far as California’s, but as the second largest wine producing state in the US, Washington had a tremendous increase in its quality curve.  Wine grapes weren’t really grown here until a while after Prohibition was repealed.  In fact, it was Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that gave Washington a chance at viticulture.  The Columbia River Irrigation Project turned what were vast tracks of desert into fertile, agriculture-sustaining farmland.  Even then it took another 30 years for vitus vinefera (the species of grape used for wine making) to gain substantial plantings that supported commercial wineries.  The first guys on the block were the American Wine Growers.  They are now known as Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Washington’s wineries are filled with a large and diverse amount of grapes and areas to explore. Between its eastern region’s High Steppe Desert and the Columbia Valley’s major wine producing area’s six sub-regions west of the Cascade Mountains… there is a new world of wine tasting to be done in the Pacific Northwest!

What To Sip

Domaine Roy, located in the = Lined with vineyards from Bergström, Cameron, and Maresh, the estate’s 2310 vines per acre grow from some of the richest soil in the region. Their essential 2018 Iron Filbert Pinot Noir is a must-try! This vintage is an eclectic mix of florals, like lavender and sage, with aromas of orange and grapefruit citrus peel. It’s a polished yet rich wine with loads of raspberry, pine and rose that will remain one of our absolute favorites.

Pacific Northwest Winery Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home


Looking for more wine and travel inspiration? Be sure to check out our round up of excellent travel destinations for wine-lovers (once it is safe to travel again)!

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

North America Road Trippin

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

There’s a certain mystique about hitting the open road. The charming notion of packing your bags and departing into the great unknown is a well-loved form of travel for many reasons. The spontaneity, the romance of freedom, the wind whipping through your hair, the ultimate optimistic desire to just explore. A road trip is just as romantic as it is classic.

California’s iconic sunshine, endless outdoor experiences and ever-changing landscapes is a dream come true. For the road tripping Dame Traveler, we’re here to declare that we believe The Golden State is the ultimate road trip destination.

So, pack your bags and sunglasses, roll the top down and let’s explore one of our favorite California road trip routes! Additionally, we love this collection of itineraries and photo diaries. Or for the most book loving traveler, check out this 50 Amazing Road Trips guide. It’s the perfect coffee table book to sift through!

Highway 1 From San Francisco To San Diego

The most classic of road trip routes – Highway 1 – is beloved for good reason. The iconic stops along this approximate 5 day, 583 mile stretch is the perfect itinerary for the California new-by or aficionado, alike. Think beach-y coastlines, surf culture, rugged mountains, wine country and some of the hippest West Coast cities all rolled up into one trip! Although you could probably squeeze this route into four days if you wanted, we’d suggest spreading it out a little more so you have more time to enjoy and explore outside of your car.

Day 1 – San Francisco​​​​​​​

Start your California road trip of a lifetime in San Francisco. Famous for its many rolling hills, delicious eateries, progressive, trendy neighborhoods, the City by the Bay is an ultimate must-see while exploring Cali.

Some of our must see stops? The Golden Gate Bridge (of course), Alcatraz Island, Presidio neighborhood, Mission Dolores Park district, and the Ferry Building Marketplace. You can read more of our San Francisco favorites here!​​​​​​​

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Day 2 – Big Sur & Moro Bay

California’s iconic coastline, Big Sur, awaits road trippers with open arms. After a long stretch of driving north, you’ll be ready to hit the trails for a little bit. Luckily, this 90 mile long waterfront area is stocked with magical red wood forests and fog-laden beaches. (Be sure to stop at Bixby Bridge for a serious photo op!)

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

After enjoying some of the state’s epic natural wonders, hop in the car just a big longer and explore Moro Bay. It’s the perfect place for whale watching, noshing on some fresh sea food and exploring the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.”

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Day 3 – Santa Barbara

Have a day to yourself in “The American Riviera” – simply because Santa Barbara’s architecture, temperate climate and big city treats can’t be overlooked. Santa Barbara is the quintessential dream come true for sun-lovers. So, if you’re a road tripper who needs some TL-Vitamin C therapy, this city is definitely a must stop destination on your trip.

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Day 4 – Los Angeles

Of course, no quintessential California road trip would miss out on a day trip to the glamorous and cinematic Los Angeles. Famous for its film industry, you might see a celebrity or two if you’re lucky. Visit the beloved Walk Of Fame, Rodeo Drive, and the Griffith Observatory. But LA’s differing neighborhoods are really where it’s at – hipster Silver Lake, beachy Santa Monica, quieter Manhattan Beach, green Los Feliz, and swanky Beverly Hills (to name a few). Pick a couple that suits your travel style and explore… just be sure to plan ahead for lots of traffic!

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

P.S. If you’d like to extend your road trip a little longer, add a day in California’s wine country! And fear not. You don’t necessarily have to be a wine aficionado (although if you are, we have a list of destinations to add to your bucket list) to appreciate its beauty.

Day 5 – San Diego

End your journey in one of California’s waterfront charmer – San Diego! Enjoy the cities seemingly endless sunshine while you explore its charming neighborhoods like Little Italy, the East Village, North Park and Balboa Park (for a trip to see the beloved San Diego Zoo).

If you’d rather finish your road trip with a low key vibe, roll out a towel on the beach’s shoreline. Rent a paddle board or kayak, surf, or kick it with a fresh picnic. Ocean Beach, Mission Beach or Pacific Beach are great choices! Feeling a little more adventurous? Go check out La Jolla nearby or explore San Diego’s incredible shopping and sip on some of its up and coming craft breweries.

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

A Road Trip For All Types Of Travelers

Highway 1 really offers a varied glimpse at California’s wonders, doesn’t it? It’s a beloved stretch for wanderers for a reason. One of the things that really makes California unique is that its history and varied environments offers something special for everyone. Desert oddities? Check. Star-gazing and ghost towns? Check. National parks? Check. The eclectic adventurer will be delighted by its variety of road trip stops and itineraries.


California dreaming yet? Hope to see you out there on the open road, Dame Travelers!

Post sponsored by Visit California

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

North America Road Trippin

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

Emma’s sister. Laura’s friend. We all know the feeling of being identified by association, don’t we? Even though our accolades may pale in comparison to that of our more famous companions, we all crave (and deserve) our own identity. And in California – I dare say – there’s a county that feels that same way. Of course San Francisco is well known, and if you book a flight there, you fly into San Francisco International. The airport itself is actually nestled in San Mateo County, which often gets lumped in with its more illustrious northern sister, but I guarantee that this “little sister” can provide fun in big ways for a spectacular girls getaway.

The Wineries

Gather the gals and make a weekend out of taking in wines. Imagine sampling spirits crafted with locally grown grapes, wandering among the vines, or savoring a full glass while overlooking the scenery. Or choose to do all of the above!

For unparalleled mountainside views be sure to put Thomas Fogarty Winery on your list. Grapes are grown on the property, and the vineyards add to the stunning landscape. The bay is visible from their lawn, which gives cause to sip the day away while soaking in the natural beauty of the area as you chat with friends.

If you prefer an urban landscape, Domenico Winery is conveniently situated in San Carlos. With a warehouse vibe and on-site eateries (circa mid-2018), this location offers over 20 varietals and is steeped in family tradition and Italian heritage. At certain times of the year you can try your hand at experiencing the art of winemaking during one of their classes.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway 5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

The Culture

One location that combines arts, theatre, history and restaurants in one area is enchanting Redwood City. Its streetscapes lend themselves to walking so that you can shop and experience culture at the same time. The area boasts live theatre productions put on by Fox Theatre, Broadway by the Bay and Dragon Productions. Love shopping? Whether you are searching for fashions or collectibles, there is a bit of something for everyone. Also, learn a bit at the stately San Mateo County History Museum, and be sure to stop into LV Mar for Latin inspired, tapas style dining.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

The Nature

Looking to commune with Mother Nature? San Mateo County is filled with opportunities. Whether you are intrigued by historic homes and beautiful gardens or crave earthy accommodations, the area has several options to fit the bill.

A trip to Filoli is certainly a memorable experience. Featuring seasonal activities such as flower shows and festivals, this circa 1915 sprawling estate boasts a stately, art-filled home along with lush gardens. Offering classes in floral design, botanical art and horticulture, your squad can attempt a new skill together. While you are there, feel free to take in a bite at the on-site Quail’s Nest Café, peruse the Clock Tower Shop, or take a self-guided walk on the Estate Trail.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

Want to try glamping? Costanoa Lodge is the perfect place to try it out. With an assortment of cabins and tents, the options for housing are plenteous. If you choose the tented bungalows, comfort stations (read bathrooms with a sauna and outdoor fireplace) are available. An added bonus is an outdoor hot tub and much needed Wi-Fi. While you are experiencing Costanoa, be sure to rent bikes, go horseback riding or take a jaunt to the beach for a day of fun in the sun with the girls. Their on-site restaurant, Cascade Bar & Grill, focuses on sustainability, and if you have time, their coastal spa offers massage and aromatherapy treatments. The nearby Pigeon Point Lighthouse also offers beautiful photo ops to fill your Instagram feed.

The Spas

There is nothing quite like the peaceful music and natural scents that spa treatments offer. If spending a weekend lounging around in robes and treating your body to self-care sounds luxurious, then considering a spa vacation with the ladies is just the ticket for the perfect getaway. Wile away the hours as you ease away tension and leave feeling refreshed and revived.

Known for luxury, beautiful views and fine cuisine, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay not only offers upscale accommodations and fine dining, but guests can delight in a massage or facial while staying on-site. For extra activities, you can explore the nearby beach or experience the golf course. Another option is to head to Main Street, which offers shopping, restaurants and more for a day of fun on the town.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway 5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

Oceano Hotel & Spa offers a variety of services including detoxifying baths, seaweed wraps and invigorating body scrubs. If you crave seafood while you’re there, Sam’s Chowder House is close by as are kayak rentals for those who enjoy a bit of adventure. The rooms at Oceano are both spacious and comfortable with views of the boats docked in Pillar Point Harbor.

If you head to San Mateo County, I hope you’ll agree that the area stands on its own with lots of things to do for girls on the go. Bonus: Need to spend some time near the airport prior to leaving? Be sure to check out Kincaid’s for a fabulous capstone dinner with friends, and consider the Westin or Aloft to wake up refreshed before you head out of town.

Beaches North America Outdoors

10 Most Spectacular And Best California Beaches

California is always one of the most popular travel destinations in the US for its natural beauty, fabulous food and drink, the Hollywood, Silicon Valley and much more. The stunningly beautiful beaches of California too will always make the major attractions in the Golden State of California. If you are planning your next vacation in California, consider including visits to as many of the following most spectacular and best beaches in California as you can:

1. Cayucos State Beach
California is probably the last place you would expect an untouched beach would exist, but there are still actually virgin terrains in this populous state. The Cayucos State Beach is one of the best that you can visit. It is very laid-back, which is why a lot of people contemplating things about their life make their way here. Among the popular activities that are done in the Cayucos State Beach are fishing, kiteboarding, surfing, and kayaking.

 

2.  Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach is quite a crowded option for those living in southern California. It is the typical kind of California beach that we see on television shows and movies filled with men in beach shorts and women in bikinis. Beach volleyball is one activity that is done by many people in Manhattan Beach, which draws even more beachgoers. The large crowds that dot the coast do not diminish the greatness of this beach as it is still picture perfect.

 

3. Santa Monica State Beach
The Santa Monica State Beach is among the closest public beaches from the center of Los Angeles. It is also the most popular beach options for the stars and celebrities living in Hollywood and working in the film industry. Beach volleyball courts, bike paths, and beautiful mountains are key features of the spectacular beach view that can be seen near the Santa Monica Pier. Right after taking a dip in the turquoise waters of Santa Monica State Beach, you can go to the town’s many stores and restaurants to shop and dine.

 

4. Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach is arguably San Diego’s most famous beach. With the longest stretch of soft white sand imaginable, you will be able to undergo through the ultimate California beach experience. While a lot of people flock to this beach several times a year, it never becomes crowded.

As this is a large beach, having a beach cruiser bicycle is the best way to explore and enjoy the best of your stay at the beach. If you are a woman, you can consider having a women’s beach cruiser bike. If you want to have a bike of your own design, you can build your own beach cruiser as well. Coronado beach is also where you will be able to see the Hotel del Coronado, which served as the inspiration for the castle in the Wizard of Oz.  

 

5. Venice Beach
The proximity of the Venice Beach to Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego is one reason that it looks familiar to you. It has been featured several times already in beach-themed movies that were shot in California. With the gorgeous sand strips and cerulean waters, Venice Beach is beaming with life. There are a lot of performers like jugglers, singers and snake charmers that can be found near the beach. Plus, the tourist’s shops also sell a lot of good souvenir items.

 

6. Pfeiffer Beach
The Pfeiffer Beach would be on everyone’s list of best California beaches if it were not so hard to find. It is very secluded and hidden and is known for its rather rugged coastline. A key feature of this magnificent beach is the keyhole rock that stands out prominently on the coast. Another thing that makes the Pfeiffer Beach stand out is the fact that it has purple sand. It may be hard to find, but the beach is worth it.

 

7. East Beach
The East Beach in Santa Barbara is probably the stereotypical California beach that is on the mind of many people. It has a refreshing vibe, and the blue-green water of the beach has a soothing effect on practically anyone who is stressed at work. The good thing about the East Beach is the fact that it never gets too crowded so you can still relax even when a few people are walking around you. Make sure to visit the notable East Beach Grill near it as well.

 

8. Carmel Beach
Looking for the best sunset in California? Carmel Beach may be the place for you. Filled with pretty Cypress trees and silvery sand, the sight of orange and pink in the sky will make any stressed person loosen up. It is such a relaxing sight that it is almost a community event in this part of California.

 

9. Baker Beach
While not exactly the best place to go for a swim, Baker Beach has a lot of other things up on this sleeve. It does have an alluring seashore where you can go for a picnic the whole day. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, there is a nude beach in the north end of Baker Beach where you can take off your clothes.

 

10. Moonstone Beach
Fancy walking near the beach without having to step into the sand? The Moonstone Beach in Cambria is a pleasant option for you because is roomy and less crowded compared to other beaches nearby. Sea otters, whales, and dolphins also regularly drop by this beach, perfect for anyone who loves watching marine creatures.

 

 

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North America Outdoors

Mendonoma: An Insider Guide to California’s Northern California coast

If you hear someone talking about visiting Northern California, what comes to mind? The many sights and sounds of the San Francisco Bay Area? Hot-air ballooning over vineyards in Napa? Driving windy roads through massive redwood groves, perhaps?

We have all that—and more. But if you’re looking for a destination a little more off the beaten path, a mere three hours can transport you from the bustling city of San Francisco to quiet, coastal country. From the town of Jenner in Sonoma County to the town of Elk in Mendocino County, California Highway 1 will lead you up cliffs that offer breathtaking ocean views, through pasture lands and state parks, and into some of the quaintest communities California has to offer.

The locals call it “Mendonoma”.

Mendonoma is a world of its own. The pace is relaxed. Even cell service takes vacations here. Have a little spending cash on hand, as some of the best-loved shops and attractions don’t accept credit cards. You’ll find all the extra preparation well worth the effort, though—your nerves will feel the downshift as soon as you see that Pacific Ocean.

Start your exploration at The Point Arena Lighthouse and get a feel for coastal living, past and present. You can tour the lighthouse and climb to the top; enjoy local gifts and souvenirs in the gift shop; and roam the many trails over the bluffs and through the pastures of the Stornetta Public Lands. Bring in food for a picnic overlooking sea lions basking on the rocks below. Watch migrating whales play in the distance. Make your way down to the water’s edge and feel the power of breaking surf under your feet and the salt spray on your skin.

When you’re ready to continue your adventure, get back on Highway 1 and head south to Bowling Ball Beach, which gets its name from spherical sandstone boulders that lie scattered along the beach. The best view is at low tide, when you can take off your shoes and brave a little cold water to walk among the boulders. It’s particularly stunning at sunset; photographers come from near and far to capture the beauty and the mystery of Bowling Ball Beach.

Whether there’s fog or sun, make sure to include Black Point Beach on your itinerary. Traveling south on Highway 1, you will find this beach at the southernmost end of Sea Ranch, with parking available right off the highway. The beach itself is a short hike from the parking area, and the ocean teasingly makes itself visible little by little as you approach. By the time you reach the staircase to access the beach, the shoreline opens up and shows its full splendor.

This beach is truly one of the most beautiful spots on this part of the coast. Under certain conditions, the sand appears black and provides a stunning contrast with the white-capped waves. No matter what color the sand is, though, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll (at low tide, you can walk over half a mile from end to end). During your stroll, you may see cormorants, pelicans, sea otters, surfers, and wedding parties, depending on the season. Stay for sunset, if at all possible—the horizon is wide, a perfect palette for sunset colors.

There are so many other beautiful places to see in Mendonoma, so rest assured: whether you’re looking to take photos, paint a sunset, observe sea lions, or meditate on life, you can find a place to do it here. Part of the adventure is finding that little spot that speaks to your heart, mind, and soul. These suggestions will just get you started; the rest of the journey is for you to discover.

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