Tag archives for California

America does beaches extremely well, a point I didn’t begin to realize until my 20s, when I tried to sunbathe on a jam-packed stretch of Spanish shore. But too many of the towns along our coastlines have become charmless and generic. They feel like shopping malls with sand. Then there are those that shine. Here are seven of the best.

I’d never come close to a shotgun before. Or a bear. To me, a girl from New York City and the mother of a five-month-old son, that bear was as terrifying a threat as Godzilla. Luckily, it didn’t attack us, but it did eat the Naugahyde window padding off our parked camper before my then-husband’s…

I enjoy eating out in L.A. more than any other city in the world. That’s a bold statement, especially coming from a New Yorker, but the combination of superior produce grown in a Mediterranean climate, fresh (and inexpensive) sushi, comfort food at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, and authentic Mexican cuisine spilling over the border holds…

While I have an unabashed appreciation for all things Los Angeles, it’s carefree Santa Monica that hooks me every time. I don’t worry about what I’m eating, what I’m breathing, or about the carbon footprint I’m leaving behind when I’m in in Santa Monica, where sustainability and organic, healthy living are top of mind.

In 1888, two things I love were born: the National Geographic Society (obvious bias here) and the Hotel del Coronado. I realized the coincidence as I stood in the Del’s wood-paneled lobby, where, on the surface, little appears to have changed in the past 126 years except for the attire of the crowds passing through. But this American classic isn’t frozen in time.

The next time you’re traveling through Southern California, think about making one of these fab mid-century modern pads your home base.

Beyond Farm to Table in Carmel

A pregnant doe munched on lavender bushes as I rolled into Carmel Valley Ranch, a 500-acre property in the heart of California’s central coast. After checking into one of the modish earth-toned guest suites and walking through a pool area where families sat around a fire roasting marshmallows, I felt completely transported back to my days at summer camp.

Scent-sual Escapism in Ojai

It’s always a relief to make it through Los Angeles when you’re en route from San Diego. But just a few miles farther down the road in a little town called Ojai, I had even more reason to exhale deeply.

Our Curious Traveler, Shannon Switzer, is taking a trip down the Road to Wellness to uncover off-the-beaten-path places and experiences that rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit. The adventure begins this Monday, April 8th. Follow Shannon’s journey on Twitter @CuriousTraveler and on Instagram @ShannonSwitzer.

Wine Road Wonderland: Day 3

I’ve done my fair share of wine tasting, but I’m a far cry from a sommelier. Lucky for me, I was about to learn a lot, including fun new terms like sur lie, cordon pruning, and cork hopping. I would also learn that Sonoma is the land of owl boxes, enigmatic dog ambassadors, and fun-loving people who work hard while making it look easy.

Day 3: Dry Creek Valley….

Wine Road Wonderland: Day 2

I’ve done my fair share of wine tasting, but I’m a far cry from a sommelier. Lucky for me, I was about to learn a lot, including fun new terms like sur lie, cordon pruning, and cork hopping. I would also learn that Sonoma is the land of owl boxes, enigmatic dog ambassadors, and fun-loving people who work hard while making it look easy.

Day 2: Alexander River Valley….

Wine Road Wonderland

I’ve done my fair share of wine tasting, but I’m a far cry from a sommelier. Lucky for me, I was about to learn a lot, including fun new terms like sur lie, cordon pruning, and cork hopping. I would also learn that Sonoma is the land of owl boxes, enigmatic dog ambassadors, and fun-loving people who work hard while making it look easy.

Day 1: Russian River Valley….

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in April.

James Conaway’s long love affair with wine began with a column at the Washington Post and inspired him to pen two non-fiction books on the subject — but he eventually came to realize that fiction has advantages over journalism when dealing with “a subculture as broad as the Earth and as deep as history itself.”

The Forgotten Zoo

Towards the end of my Curious Traveler road trip last summer, I promised myself I’d spend more time exploring my own backyard. So when I learned that my friend had been hired as a bird keeper at the L.A. Zoo, I jumped at the chance to hit her up for a behind-the-scenes tour.

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in March…

Less than three percent. That’s the portion of the world’s oceans now set aside for conservation — a small safety net that ecologists are working to increase. Joining a wave of new marine reserves, Australia recently designated 382,000 square miles in the Coral Sea to preserve an area of fish-haloed seamounts, turtle nesting areas, and…

Urban Insider Annie Fitzsimmons lets the cat out of the bag about what makes San Francisco magical at this time of year.

Tinseltown with the Kids

Here they are: ten kid-friendly things you can do in Hollywood.

Travels on the Run: San Francisco Bay

For National Geographic Books Senior Editor Barbara A. Noe, going on a run is the best way to get oriented in a new city, and a great way to take in the sights. So lace up your sneaks and read on to get Barbara’s tips on where to run in some of the world’s greatest places — and what to see along the way.

The Radar: The top travel news, stories, trends, and ideas from across the web. Got Radar? Follow us on Twitter @NatGeoTraveler and tag your favorite travel stories from the Web #ngtradar. Check back on the blog for our roundups. Photograph by David Mulder, Flickr.

Wine schmine. The new Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail winds about a hundred miles through the redwood canyons, pastures, and oak-covered hills of Marin and Sonoma counties, linking more than two dozen artisans who make distinctive cheeses using local milk from grass-fed cows, sheep, and goats.

As you know, Shannon Switzer, otherwise known as the Curious Traveler, just returned from an epic road trip around the American West. Though she’s happy to be back in her hometown of San Diego, she aims to keep her curiosity goggles on now that she’s back in familiar territory. Now, without further ado, these are a few of her favorite things.

I was being that person — a creeper. I usually avoid being that person, especially when it comes to celebrities. Yet here I was walking around with my purple camera snapping furtive pictures of people’s homes. But the houses I was hunting didn’t belong to Britney Spears or Brad Pitt, and I wasn’t high in the Hollywood Hills. I was in the California desert searching for low-profile bungalows once owned by some of Old Hollywood’s biggest icons.

Fort Bragg: A Glass Act

Most coastal towns try to keep glass OFF their beaches. But not Fort Bragg. They’re fighting to keep theirs full of the stuff.