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California Travel and Tourism Information on Travel Notes


Find California Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to California.

About California

Also known as the Golden State, in reference to the discovery of gold, southern California now attracts visitors looking for a golden tan.

The state capital of California is Sacramento.

About California - California Weather:
Find out more about California before you travel there.

Map of California

County Map of California:
Colourful map of California showing the location of all 58 counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo and Yuba.

The Making of California

California was named after an imaginary island in a popular Spanish romance when Hernan Cortes first sighted the Baja Peninsula.

The Spaniard, Hernan Cortes had already made a name for himself as Captain General and the conqueror of the Aztecs in Mexico, before he moved up the coast on another expedition in 1536.

The Spaniards didn't seem to trust one another, governors were constantly being replaced and new orders given.

Thus a stream of other conquistadors took it in turns to explore further north.

Dutch and English pirates were also attracted to the area to try and relieve the armadas of some of their bounty, but it was not until 1769 that San Diego was settled.

Franciscan priests seeking to convert the inhabitants of the New World to Christianity established San Francisco in 1776.

In 1822 California became a part of independent Mexico, although very much neglected.

American settlers resented Mexican rule, and captured the town of Sonoma in June 1846.

Shortly afterwards the US Navy occupied the area, forcing Mexico to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

Then came the Gold Rush.

States neighbouring California are: Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. California also shares a border with Mexico.

California Dreaming:
From Hollywood homes to boutique wineries, experience the best of California with these specialised tours.

The Golden State:
The Government of California's online presence.

Visit California:
Brought to you by the California Travel & Tourism Commission.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Sightseeing Grand Tour

L.A. Sightseeing:
From Hollywood to the Grand Canyon, there's never a shortage of places to go or things to do in LA.

Discover Los Angeles:
The official resource for visitors to Los Angeles.

L.A. Avenue:
A travel guide with a difference. Follow Nick around the streets of Los Angeles as he brings you images from his dashboard mounted webcam. Includes a 'what's hot' places of interest and a guide to local beaches.

Accommodation in Los Angeles

Hotels in Los Angeles.

San Diego

San Diego is known for year round great weather, surrounded by the beautiful Pacific Ocean. San Diego is one of the most visited cities in the U.S. and rated in the top three for beach vacations.

Meta-Travel Members By Top Cat Limos.

San Diego Limos:
A Plus Limousine provides chauffeured service throughout San Diego, Southern California, and Las Vegas.

San Diego Beaches

With miles and miles of superb beaches in San Diego, how do you pick the best?

Whether you're a first-time visitor or life-long resident, The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau encourages you to enjoy the beach and hopes the information provided here will help you to make the most of your stay:

Cardiff Beaches; Carlsbad State Beach; Coronado Municipal Beach; Del Mar Beaches; Encinitas; Imperial Beach; La Jolla Beaches; La Jolla Reefs; Leucadia; Mission Bay; Mission Beach; Ocean Beach; Oceanside City Beach; Pacific Beach; Point Loma Beaches; San Onofre State Beach; Silver Strand State Beach; Solana Beach; Torrey Pines State Beach.

Accessible San Diego:
San Diego destination information for travellers with disabilities.

San Diego news and weather from the online daily.

San Diego Travel Tips

When in San Diego skip the San Diego Zoo and visit the San Diego Safari Park instead. You will thank yourself after. Skip SeaWorld. See Balboa Park and art museum. Torey Pines Glider Point. Temecula Wine Tasting Tour.

Sent in by: San Diego Hot Limos.

San Jose

Airport Inn International:
Located in the middle of Silicon Valley, minutes from San Jose International Airport, San Jose Convention Center, and Great America. Guest rooms recently renovated with the corporate traveller in mind.

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo:
Features a variety of rides for children, amusements and a Puppet Theatre. To add to the fun, there are themed play areas and picnic groves for the whole family.... and of course, a chance to meet the animals.

History San Jose:
History San Jose manages two sites and a collection of over 500,000 historical artefacts from Santa Clara Valley. The sites, History Park in Kelley Park and the Peralta Adobe & Fallon House in downtown San Jose, are approximately four miles apart.

Hotel De Anza of San Jose:
Elegant 100-room, executive hotel located on W. Santa Clara Street.

San Jose CVB:
The San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau provides a complete source of information for all your vacation planning needs in Silicon Valley.

San Pedro Square:
With its antique archway and Euro-style patio dining, San Pedro Square offers first class restaurants, cafes and bistros, a microbrewery and night-clubs.

Winchester Mystery House:
Tour through 110 of the 160 rooms and look for the bizarre phenomena that gave the mansion its name; a window built into the floor, staircases leading to nowhere, a chimney that rises four floors, doors that open onto blank walls, and upside down posts!

Accommodation in San Jose

Hotels in San Jose.


Accommodation in Monterey

Hotels in Monterey.

Hotel Pacific:
The Hotel Pacific is an all-suite AAA 4-diamond Monterey hotel located downtown, within walking distance of Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

California Gold

California Gold:
Super fun gold panning tours at the Marble Quarry Campground in the Famous Gold Rush town of Columbia, California. For schools, scouts and tour groups.

The Great Unfenced:
Information on lodging and activities in the California Gold Country, from the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau.

California Wine

California Wine Country Tour

California Wine Country Tours.

Chateau Souverain:
Chateau Souverain identifies Alexander Valley as the best location for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc; the cool-climates of Carneros and Russian River Valley for Chardonnay; and Dry Creek Valley for Zinfandel.

Napa Valley Wineries:
Napa Valley features some premier wine producers. The climate and soil are virtually perfect for growing the type of grapes required to produce premium wines.

Napa Valley Wine Train

Take The Wine Train.

Napa Valley Wine Train:
A 3-hour, 36 mile, excursion from the historic town of Napa through one of the world's most famous wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena and return. Government regulations do not permit the train to stop or disembark passengers en-route, except at designated stops or stations.

Temecula Valley:
Visit the award winning wineries in Temecula; 90 miles south-east of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego.

Wine Country Jeep Tours:
Experience the California Wine Country like never before, on gently rolling back roads in a customised 4-wheel drive touring vehicle.

California Houseboats

Houseboat Rentals:
House boating can be a lot of fun for any age, size or type of group. The following suggestions and ideas are the result of many years of experience, and are intended to help make your trip more fun. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another, so you may find only bits and pieces of this useful to you.

Around California

The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce offers information on visiting or meeting in Orange County.

Pacifica Chamber:
Visit scenic Pacifica, a coast-side community only 15 minutes south of San Francisco.

Santa Barbara Guide:
What to do and where to go on the American Riviera.

Santa Monica Pier:
Another cam from the Westland Network.

Streets of Los Angeles:
A virtual photo tour through the streets of Los Angeles.

The Queen Mary:
The Queen Mary last sailed from Britain in 1967, and is now moored at Long Beach, California.

Venice Beach:
Street performers are as much a part of Venice as the iron pumpers on muscle beach.

Venice Beach Cam:
See Venice beach in the raw, if it's not dark when you go there.

Venice Boardwalker:
The beach area from the Santa Monica Pier south to Marina Del Rey has more things to do than anywhere else in Los Angeles.

Apart from the beaches of Southern California, visitors are also attracted to Hollywood, Palm Springs, Disneyland, Lake Tahoe, the Napa and Sonoma wine valleys, and Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

Also Visit:
Pioneer Village in Bakersfield, El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, the Old Customs House in Monterey, and Sutter's Fort in Sacramento.

California Parks

Death Valley, (86 m. below sea level), is the lowest point in North America, while Mount Whitney (4,417 m .), in the Sierra Nevada, is one of the highest peaks in the United States.

Digital Desert:
An interesting photo guide of the south-western Mojave Desert and the bordering mountain areas. Sponsors are intricately woven into the display, so you have been warned. Full marks for an original concept though.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs:
Comprehensive guide to Palm Springs, California. Don't forget to order your free copy of the Palm Springs Visitor Guide.

The Terra Cotta Inn:
Clothing optional resort and spa. Named a favourite couples getaway, by Los Angeles magazine, and one the top four resorts in Palm Springs, by ABC TV San Diego.

Accommodation in Palm Springs

Hotels in Palm Springs.


Historically referred to as the ‘Queen of the Southern Mines', Sonora is located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Foothills, in the heart of California’s 'Gold Country'.

Sonora is the county seat of Tuolumne County.

City of Sonora:
Sonora’s prosperity during the late 1800s and early 1900s is evidenced by many of the historic homes and buildings that local residents can treasure today. Sonora is home to museums, art galleries and live theatre. The City also plays host to numerous festivals and special events throughout the year.

Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau:
The Gateway to Yosemite, Gold Country, the Central Sierra Nevada and home to Stanislaus National Forest, Columbia and Railtown.

There are so many things to see and do in and around Sonora, California.

Considered a gateway to Yosemite National Park, Sonora is also close to amazing vineyards, world-class golfing, stunning caverns, hiking, water sports and horseback riding. A short drive from historic Columbia, Angels Camp and Murphys.

Meta-Travel Members By Carlos Gonzzatti.

Best Western Sonora Oaks: Sonora.
19551 Hess Avenue.

Official Website:
Best Western Sonora Oaks.

Nestled under ancient arbours in the historic Mother Lode area of the Sierra Foothills lies the Best Western Sonora Oaks.

Comfortable and relaxing, the Best Western Sonora Oaks is one of the newest inns in the area.

In addition to the spacious and tastefully appointed accommodations, guests also enjoy complimentary coffee, HBO and free local telephone calls.

Guests can also use the outdoor heated pool and spa. The hotel also offers valet laundry service, 24-hour front desk service and free parking.

Sonora Days Inn: Sonora.
160 S. Washington Street.

Official Website:
Sonora Days Inn.

This historic California hotel offers well-appointed guestrooms and modern conveniences in a Victorian-era hotel setting.

With 64 guestrooms in the main building and annex, you can choose from King, Queen, or Double Bed rooms. All rooms are appointed with premium cable channels, blackout drapes and complimentary toiletries.

A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily and you’ll find free newspapers in the lobby for your convenience. Free wireless high-speed Internet access is also available.

Summers can get pretty warm in Gold Country, so lodging guests will be pleased that there's an outdoor pool. And since it’s on the rooftop, it may just be the best view in Sonora!

Around Sonora

Bear Valley:
The Bear Valley area as we know it today was originally called Grizzly Bear Valley. The Bear Valley Mountain Resort is operated under special use permit on the Stanislaus National Forest.

Bear Valley Village:
Northern California's most centrally located mountain resort, conveniently accessible via the historic Ebbetts Pass Highway 4 corridor: Bear Valley Village is home to a variety of services, shops, restaurants and a wide range of accommodations options.

Calaveras County Visitors Bureau:
Calaveras County is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains - 133 miles east of San Francisco and 135 miles west of Lake Tahoe. Midway along State Highway 49, which links the towns of the Gold Country, Calaveras County is filled with natural and historic diversity.

Ironstone Vineyards:
Winery tours at Ironstone start in the Tasting Room, in front of a magnificent fireplace. Tours are offered three times daily: at 11:30, 13:30 and 15:30. Highlights of the tours include the wine production area, tank farm and bottling line, wine-aging cavern, amphitheatre, gardens and Lakeside Park, as well as the Tasting Room, Culinary Exhibition Center, Alhambra Music Room and Theatre Pipe Organ, the Heritage Museum, and the Jewelry Shoppe. Located at 1894 Six Mile Road, Murphys.

Mercer Caverns:
World famous for the rare Aragonite flos ferri, Mercer Caverns first received paying customers in 1885; making it the longest continually operating commercial caverns in the state of California. Located in Calaveras County, just outside Murphys and about five miles from Angels Camp. Travel time from Sacramento is about two hours.

Mountain Springs Golf Club:
Located above the fog and below the snow in historic Sonora, California. Play this scenic 18-hole Robert Muir Graves designed championship course while enjoying the Gold Country and the scenic beauty of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Muir-Hanna Vineyards:
Muir-Hanna Vineyards, located in California's Napa Valley, is owned and operated by the direct descendants of John Muir. True to their legacy, they practice sustainable agriculture in every phase of their operation and every vintage celebrates the respect and connection that John Muir had with the glories of nature. The tasting room is located at 36 S. Washington Street, Sonora.

Sierra Glen Ranch:
One of Tuolumne County's oldest and most scenic farming enterprises, Sierra Glen Ranch is planted on a shelf of fertile mountain loam at an elevation of 3,600 feet and overlooking the great Central Valley. The whole family can visit to pick their own fruit, depending on the season, or cut down their very own Christmas tree.

Stanislaus National Forest:
During the gold rush, the area that would become the Stanislaus National Forest was a busy place, occupied by miners and other immigrants, homesteaders and ranchers, dam builders and loggers. Today you can fish in over 800 miles of rivers and streams, stay in a campground, or hike into the backcountry seeking pristine solitude. You can swim near a sandy beach or wade into cold clear streams, raft the exciting Tuolumne River, or canoe one of the many gorgeous lakes. Depending on the time of year, you can ride a horse, a mountain bike or a snowmobile.


Located in California's Central Coast region, between the Gavilan and Diablo Ranges of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Hollister is about 95 miles south of San Francisco, 45 miles east of Monterey and 300 miles north of Los Angeles.

In 1868, 'Colonel' (honorary title) William Welles Hollister sold his portion of the original land grant, known as Rancho San Justo, to a group of civic-minded citizens.

Hollister was officially incorporated as a city on August 29th, 1872 and by February 12th, 1874 had secured its place as the most important city in the area when San Benito County was formed and Hollister was named the county seat.

City of Hollister:
Located in San Benito County, Hollister is served by major California highways and has one of the few remaining executive airports in the country.

Hollister Downtown Association:
Discover the dining, shopping, history and vitality that downtown Hollister has to offer.

San Benito County:
San Benito County covers approximately 1,396 square miles ranging in elevation from near sea level to over 5,000 feet, has a population of over 56,000, and is bordered to the north by Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, by Merced and Fresno counties to the east, and by Monterey County on the west and south.

San Benito Historical Society:
In 1772 Father Crespi named the San Benito River, the main waterway in the county, in honour of Saint Benedict. Early history of San Benito County revolved around Mission San Juan Bautista, founded in 1797; the seventh mission to be built in California.

Best Western San Benito Inn: Hollister.
660 San Felipe Road.

Official Website:
Best Western San Benito Inn.

With easy access from Route 156 and 25, the Best Western San Benito Inn is an exceptional value economy hotel near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Monterey Bay, California.

The well-equipped rooms feature free high-speed Internet access, cable television with HBO, coffee makers, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, air-conditioning, refrigerator, microwave and dataports.

Experience a refreshing blend of modern luxury and laid-back Northern California lodging in the heart of Hollister as you start your day with a complimentary continental breakfast.

Later in the day, you can relax in the hotel's outdoor pool.

Only two miles from golf courses, six miles from the Mission San Juan Batista and eight miles from San Juan College.

RV Camping in California


49er RV Ranch:
Located at 23223 Italian Bar Rd, Columbia, the 49er RV Ranch is a full service RV Park in a rustic setting; serving Columbia Historic State Park.

Columbia State Historic Park:
Where the Park System re-creates a gold rush town of the 1850-1870 time period and local merchants provide for your modern needs.

California Limousines

Hiring a limo is not really that expensive, if there are six or more of you to share the costs.

Top Cat Limousine:
Located in San Diego, they charge $45 an hour for 6 people (book a minimum of two hours and you'll get an hour free) and $169 for a five-hour Temecula wine tour.

California Municipalities

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