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California

  • The coastal city of Oceanside, California is one of the best hidden gems you’ll find in the Golden State.  This seaside village — which is located about 38 miles north of San Diego and 83 miles south of Los Angeles — is a throwback to beach towns of yesteryear that has managed to maintain its authenticity and charm. The Oceanside pier, Oceanside Beach, and these North County Beaches are the perfect vacation spot. Set back…

  • Wineries of California’s Santa Maria Valley The Santa Maria Valley, just north of Santa Barbara, is known for two things – beef and wine – such a delicious combination. And I recently spent a few days there to find the best of the best of each. What is Santa Maria style barbecue Tri-tip steaks are the cornerstone of Santa Maria style barbecue. The tri-tip is bottom sirloin, cut into a triangular shape. Not surprisingly, it…

  • There’s so much more to LA than double-decker tour buses packed with tourists hoping to get a glimpse of a celebrity home. From hiking the canyons to seeing the off-the-beaten-path museums, here’s where you’ll want to hang out with the locals. See: Santa Monica Beach is the tourist hotspot so you’ll want to rent a bike and ride along the oceanfront path for some gorgeous views. Head to Venice Beach for some of the world’s…

  • Wondering what to do in Costa Mesa California? I was invited by the Costa Mesa tourism folks to explore the “City of the Arts.” I wasn’t really sure what to expect, thinking it was just another suburb of LA, but as I would soon see, I was pleasantly surprised by this surprising upscale, arts enclave. I stayed at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio property under the Marriott brand, and realized it’s…

  • Sonoma County, California is on the radar of every oenophile, but let’s be honest, sometimes it’s great to experience the region without so much of a focus on wine. I recently spent a few days in the charming town of Healdsburg and discovered there are some great activities that don’t necessarily involve day drinking. Read more: 12 Things to Do in Healdsburg, CA Walking and Biking Tours in Healdsburg, CA Wine Country Walking Tours leads…

  • This is Part 2 of  Santa Maria Valley: Where Wine and BBQ Reign Supreme While the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Lucia Mountains offer some of the most breathtaking scenic drives, the region also offers the most beautiful vistas for wine tasting – and produces some really stellar Santa Maria Valley wines. The Santa Maria Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is the second oldest AVA in California with Napa Valley being the oldest. What makes…

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