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Travel and Culture - California

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The Golden State

The Golden State was made the official State Nickname for California in 1968. It is particularly appropriate since California's modern development can be traced back to the discovery of gold in 1848 and fields of golden poppies can be seen each spring throughout the state. The Golden State Museum is also the name of a new museum slated to open in late 1998 at the California State Archives in Sacramento. The museum's exhibits will bring to life the momentous events of California's history through a series of innovative, interpretive exhibits.

California - An All Season Destination

San Francisco, cable cars on Hyde Street with view of bayCalifornia is an all-season destination with something for every taste and every traveler. Whether it's shopping at mega malls or local boutiques, dining at over 78,000 restaurants, enjoying countless beaches along more than 1,264 miles of coastline, being thrilled at theme parks north and south, hitting the ski slopes or visiting California's renowned state parks, California is the year-round destination of choice.

Spectacular Summertime
Travelers to California will find a ton of summertime activities from pitching a tent next to one of California's many shimmering shores to exploring a modern, urban city. In the middle of the San Francisco Bay sits Angel Island State Park with camping areas offering spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. California wine country areas, such as Napa Valley and Sonoma (North Coast), are easily accessible from here as are great activities in San Francisco, including world-class museums and fantastic restaurants.

There is almost always something new at one of California's theme parks. Areas such as Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties offer thrilling theme park opportunities, a beautiful coastline, great art and fine restaurants - something for the entire family. Up north, visitors to the Gold Country can spend a morning rafting on the American River and then the afternoon learning about California history at the state capital or other area museums.

Alexander Valley, Grape Leaf. (Sonoma County)The Reds and Yellows of California
Some of the country's best fall foliage is located up and down the state of California. Plumas County in the Shasta Cascade region is known as "Awesome Autumn" because of its varying elevations and ideal fall climate offering a dazzling spectacle of color.

California agritourism is on the rise and unique festivals and working farms and ranches are attracting visitors from all over the country. In the Central Valley, the Fresno County Blossom Trail and Fresno County Fruit Trail, allows visitors to view firsthand the rich agricultural heritage of the area.

California's Action-Packed Winter
California is home to 34 downhill and cross-country ski resorts, offering more than 43,000 skiable acres. California averages over 400 inches of snowfall and four out of five sunny days each season. It's not unusual for California ski resorts to receive five feet of snow in just five days, making for exceptional powder conditions. Plus, the après ski scene in many California locations is outrageous, including the High Sierra's Tahoe and Mammoth and Big Bear in Inland Empire. Conveniently, many of California's resorts are located within close proximity to major airports in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Reno, Nevada. More information and cool deals are at www.visitcaliforniasnow.com.

Angel Island from Marin HeadlandsCalifornia Abloom
Springtime is a great time for family vacations and reunions and there's no greater playground than California. In California's Desert region, families can embark on safari adventures, such as a visit to the Living Desert, nonprofit zoological park and botanical gardens and can also enjoy a wildflower spectacle each spring. The Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove in the Central Coast region specializes in family reunions, hosting dozens of families each year with 50 to 70 members in each party.

For more information about planning a California vacation - at any time of year - visit www.visitcalifornia.com.

Photos by: "Robert Holmes/CalTour"

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