Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Other Places to Visit in California

When you think of traveling to California, you probably think of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Napa Valley as popular destinations. While being stationed in California, we have found so many more delightful places to visit and we're bringing you our list of favorites today. So, here you go - our list of nine other places you should visit in California!

Calistoga, CA

I discovered the Instagram account for Castello di Amorosa long before we moved out here. I initially thought I was following an account from Europe because of the beautiful castle that was always showcased. Then, I learned that it was a winery in Northern California and I knew that I had to visit it! This winery is located in Calistoga, CA, which is a part of the Napa valley area. Not far from the winery is a quaint little downtown area as well. We actually did an overnight trip to a spa in Calistoga before visiting the Castello the next day. The entire trip was enjoyable. Our only word of caution - downtown Calistoga can be pretty pricey but there are good options to be found if you simply look around.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

During a deployment, my friend and I went to The Refuge in Carmel to celebrate my 29th birthday. The Refuge is an awesome day spa. We left feeling peaceful and rejuvenated and decided to check out the nearby town. Carmel turned out to be a nice little town to walk around and look at things. They had a few unique shops that we enjoyed a lot - including an Alice in Wonderland themed shop.

Alamere Falls in Bolinas, CA

Alamere Falls has been one of my favorite natural discoveries in this area. It's about an hour away from San Francisco and you'll have to do some hiking to find it, but it's well worth the adventure! Alamere Falls is a waterfall that cascades straight into the Pacific Ocean! I can't recommend looking into this adventure enough. Be cautious and wear clothes that can get dirty and pants that cover your legs as you may encounter poison oak along the way!

Monterey Bay, CA

When we first moved here, I heard a lot about the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Since we're big animal people, we decided that we had to visit Monterey Bay. It's worth a visit but be prepared for a pricey entry fee and busy crowds. Also be prepared to pay a pretty penny for parking depending on what time you're there. After the aquarium, make sure you walk around and explore the local area to complete a fun filled day!

Sacramento, CA

Somehow the capital of California is not one of it's biggest attractions. Sacramento is located about two hours from San Francisco. It's not filled with a lot, but the Old Town section does make for an interesting stroll. I loved seeing all of the old buildings and even an old school house while we were there. Be prepared to be transported back in time the moment you step foot inside of Old Town Sacramento!

Santa Cruz, CA

If you're a beach lover or want spectacular views of the ocean, then Santa Cruz is the place for you. It's right along the Pacific Ocean and filled with amazing views of the ocean, surfers, and some huge waves. It's a popular surf destination and even has a boardwalk complete with rides! While you're there, scan the beach and see if you can find the artist behind Santa Cruz Sand - his work is outstanding!


Livermore Valley, CA

Are you a wine lover? We are! We're also budget conscious and not a fan of the prices you pay in the Napa area for a tasting. This is why we were ecstatic to discover Livermore Valley. This area is in the Bay Area and a popular wine destination (if you know about it!). Livermore produces excellent wines and their tasting fees are much less than Napa. We like to make a day of sipping wine, looking at vineyards, and taking in the spectacular views. This is a must visit for wine lovers.

Crescent City, CA

Up until now, I've primarily mentioned places that are near the Bay area. For this next location, we're going to travel to the top of California (almost to Oregon) and enjoy the majestic redwood trees. Crescent City is a small town with not much to see. However, they are host to some of the biggest trees you'll ever see! We stayed in a KOA while we were there and did plenty of hiking to enjoy this fairy tale setting.

Temecula, CA

For our last location, we're going to travel south. Last year, I emailed the husband (thank you deployments) and asked him what he thought of going to Temecula for a mini vacation. His response was "What's in Temecula?" I answered with a blog conference and a trip was born. Little did we know that it would be an enjoyable trip that we'd do again in a heartbeat. Temecula boasts a cute little town with lots to do. They are also home to several good breweries and wineries. We didn't get to visit any of the wineries but we did enjoy samples of their wine at the Balloon & Wine Festival that was taking place that weekend. They are also home to hot air balloon rides.

Have you been to California before? What sights and places did you see? We're always looking for a new place to explore!

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