If you plan to travel in California during the next year, you might be surprised by how early you need to make reservations for some campgrounds and by how fast some of the popular annual events sell out. To help you get ahead of the things you need to plan for, we've put together a monthly list. It's not the things can do this month, but the ones you need to make plans for now, even though they may not happen for months.
To find the things you should plan ahead for in March, see the California Travel Planning Guide.
An interesting e-mail appeared in my inbox a few weeks ago from a new San Francisco tour company called Vantigo. That's their snazzy, class VW tour vehicle in the photo and her name is Lillie. I got a chance to meet her - and her owner Erik Hormann soon afterward and this budding company looks like it's going to be a winner.
My friend Monica and I got a chance to take their City Lights tour recently and it was a lot of fun, zipping around town and we covered a lot more ground than you could on a day tour when the streets are busier. In fact, it was so much fun that the tour went straight to the top of my list of Things to Do in San Francisco at Night.
Besides having the cutest tour vehicle in town, Vantigo offers not only a daytime cruise around San Francisco, but some unique tours that other companies don't, including an Oyster Experience on the Pacific Coast and a couple of beer tours. You can reserve your tour at the Vantigo website and tell them Betsy says hello.
Just in case you missed any of them. these were the most popular posts in the month of February:
The New York Times recently posted a list of 52 places to go in 2014. Eight are in the U.S. and three are in California:
- North Coast, California: At #3 the "moody bluffs of the Mendocino Coast," especially the new Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands which includes a scenic, 12-mile stretch of coastline.
- Downtown LA is #5 "thanks to a thriving food scene" and good shopping.
- Lake Tahoe's weather has been fickle this season, but their #21 pick is cited for "new terrain, lodging and an entire base village.
San Francisco may be California's most difficult city if you're traveling in a camper or want to pitch a tent instead of checking into a hotel. There are no campgrounds with the city's 49 square miles and only a few within an easy drive of the tourist areas, but we've found them all for you.
All the details are in the San Francisco Camping Guide.
In 2013, Los Angeles broke tourism records for the third year in a row with 42.2 million visitors, a 2.5% increase over 2012. And it's no wonder, in my opinion. Of all the big tourist destinations in California, LA is the one that constantly re-invents itself and adds new things to see and do.
In 2014, you can look forward to:
- Broad Museum opens downtown in late 2014. If the exhibits are half as exciting as the building's architecture, it should be amazing!
- Despicable Me at Universal: Those lovable yellow Minions are ready to wreak Mayhem at Universal Studios Hollywood, opening in April.
- Ace Hotel, located downtown in the old United Artists building.
It's just north of Morro Bay, and I must have passed it twenty times before I followed the signs off Highway 1 into the little town of Cayucos, the most huggable little beach town on the California coast, with a laid-back ambiance.
Cayucos has a nice beach right in town, a good pier for fishing and a pretty late 1800s-style main street. It's also a good base for exploring Hearst Castle and Morro Bay. That is, if you can ever get yourself motivated to leave town...
All you need to do to plan your visit is the Cayucos Weekend Getaway Planner
Spring blossoms are everywhere, there's a great film festival in San Jose and the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano.
The basic story line of San Francisco's long-running Beach Blanket Bayblon is simple: Snow White travels the world looking for her Handsome Prince. It's what happens to her along the way that gets complicated - and mixed up - and funny.
This show has been going on since 1974, making it the longest running musical revue in theatre history, so I'm more than a little late to the party, but better late than never, as they say.
Get all the details in the in-depth review of Beach Blanket Babylon.
Here's what I'm looking forward to in California in March:
- Justin Vineyards: I'm planning an overnight trip to Paso Robles stay in their B&B the "Just Inn" and check out the restaurant, a weekend immersed in just one winery.
- Cinequest Film Festival: San Jose may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of great film festivals, but this one features tons of really interesting films and some very special guests.
- San Francisco City Lights Tour: If it's as good as it looks, you'll find it in the guide to Things to Do in San Francisco at Night next month.