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Betsy Malloy

Betsy's California Travel Blog

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Weekend Getaway: San Francisco's Japantown

Monday April 21, 2014

japantown cherry blossoms

San Francisco's Japantown is a unique cultural opportunity. It's one of only a few Japantowns in the continental United States, along with those in Los Angeles and San Jose. It's small enough to make a fun little getaway and you'll find a couple of fun, Japanese-themed hotels to stay in, too. Plan your trip using the Japantown Getaway Planner.

Photo by dsletter_2000 at Flickr Under Attribution-NonCommercial License

Reader Favorites: Things to Do On a San Francisco Vacation

Friday April 18, 2014

A while back, we asked readers what they want to do most on their San Francisco vacation. These were the top responses

  • Sightseeing
  • Drive on the Coast Highway
  • Side Trip to Monterey and Carmel
  • Side Trip to Napa

If you want to know more, check all the results

More: Coast Highway South of San Francisco | Coast Highway North of San Francisco | One Day in Napa Valley | Monterey and Carmel

Why I'm Looking Forward to May in California

Tuesday April 15, 2014

By the end of May, the summer travel season will be in full swing, kicking off over Memorial Day weekend. These are some things I'm looking forward to before then:

  • It's a sweet and bittersweet occasion, getting in one last stay at the Inn on Mt. Ada on Catalina Island, before they close for good this coming November.
  • Yosemite's Tioga Pass often opens in May, which means I can get across the mountains to check out a few more of those great natural hot springs around Mammoth and Bridgeport. You can find this year's actual opening info at the Yosemite website.
  • I am not looking forward to the onset of May Gray and June Gloom, a California weather pattern that brings cloudy, overcast skies and cool temperatures, caused by low altitude clouds pushed inland by the wind. On the positive side, it makes those sunny days all the more welcome.

Plan Ahead in April

Saturday April 12, 2014

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 April, see the California Travel Planning Guide.

Weekend Getaway: Santa Cruz

Tuesday April 8, 2014

santa cruz beach boardwalk

Santa Cruz sits at the north end of the Monterey Bay and is home to the largest surviving oceanfront amusement park in California. It's a cozy town with a lively music scene, extraordinary natural beauty and a laid-back ambiance that makes it easy to relax. On summer weekends, Highway 17 going toward Santa Cruz is choked with cars heading for the beach, but the rest of the year, it's less crowded and more fun.

Plan your trip using the Santa Cruz Getaway Guide.

More: FREE Weekend Getaway Newsletter | California Getaways A to Z

Top Blog Posts in March

Sunday April 6, 2014

In case you missed them, these were the most popular things we posted in March:

Hearst Castle Architect Julia Morgan Honored

Friday April 4, 2014

Architect Julia Morgan is the first ever female American Institute of Architecture Gold Medalist. "Never mind that she died in 1956," says About.com's architecture expert Jackie Craven.

Morgan worked in California in the early twentieth century and one of her best-known California designs is Hearst Castle, but that's far from all. Check out her bio and most important designs.

I think one of California's most interesting Morgan structures is William Randolph Hearst's Hacienda west of King City. That's it in the photo. Built before the castle, it's less ornate, but unlike that big place on the coast, it's a hotel where you can stay overnight. It's a big part of the Valley of the Oaks getaway.

California Has Pleasant Weather, Map Maker Says

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Map maker Kelly Norton defines "pleasant" weather this way: Average temp 55 F to 75 F, lows above 45 F, and highs less than 85 F, with no significant precipitation or snow.

He analyzed 23 years' of data and made a list ranked by the number of days per year that a place met those criteria. Californians will be unsurprised at the top five: LA, San Diego, Oxnard, Simi Valley and San Francisco. Take a look at the averages for yourself:

See the rest of his list at Gizmodo.com

Alcatraz Views: New Images

Friday March 28, 2014

It's been a long time since I've posted any new photos of Alcatraz, but hopefully, these new ones will make up for the wait. To see what's new, click on over to the Alcatraz Image Gallery.

Hammer Museum: Free for Good

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Last month, UCLA's Hammer Museum eliminated its admission fee - permanently, thanks to its longtime benefactors Erika J. Glazer and Brenda R. Potter. The museum features hundreds of lectures and - and it hosts cutting edge exhibitions like Made in L.A. and Tea and Morphine: Women in Paris 1880 to 1914.

Of course, it's not the only thing you can do for free in LA. and adding it makes it an even 10 Things To Do in Los Angeles for Free .

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