Plan Your California Vacations
By Betsy Malloy, About.com Guide
- Know Before You Go on a California Vacation
- When to Go to California
- Be a Savvy California Visitor
- Where to Go for a California Vacation
- Weekend Getaways: The Shortest California Vacations
- Trip Ideas for California Vacations
- Your Perfect California Vacation
- California on a Budget
- Weather and California Climate
- Getting Around in California
Know Before You Go on a California Vacation
Some people wreck their California vacations by planning too many things to do. If you don't live in California, you may not realize how big the state is, how far apart the major sights are or how to get around. Use these resources to decide what's most important to you and find out how to plan California vacations that maximize what you can see without wearing you out.
- How Long Will it Take? Time Calculator
- Where Is It? Vacation Planning Map
- How Far Is It? Driving Distances
- Facts About California
- See It Now: California in Pictures
When to Go to California
Californians love to brag about their weather and say it's a great place to visit any time of the year. They're not far from wrong, but it can be foggy at the beach in mid-summer, Yosemite waterfalls slow to a trickle after the spring thaw and in late summer, San Diego is packed with Arizonans escaping the heat. The best time to visit for you may not be the most obvious. These guides include month-by-month event guides, weather tips and what's special in each season.
Be a Savvy California Visitor
We've been visiting California attractions and watching others at them for well over a decade, and we've seen it all, from the smart to the silly. Let those other poor dorks stand in line at Disneyland, miss the boat to Alcatraz, pay too much for their hotel rooms or get stuck in traffic. You'll know better with these travel tips.
Where to Go for a California Vacation
One of the biggest problems people planning California vacations have is that California has more places to go than you can imagine. It's the third-largest state by area, surpassed only by Alaska and Texas, bigger than the entire country of New Zealand, with two dozen climate zones or more. You've heard of the most popular places, but there are probably just as many that you don't know about - and one of them might be just right for you.
- Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Wine Country: Napa and Sonoma
- Yosemite National Park
- More California Places
Weekend Getaways: The Shortest California Vacations
If you ask any California tourist bureau where most of their visitors come from, it's almost always another place in the state. Strapped for time, residents' California vacations take the form of weekend trips. These resources will help you find places to go and plan your getaway quickly, but they're not just for weekend travelers. If you're planning a whirlwind tour of California, each getaway is designed to showcase the best of the area in just one or two days - string them together to make a longer trip if you like.
- Weekend Getaways A to Z
- How to Plan a Low Budget Weekend Getaway
- Sign Up for Our FREE Weekend Getaway Newsletter
Trip Ideas for California Vacations
You probably want to plan your own trip, your own way and don't need our stinkin' advice, but take a minute to find out how these samples can give you some ideas for how to organize your trip, routes to follow and how long they will take.
- Trip Ideas - Sample Itineraries
- Plan Your San Diego Vacation in 10 Easy Steps
- Plan Your Disneyland Vacation in 8 Easy Steps
- Plan a Los Angeles Vacation
- Plan Your San Francisco Vacation in 12 Steps
Your Perfect California Vacation
We've got as many personal interests as the Jelly Belly makers have flavors, so we've put together a bunch of collections of things to do in California to indulge them - and your interests, too. Take a browse through the links below to find something that appeals to your sense of play.
- California and the Old West
- Carousels in California
- Cartoon-Related Sights in California
- Factory Tours
- For Active Travelers
- For Culture Lovers
- For Kids and the Young at Heart
- Frank Lloyd Wright in California
- Ghost Tours and Haunted Places
- Herons and Egrets: Best Spots
- Marilyn Monroe in California
- Nature Lovers' California
- Route 66 in California
- Scientific and Technical Treats
- Spas, Resorts and Romantic Getaways
- Starstruck California - Film and Movie Sights
- The San Andreas Fault
- Wildflowers: When and Where
California on a Budget
We all think we know how to save money on a vacation: just stay in a cheap motel, eat at a fast food joint and try to find discounted tickets. It doesn't have to be like that. You might be surprised to find out that you can stay in a really nice hotel for the price of the Cockroach Inn, get a nice meal at a decent price - and save a ton of money on tickets. Just use our proven travel tips to find out things you don't know that can save you money on your California vacation.
- Save Money on California Lodging
- Save Money at Disneyland
- Save Money in San Diego
- San Francisco on a Budget: 8 Things You May Not Know
Weather and California Climate
"It never rains in southern California" may be the lyrics to an old song, but it's only half the story. In fact, it goes on to say: "It pours, man, it pours." It's cold in San Francisco on the Fourth of July, scalding hot in Death Valley in summer and the coast is foggy for most of June and July. Find out more and read about the climate and best times to go on a California vacation.
Getting Around in California
Most California visitors get around by automobile, but we've got all the details for going by planes, trains and buses, too. Just look for the cities and places you want to travel to (or from) and you'll find a complete guide to how to do it - by airplane, train, bus or shuttle.
- California Driving Distances
- LA - San Francisco on US Hwy 101
- LA - San Francisco on California Highway One
- LA - San Francisco on I-5
- Los Angeles - Disneyland
- Los Angeles - Las Vegas
- Los Angeles - San Diego