Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Los Angeles Valentines Day Things To Do 2012

Valentines day fall on Tuesday this year so if you are planning something special its best to do it on the weekend before February 11- 12, 2012. Then on Valentines day,  February 14, 2012, you can have a more intimate celebration with your partner.

Valentines day is sure to bring long lines at restaurants so by celebrating the day of love at the weekend you can avoid the lines and spend an entire day together. Listed below are some of our most popular trips for different regions of the state. Bring along the family and enjoy a day together then on Tuesday you will have time for a private event.

Fun Things to Do Valentines Day Weekend 

Palm Springs Tram - See some of the most spectacular views in Southern California. Ride from the desert to the mountains. Weekend packages are still available but filling up fast. Lots of snow, great place to cuddle.
Julian Historic Gold Town - Famous apple pies and gold mine tours. Located in the beautiful Cuyamaca mountains north of San Diego. Julian is a favorite day trip or weekend getaway.
Los Angeles Farmers Market - Have breakfast or lunch at original 1934 Los Angeles Farmers Market. Shopping at the specialty shops and then head next door to the Grove to check out the upscale stores and take in a movie.
Catalina Island Just off the coast of Southern California is an island that looks much like California did two hundred years ago. Fun for a day trip or weekend adventure.
Sunset Ranch Hollywood Ride up into the hills above Hollywood on a guided trial ride. Enjoy a fantastic view of Los Angeles while on your old west adventure.
Crystal Cove Beach One of the few places left in Orange County where you can walk for miles along the coastline and see it in its natural state. Have lunch at the Beachcomber Cafe on the beach at Crystal Cove.
Laguna Beach Wide sandy beaches, tide pools, shops, and world class restaurants. One of the most romantic towns along the Southern California Coast.
Grape Escape Hot Air Balloon Adventure Take flight with the birds and observe wildlife marveling at the sight of a beautiful hot air balloon floating overhead. View lakes, citrus groves, wineries and estate homes.
Kayak the La Jolla Seven Sea Caves - Take a guided kayak tour of the sea cave and see these hidden treasures. No experience is required all equipment is provided for you.
Sunset Gondola Huntington Beach Sunset Gondola brings the romance and tradition of Venice, Italy to the canals of Sunset Beach and Huntington Harbour. Daily, 10am to 11pm
Temecula Valley Wine Tasting Many of the wineries offer picnic areas and some of the larger operations have restaurants. Perfect romantic trip for Valentines Day.
Oak Glen Take a trip to a relaxing country getaway. Oak Glen is famous for Apples, Cider, Antiques, U-Pick apple orchards and fruit stands. About a 90 minute drive from Los Angeles.
Julian Historic Gold Town Apple pie and gold mine tours. This 1870s gold rush town is east of San Diego in the beautiful Cuyamaca mountains. The scenic drive is half the fun.
Two-Hour Harbor Cruise of San Diego BayFriends, family and loved ones will have a blast sharing time together, relaxing and enjoying the views. Two hour cruise aboard an elegant, comfy yacht.
San Diego Botanical Gardens Features rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest and California native plants. Take a romantic walk and enjoy the ocean views from the gardens.
Torrey Pines State Reserve One of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast.Rare and elegant Torrey Pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches.
Old Town San Diego Recreates the setting of California early years. Historic buildings house museums, shops and restaurants. Ride red trolley cars from here to downtown San Diego.
Kayak the La Jolla Seven Sea Caves - Take a guided kayak tour of the sea cave and see these hidden treasures. No experience is required all equipment is provided for you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Only in Hollywood can a cemetery be a sacred resting space but also be a tourist attraction and a venue for cultural events. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which used to be known as Hollywood Memorial Park.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a functioning cemetery that is the final resting place of the more of Hollywood’s founders than any other place on the world. It is also one of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles.

The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. If you live in the Los Angeles area or are planning a trip to Hollywood, a visit to Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a unique addition to your itinerary. More about Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

California Academy of Sciences Discount Tickets

The California Academy of Sciences located in Golden Gate Park should be a “must see” for those visiting San Francisco or those living the Bay Area. Major venues and exhibits at the Academy include the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, a four-story rainforest, and a naturalist center.

The beautiful four-story rainforest is feast for the senses. With warm temperatures, high humidity, dripping water and interesting animals, kids of all ages will be in awe. The rainforest housed within a 90-foot diameter glass dome that is accessed through a spiraling ramp. There are free-flying birds and butterflies, as well as freshwater fish, and over 1,500 live animals. The tropical plants are equally as stunning as the animals. California Academy of Sciences Discount Tickets.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fort Bragg Wine & Crab Days January 20 -29 2012

Every January for the past thirteen years, Northern California's Mendocino County has been celebrating locally harvested Dungeness crab and award-winning wines from "America's Greenest Wine Region" with a festival that satiates the taste buds of foodies and oenophiles alike.

From gourmet, crab-themed dinners in four-star restaurants, to family-style Cioppino feeds, to the ever popular Crab Cake Cook-Off and Wine Tasting Competition featuring local Mendocino chefs and winemakers, this festival has something for everyone! Enjoy a multitude of dinners, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, crab excursions, events and lodging specials over the course of the ten days – hosted by Visit Mendocino County, the Mendocino Coast Clinics, innkeepers, restaurants, wineries and more! More about Fort Bragg California.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Angels Camp California Gold Country

Angels Camp is located in California’s gold country. It was founded during the Gold Rush by a shop keeper who decided he could make more money providing supplies to the gold miners and prospectors than going and looking for gold himself. He did quite well and at its apex, Angels Camp served as the home-base for over 4,000 miners.

When you get to Angles Camp, a great place to start is at the Angels Camp Museum and Carriage House. Located on South Main Street, this Museum covers three acres and displays a comprehensive collection of artifacts that speaks to the rich and diverse history of the area. You can see Gold Rush related items and more. The Museum puts on a lecture series with a monthly speaker on a topic of interest and has rotating exhibits. More about Angels Camp California



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bizarre Foods Andrew Zimmern Top Five 2012 Travel Destinations


Returning to the Long Beach Convention Center on January 14-15, the L.A. Travel & Adventure Show helps kick off 2012 with tons of destination inspiration.  Along with over 400 exhibitors, a brand new culinary stage and out-of-the-box activities, the show’s impressive roster includes some of the industry’s most beloved stars.  In the spirit of there’s-no-time-like-now, speakers Andrew Zimmern, Samantha Brown, Pauline Frommer and Patricia Schultz weigh in on the Top 5 best places to go in 2012.  

Andrew Zimmern, Travel Channel host of Bizarre Foods recommends the following for traveling foodies:
  • BarcelonaSpainBarcelona offers a remarkable depth and breadth of eateries. The best in Spanish cuisine is well represented here.”
  • MontrealQuebec“It’s a city with more culinary balls than any other on earth. Classic eats, street fare, indulgent, boozy, chef-driven, extreme cuisine.”
  • AleppoSyria“This former Spice Route capitol was the world’s greatest food city a thousand years ago and is still one today. Paved with ancient pathways, it’s perfect blend of Middle East and North Africa.”
  • VeniceItaly“It’s the perfect walking city, dark and brooding at night, hidden and mysterious, and the food is once again on par with the town itself.”
  • TaipeiChina“I love Chinese cuisine, maybe above all else. The night market in Taipei offers what is perhaps the best street eats on the planet narrowly beating out Penang’s New Lane and Singapore’s hawker stalls.”
Andrew will be speaking 12:00pm - 1:00pm on Saturday and 3:00pm-4:00pm Sunday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Los Angeles Times Travel Show Schedule

Exhibitors representing destinations around the globe, from the warm waters of the Caribbean to Alaska’s glaciers, will present a wide variety of options to satisfy every traveler’s palate. The Travel Show will also feature activities designed to provide a mini-vacation in the heart of downtown L.A. Attendees will have the opportunity to hop on an exhilarating zip line presented by Ecuador Ministry of Tourism, “walk on water” inside bubble rollers, climb a rock wall and glide down a rappel tower.

 The show’s Culinary Stage, sponsored by Tourism Ireland, will serve samples of regional and exotic cuisine. Performers representing cultures from Africa to Japan will also add to the international atmosphere and The Times’ award-winning Photo staff will be shooting exclusive souvenir photos.

Los Angeles Times Travel Show giveaways include a chance to win an all-inclusive trip for two to Yukon, Canada from Boreale Explorers; an international adventure from Explore!; a “Barefoot Perfect” Vacation Package from the Belize Tourism Board with airfare, dining and activities included; and a visit to the Verde Valley in Phoenix complete with lodging, dining and entertainment provided by The Heart of Arizona.

Tickets for the weekend show January 28 and 29 are $10 each, and for a limited time visitors can redeem discount code “LATPR” to receive $2 off. More about the LA Travel Show.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Birch Aquarium Half-Off Admission to San Diego County Residents

To mark 20 years at its current location along Expedition Way in La Jolla, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, is offering San Diego County residents half-off admission on the 20th of every month through the aquarium’s anniversary month of September 2012.

The special deal is valid for residents living in zip codes 91901-92199. Visitors must show a valid ID with the zip code to receive the offer (limit two children per paid adult; cannot be combined with other offers). Regular admission is $14 for adults, $9.50 for children ages 3-17 and $10 for seniors. Children under age 3 are free.
“We are very grateful to the San Diego community for embracing the aquarium and its mission over the last two decades,” said Nigella Hillgarth, aquarium executive director. “We’re offering half-off admission as a way to say thank you to residents and invite them to rediscover our fantastic facility.”

In the last 20 years, Birch Aquarium at Scripps has welcomed more than 6 million visitors from across the United States and around the world, including U.S. presidents and other high-ranking government officials, royalty and Hollywood superstars. The aquarium remains one of San Diego's top cultural destinations and was voted San Diego’s Best Museum in the 2011 A-List, coordinated by 10News.com. More than 40,000 school children take part in the aquarium’s on- and off-site education programs each year.

Today, visitors can explore more than 60 marine tanks – up from 36 on opening day – teeming with fishes, corals and invertebrates from the chilly waters of the Pacific Northwest to the warm currents of the tropical seas. A showcase 70,000-gallon tank houses a forest of gently swaying kelp, treating visitors to a serene view of a complex marine community that flourishes off the San Diego coast.

More about the Birch Aquarium San Diego

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paso Robles Hotel Month

By February, the gifts have long been opened (and some returned), the holiday parties have come to end and the New Year has been celebrated. For those who are feeling more wiped out than refreshed, escape to Paso Robles wine country for an affordable post-holiday season retreat. Throughout the month of February 2012, the Travel Paso Robles Alliance is sponsoring “Paso Robles Hotel Month,” when visitors who stay two nights will receive their third night free, available at a range of participating resorts, flagship hotels and inns. In addition, guests will enjoy a complimentary bottle of Paso Robles wine from the Paso Robles Wine County Alliance, plus special amenities unique to each property. All of this because everyone needs a holiday after the holidays!

Nestled in the Santa Lucia Mountains of Central Coast California and just over three hours from Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Paso Robles is an ideal place for a relaxing winter getaway. With current average daytime temperatures hovering around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round activities include wine tasting at more than 200 Paso Robles wineries, farm fresh dining, hiking, biking, premier golfing, hot springs spas, and nearby Hearst Castle and beaches are only 30 minutes away.

 For more information about Paso Robles visit www.travelpaso.com.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Of Men and Mavericks Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is getting a taste of Hollywood with the making of the new film “Of Men and Mavericks.” This new movie is based on the life of beloved surfing legend Jay Moriarity and his friendship with his mentor and local legend Rick “Frosty” Hesson.  “Of Men and Mavericks” is not only set in Half Moon Bay and the world famous Mavericks surfing spot, but was filmed there as well.  The filming began in October and included over 150 cast and crew roaming the beaches of Half Moon Bay, including stars such as Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston and Elisabeth Shue.  Watch out for this movie, which also features famed Mavericks surfers such as Greg Long, Peter Mel and Jeff Clark, and is scheduled to be released in October 2012. More about Half Moon Bay.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Big Bear Mountain FREE rentals for Learn to Ski/Snowboard Program


January is National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month! In partnership with the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), Snow Summit and Bear Mountain will be offering FREE rentals to first time beginners, ages 8 and older, who register for a beginner lesson package throughout the month of January.

 “You are never too old to learn to ski or snowboard, and this program is the perfect way for those who have not yet had a chance to experience the excitement of snow sports to get a great deal,” said Chris Riddle, Vice President of Marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts.  “We are offering free rentals in January to encourage those that have yet to try skiing or snowboarding to get on the slopes.”

With lesson packages beginning at $49, learning to ski and snowboard has never been easier and more affordable with a variety of beginner lesson packages including:

The “Big” Deal                    
Best value beginner package. Includes 4 hours of instruction (2 hours a.m. and 2 hours p.m.), a beginner lift ticket on your first day and for your next visit a Beyond Beginner package which includes an all-mountain lift ticket and 2 hours of instruction (a.m. or p.m.) valid during any non-peak day and non-holiday. 

4-Hour Value Package  
Includes 4 hours of instruction on the same day (2 hours a.m. and 2 hours p.m.), a beginner lift ticket and a “Continuing Education Coupon” worth $10 off the price of a Beyond Beginner Package. 

2-Hour Package             
Includes a beginner lift ticket and a 2-hour lesson (a.m. or p.m.) and a “Continuing Education Coupon” worth $10 off the price of a Beyond Beginner Package.

Free ski and snowboard rentals are offered throughout the month of January (excluding January 7th, 8th and 14th-16th) with the purchase of a beginner lesson. More about Big Mountain Resorts.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Visalia Gateway to Sequoia National Park

Visalia California is a great place to stay while exploring beautiful Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. While many people rush to Yosemite, these two parks have equally as stunning features and may be less crowded. With rock formations, forest landscapes, massive trees, and lovely waterfalls.

Visalia has a vibrant historical downtown that serves as the hub for not only the town but for the neighboring smaller farm communities. There is a roster of regular events in downtown including Blues & BBQ, which takes place April through October on the first Friday of the month. Read More About Visalia.