Lonely Planet Coastal California

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Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Coastal California is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Ride the surf in the south, hug a redwood in the north, and discover the great cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of coastal California and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Coastal California Travel Guide:

  • Color maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - food, wine, landscape, geography, lifestyle, culture, art,music, film, environment, flora, fauna.
  • More than 70 maps
  • Covers San Francisco, Marin County, Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Santa Barbara County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Disneyland & Orange County and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalize your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Coastal California, our most comprehensive guide to coastal California, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less traveled.

  • Looking for a guide focused on one of California's major cities? Check out Lonely Planet's Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California or San Francisco guides for a comprehensive look at all these cities have to offer; Discover San Francisco, a photo-rich guide to the city's most popular attractions; or Pocket Los Angeles and Pocket San Francisco, handy-sized guides focused on the can't-miss sights for a quick trip.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's California guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer, or Discover California, a photo-rich guide to the city's most popular attractions.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Sara Benson, Andrew Bender, Alison Bing, Celeste Brash, Beth Kohn, Adam Skolnick, John A Vlahides

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

List price: $19.99

Your Price: $13.99

You Save: 30%

 

10 Slices

Format Buy Remix

San Francisco

ePub

Get to know the world capital of weird from the inside out, from mural-lined alleyways named after poets to clothing-optional beaches on a former military base. But don’t be too quick to dismiss San Francisco’s wild ideas. Biotech, gay rights, personal computers, cable cars and organic fine dining were once considered outlandish too, before San Francisco introduced these underground ideas into the mainstream decades ago. San Francisco’s morning fog erases the boundaries between land and ocean, reality and infinite possibility.

Rules are never strictly followed here, but bliss is. Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are entirely optional – San Franciscans mostly admire them from afar – leaving you free to pursue inspiration through Golden Gate Park, past flamboyantly painted Victorian homes and through Mission galleries. Just don’t be late for your sensational, sustainable dinner: in San Francisco, you can find happiness and eat it too.

AJan–Mar Low-season rates, brisk but rarely cold days, and Lunar New Year parade fireworks.

 

Marin County & the Bay Area

ePub

The region surrounding San Francisco encompasses a bonanza of natural vistas and wildlife. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin and visit wizened ancient redwoods body-blocking the sun and herds of elegant tule elk prancing along the bluffs of Tomales Bay. Gray whales show some fluke off the cape of wind-scoured Point Reyes, and hawks surf the skies in the pristine hills of the Marin Headlands.

On the cutting edge of intellectual thought, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley draw academics and students from around the world. The city of Berkeley sparked the locavore food movement and continues to be on the forefront of environmental and left-leaning political causes. South of San Francisco, Hwy 1 traces miles of undeveloped coastline and sandy pocket beaches.

ADec–Mar Elephant seal pupping season and the peak of gray whale migrations.

AMar–Apr Wildflowers hit their peak on trails throughout the region.

 

Napa & Sonoma Wine Country

ePub

America’s premier viticulture region has earned its reputation among the world’s best. Despite hype about Wine Country style, it’s from the land that all Wine Country lore springs. Rolling hills, dotted with century-old oaks, turn the color of lion’s fur under the summer sun and swaths of vineyards carpet hillsides as far as the eye can see. Where they end, lush redwood forests follow serpentine rivers to the sea.

There are over 600 wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties, but it’s quality, not quantity, that sets the region apart – especially in Napa, which competes with France and doubles as an outpost of San Francisco’s top-end culinary scene. Sonoma prides itself on agricultural diversity, with goat-cheese farms, you-pick-em orchards and roadside fruit stands. Plan to get lost on back roads, and, as you picnic atop sun-dappled hillsides, grab a hunk of earth and know firsthand the thing of greatest meaning in Wine Country.

AJan Bright-yellow flowers carpet the valleys during the off-season; room rates plummet.

 

North Coast & Redwoods

ePub

There's a stretch of the coast with no road access called the 'Lost Coast,' but even the rest of the region, reached by a circuitous two-lane blacktop, feels far from the world's radar. The North Coast is no Beach Boys’ song; there are no bikinis and few surfboards. The jagged edge of the continent is wild, scenic and even slightly foreboding, where spectral fog and an outsider spirit have fostered the world’s tallest trees, most potent weed and a string of idiosyncratic two-stoplight towns. Explore hidden coves with a blanket and a bottle of local wine, scan the horizon for migrating whales and retreat at night to fire-warmed Victorians. As you travel further north, find valleys of redwood, wide rivers and mossy, overgrown forests. Befitting this dramatic clash of land and water are its unlikely mélange of residents: timber barons and tree huggers, pot farmers and political radicals of every stripe.

AJun–Jul The driest season in the Redwoods is spectacular for day hikes and big views.

 

Central Coast

ePub

Too often forgotten or dismissed as ‘flyover’ country between San Francisco and LA, this fairytale stretch of California coast is packed with wild beaches, misty redwood forests where hot springs hide, and rolling golden hills of fertile vineyards and farm fields.

Coastal Hwy 1 pulls out all the stops, scenery-wise. Flower-power Santa Cruz and the historic port town of Monterey are gateways to the rugged wilderness of the bohemian Big Sur coast. It’s an epic journey snaking down to vainglorious Hearst Castle, past lighthouses and edgy cliffs atop which endangered condors soar.

Get acquainted with California’s agricultural heartland along inland Hwy 101, called El Camino Real (the King’s Highway) by Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan friars. Colonial missions still line the route, which passes through Paso Robles' flourishing wine country. Then soothe your nature-loving soul in collegiate San Luis Obispo, ringed by sunny beach towns and volcanic peaks.

AAprMay Balmy temperatures, but fewer tourists than summer; wildflowers bloom.

 

Santa Barbara County

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Frankly put, this area is damn pleasant to putter around. Low-slung between lofty mountains and the shimmering Pacific, chic Santa Barbara’s red-tiled roofs, white stucco buildings and Mediterranean vibe give credence to its claim of being the ‘American Riviera.’ It’s a surprisingly bewitching place to loll on the beach, eat and drink extraordinarily well, shop a bit and push all your cares off to another day. The city’s car-free campaign has brought electric shuttle buses, urban bike trails and earth-friendly wine tours. Mother Nature returns the love with hiking, biking, surfing, kayaking, scuba diving and camping opportunities galore, from offshore Channel Islands National Park to arty Ojai, surrounded by hot springs. Meanwhile, winemaking is booming in the bucolic Santa Ynez Mountains, where over a hundred wineries vie for your attention. But if all you want to do is relax, no worries – plenty of sunny beaches await.

AApr Balmy temperatures, fewer tourists than in summer. Wildflowers bloom on Channel Islands.

 

Los Angeles

ePub

LA runs deeper than her blonde beaches, bosomy hills and ubiquitous beemers would have you believe. She’s a myth. A beacon for countless small-town dreamers, rockers and risk-takers, an open-minded angel who encourages her people to live and let live without judgement or shame. She has given us Quentin Tarantino, Jim Morrison and Serena and Venus Williams, spawned skateboarding and gangsta rap, popularized implants, electrolysis and Spandex, and has nurtured not just great writers, performers and directors, but also the ground-breaking yogis who first brought Eastern wisdom to the Western world.

LA is best defined by those simple life-affirming moments. A cracked-ice, jazz-age cocktail on Beverly Blvd, a hike high into the Hollywood Hills sagebrush, a swirling pod of dolphins off Point Dume, a pink-washed sunset over a thundering Venice Beach drum circle, the perfect taco. And her night music. There is always night music.

AFeb The red carpet is rolled out for the Academy Awards. Prime time for celeb-spotting.

 

Disneyland & Orange County

ePub

Chances are that Orange County, that stretch between Los Angeles and San Diego, has seeped into your consciousness even if you've never been here.

No doubt Mickey Mouse and friends have been a part of that (Disneyland is California's biggest attraction). So too have TV series from Real Housewives to MTV’s Laguna Beach, from The OC to Arrested Development have all been set here, taking the county's image from humdrum to hip, a place of mythically (gl)amorous teens, gorgeous beaches and socialite catfights.

While there’s a whiff of truth to those stereotypes of life behind the ‘Orange Curtain’ – big, boxy mansions, fortress-like shopping malls, the overly entitled tossing Happy Meals out of their Humvees – this diverse county's 789 sq miles, 34 cities and three million people create deep pockets of individuality, beauty and different ways of thinking, keepin’ the OC ‘real,’ no matter one's reality.

AMay Visitation dips after spring break until Memorial Day. Mostly sunny days, balmy temperatures.

 

Pacific Coast Highways

ePub

Snaking more than 1000 miles along dizzying sea cliffs and over landmark bridges, passing ancient redwoods, historic lighthouses and quirky beach towns, California’s two-lane coastal highways trace the edge of the continent as they connect the dots between perpetually sunny San Diego, star-powered Los Angeles and eclectic San Francisco.

Northern California’s redwood forests and fishing villages sprawl along the coast on Hwy 1 north of San Francisco and all the way up to Oregon on Hwy 101. Political radicals, artists, pot farmers and nature-loving hippies all gravitate here.

4 Days

Get a primer on NorCal’s left-leaning beatnik scene starting in San Francisco, a multicultural mosaic of neighborhoods. Explore top-notch museums and wide-open spaces in Golden Gate Park, then gather your friends around a sunset bonfire at Ocean Beach.

Jaunting north, outdoorsy Marin County has gorgeous beaches and grassy headlands for exploring. Across the Golden Gate Bridge you’ll find the houseboat village of Sausalito, or go tramping around Muir Woods and Mt Tamalpais.

 

San Diego & Around

ePub

New York has its cabbie, Chicago its bluesman and Seattle its coffee-drinking boho. San Diego, meanwhile, has the valet guy in a polo shirt, khaki shorts and crisp new sneakers. With his perfectly tousled hair, great tan and gentle enthusiasm, he looks like he’s on a perennial spring break, and when he wishes you welcome, he really means it.

This may sound pejorative, but our intention is the opposite. San Diego calls itself ‘America’s Finest City’ and its breezy confidence and sunny countenance filter down even to folks you encounter every day on the street.

What’s not to love? San Diego bursts with world-famous attractions for the entire family, including the zoo, Legoland, the museums of Balboa Park and SeaWorld, plus a bubbling downtown and beaches ranging from ritzy to raucous, and America’s most perfect weather.

AJun–Aug High season. Temperatures and hotel rates are highest.

ASep–Oct, Mar–May Shoulder seasons; moderate rates.

 

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