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Help me plan my trip to California!

Help me plan my trip to California!

california

In a couple of month's time I'm heading to CA-LI-FORN-IA baby, and I'd be very grateful for some Warrior recommendations. I fly into San Francisco on July 23rd and will be spending the next three days in San Jose at a blogging conference. Ah yes, I'm prepared to fly that far to become a better blogger for my Warriors! I'm really looking forward to becoming more involved in the blogger community and at this particular conference there are going to be thousands of them from all over the world! You know me, I love people and I love a good natter so I'm hopeful of making a new friend or two hundred.  ;)  

Following the conference I plan on staying in California (in the area highlighted on the map) for a further five days so I feel the need to squeeze in as much Californian dreamin' that I can!

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This is where you come in my globetrotting Warriors! I have a few things on my itinerary which I've listed below but they're not set in stone by any means. One thing I have learned from my travels is the need to be flexible and open to suggestions from people who've been there, done it and bought several t-shirts. When I spent a month backpacking in Costa Rica last summer, for example, I reserved the first night's stay in advance and then booked hotels/activities on a day to day basis, following recommendations from people I met along the way.  And they didn't let me down.

Here's what I have on my list so far:

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Surely going to San Francisco without setting freckly foot on the Golden Gate Bridge would be like visiting Peru and not witnessing Machu Picchu or spending time in Scotland without sampling haggis. It's a technical must see masterpiece and the one thing on my list that is set in stone. (And fabricated steel.)

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A visit to Alcatraz comes highly recommended on trip advisor.  You catch a ferry over to the Island and, if you're lucky, you'll spot some whales along the way. I've heard that you can actually sit inside one of the cells and they close the door on you for that authentic "oh crap, I'm in the slammer and I'm claustrophobic" effect.  What say ye, Warriors? Shall I head on over to The Rock?

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Of Yosemite the National Park Service remarks:

"Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra."

 

That's a pretty compelling description right there and the photograph isn't too shabby either. I may have to set this one in stone and I'm sure you can understand why.  :)

california11california6.pngI'm not a wine connoisseur, heck, I don't even drink the stuff, but what I can appreciate are peace and tranquility amidst a stunning landscape of lush, rolling hills, dark green valleys and dusty brown mountains. 

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I love me a fast and furious rollercoaster and there are plenty of them to be conquered at Six Flags theme park in Sacremento. I haven't been to a Six Flags since New Jersey, 2001 and I'm ready to seek some serious thrills! But maybe you're sitting there thinking that my time and money would be better spent elsewhere. As always, I remain open to suggestions. :)

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26 Comments

  1. San Francisco Vista Grande Helicopter Tour

    Imagine San Francisco as you’ve never seen it before! On a San Francisco Vista Grande Helicopter Tour you’ll see all the famous sites: Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco skyline and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge! Plus, your helicopter flight takes you north over the spectacular Pacific Coastline, Tiburon, Angel Island, Marine Headlands and Sausalito.

    I have never been, but some friends have recommended it, have a look in http://www.viator.com/tours/San-Francisco/San-Francisco-Vista-Grande-Helicopter-Tour/d651-3538VISTAGRANDE

    • The Ginger Warrior

      Oooooh! I’m loving the sound of that, Jenny! Will totally check it out. Hope all is well with you. Almost five years since we met and bunked down together in Sao Paulo airport!! Lol! xxxxx

  2. Hi GW – this sounds awesome! I hope CA is ready for you! :)

    I spent a year as an exchange student in UC Davis which is right in between SF and Sacramento. I would HIGHLY recommend a stay at Lake Tahoe – we even went back there on our honeymoon, I have such fond memories of the place! It is naturally stunning, with steep snowy mountains and amazing forests breaking into the bluest, most crystal clear, expanse of water I have ever seen… You can take a steamer boat across the lake, or you can just enjoy the views from the shore. Half of it is also in Nevada so there is a crazy collection of casinos on one stretch!

    Sacramento Old Town is cute, if you are into the Wild West gold rush thing… In SF itself, I recommend a wander around Haight Ashbury, the Castro and just everywhere really.. Also SF MOMA is a fab art gallery…

    Have an amazing time!

  3. I went to San Francisco in 2005. Did the Alcatraz trip, walked on the Golden Gate bridge, wandered around the city etc. Go on a city tour as you get a great overview of the place and some interesting facts from the driver. Also at the waterfront near to where you get the boat to Alcatraz, there is a pier where loads of sea lions live. There is a nice restaurant overlooking the pier too. I booked a Days Inn hotel for my stay, had used the chain previously without any problem. However this time it was somewhat different from the blurb on the website and was in fact a dodgy motel in the rough end of town……on the tour bus the driver advised to avoid the area. It is the only place where I have ever barricaded the door at night. I used to get a taxi back every night even from three blocks away. Oh yes, something else to do is ride on the trolleys. Get off to view the winding road that has been used in countless films. The house from Mrs Doubtfire is in the city too – Robin Williams apparently won’t film outside the city anymore so he can stay near to his family. Nice chap. You will have a fab time, there is so much to see and do.

    Keep meaning to fill in the website bit about my own blog but it will be easier to tag you in a post them you can have a look! xx

  4. I want to come now! ! That helicopter ride sounds amazing. Utah will be just as good though. Don’t forget to ride the trams. Xx

  5. Sausalito – the other side of Golden Gate Bridge-lovely! We walked across and then got te boat back to San Fran.

  6. I have been to Alcatraz (and yes I sat in a cell!). The audio tour was really good and I highly recommend it. I also recommend prebooking the trip as the queues can be huge.
    Also in San Francisco is Pier 39 – street performers, shops, sealions, and if you are a fan of seafood the the Crab House at the pier is excellent.

  7. Big Sur! Just the drive from SF there is amazing.

  8. Hmmm… I’ll give you some things all over the spectrum, trying to avoid the beaten path. Restaurants are hard to recommend- there are just so many, and it really depends on where you are within the city. I’ll recommend a restaurant pairing where I can with the activities below, but really there’s so much here!

    I’m not good a recommending shopping- its not my forte or interest, though I know a lot of tourists love Union Square.

    Sciencey/ Outdoorsy
    Alcatraz: This one you must plan ahead on- tours sell out several days in advance- all tours are good, but the Night Tour is awesome! (Boudin Bakery is near the ferries for this one- amazing sandwiches, soups, pastries, etc)

    Hike Lands End: For a nice day in SF, this is a great walk with awesome views of the Golden Gate Bridge – (Louis SF: small classic diner food, wait a bit longer for a window seat, and the view is incredible!)

    California Academy of Sciences: if they end up coming on a weekday, they can send me an email ahead of time, and if I’m around I can get them in (The Cafe in the museum is great! Other nearby restaurant favs: Pacific Catch, Park Chow, or Marnee Thai)

    Kayak Sausalito: Beautiful! (Avatar’s Mexican Indian food is great! or “Fish” serves up fresh caught seafood).

    Totally SF
    Beach Blanket Babylon: Quintessential SF theater experience with drag queens

    Yoga at the Labyrinth: Tuesday Night Yoga at Grace Cathedral

    Castro Theater: They specialize in old movies, and often have sing-alongs to movies such as the Little Mermaid, Sound of Music, etc. (Ike’s Place = amazing sandwiches: insiders tip- call ahead to avoid the lines: http://ilikeikesplace.com/)

    Artsy
    Balmy Alley: In the Mission District there are tons of murals! (several amazing burritos: Taqueria Cancun, Papa Lote, Pancho Villa, etc.)

    Fine Arts Museums: There are two of these, each are great in their own ways

    Yes, you MUST do Yosemite, then take Sonora pass over into CA and maybe check out Devil’s Postpiles. If you get to Zion, get a permit and do the narrows (make sure there are no flash floods predicted!). Bryce Canyon is pretty amazing too.

    It’s going to be rad, man! 😉

    • The Ginger Warrior

      Woooowzers! That was an amazing review. Thank you so much Lacey!!! Lots of FOOD for thought there. 😉

  9. Need anyone to carry your bags mam!??!?!!?

  10. Been to California lots . 17 mile drive near Monterey is awesome . Some very interesting retro scene / shops ! Santa Monica pier is iconic . Downtown LA is pants and deffo Palm springs very cool deco buildings and the Gas light district in San Diego :-)

  11. It looks like you are staying in the Bay Area right? Ghirardelli Square is a must, if you like chocolate. Muir Woods is good. The Bay area is a must for Asian cuisine, so if there is anything you have never had, there would be a good place to have it.

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