Southern California
Why visit?
General advices
Northern Cal.
Central Cal.
Southern Cal.
Eastern Cal.
Sierra Nevada

Southern Cal:
When to go

Pretty much everyone on the planet outside North Korea and Myanmar has a clear idea what Southern
California is about: Surf, Hollywood, music, glamour, Disneyland and an excentric beach life. True, and
all these things are worth going to California for. And at any time of the year since the seasons are
barely distinguishable there (avoid December to March if you want to eliminate any risk of rain). And
there are plenty of other world class attractions in and around Los Angeles and San Diego.

Attractions: (south from Los Angeles)

1. Gettys Genter
Even if you´re only remotely interested in museums and architecture, Gettys Center is a must see in Los Angeles.
It´s clearly one of the top three museums on the world, well in parity with the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage
in St. Petersburg, Russia. And it´s clearly the richest museum in the world, thanks to the philantrop Jean Paul
Getty, whom made a fortune on oil, and donated his art collection and funds. The Getty Center, which costed one
billion dollas to build, and was designed by famous architect Frank Gehry, opened in 1997. The center
(Gettys Center) has awesome collections, and stunning architecture (including a large garden). You can
easily spend a whole day there, and the Center is open until 9 PM on weekends.Spending an evening there
is really an experience, since the lightning is wonderfully set, and the fact that the Center is built on a hill,which
means that you can see the millions of lights all over Los Angeles. And the museum is free of charge, you only
pay $8 for parking. The Center is located near the intersection of the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) and
the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10). Take the Getty Center Drive exit from the 405 and follow the signs.

Gettys Center

Gettys Center at night

2.Venice Beach
When you´ve had enough of fine culture at Gettys Center, it´s a good idea to enjoy the biggest freakshow on the
planet: Venice Beach on Los Angeles westside. The beach is clearly superior on the weekends, and even more
so during the summer months. But avoid nights and late afternoons during the weekends for safety reasons.
The boardwalk has fairly respectable shopping if you´re looking for cheap electronics and sunglasses,
although it has deteriorated somewhat lately, as the most supplied merchandise seems to be marijuana pipes.

Artist at Venice Beach

3. Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a place where a lot of tourists eventually visit. The name has a strong brand after several TV-shows
and the success of Carl Lewis competing in Santa Monica Track and Field dresses. And Santa Monica is very nice
indeed: Particularly the area around the Pier and 3:rd Steet Promenade: There is a great mall (desgined by Frank
Gehry again) for those who like shopping. And the surrounding area is well worth exploring, even if the Promenade
itself has gotten somewhat too commercialized. The Promenade is very plesant in the evenings though, with good
restaurants and beautifully set lightning and often some mucisians. The beach is very large, with a huge and well
known Pier, which has been in several movies. Santa Monica is very safe for visitors, and has lots of hotels.

4. Griffith Park
Griffith Park is an oasis on the Hyllywood Hills, and has among other things a zoo, hiking trails and a beautiful
Observatory. It´s open to the public from 6 AM to 10 PM. The descrpition of several awesome trails can be found
here. A favourie is Mt. Hollywood trail, with a stunning view of Los Angeles. To reach the king trails of take
Griffith Park Hollywood Freeway/101 and exit in Hollywood at Sunset Blvd. Take Sunset east to Western Avenue
turning north (left) and follow Western where it turns right becoming Loz Feliz Blvd. Turn left at the first traffic
light Ferndell Drive and head north parking near the Ferndell Nature Museum. Parking is free, but watch out for a
swift parking ticket if you have the ambition of taking stunning pictures of Los Angeles skyline after 10 PM.

Los Angeles from Griffith Observatory

5. Disneyland
Disneyland is the original Disney theme park, and is remarkably well organized. And you don´t even have to have
children to enjoy if, although it brings out the child in the most boring adult. Try to avoid the weekends and if possible
the summer months to avoid the crowds and lines to the most popular rides.

6. Universal Studios
Another well known theme park is Universial Studios in Burbank. Somewhat similar to Disneyland with several rides and about
equally worth the entrance. The best known ride is the Studio Tour, where you can see some behind-the-scene tricks from a
small tour bus. The seats to the right is supposed to be somewhat better as most attractions occur on the righ side.

7. Dana Point
Between Los Angeles and San Diego, rifgt at Highway 1, several communities. One of them is Dana Point, with at large
harbour. The harbour is a great place if you´re interested in Whale- och dolphin watching, and sport fishing. I´ve tried
Captain Dave´s Whale & Dolpin Safari (on a catamaran) and it was very good (with thousands of dolphins). There
are at least two other alternatives, one of which is the local Ocean Institutes large vessel. Reservations are recommended
whatever option you choose. A usable link is Dana Point Harbour And a campground (at Doheny State Beach,
halfway to Dana Point, off the same Highway 1 exit) and several small motels are nearby.

Dolphins at Dana Point

8. Crystal Cove State Park
If you´re into strolling along the beach and watching shells, crabs, mussels, starfishes or even octopuses at low tide,
Crystal Cove is for you. It has one of the best tidepools along the entire coast, and just as important; it´s almost always
open if the low tides occur early in the mornings. Crystal Cove is somewhat tricky to find though, as it´s unmarked. But it´s
right between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach on Highway 1, with an exit fairly high above the ocean, with a large parking lot.
There are some stairs down to the beach next to the restrooms. But plase check the tide predictions before you go there at
Tidal Station Location. If the predicted low tide is more than say -1 foot (i.e. one foot below the mean) you´ll have a great time there!

Low tide at Crystal Cove

A small crab at Crystal Cove

9. San Onofre State Beach
San Onofre is undoubtedly one of the best surfing beaches in California. Just off Highway 1 next to a nuclear power plant,
which supplies energy to more than 15 million people in California! That is matched only by the energy from the surfers
on San Onofre Campground on the weekends, when it´s packed. During the weekdays it´s almost deserted though.
And there is a logic behind it: The campground is only 1/4 mile from the freeway, and the railroad is only 20 yards away,
so those who expect some sleep should camp evewhere. But for partying all night long during the weekends it obviously
matters less. And you always have the quieter San Mateo Campground nextdoor. Even if you don´t camp there, it´s
highly recommended to at least check out the surfers at the beach.

Surfs up at San Onofre!

10. La Jolla Shores/Scripps
The strech from La Jolla Shores to Scripps Pier along the beach is an experience. Particularly at weekends, when a mix of
tourists, families and surfers enjoy themselves. The tourists are mostly occupied at La Jolla Shores (and where parking is
next to impossible). The locals are mainly up north, at Scripps, having picnics and having a good time. And the surfing is
usually first class there. Try to vist on a weekend to feel the real beach vibes.

A surfers pilgrimage at Scripps Pier.

11. Point Loma, San Diego

Point Loma (and Cabrillo National Monument)lies at the very tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego. And it´s a
wonderful area, particularly if the air is clear since you have an awesome view over San Diego from the Visitor Center. And
there are great tidepools on the western side of Point Loma. The only little snag is that Point Loba is a military area, and
is open only from 9 AM to 5 PM, which might be a problem if the low tide occur before or after. And you don´t want to
mess with the armed personnel by trying to sneak in.

Directions if you drive south on Interstate (freeway) 5: Take the Rosecrans/Highway 209 Exit, and then continue on Rosecrans
Street into Point Loma. Then turn right into Canon Street, and then left on Catalina Blvd. Follow Catalina Blvd all the way
to the end right at the gate.

Heron at Point Loma
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