California

Three Great Road Trips from Monterey, California

Perched on the southern end of the Monterey Bay, Monterey is one of the California Central Coast’s most popular visitor destinations. Though there’s plenty to see in Monterey—including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey State Historic Park, sea otters, and more—the city is an ideal place to head out on a road trip to explore the Central Coast, whether it’s a day trip or an overnight excursion. Here are three ideas.

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Plan a California Coast Road Trip (Including Detours for Big Sur)

This day-by-day California coast road trip accounts for detours and road closures along key sections of the PCH. This itinerary includes helpful travel maps and is flexible enough to start in San Diego, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Only have two to four days? Each section can also be its own quick getaway.

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Highway 395 Road Trip: Death Valley to Yosemite to Tahoe

California is ready-made for road-tripping. In only a few hours, you can drive from the lowest spot in the western hemisphere—Death Valley’s Badwater at minus 282 feet—to 10,000 feet in elevation near the Sierra’s crest. With saw-toothed granite peaks on one side and the arid desert on the other, US 395 is the highway that connects it all.

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Top Attractions in California for Family Vacations

Fortunately for parents planning a family vacation, many of the Golden State’s top attractions coincide with almost any kid’s wish list. This is the land of sunny beaches, towering trees, heart-pounding roller coasters, theme parks of every stripe, and family-friendly museums that range from wacky to educational. Luckily, parents will find plenty of places to recharge, whether it’s strolling through an art gallery or historic park, reading a book on the beach, or sipping California chardonnay at a farm-to-fork joint.

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Best California State Parks

California’s vast network of state parks showcases its rich history, diverse ecosystems, and sublime scenery. With 280 separate parks, the California State Park system is the largest in the United States. If you’re looking to take it all in, these parks boast some of the state’s best and most accessible views.

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Featured California Guides

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman (Moon California)

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman has always viewed growing up in Northern California as both a blessing and curse. There is so much to see, do, and experience all within a short drive—from broad sequoias in the Sierras to ancient lava beds north of Mount Shasta, from creaky Gold Rush towns to the pampering Wine Country—that she began to wonder why anyone would ever leave.

Elizabeth was eventually lured out of the Golden State to Alaska’s far north, where she traveled the Inside Passage, baked bread under the midnight sun in Denali National Park, and chronicled the state’s burgeoning sustainable agriculture for Alaska Magazine. These adventures culminated in penning the travel guide InsightGuides: Alaska.

But Elizabeth knew her California roots were too deep to stay away for long. Raised in Carmel, where her great-great grandmother opened the first restaurant (a soup kitchen with dirt floors!) at the turn of the 20th century, she would always call California home. So she returned and devoted herself to writing about the state she loves most. Her work has included the travel guides SmartGuide: San Francisco and InsightGuides: San Francisco, as well as reporting on food and sustainable agriculture for local publications.

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is the author of several Moon travel guides, including Moon California and Moon Napa & Sonoma.