Glass Beach. Photo © Elizabeth Linhart Veneman.

Sights in Fort Bragg

The village of Mendocino may be where folks savor the scenery, but Fort Bragg is where the work gets done. This blue-collar town is home to lumber mills, fishing boats, and scores of working train tracks. It is rougher around the edges than its gentle cousin down the coast, but it has some great attractions, beautiful scenery, and tons of local color.

View of downtown San Francisco lit up in the evening from Twin Peaks.

Mapping San Francisco, an Ever-Changing City

Geographically and culturally, San Francisco is anything but flat, and what level ground exists might at any moment give way. While earthquakes remake the land, social upheavals play a similar role in reminding that the only constant here is change.

Yosemite Falls tumbles to the valley floor. Photo © Ann Marie Brown.

Discover Yosemite National Park

Plunging waterfalls, stark granite, alpine lakes, pristine meadows, giant sequoia trees, and raging rivers—you’ll find them all in Yosemite National Park. At 1,169 square miles and 750,000 acres, the park is nearly the size of Rhode Island and one of the most popular national parks in the United States, visited by more than 3.5 million people each year.

Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. Photo © Donnie Shackleford/123rf.

Hiking and Biking the North Bay

Marin County, in the North Bay, is San Francisco’s backyard. Beginning with the Marin Headlands at the terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge, there is a nearly unbroken expanse of wildlands from San Francisco Bay to Tomales Bay. Here you’ll find rugged cliffs plunging into the Pacific, towering redwoods, the area’s tallest mountain, and verdant pastures.

The Village at Squaw Valley. Photo © Christopher Arns.

Winter Sports in Lake Tahoe

Winter sport enthusiasts will be happy to hear there’s plenty more to California than seashore and sun. Come winter, northwest Lake Tahoe is a wonderland of skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and playing in the snow. Here’s a look at the resorts and activities offered in the area.

Carmel Mission. Photo Danielschreurs/Dreamstime.

History of the California Missions

In the mid-1700s, Spain pushed for colonization of Alta California, rushing to occupy North America before the British beat them to it. The Franciscan order built a string of missions; each was intended to act as a self-sufficient parish that grew its own food, maintained its own buildings, and took care of its own people. These missions influenced the history of early California not necessarily for the better.

California Poppies. Photo © Biolifepics/Dreamstime.

When to Visit Northern California

Dense in urban culture, awash in vineyards, and with some of the most scenic landscapes in the world, Northern California is a multi-faceted gem. Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and San Francisco are among the top 10 on most travelers’ bucket lists. Best about northern California is its all-season appeal–from summer sun to winter fun, the best time to go to northern California is now.

Lake Shasta. Photo © Maislam/Dreamstime.

What to See at Shasta Lake

Shasta Lake doesn’t look like most lakes. Rather than a bowl shape, the lake is fed by three major rivers; to create this sprawling artificial lake, five towns were drowned. The remains are still down there, most sunk so deep that even scuba divers cannot explore them. A tour of the amazing Lake Shasta Caverns is a welcome respite from summer heat, and even if you’re not fascinated by engineering statistics and superlatives, a tour of the Shasta Dam is a great experience.