California

From sunny southern California beaches to the lush green forest covered mountains up north this is an amazing state that has virtually every type of travel idea imaginable just waiting for you to explore.

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More from Visit California Tourism CVB

  • An Ultimate Guide To Top Trout Fishing Spots

    Are you planning for trout fishing and searching for the best places for it? Well, you can ask any angler about it, but we wonder whether you will get any ultimate answer or not. This is the reason we are creating an ultimate guide to tell how to mold things by own hands and how to start finding your ideal fishing spots.

  • Celebrate the Holidays With a Brazilian Feast at Fogo de Chao

    It's time to celebrate the holidays with feasts, bright colors, drinking, and good friends. Thanks to the folks at Fogo de Chao, I was invited to check out their new holiday offerings and of course, I jumped at the opportunity! At most restaurants right now you're going to find a menu matching the winter weather that we're all starting to dread. For those in the Southern Hemisphere like our friends in Brazil though, this is the beginning of summer! This means that you'll find not only traditional holiday treats like sweet potato casserole but also fresh watermelon, pears, mangoes, and other fruit on the harvest table.

  • The Pearl Hotel - San Diego's Hip Retro Motel And Bar

    San Diego has more diversity in hotels than nearly any other city of its size. There are ultra-luxury hotels as well as small boutique hotels and then there's The Pearl Hotel. I've driven by this location dozens of times and didn't realize it was even there since it's one of those places that is literally hidden in plain site. However, after staying there a few weeks ago as part of our Beercation with Travelocity I can't believe I've missed this hidden gem.

  • Tips To Plan an Amazing Beercation

    I'm guessing most of you guys love beer, I do too! Luckily, I've been blessed with numerous opportunities to visit some of the best beer cities in the country and in fact I live in San Diego - which is at the top of most lists of places for beer lovers to visit. However, these beercations are more than just hopping in the car and drinking. To make the most of your time and money it's important to plan ahead. This is your opportunity to try new things, expand your boundaries, and bond with your buddies around an awesome shared experience.

  • World's Coolest Places to Ski This Winter

    Nothing beats that cool crisp feeling of exhilaration as you cruise down the slopes with the wind rushing past your ears. Skiing is one of those sports that simply can't be appreciated till you get to the top of a snow covered mountain and look out over the terrain realizing that few people will ever have the opportunity to share this same view that you have right now. It takes a bold person to participate in a sport where most people will travel long distances and wait in long lines - just for those fleeting moments of absolute freedom powered by nothing more than gravity pulling you to the bottom of the slope. With winter quickly approaching, here are some of my picks for the coolest places to ski this winter!

  • Awesome RV Mancation Trip Ideas

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine.

    Nationwide provided me with information regarding its blog post.

    When vacationing in an RV, you don't have to worry about where you're going to stay and adding those costs into your trip. In many cases, if you plan on a mancation involving the great outdoors, you'll be able to stay closer to nature when you bring along an RV.

  • Snoozapalooza Means More Bacon and Late Checkout

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Holiday Inn Express. All opinions are 100% mine.

    What could be better than Holiday Inn Express's legendary pancake printer, cinnamon rolls and all you can eat bacon? How about being given the opportunity to enjoy them longer! That's right, now 'till December 18 they are celebrating Snoozapalooza with late breakfast and checkout 'til Noon! Holiday Inn Express is already one of my favorite places to stay when I travel so I was super excited to check it out by experiencing it in person during a weekend getaway to the Holiday Inn Express in La Jolla, California.

  • Five Reasons Why La Jolla Is The Perfect Weekend Getaway

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Holiday Inn Express. All opinions are 100% mine.

    There's something special about taking a weekend getaway. It's the perfect way to rest and recharge so you can face Monday with a renewed sense of purpose. For me, La Jolla is the perfect weekend getaway. There's no shortage of beach towns all along Southern California Coast, but La Jolla is special. I guess that's why thousands of tourists flock here every summer! Thankfully they're gone but the town is still a great place for a weekend getaway or staycation.

  • Explore a the Secrets of the Winchester Mystery House

    The Winchester Mystery House is an excellent spot for a weekend getaway with the boys. The house is the former home of Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester fortune after the tragic death of her husband and child. The enigmatic widow is rumored to have had a connection to the paranormal, and there are tales of ghostly beings walking the halls late at night.

  • You Might Meet a Ghost When You Visit These Real Haunted Houses

    People have always been obsessed with the unexplained and the paranormal. The U.S. is home to hundreds of eerie and equally tragic haunted places. Planning a mancation sometime soon? Make yours unique and exciting by making it a haunting holiday! Check out these five amazing haunted places!

  • Four Easy Off Road Trails To Explore In The Anza Borrego Desert

    There isn't much more manly than facing the elements and exploring the world beyond the confines of the paved roads. Unfortunately, unless you are with an instructor or first experience it as a passenger, this can be a challenging task that you might not feel comfortable exploring. However, there are trails in Southern California's Anzo Borrego Desert that are perfect for learning the basics of off road adventure.

  • The Jeep Wrangler Sahara Is Awesome And I Can't Wait to Drive It Again!

    The last time I rode in a Jeep Wrangler was during college, it was a beast of a car - cramped, bouncy, and generally closer to a tool than an enjoyable experience. That's all changed, but the Jeep Wrangler is still as capable as ever and that's a very good thing! Thank you Jeep for letting me borrow this amazing car for an adventure I won't be able to ever forget.

  • A Bold One Night Romantic Escape to San Francisco

    Not all travel needs to be planned and sometimes the best escapes are the ones where you fly by the seat of your pants and boldly go somewhere and then figure out what to do. That's sorta what happened last week for Heather and I when we visited San Francisco. We were invited for a quick media launch event, but decided to fly in early and leave late the next day so we could see some sights and figure out if this was a destination that we wanted to come back to and spend more time in the future.

  • 2017 Preview! Margaritas and Music at KAABOO Del Mar!

    Last summer we got invited to check out an awesome new music festival in San Diego - KAABOO. Since then it's been at the top of our list for 2017 and the wait is almost over! The 2017 KAABOO lineup looks even better, with bands including Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Jack Johnson, Fall Out Boy, Lenny Kravitz and so many more that I can't event list them all here. Plus, this is not just a "music festival" - they've got celebrity chefs, comedians, artists and even spa treatments.

  • Rock and Roll in The City By the Bay at Hotel Zeppelin San Fancisco

    From the moment you walk through the doors of Hotel Zeppelin you are either going to love this place or hate the incredible hipster vibe. It's just that kind of place and frankly it works in a city that prides itself on creativity and re-imagining yesterday's cool as today's chic. I've stayed in several Hard Rock Hotels and while I've never had a bad experience - Viceroy Hotel Group has done it better.

  • Sip 'n Ship - a San Diego Beer Festival On Boats!

    There's no shortage of beer festivals in San Diego, but last weekend I had one of my all-time-favorite experiences at one though initially I was skeptical. For those of you who have attended beer fests, you know that typically these events are just row after row of tap tents in a park or along a road somewhere. This one was scattered among the many boats at the San Diego Maritime Museum! Yes - that's right, drunk people navigating gangways and ships moving beneath of our feet... what could possibly go wrong...

  • Staybridge Suites Torrance - Pet Friendly and Great for Getaways

    When planning your next beach vacation, you might have your heart set on a hotel by the water but here's an alternative - Staybridge Suites. During our #MenWhoBlog trip earlier this year, we stayed here and it was the perfect home base for an awesome guys getaway in Torrance, California.

  • Step Back Through Toyota History at their Museum in Torrance

    While Detroit may be known as "Motor City", Los Angeles is absolutely a Car Kingdom with the US Headquarters for numerous Asian manufactures including Mazda, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, and Honda. Because of this, it shouldn't be surprising that there are some amazing automotive museums in Southern California that chronicle this perspective of automotive history. We recently got invited to visit the Toyota USA Automobile Museum in Torrance and I learned a lot about the impact that Toyota had on the American industry as well as just how integrated Toyota is in the US industry and how it got there.

  • A Romantic Escape to a Private Casita In The Desert

    To many people, the desert is an inhospitable wasteland but to me it is an open canvas just waiting to be explored. Lucky for me, this romantic ideal is shared by others as well! For many years, vacationers have made the journey to the desert so they can bake in the hot dry sun and relax in the pool, play golf, and generally escape reality for a few days. With La Casa Del Zorro, Heather and I had the chance to spend four nights at the resort with the first two being just us (and Niki Belle) in one of their casitas with a private pool. 

  • Exploring Borrego Springs California

    I live in paradise so sometimes it's difficult to really think about where I want to go on a summer vacation since everyone seems to want to come here to San Diego. However, last spring I had the opportunity to explore a really unique Southern California desert community called Borrego Springs. In particular, there's a fantastic resort there that I've had my eye on called La Casa del Zorro and since it's summer they have some amazing deals on their casitas with private pools.

  • San Jose Guys Weekend Ideas

    All too often we look at "big cities" as the places we want to visit and ignore the  smaller towns and suburbs that orbit those population centers. That's often the case with San Jose as well since people typically say "I want to visit San Francisco" and ignore this great destination south of the bay.

  • Five Southwest Road Trip Destinations to Cool Off This Summer

    It's getting hot and if you are in the Southwest United States, it's going to get a lot hotter over the next few months. I just drove back from Las Vegas and as we drove through Baker, CA the thermometer on the car hit 116 degrees! That got me thinking about ideas for places to go visit later this summer to avoid the heat and cool off for a few days. 

  • We Celebrated California Avocado Month with a Dinner en Green

    June is California Avocado Month and so we were invited to help celebrate it with a fantastic dinner at the top of a mountain in a real avocado grove along side the farmer who manages one of the largest avocado ranches in California. A dinner outside under the stars is always special but this was over the top since typically avocados are a sort of mysterious fruit. Sure, we all love them in guacamole but where do they actually come from and what else can you do with them?

  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows - Spring skiing where legends are made

    The 2015/2016 ski season didn’t disappoint. It has snowed practically EVERY weekend on EVERY mountain west of the Mississippi. After many great powder days with my ski/snowboard buddies, we decided to take a spring skiing trip to celebrate such an epic season. Over the past few months, I’ve been revisiting my collection of old ski movies and one resort kept popping up; Squaw Valley Alpine Resort. From Scot Schmidt in The Blizzard of Aahhh’s to the McConkey (R.I.P.) documentary, and countless Warren Miller films, Squaw Valley was always showcased as a resort with great snow, amazing terrain, and a list of accomplished locals to back it all up. I ran the idea past my friends, and flights were booked that evening.

  • Exploring The Majestic, Weird and Wonderful California Desert

    While most people think about the coastal California cities Los Angles, San Francisco and San Diego, the reality is that this state is enormous and most of it is really only accessible by driving. A few weeks ago, we packed up our cars and joined 9 other bloggers on a once in a lifetime adventure exploring the deserts of California. From majestic Joshua trees to weird art, post apocalyptic scenery, wonderful weather, fun roads, and amazing people, this was a trip that I recommend trying for anyone who agrees that Driving Matters!

  • A San Diego Beer Tour

    San Diego is the craft beer capital of the country as far as I am concerned. While there are many towns across the country where there are fine people brewing great beer, no town has a culture of beer quite like San Diego. With more than 100 breweries in the county, there is something for everyone from large breweries like Stone, Ballast Point, and Green Flash to tiny ones like Intergalactic you are sure to find one that matches your personality. While I dream of one day having been to every brewery in San Diego, last weekend I took two friends on a whirlwind tour of five of my favorites.

  • I Just Sipped Two Thousand Dollars of Scotch at The Whiskey House

    Everyone should have a neighborhood bar. It's one of those places that can be a home away from home where the bartenders welcome you warmly when you enter the door and you feel comfortable before you even have a chance to order a drink. That's what San Diego's The Whiskey House is to me, so when I got the opportunity to join them for a Glenfiddich tasting a few weeks ago I jumped at the opportunity. Then I discovered that they were opening a $4,000 bottle of Glenfiddich 40 year and I cleared my schedule for the rest of the evening!

  • There's Still Time for Islands NFL Happy Hour With The Guys

    Wow, I can't believe it's December already! Despite the fact that the air has turned cold, there's still another month of football left and it's probably the most exciting time of the season. That means it's time to gather the guys together and head over to your local bar to watch the game and enjoy a few frosty adult beverages at the same time. One of my favorite places to visit is Islands and they have been very generous at inviting me there multiple times to help share about how great they are.

  • Three Types of Awesome Baseball Vacation Adventures

    Our culture has graduated from man caves to mancations, and many guys are tying in their bro travel to sports. But it's gone far beyond a double header or a weekend snagging two NASCAR series at the same track. Now it's multiple events at multiple venues, and baseball has proven to be a perfect sport for it.

  • A Different Kind of Golf Retreat - The Ranch at Laguna Beach

    There is certainly no shortage of options for where to golf in Southern California. We're privileged to have some of the best and most beautiful courses in the world right here at our doorstep. One of these resorts is a relatively hidden gem that is in the process of being brought back to life. The Ranch at Laguna Beach is open right now for golf but the full resort experience will be coming online in early 2016 following an extensive renovation of the resort that traces it's heritage all the way back to the 1940s.

  • Temecula Wine Country Half Marathon

    So do you like wine?  I think most adults enjoy a glass or two of fine vino at dinners or social events.  Its a nice way to unwind and relax from the day's stresses add a little music and now its a party.  What if you could do a little run at a great destination and then enjoy a great Wine+Music Festival?  Well next month on 21 Nov 2015 you have the opportunity to do just that!  

  • We've Found Your New Home Base: Basecamp Hotel Tahoe

    South Lake Tahoe is an interesting mixture of high-rise casino resorts, modern ski condos in the Heavenly Village, and old independent motels. There's a relatively new player in the market now and that's Basecamp Hotel. The hotel has taken over the bones of a classic motel, renovated the crap out of it and has even built some all-new buildings too. It's an interesting boutique hotel that somehow actually creates the feeling that you're part of a community when you stay there.

  • It's Important to Connect With Real Face Time - Not Just Social Media

    There is no shortage of amazing places to visit, but when planning your guys weekend, it should be obvious that it's about more than just the destination. In reality, planning a guys weekend is about just that -- the guys. Choice Hotels agrees and has invited me to join one of my friends recently for our own "California Adventure". While Disneyland might not be the typical destination for a guys weekend, it's an opportunity to hang out with a good friend of mine and get an "insider view" of one of the greatest theme parks in the world.

  • Seafood & History at the Bluewater Boathouse Coronado

    Visitors to Coronado Island are typically familiar with the famous Hotel Del - afterall, it's one of the earliest buildings in the area and set the tone for the next 100+ years as a mecca for beachgoers. What I learned this week, was that just across the road is an even older building that was built a year earlier in 1887. Originally serving as the boathouse for the resort, it now houses a fantastic seafood restaurant that is part of the Bluewater Grill group.

  • Westfield UTC - San Diego Uncasked Beer Fest Tickets Giveaway

    Who doesn't love spending a hot August day outside drinking cold San Diego craft beer? Good! I don't see any hands up... To celebrate the second annual "Uncasked" beer festival, we're giving away a pair of tickets.

  • Yes, You Can Camp in the Padres Outfield!

    This is the stuff that dreams are made of - the chance to sleep on the outfield grass of a real MLB team! I am constantly impressed by the Padres organization for offering its membership great opportunities to get even closer to the team and this is no exception. My only suggestion is that they should do this event again - but just for adults and pair it with the Padres Beerfest. However, as a family friendly event, the Padres hit a home run and it's something you should consider doing next year if you are a Padres member like I am.

  • Best Places In America to See Bald Eagles

    Hunting isn't the only excuse to pack up your backpack and head off into the woods with a few of your friends for a guys weekend. Sometimes it is great to simply enjoy nature by observing one of the most beautiful birds in the world. The American Bald Eagle is thankfully coming back strong thanks to conservation efforts across the country. Few birds match America's majestic bald eagle for inspiring awe. Winter is prime viewing season for these incredible raptors, which often are more visible against the backdrop of the season's sparse landscape. Head to a national wildlife refuge to try to spot an eagle on your own or, better still, head to one of these refuges for an organized tour!

    Having seen these amazing birds in the wild, it is an experience that every man should see since these birds are as beautiful and graceful as they are amazing predators and they make amazing photography subjects too, so read on to see if there is a location near you...

  • ABCs of Abalone Package at Little River Inn on California's Mendocino Coast

    Abalone is a delicacy that not many people get to taste and even fewer people get to experience diving for, so here's your chance! Bonus, it's all based out of a family-owned inn located on the Mendocino Coast (just north of San Francisco). 

    The Little River Inn, is offering this one-of-a-kind aquatic adventure to its guests in June 2015. The Little River Inn has partnered with Triton X, a top spearfishing and freedive outfitter, to offer a two-day Abalone diving experience during Northern California Coast’s peak Abalone Season, with its ABCs OF ABALONE package, offered exclusively June 24 through June 26, 2015. There are a limited amount of spots available to participants, and reservations are being taken now.

  • Groove Cruise LA and Drai's Beachclub Team Up For the Ultimate Party

    We're heading to Drai's Beachclub / Drai's Nightclub at The Cromwell next week, so we'll have more on this incredible club and one of the newer resorts on the strip. However, if you want to combine the high-energy EDM scene with an awesome cruise on one of my favorite ships (Carnival Inspiration) then you gotta check out The Groove Cruise. It's not for everyone, but this quote from the website about sums it up: "There’s no 2am curfew on this vessel! With nightly after-hours going into the early afternoon, there is no better way to leave the world behind."

  • San Diego's Bacon and Barrels Festival 2015

    Once again, the the San Diego Bacon and Barrels Festival was one of the best food and drink festivals in San Diego. 

    The thing I love about this festival is that it has a GREAT balance of food (bacon-based!) along with not just beer, but beer, wine, and craft spirits from all over the West Coast. Plus there is great music and fun people to enjoy it with!

  • San Diego Tacos and Tequila Festival

    San Diego's "festival" season is in full swing this month and between beer festivals it's great to try something different. The San Diego Tacos and Tequila Festival helped celebrate two of the other great things about San Diego, while raising some great money for the Front Burner Fund, which provides assistance back of house restaurant staff for health care costs and emergency medical needs.

    The 2015 festival included 12 mixologists drawing from some of San Diego's best bars and 15 different food vendors (mostly tacos, but also cupcakes and ice cream). 

  • San Diego's Rhythm and Brews Beer Festival

    It constantly amazes me just how many craft beers there are here in San Diego and virtually every weekend there is a beef festival celebrating this fantastic beverage. However, as much as I love seeing the same breweries all the time it's always fantastic to sample some new ones that I haven't tried before. You wouldn't believe it unless you lived here in San Diego, but there are SO MANY breweries here that even 20-30 min north of downtown is a whole other world. It was those North County breweries that made this event special for me and I look forward to exploring more of them individually over the next several months.

  • 2015 La Jolla Concours d'Elegance

    If you haven't been before, this classic motor car extravaganza weekend gathers over 300 of the most elite car collections from around the world atop the bluffs of La Jolla Cove at the Ellen Browning Scripps Park. La Jolla means "The Jewel" in Spanish and we couldn't think of a more fitting place to experience these incredible vehicles than outdoor, overlooking the Pacific Ocean while surrounded by some of the most luxurious real estate in the world. While we know that there will be some amazing classic cars and modern luxury as well as sports cars, it's always a thrill to walk by something you've never seen before. 

  • Chocolate and Beer Tasting with Dallmann Chocolates at The Headquarters

    A couple months ago, Heather and I visited The Headquarters in San Diego for a fantastic date-night. A couple weeks ago though, we had the chance to spend some more time there at a Chocolate and Beer tastings held at Dallmann Fine Chocolates.  This is just one of the fun ways to spend time at The Headquarters, which is located right downtown next to Seaport Village on Harbor Drive.

  • A California Couple's Heavenly Weekend in Tahoe

    After recently spending the majority of a week in South Lake Tahoe, CA enjoying winter activities with family and friends, I find this quote below very fitting and can relate the experience we had at Heavenly Mountain Resort with the most simplistic interpretation. All the activities, amenities, and natural beauty that Heavenly Mountain Resort and surroundings have to offer is specifically designed to be an exceptional playground for adults and kids to experience and enjoy on a regular basis. Heavenly Mountain Resort will keep you coming back. It truly is a little bit of heaven on earth!

  • A Perfect Getaway in Carlsbad, CA with Kia Sorento and the Kia Classic

    You don't always need to travel somewhere far to have the perfect romantic getaway. Sometimes, you will find something great right in your backyard that is an experience you will remember for a lifetime. That's what happened for Heather and I last weekend when I got a last minute invitation to be Kia's guest at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California. While this happened to only be 30 minutes from home it was the perfect getaway and since the Park Hyatt Aviara is pet friendly it made things that much better!

  • Flagship Sunday Brunch Cruise on San Diego Bay

    Let's just start out by saying that Heather and I had a fantastic time. This brunch cruise was an experience that really is hard to compare since it was three distinct things wrapped up into one happy package. For instance, raise your hand if you've ever done a booze cruise with someone you love? Keep your hand up if you've done a harbor cruise that involved a meal... Ok, now keep you hands up if that food has been great, the service excellent, and the experience was one that you can't wait to do again.  Yeah, not a lot of hands are up still, but that's ok! 

    You probably haven't had the opportunity to sail with Flagship Cruises out of San Diego before. 

    The company offers several different cruises ranging from whale watching excursions to sunday brunch, and even a jet boat. However, despite this diversity of types of cruises offered and my initial scepticism that they might be a jack of all trades and master of none, I can heartily recommend it and I will almost certainly go again. Heck, I'd even recommend their other experiences based on this one!

  • Osetra Fish House - San Diego Wine Angels, Raw Bar, and Fresh Seafood

    There's no shortage of restaurants in San Diego's Gaslamp quarter, but one category that seems weak (compared to steaks, Italian, etc.) is seafood. Osetra is one of the few in this crowded area, so when I got invited to check it out I was extremely excited for the opportunity. After all, we had already visited it's sister properties Greystone Steakhouse and Osteria Panevino and had fantastic experiences at both of them.

    Osetra is owned by the same group as those others, but it is distinctly modern and almost chic compared to the other two, with features like a wine angel who "flies" up and down the two-story wine rack to pick out your selection, an extensive raw bar, and even sushi. 

  • Greystone Steakhouse - Delicious Steaks, Sides, and Desserts

    I've finally found it! I knew that San Diego had to have a restaurant that was equally good at ambiance as it is in service, preparation, and presentation. Earlier this month Heather and I were invited to have dinner and check out Greystone Steakhouse - one of the older restaurants here in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.

    Greystone Steakhouse just recently celebrated 15 years of operation here and after the amazing dinner we enjoyed, I can see why it's been able to survive so long and I am sure they will continue to have great success for many more years to come!

  • Celebrate Mardi Gras Any Time of the Year at Bud's Louisiana Cafe

    Heather and I LOVE Mardi Gras - well, actually we just love New Orleans and the spirit of Mardi Gras goes along with that. There is something liberating and fun about a time of year when you can just let loose and celebrate all the good things in life including friends, family, food, and of course drink! 

    Unfortunately, not everyone can make a trip to New Orleans in person, so the next best thing is to find a great Cajun or New Orleans restaurant near you and celebrate that way. In our case, this meant seeking out Bud's Louisiana Cafe in San Diego. I was a little concerned when I discovered it was located in an industrial park in a suite that would normally have held a logistics office or moving company, but as I've learned about great food down south - never judge something by the exterior appearance.

    That was true here as well and I am thrilled that we spent our evening here enjoying authentic New Orleans food and of course Abita beer!

  • Date Night at The Headquarters in San Diego

    Most of you guys are going to be spending tons of money this Valentine's Day on roses and romantic dinners, but for those of you in San Diego, I've got an alternative Valentine's Day Idea! Why not make it a full date night experience with a great dinner, gelato, and then grab some cheese and chocolates to share together back home. Alternatively, you can skip the restaurant entirely and make a great picnic on the grass in the park next door. Whatever your preference, this is a great San Diego date night spot!

    Heather and I tested it out earlier this week to see if we could do a date night for under $100 and we were pretty successful, follow along as we celebrate Valentine's Day early courtesy of The Headquarters!

  • A Taste of the Future at Rubio's Coastal Grill

    When I first arrived in San Diego 18 months ago I discovered there was no shortage of "Mexican" restaurants and honestly even though people loved Rubios it was by far my favorite because it simply sat in that awkward position between "authentic" and "corporate". For instance - Chipotle and Qdoba are both completely corporate but they are also good but not "awesome"... and on the other hand there are hundreds of 'Bertos as well as other hole in the wall places that do absolutely amazing tacos.

    As such, Rubios for me was a place that I ordered catering from because they did a great job at that - but if I wanted a fish taco or burrito I had my favorites for that. It's difficult for them to compete in that market.

    Earlier this week though, I got invited to one of their updated restaurants in Carlsbad, CA where we got a taste for the "new Rubios" - Rubios Coastal Grill. With this new positioning (which frankly isn't a dramatic change from what they have always tried to do), I feel that it sets them into a new market position with unlimited potential.

  • Man Francisco? Awesome Guys Weekend Ideas in San Francisco!

    San Francisco — the birthplace of the fortune cookie, the place where not a single bank failed during the Great Depression, and the city that was once part of Mexico until the Mexican-American War of 1848.

    Yes, over 800,000 people call this wonderful city home. And why wouldn't they? Average temperatures rarely dip below 45 and rarely peak above 70, which means you can do just about anything you want all year long.

    You and your buddies can easily take off for the weekend (or the week) and take in some of the following experiences.

  • A Celebration of Great Food at Viva Bar + Kitchen San Diego

    Sometimes in life you discover great new things completely by accident. That's how we found Viva Bar + Kitchen actually... we had gone to have dinner at a different place that sadly we left feeling we needed to go somewhere else to eliminate the "bad feeling" left in our belly. When we walked by Viva, the super friendly hostess on the sidewalk told us it was "taco tuesday" and so we figured, "what the heck" and walked in to check it out.

    That taco and that experience was good enough that before the end of our snack that we had already booked our New Year's Eve dinner here the next day.

  • I May Have Found World's Best Bacon Cheeseburger at Hodad's Ocean Beach San Diego

    Since 1969, when Byron and Virginia Hardin opened their first location in Ocean Beach, Hodad's has been a legendary burger joint in San Diego. With an atmosphere that borders on kitschy tourist trap but somehow manages to stay authentic, this is a must-visit location for anyone visiting the city. However, what makes it even more awesome is that it is more than just a "cool place" to grab a bite, it is serving up some of the most amazing burgers in the whole world. 

    For those of you who have never been to Ocean Beach, it is a beach town located just north of the city and is full of hippies / surfer culture, so it is also great for people watching.

  • El Agave Tequila Tasting and Dinner in San Diego's Old Town

    San Diego has tons of craft beer bars and great wine is in no shortage either but the craft spirits industry is also growing rapidly here as well. One of the shining stars there is El Agave Artesanal tequila and so I was thrilled that the folks at El Agave Restaurant invited us back to try some additional menu items as well as a tequila tasting led by one of their experts.

  • Three Cheers at Toast Enoteca San Diego Wine Bar

    Wine vending machines, delicious pizza, and good friends to share it with - what more do you need in life? That's exactly what I found at San Diego's Toast Enoteca & Cucina when I visited there a couple weeks ago and we had a fantastic dinner that would be equally good as a "date night" or as a place to hang out with the guys after a Padres game.

  • Mammoth Mountain for Massive Fun This Winter

    Tahoe may have all the glory when it comes to California skiing, but an easy 5-6 hour drive from Los Angeles and San Diego lies Mammoth Mountain, one of the hottest ski destinations in the west and it is just perfect for an awesome guys weekend.

    If you don't feel like driving and the possibility of putting chains on - there are fast cheap flights from LAX and SAN that go right to Mammoth via Alaska Air including 6 and 10-pack deals starting at only $480 from Las Vegas, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

  • 10 Ideas for an Awesome San Diego Guys Weekend

    San Diego is an awesome town that is sometimes forgotten about or dismissed as simply a surf town, but what I have discovered over the past year is that there is an incredible amount of awesome things to do here beyond the beach including touring some of the almost 100 craft breweries, exploring vineyards in nearby Temecula and Romona, as well as visiting the Zoo, touring historic military ships and some of the best burgers and tacos in the country.

  • Tasting our Way Through Florence at Acqua Al 2 San Diego

    The Gaslamp District is the destination to go for nightlife in San Diego. It's the place to be seen and it's no surprise that it is home to some of the most popular restaurants in the city. Last night I had the pleasure of dining at Acqua Al 2 for an opportunity to taste my way through it's delicious cuisine direct from Florence Italy.

    Many Italian restaurants trace their inspiration back to Italian roots and Acqua Al 2 is no different - except that they actually have a location in Florence itself. Many years ago, owner and Executive Chef, Martin Gonzalez went to Italy to learn Italian and better understand the customs and way of life. To do so, he enrolled in cooking classes at the prestigious Instituto Culinario Apicius where he was award the title of "Best Student". 

  • Josefas Cocina Mexicana Restaurant Review

    Josefas Cocina Mexicana is a brand new addition to La Jolla from the same folks that brought us Iberico. As part of it's opening, I was invited to stop by for a lunch to check it out and share my thoughts.

    For the past year, I have been moaning that the San Diego restaurant scene sucks - and so a few PR teams ganged up on me to convince me that I just had bad luck in picking places. While I still stand beside my earlier comments, I am starting to discover that while San Diego doesn't celebrate - or demand - a certain high level of sophistication from it's restaurants compared to the prices charged,... there are some fantastic gems. 

  • A Taste of Freedom! Hard Rock Cafe San Diego Freedom Burger

    I love big over the top burgers, rock and roll, craft beer, and honoring those who serve to keep our country the best in the entire world! When a place manages to combine all of those into one tasty (if not extremely messy!) package I love to share the news of it with you guys.

  • Islands Happy Hour - Burgers, Tiki Drinks, Wings, & Football!

    The folks at Islands Restaurants invited me out for a happy hour last night to watch the Chiefs and Patriots game... no, I wasn't up north... I was in warm sunny San Diego and we do football happy hours different down here.

    For those of you outside of Southwest US (California, Nevada, Arizona), Islands is a casual American style restaurant / sports pub similar to Fridays or Applebees but with an awesome Hawaiian theme, great burgers, tiki cocktails, and frankly super gracious staff.

  • El Agave San Diego Restaurant Review

    El Agave - it's the plant that when processed makes such delicious products such as agave syrup and tequila. In this case though, it is the name of one of San Diego's finest Mexican restaurants. For those of you who think "Mexican" is just tacos and burritos you are missing out on the fact that Mexico cuisines is as diverse as any other with influences from Europe as well as indigenous cooking techniques and plants.

    I have seen El Agave several times as it is located above one of my favorite liquor stores in Old Town San Diego. However I didn't know much about it until the PR folks contacted me recently and invited Heather and I to check it out.

  • A Visit to Solare Restaurant in San Diego

    A scene from Top Gun was filmed here, their bartender loves to create artisanal tequila cocktails and to top it off, San Diego Magazine's readers just named their chef, Accursio Lota, as "Best Chef" in San Diego - so who was I to say no when they approached us recently and invited us to stop by for dinner!

    Honestly, I am not typically a fan of Italian because I usually associate it with kitschy bottles chianti, heavy but tasteless spaghetti sauce covered pasta and pictures of the pope or mobsters on the walls. Over the past couple years though I am starting to warm up to it. What I discovered at San Diego's Solare Ristorante was a delightful interpretation of classic Italian but merged with the essence of the Southern California farm-to-table movement.

  • A Romantic Escape to the Carmel Country Inn

    Last month, Heather and I set forth to escape the summer heat in San Diego and head north to Carmel-by-the-Sea, located just south of San Francisco. Our host on this trip was the absolutely beautiful Carmel Country Inn, a bed and breakfast that offered us a 2 bedroom suite.

  • Fun, Friends, and High Spirits at San Diego Spirits Festival!

    You've been to beer fests and wine festivals but there aren't that many spirits festivals that are open to the public unfortunately. If you are a fan of spirits and craft cocktails it seems that you're passion is best explored at a bar buying expensive cocktails and new liquors only to find out that you made an expensive mistake and are forced to either finish or let it go to waste.

    The San Diego Spirits Festival on the other hand offers new as well as seasoned fans a chance to explore spirits brand new to the market as well as celebrate with friends over tasters of familiar friends like Don Julio, Stoli, and Woodford Reserve. 

  • Hanging out at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Tour in San Diego

    There's no shortage of awesome beer festivals in San Diego and since we have some of the most talented brewers in the world it is never boring to see the same cast of characters week after week.

    However, it is always exciting to see something different and that's exactly what Sierra Nevada delivered with their Beer Camp Across America tour this summer.

  • A Visit to the 18/8 Men's Salon in San Diego

    A trip to a salon might seem like a strange idea for a guys weekend activity but that's just what we did recently at the newly opened 18/8 Fine Men's Salon in North County San Diego and it was a blast! If the idea of doing something to make yourself look and feel good seems like something more for the girls than the guys, you should think again.

    Years ago, the concept of the "metrosexual" was talked about, but today it's just something that a lot of guys enjoy without worrying about labels. As such, entrepreneurs are starting to create specific locations that cater to guys with an environment that is for the average guy. While there are GREAT places like Grooming Lounge in DC and SIR Spa in Chicago, I haven't found a mass-market product with locations across the country that was designed to pamper guys with not just a great haircut, shave, or facial but a chance to relax before hand while sipping a beer and watching the game. 

  • Want to Win a Trip to San Diego?

    Baseball season is finally here and so it's time to welcome the boys of summer back home from their spring training camps in Arizona and Florida.

    To make things even better, the San Diego CVB is offering a contest where you can win air fare, hotel and tickets to a Padres game! Check out some photos from our visit to Petco Park on Sunday...

     

  • How does San Diego Tourism see Social Media and Bloggers?

    an interview with San Diego Tourism about Social Media @ManTrippingThis is the first of an ongoing series talking about social media and the travel industry. I find it fascinating that there is a whole industry devoted to semi-professional travel blogging today, yet almost no one ever asks "what are they looking for". On the other side, the PR people at the travel brands are almost afraid to ask us for specifics out of concern that it may cause a bad reaction or interfere with the individual telling the story.

    To help shed some light on this challenge I set out to interview a series of 10 travel brands that work with bloggers to learn more about what they are looking for when working with bloggers as well as social media in general.

     

     

  • 10 Amazing Natural Places You Must Visit in California

    California is an amazing state with astonishing natural beauty that is sometimes overshadowed by the urban centers of San Francisco, LA, and San Diego. To experience the true majesty of California though you need to pack up the car and go exploring! 

    The following are a few of our favorite natural places that you MUST visit...

  • Awesome Fantasy Suites & Themed Adult Hotel Rooms

    Traditionally, our wives and girlfriends sit and wait for us to pick a hotel that they want for Valentine's Day - but why can't we turn the tables and do things differently? We scoured the internet looking for epic hotel ideas that will inspire romance this Valentine's Day in a completely different manner than the typical 4-star resort with breakfast in bed!

    Each of these motels caters to fantasies or have themed rooms that will make your Valentine's Day that much more fun compared to a eewwey gooey, boring romantic night at a typical hotel with red roses and chocolates.

  • San Diego Seasons 52 Preview

    Seasons 52 Logo and CocktailSan Diego has a new Seasons 52 and we were invited last week to do a preview of the new location in The Headquarters (located right between the Gas Lamp and Sea Port Village). In addition to a seven course tasting menu we were also treated to a preview of their plans for Thanksgiving and some of the new "winter menu" items that will be rolling out nationally over the next few weeks.

    For those of you who are not familiar with the Seasons 52, the concept is a fresh grill and wine bar featuring over 100 wines, including 52+ that are available by the glass. Additionally, their other claim to fame is that no menu item is more than 475 calories - something that we were assured is true, despite the fact that our dinner was rich in flavor.

  • Golden Princess Pacific Coastal Cruise Review

    There's more to cruising than the big three - (Carnival, Royal, and NCL) and I have been wanting to try Princess for quite a while, but never had the opportunity. Last month, we took a quick weekend escape out of Los Angeles on the Golden Princess and finally got to experience what it means to "Escape Completely".

    The Golden Princess is a grand class ship, measuring 109,000 gross tons and carrying 2,600 passengers (double occupancy) plus 1,100 crew members.

    Princess launched Golden in 2001, but retrofitted the ship in 2009.

  • The Great Horror Campout

    header-image-logoIt's almost halloween but that doesn't mean that horror season is almost over. In fact, one of the coolest and freakiest events I have ever come across is still a few months away!

    The Great Horror Campout is held every year in the Los Angeles State Historic Park and it certainly takes "camping" to a completely new level!

  • Win Free Tickets to California Beer Festival!

    beer-festival-headerWant a chance to win one of two prize packages - 2 tickets to the California Beer Festival on Sept. 7 in San Dimas?

    Keep reading for more information on how to win...

  • Summer Thrills at Big Bear Adventure Park

    Big Bear is more than just a winter escape in Southern California! Check out the Snow Summit Adventure Park, introducing Ziplining and Mountain Bike Park. Snow Summit Adventure Park Introduces Ziplining and Mountain Bike Park

  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2013 Review

    header-imageFrom 8,000 feet in the air to sea-level, the Hyundai Santa Fe can take you pretty much wherever you need to go and does so in comfort and near luxury style.

    A few months ago we had the opportunity to be among the first to drive the 5 passenger Santa Fe Sport, and now this month we had the chance to review the all new 6/7 passenger Santa Fe.

  • Best Romantic Destinations To Take Your Wife

    Ok, so we normally cover places to go just as guys. However, as any married man (or in a committed relationship) knows - if she isn't happy then you won't be either!

    That's why we put together this list of some fantastic romantic retreats that your wife will love.

  • A Golden Idea for California Mancations

    California is known as the Golden State for a reason and luckily there is still gold left for prospectors to find, as well as tons of history from the gold rush to explore.

    So, if you are looking for a golden idea for your next mancation, you can't get one much better than planning a gold prospecting adventure. Another benefit of a trip like this is that if you find something nice you can bring it home to the wife or girlfriend, or just fund your next mancation. The following are a few places to look to get your gold fever started!

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