California Travel Ideas

 

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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  • We are thankfully in a renaissance of  smaller trucks and the 2019 Ford Ranger is among the most highly anticipated. It is also one of the best equipped, with awesome numbers and robust capability. With a truck like this though, it's about more than just raw numbers... it's about what you can do and where it can take you. The FX4 trim level that we were provided is not the Raptor or even a competitor to the Toyota's TRD Pro or Chevy's ZR2 off-road trucks but it delivers a solid and comfortable experience both on and off road. This makes it an excellent road tripping vehicle. To test it out, we decided to explore historic Nate Harrison Road and climb to the top of Mount Palomar in San Diego, California.

  • Rodizio style Brazilian Steakhouse is my absolute favorite style of dining. It combines everything I love in a culinary experience - endless meat, a variety of flavors, and that sense of being special. Over the past few decades the Churrascaria concept has spread rapidly in the United States and Texas de Brazil is one of the biggest operators to offer this experience. Now they've added Carlsbad, San Diego to their list of more than 50 locations world wide. They invited us to stop by and try their interpretation on the concept and we loved it!

  • One of the greatest things about food in the United States is that the best elements of the cuisine from around the world can mash together here. That's what I found here at Shrimp Heads in San Diego when I visited a few weeks ago. On the surface it looks like a fairly typical Southern California "shrimp tray" seafood shop but when you scratch beneath the surface you discover that it's an awesome blend of Asian and Cajun united by a love of good cooking.

  • Valentine's Day is obviously an annual excuse to focus on love and romance, the reality is that any time of year is a great excuse for a romantic getaway. Here's our picks for some of the most romantic destinations to take your wife this year!

  • Los Angeles isn't like most cities. Typically in places like New York, Chicago, Denver etc. you have a central city but Los Angeles is a collection of cities spread out over a vast area. That allows for some really cool smaller destinations to explore and one of these that is often overlooked - but shouldn't be - is San Pedro. Despite the shadow that neighboring Long Beach casts, San Pedro has a surprising amount of fun ideas for a father and son weekend getaway. Let's explore some of the stuff you won't want to miss!

  • Theatre Box just opened up in downtown San Diego and frankly you'd have to be living under a rock to not know about it. Between celebrities posting ridiculous dessert pictures on Instagram and other buzz it honestly wasn't my sort of place I thought. After all, usually these places just have "instagram food" that looks pretty but doesn't really taste that great. However, when I was invited to check it out I accepted since I was curious. Honestly I wasn't expecting much. I figured that at very least though that it would be a good opportunity to finally see Aquaman and grab some dinner. My bias against celebrity endorsement almost caused me to miss out on one of the coolest new concepts in San Diego

  • Steam trains have a special place in my heart - as they do with millions of other guys and even some women too! These are giant hulking marvels of engineering represented the pinnacle of technology in their day but are still amazing to experience. In the age we live in where we covet silent, clean, smooth, and safe modes of transportation these great locomotives bring us back to a day when none of that was required - just getting the job done and opening up new opportunities to expand and profit.

  • San Diego is better known for palm trees and sun soaked beaches than ice and snow. Through the wonders of technology and a bit of imagination, the plaza out front of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront has been transformed into a winter wonderland this year. Holiday By The Bay is a winter festival for kids of all ages... and there are even some tasty holiday cocktails just for adults!

  • Any time of year is a great time to visit Disneyland but Fall and especially Halloween is an extra special time of year here. The park is all dressed up and there's some awesome new treats each year plus a few unique attractions that are only available for a few short months before it goes into full "Holiday" mode. Disneyland gave us a couple passes to check out the fun, so we stopped by the park and did a quick walk through of a few different areas that you won't want to miss. Let's check it out!

  • 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 amazing haunted places!

  • The California desert is a weird and wonderful place full of mystical energy and people drawn there by it. That's why it makes such an amazing place to explore since there are stories and places that seem almost too weird to be true. One of these that I heard about earlier this year is simply known as Giant Rock. As you can imagine, it is indeed a giant rock out in the middle of the desert but over the decades it also served as a gathering point for UFO conventions, a guy even lived below it (before blowing himself up), and before that it was considered a sacred site by the indians inhabiting the area. It is also a great trail for beginners looking to get familiarized with off road driving since it's only three miles long and you'll have cell phone reception the entire time... but you feel like you entered a whole different world when you get there.

  • I love a classic steakhouse. You know, the ones with dark leather booths, heavy shadows, and classic bourbon cocktails. STK San Diego is is not that kind of place! From the moment you walk in, it is very clear that this is not your dad's steakhouse. Instead, it's hip, light, and lively. There is even a DJ on some nights furthering the lounge atmosphere and the cocktails match this chic and trendy environment. Don't be fooled though - while it feels like a cocktail bar, the menu still offers huge steaks and classic sides. There's a sense of youth and urban energy here compared to the uber masculinity of a traditional steakhouse but it hasn't lost touch with why you ultimately chose to spend hundreds of dollars on an amazing meal. This vibe perfectly matches Andaz San Diego hotel where it is located and it is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. 

  • Wine lovers will find that a stay at the Bernardus Lodge will warm their hearts in a special way. It's a fabulous property surrounded by vineyards and horse ranches but still close enough to the Bay Area that it makes for an easy weekend getaway. For those who have never visited, Carmel Valley is a true hidden gem. The area is sometimes overshadowed by other California wine regions and missed by travelers seeking golf in Pebble Beach or beaches in Carmel-by-the-Sea. However, for those that do visit, they are in for a fabulous experience that you will dream of going back to.

  • San Diego might be best known for tacos, beer, beaches, and golf - and we've got plenty of that but it's also a town with some uniquely awesome adrenaline filled adventure ideas. Here's our picks for what to do if you are ready to ditch the flip-flops and strap in, hold tight, and maybe even scream a bit.

  • I learned more about the dynamics of a performance automobile in three hours at the BMW Performance Center than I think I have in the past 20 years of simply driving on my own. Once you pass "drivers ed" in high school, most guys simply learn from trial and error. Unfortunately, that can be a very expensive and painful way to learn - and most likely you still will not have proper techniques. I am on a mission to break that pattern, so BMW invited me out to their school for the day. What I discovered there was far more than just the "driving experience" that I expected.

  • Sometimes, as good as a restaurant might be - you need to visit for just one reason. At Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill, a regional restaurant chain with locations throughout Southern California, that reason is appropriately called "The Ultimate". Read on to find out why it is the ultimate BBQ sandwich!

  • We were on hand this week for the opening of Willows Hotel & Spa, but I look forward to being able to return to fully experience the resort - especially the spa, pool deck, and restaurants on our own. However, from the brief time we did spend on property and our stay in one of their Escape Suites, this is the perfect destination for anyone in San Diego that is looking for a getaway where there will be no kids. It's the perfect distance from downtown, easy to get to, and delivers a full suite of luxury, spa, pool, food, and all the action you'd expect from a casino resort. Oh yeah, and there's also some of the best outlet shopping in San Diego. 

  • Sideways is one of the greatest Guys Weekend movies as far as I'm concerned. It's raw and fun - without being stupid and silly like tends to be the the case all too often. Most of all though, it highlighted one of the most fabulous parts of the country - the Santa Ynez Valley, including Santa Barbara and Solvang. This is an absolutely gorgeous part of California that is located just far enough away from Los Angeles to be a different world... but still close enough for a quick getaway. Let's take a look at how you can walk in the footsteps of Miles (Paul Giamonte) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church).

  • Last week I was invited to a fantastic dinner at a new San Diego brewery - 10 Barrel Brewing who collaborated with one of my favorite restaurants, Carnitas Snack Shack. While the food was good and the beer was excellent, it really made me think about the impact of social media and the current state of the "craft beer" scene in the United States right now. Specifically, what is a craft beer vs a local beer and does it really even matter anymore?

  • A convertible is something special that almost begs to be driven somewhere special. That's what we did recently when Buick dropped off their new Cascada and said "have at it!". The following are some of our favorite road trips in San Diego that are perfect for enjoying with the top down.

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