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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  • 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.

  • Deep under the earth is a dark and mysterious place where stories become legends and boys become men. It's hard to imagine working thousands of feet under the earth in conditions that could instantly become deadly. But that's where men have toiled for centuries to bring the wealth of the earth to those of us on the surface. From coal mines in England to Gold mines in Nevada, now you have the opportunity to explore them too!

  • While summer is often considered the prime road trip season, I love to explore new places all year round. Road trips in particular, are a great way to see the places between the places and experience new local cultures, traditions and more. Here are some of my favorite holiday road trip ideas from around the country.

  • There are two things in life that I love the most (outside of my wife of course!) - Traveling and Food. That's really one bigger thing: exploring new cultures. That's why I love trying new restaurants that work hard to transport you to new times and places like Havana 1920 does. Havana 1920 is a new Cuban-themed cafe and bar in the heart of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter - very close to the convention center as well as most of the bigger hotels. Here's what we loved about it!

  • With Father's Day here - but really any time of year - it's important to think about some cool ideas to do together as a father and son. While some of these ideas are better for dads to take their kids, and some are better for adult relationships - one thing is constant. That universal constant is that these are trips that will provide an opportunity for a father and son to bond outside of the normal day-to-day experience. Conversations will happen, skills will be learned, hugs will be had and at the end of the experience both parties will have had an incredible experience that only the two of them share.

    So - are you ready to check out some super cool Father and Son guys trip ideas?

  • When you think of going on a cruise, you probably think about departing from South Florida or Port Canaveral, but today there are many more options than that. The cool thing about taking a mancation cruise is that you really get three destinations in one experience - the ship, the departure port, and a buffet of other experiences along the way at different stops. While we LOVE the major cruise ports like Miami, Ft Lauderdale, and Port Canaveral, here are some of our top picks that you might not already think about.

  • This is a different sort of Raptor review. The Ford Raptor is hands down the most fun truck or SUV that I've had the chance to test - ever. While most reviews focus on it's extreme off road abilities as a Baja racing truck that you can buy from a dealer vs building your own. The truth is that the truck goes way beyond that and after spending a few days testing it out with my wife and another couple during a getaway to Borrego Springs, California, I'm even more impressed. This is far more than just "dad's toy"!

  • One of the challenges - and frankly the thrills - of having a 4x4 truck is seeing how capable it really is. The challenge with that though is that sometimes the line between awesome fun and danger is blurred and you never really learn except by making mistakes. That's why I absolutely love the fact that the state of California along with some local off road clubs created this amazing park located just east of San Diego with marked challenges and obstacles ranging from the absolutely insane to beginner. This also gave us the perfect place to test out and compare the TRD Pro trucks that Toyota had given us to play with.

  • There are many things that go into the process of planning for an awesome guys weekend and unfortunately that typically means a ton of compromises. However, one of my favorite types of lodging for a guys getaway is a vacation rental instead of a typical hotel. Generally I find that there is a direct cost savings here, but other benefits start to come together too - including being able to spend more time together as well as indirect savings since you have a kitchen, common area, and often free parking too. That's exactly what we found when we spent a few days at the Marriott Vacation Club golf resort, Marriott Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert California and it made for an awesome home base for our adventures.

  • The search for gold has driven men to do great (and terrible) things for longer than there has been written history to record the deeds. It's one of those pursuits that truly separates the men from the boys. When most people think about the California gold rush, images of miners in Northern California typically comes to mind – but there was gold in the Southern California Deserts too! While the original miners relied on foot and mule to reach their claims, we were armed with modern trucks, radios, and GPS coordinates to guide us.

     
  • Race is a difficult topic to explore for most Americans and for far too many people, the word is a trigger that raises barriers that put people in a defensive position where they pretend things didn't happen. As someone who travels constantly, I've learned that this isn't just an American reaction - it is a human one. As I travel I must be open to my views challenged as I experience new things. By talking with different people I've been blessed to see, hear, touch, and taste a lot of different perspectives. Combined with my love of history, experiences like this have given me better context to understand complex issues. Even more so though, it has given me the understanding that most things have many sides. I encourage each and every one of you to make an effort to open your minds, visit sites like these and simply take the time to listen, learn, and explore history when you do.

  • While Vegas has trended away from lavish buffets, the tradition of a casino buffet being the crown jewel of a resort is alive and well in San Diego. Last week we were invited to check out Viejas Casino Resort's buffet during their new Friday Crab Legs feast and we were not disappointed!

  • Last night I had the opportunity to not just visit a fantastic new brewery but also meet with five of the best chefs in San Diego. We were assembled to help raise money for Feeding San Diego, while also celebrating the launch of Flesh & Blood - Bitter Brothers new Golden Sour that has a stunning color and flavor of tart cherries and raspberry. Each of the five courses was inspired by and paired with one of their beers, for a culinary experience that I wish could be shared better than just my words and pictures.

Meet James and Heather!

 

 

 

 

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