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Exploring California beyond the Major Metros

California has more land than almost every other state. In fact, you could fit the 12 smallest states into California and still have plenty of room to spare.

Inside the state lines, there’s a lot more to California than Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. Many visitors are pleasantly surprised to see that California is very diverse. It has something for every type of vacationer, whether you want to go rock climbing or sip cocktails by a luxury pool. California has so much to offer the hardest part is choosing which sights you want to see on a vacation.

The folks at Welk Resorts know this very well. They’ve opened experiential resorts across the state that highlight what the local area has to offer. Staying at an experiential resort is one way to maximize your time in California since you’ll want to take in as much as you can.

If you’re planning a trip to the Golden Coast there are a lot of options to consider. Travelers that are looking for a true California experience beyond the two major metros will find it at the spots below.

Water Fun on Lake Tahoe

So much attention is on the beaches of California, it’s easy to forget one of the country’s most popular lakes is also within the state. Lake Tahoe is unique in that it actually straddles two states: California and Nevada.

Many vacationers choose to stay on the west side of the lake in California. You’ll find both beach sand flats and ski resorts along Lake Tahoe, making it a great vacation spot any time of year.


The Canyon Trails and Beaches of San Diego

All the way down at the southernmost portion of California is what many people would consider paradise on earth. San Diego is known for its year-round beautiful weather and breathtaking landscapes.

In a single day, you can hike canyon trails, venture out on cliff sides that overlook the Pacific Ocean, take a trip to Mexico or explore a variety of impeccable beaches. San Diego is home to 17 miles of coastline that’s dotted with some of the state’s most famed beaches and surfing spots. There are wading pools where you can observe sea life, beaches where you can bring your dog and hidden coves where you can find a secluded spot of your own.

Pure Relaxation in Palm Springs

Just a few hours northeast of San Diego is another popular vacation destination that’s a little off the beaten path. Palm Springs has long been the place where celebrities, politicians, and anyone needing a break comes for pure relaxation.

You could argue that the city is one large resort. There are natural hot springs, spas, resorts and golf courses around every corner. Of course, Palm Springs is also known for having one of the best upscale shopping districts in California.

Natural Wonders at Yosemite National Park

Few people realize Yosemite Park and all of its natural wonder is just a few hours east of the bustling San Francisco metro. The national park is known for its soaring granite cliff sides, waterfalls and giant sequoia trees. It’s particularly beautiful in the fall when autumn colors spread across Yosemite Valley.

Wine Country Views and Vintages

Wine lovers may want to stick to the central region of the state where there is a bounty of vineyards. Many of California’s world-renowned wines can be found in Napa Valley and Sonoma.

Hillside vineyards stretch out as far as the eye can see in California’s wine country. The only thing that can rival the picturesque landscape and decadent wine is the amazing food. Highly revered chefs take full advantage of being in the wine country by creating unique menus that pair beautifully with the local vino.

Canopy-Covered Trails in the Redwood National Park

Keep traveling north on Highway 101 and you’ll end up in Crescent City where you’ll find the Redwood National Park. Words cannot describe the awe you’ll feel standing next to the towering ancient trees. The entire area is like being in another world that’s brimming with greenery. It’s no wonder George Lucas chose this spot to film the Endor scenes for Star Wars Return of the Jedi.

The South is the soul of America, but California is the country’s adventurous heart. From the gold rush days to the modern tech startups to national monuments, California is the land of opportunity and beauty. It’s the place where people’s dreams are as grand as the sweeping landscape.

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