Top 5 Must Do's in California

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California's expansive coastline, numerous state parks, famous cities and natural landscapes would allow you to easily create a "Top 5" in each category. Nonetheless, drawing from the possibilities to create the most varied experience, here are five places that you should add to your California Must Do's.

Mendocino County

Mendocino has everything. The coastline is filled with beautiful sandy beaches and rocky cliffs, affording fantastic views and brilliant sunsets from the shore or any of the numerous lighthouses. You can spend your time in the water diving, kayaking or whale watching. There are botanical gardens and plenty of wineries to visit, and the area is also home to the smallest and largest redwoods in the world. Quaint Victorian villages abound, filled with romantic B&B's and luxurious spas. It's no wonder Mendocino has been a popular film location since the silent movie era.

Lake Tahoe

The famous blue lake and surrounding pines are a breathtaking view, regardless of the time of year. You could easily spend your days on the back porch of a cabin (or in front of the fireplace and picture windows) watching the trees, the lake, the animals or the people. Depending on the weather, you can try your hand at golfing, hiking, swimming, diving, fishing, camping, boating, ice skating, skiing, snowmobiling or cross-country skiing. You can also spend some time at the numerous spas, casinos, cabarets or festivals.

San Francisco

Naturally, you can't visit San Francisco without checking out the Golden Gate Bridge or riding the famous cable cars. You can even take a ferry out to visit Alcatraz. If you're going for the cosmopolitan tour you can visit the numerous museums, art galleries, bars and nightclubs. Chinatown and Union Square should definitely be on your list. For a more relaxed feel, book yourself at the spas, visit the golf courses and wineries, or take a boat out onto the bay.

Yosemite

The natural beauty of Yosemite National Park is awe-inspiring and a definite California Must Do. The waterfalls are best viewed from autumn through early summer, when the wildflowers take over the show. And while birdwatching is not the greatest in the winter, skiing certainly is. Be sure to see the giant sequoias and the view from Glacier Point. At various times in the year you can take part in hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, rafting, rock climbing or snowshoeing.

Los Angeles

Visit the plethora of museums, galleries, and coffee shops when you're in the city, or head out to the zoo or botanical gardens for a bit of an escape. Universal Studios Hollywood, Cirque du Soleil and the LA Philharmonic are big draws as well. If you're eager for celebrity sightings, you might try Ivy Restaurant, Barney's, The Grove or Grauman's Chinese Theater. And don't forget to stroll down Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.

-Tiffany M Parker

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December 18, 2009 change by tiffanymparker

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