5 Best Parts of Inland California

When you think of traveling to California, you’re probably picturing palm trees, sun, beaches and surfing. It is true that these are the most common activities for visitors, but there are even more interesting things to do in the inland areas of the state. Read on to discover the top five little-known destinations of inland California.

Image by J.G. in S.F. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-sf/)
Image by J.G. in S.F. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-sf/)

1. Placer County – You probably have never heard of this county, but it is full of small towns that have a rich history, especially in relation to the Gold Rush days. Abandoned mines and museums are the only remnants of those days, in addition to some statues in Auburn dedicated to the thousands of Chinese workers who contributed greatly to the mining of gold. Auburn is the county seat and is full of interesting structures, including an old Queen Anne style firehouse and an attractive courthouse dating back to the late 1800s. Placer County is a great place for hiking and outdoor recreation. There is a magnificent old bridge you can see while hiking outside of Auburn; it is called the Foresthill Bridge and towers a breathtaking 730 feet above the American River. You’ll definitely fall in love with Placer County – and you’ll surely see why so many people choose to make it their home. You don’t have to be a Placer County real estate agent to see why people love to buy homes in Placer County towns! If you’re a true hiking adventure lover, park at Donner Summit and take a hike to the old historic Soda Springs resort – it is an amazing experience.

2. Silver City Ghost Town – Thrill seekers and mystery lovers, this one is for you. This mining-camp-turned-ghost-town is located near Bodfish, California, not far from Lake Isabella. Listed on the National Directory of Haunted Places, the town’s ghost-sighting numbers are high. Visitors are welcome to tour the old general store, which is still filled with artifacts from days gone by. There is also an old post office, home dwellings, saloon and cabins. The original Isabella jail is still in existence there, as well. Silver City has appeared on several movies, so you may recognize it.

Silver City Ghost Town
Image by mlhradio (http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthigh/)

3. Miracle Hot Springs – You won’t need to travel far from the Silver City ghost town to arrive at this attraction. Yes, most people come to California for cool water and beaches, but these hot springs are much more invigorating and relaxing than a day on a crowded beach. There are other hot springs in California, but this is the only location that is free of resorts accompanying the springs. Enjoy relaxing in natural rock hot water pools. You may see remnants of the resort that once stood there, but everything has now returned to a natural state. You won’t need to pay resort prices to simply sit and relax here – less than $10 will get you in. Miracle Hot Springs is located in the Kern River Canyon, which is a quiet and secluded area. You’ll likely see less than 10 other people during a visit to these springs.

Miracle Hot Springs
Image by nora.starwaters (http://www.flickr.com/photos/norastarwaters/)

4. Redding – This city is very unique and offers visitors the opportunity to learn a lot about everything from natural science to art. It is nestled along the banks of the Sacramento River. One of the most unique bridges can be seen here – the Sundial Bridge. This magnificent architectural structure is a combination of a working bridge and a fully functional sundial. Nearby is the Turtle Bay and accompanying museum with a 20-acre garden area. Another interesting sight to see is the Art-Deco-style Cascade Theater. This historic structure was built in 1935 and is now a multi-function performance venue.

Image by Wood R.A. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wood_ra/)

5. Inyo National Forest – Commonly overlooked because it is so close to Yosemite National Park, this gem of a natural attraction is one that you won’t regret visiting. Sure, Yosemite is nice, but you have much more variety for hiking trails and secluded wading or swimming spots in Inyo National Forest. There are plenty of great locations for fishing also. The best part is that if you want something different to do, you only need to drive a short distance to reach multiple ski resorts with some of the best slopes in California. If you’re not native to California and plan to camp in this forest, you must know that it is imperative to have a campfire permit. You’ll need to buy this before setting up camp. With all the fires that occur each year, park rangers are very strict about permits.

Inyo National Forest
Image by Think Abe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/thinkabe/)

These are just a few of the great places to see in the inland portion of the Golden State. Although the popular destinations are pushed in mainstream tourism, I think you’ll find that some of these best-kept secrets of destinations provide an interesting and memorable experience for your next trip to California.

About the author: Patrick works out of the RE/MAX Gold Auburn and Roseville Placer County Homes offices in Placer County. Patrick’s experience includes helping countless clients purchase and sell homes in the region.

5 Best Beaches to Visit in California

Best Beaches in California

California is famous for its varied landscape, which includes everything from deserts to snow-capped mountains and evergreen forests. But the Golden State is especially well-known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, especially in its southern portion. If you’re planning a California vacation this summer, here are the top 5 beaches you have to check out.

Venice Beach

Los Angeles’s Venice Beach has a long and colorful history. It was the home of Jim Morrison back in the 1960s, and is today famous for its eccentricity and boardwalk, which is always bustling with tourists, local shops and eclectic street performers. On any given day, you’ll find jugglers with power saws, street musicians, rollerbladers, painters, acrobats, graffiti artists and many more sideshow attractions lining the Venice Boardwalk. You can get a workout done at Muscle Beach and even get a lesson from one of the regulars. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops to enjoy, so no matter what you’re into, you’ll never find a dull moment while taking a stroll or bike riding along Venice Beach. Next time you’re visiting Venice Beach, check out some great resources for California vacations rentals.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach in San Diego is one of the most relaxed and laid back beaches in California, and one that offers plenty of unique attractions to enjoy. OB, as the locals call it, is just south of Mission Beach and 7 miles away from downtown San Diego. OB’s dog beach is popular with dog owners. Other attractions include the OB pier, the tide pools, the Sunset Cliffs Park and the Point Loma lighthouse. Look for resources for San Diego vacation rentals if you’re visiting anytime soon.

Black’s Beach

Black’s Beach, in the city of La Jolla, is one of the best secluded beaches in California. To get there, you have to make your way down the Torrey Pines cliffs, via a path of wooden steps. Once you make it down, you’ll find wide stretches of sand and placid waves to swim in. With the massive Torrey Pines cliffs towering above it, Black’s Beach is the perfect place to have a bonfire at night or enjoy a calm, secluded picnic in the sand. The north side of Black’s Beach is a clothing-optional area, so watch out for nudists.

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is actually located just south of the city of Huntington Beach, and it stretches for several miles. The south end of Huntington Beach is a nesting place for the rare California Least Tern. The area where the birds dwell is fenced off, but you can enjoy some good bird watching if you bring binoculars. Huntington Beach is also a popular spot for beach volleyball, due to its soft sands. Biking, surfing, body boarding and basketball are also popular activities.

Zuma and Surfrider

Yes, this is technically cheating, but you have to include both Zuma and Surfrider Beach if you’re going to talk about the Malibu coast. These two legendary beaches are prime destinations for surfers everywhere, and were the beaches that inspired much of the 1960s surf rock movement.

Top 7 Destinations for Mountain Trekking

Mountain trekking offers the chance to see a country from a wider point of view, not to mention engage in a unique and breathtaking experience. There’s a boundless spectrum of mountain trekking opportunities across the world, each including adventurous trails, stunning scenery and the ultimate retreat into isolation. Whether you’re donning your hiking boots for the first time, or you’re a seasoned pro, pick your mountain, and get ready for a truly exhilarating holiday.

Mountain Trekking
Image by mckaysavage

Mt Everest, Nepal

Ever heard the saying ‘this is my Everest’? Climbing the world’s highest mountain has become synonymous with difficult tasks, so this is truly one for experienced climbers. If you intend on making the full trek to the top it will take years to get fully prepared, but for a less difficult yet still challenging climb, you could try Everest’s Base Camp.

Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

With examples of virtually every ecosystem on earth (including glaciers, deserts, savannah and tropical jungle), trekking Mt Kilimanjaro is an unforgettable experience. The best time to go is from January to March1 and the trek can only be made with an organised tour.

The Andes, Columbia

After years of civil unrest, Colombia has begun to grow in popularity among world travellers. For many this popularity is due to the country’s picturesque beauty, but for trekkers, Colombia appeals because of its dazzling mountain ranges, monumental peaks and challenging climbs.

Mt Whitney, California

The tallest mountain in California, Mt Whitney is a relatively easy climb for amateur trekkers and can be completed in 5 hours on a fast hike2. Obtain a permit and walk the John Muir Trail which will take you from the northern end of Yosemite Valley up to the summit of Mt Whitney, passing through deep valleys, meadows and an abundance of wildlife.

Mt McKinley, Alaska

A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Alaska has much to offer for hikers and trekkers. Mt McKinley is the highest peak in North America and there are several opportunities for off-trail trekking. Make sure you take the time to stop and admire the magnificent wildlife, including brown bears and moose.

Mont Blanc, the Alps

For spectacular alpine trekking, Mont Blanc boasts one of the world’s most celebrated hiking circuits. Although not a technically difficult climb, trails can take up to 9 hours, are mostly uphill and are often on rough, steep trails and glaciers3. If you’re up to the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular views.

The Routeburn Track, New Zealand

From magnificent peaks, to glistening lakes and beautiful waterfalls, the Routeburn Track is one of the most popular and accessible trials in the forests and mountains of New Zealand. A guided walk will take 3 days and 2 nights and is of moderate difficulty4, so you’ll require a reasonable level of fitness.