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California Camping | Off The Beaten Path

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Off The Beaten Path | California

 California is a beautiful state that has a little bit of everything -- mountains, beaches, deserts, and forests. Travelers will find big cities, stunning state and national parks, beautiful coastlines and much more. And of course you won't want to miss Los Angeles, Disneyland and the Golden Gate Bridge! Here are a few fun destinations that are well worth visiting, but that you may not have heard about already.

Point Reyes

Point Reyes National Seashore and Point Reyes National Park are great options for enjoying California's natural environment and outdoor recreation. At Point Reyes you will find trails, historic structures and visitor centers. You can enjoy camping, hiking, biking and kayaking. Point Reyes National Park also features the Point Reyes Lighthouse and visitor center where you can learn all about the lighthouse. For the very adventurous, a trip down the 308 stairs to the Lighthouse is a great option.

Half Moon Bay

This beautiful coastal town is a fabulous destination for a quiet California getaway. You can enjoy the many beaches on the coast, play golf at the championship golf course or stop at the historic Point Montara Lighthouse. While enjoying the coast, you can walk on the trails and keep your eyes open for the California wildlife, especially during a visit to the nearby Pescadero Marsh Bird Refuge. Another popular destination in the Half Moon Bay area is the Moss Beach Distillery. The Distillery was a popular spot during the years of prohibition, and it is still said to have a resident ghost.

Mount Shasta

At an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Mount Shasta is the fifth highest peak in California and a part of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This mountain, which has inspired so many, stands on its own, unconnected to any nearby mountains. Many people visit Mount Shasta to make an attempt at the summit -- the climbing season lasts from April to October, but some adventurous people try to summit during the winter. Mount Shasta is also a great destination for backcountry skiing -- the most experienced climbers and skiers can climb to the summit and then ski back down. Inexperienced climbers should be aware that making a summit attempt is not easy, but there are other hiking options on trails around the base of the mountain.

Catalina Island

Located off the coast of Southern California, Catalina is one of the eight islands that make up the Channel Islands archipelago. Catalina is part of the Southern Channel Islands, and is the only island with a significant permanent population. Visitors to California hoping to visit Catalina should either take a boat service from one of five coastal communities or, for an even more exciting adventure, take a helicopter flight from one of two costal locations. While on the island, visitors can enjoy all types of recreation including biking, hiking, golfing, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving and even a zip line tour.

San Francisco's Chinese New Year

This is one of the best and largest celebrations of Chinese New Year outside of China. During the Chinese New Year celebrations, you can enjoy the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and of course the Chinese New Year Community Fair. Throughout the celebrations you can learn about all of the important symbols and cultural celebrations. If you need a break from the festivities, spend some time at Golden Gate Park or exploring the beauty of San Francisco.

The Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House has to be one of California's most unique destinations. This house was built by Sarah Winchester with the legacy from the Winchester rifle. After the deaths of her child and husband, Sarah Winchester started adding all manner of unique architectural features to her home. Some speculate that she created the house to ward of ghosts. During a visit and tour of the house you will see twisting hallways, secret passageways, wandering staircases and doors that lead to nowhere.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

If you are looking for a wide range of California's amazing natural sights all in one area, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is a great destination. The Park ranges from deep canyons to tall mountains. In fact, within the park, you will find the highest peak in the lower 48, Mount Whitney. The park also has some amazing specimens of the giant sequoia tees. Be sure to stop and see the General Grant Tree in Grant Grove and the General Sherman Tree in Giant Forest. At Redwood Canyon you can visit the largest grove of sequoias in the world.

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