Pictured above: The Bigsby bridge just south of Monterey Bay supports scenic Highway One along the ruggest Californian coastline.

Overview of California

California, nicknamed the "Golden State" often conjures up images and perceptions of year round sunshine, celebrities and movies. However the state is without a doubt the most diverse in the United States both in its geography, people and cities. In the south you have Los Angeles, wedged between the ocean and a jagged mountain range and a population whose ethnicity is the most diverse in the world. Four hundred miles to north is San Francisco, a compact city on the bay, home to the tech industry and full of intellectuals who thrive on creating a progressive society. In the middle is the Central Coast with unspeakable beauty as mountains rise out of the ocean and quaint towns, golf courses and restaurants dot the landscape. California has something for everyone and just one visit to one region won't fully arm one with a complete picture of what the whole state is like.

Guide to seeing California

Los Angeles Thumb
  • Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles, home to a thriving movie industry, beaches and diverse population. The city has a nonstop vibe and pulse that rivals that of New York and London but without the public transport or high buildings.

    Thumbnail San Francisco
  • San Francisco
  • San Francisco, known as the "city by the bay" has many meanings different people. The most charming city in California, SF is characterized by steep hills, colorful architecture and vibrant food and culture scene.

    Monterey Bay Thumb
  • Monterey Bay
  • Once the capital of California, this coastal region is popular with nature lovers, golfers and foodies. Home to Pebble Beach, Monterey Bay Aquarium and the famous "Cannery Row".

    Thumbnail Catalina Island
  • Catalina Island
  • Off the beaten path for most visitors to California, but a popular day trip and weekend getaway for many residents of California. Catalina Island is a rustic small island off Southern California coast and considered to have the best sea habitiat on earth.

    California Must Sees

    1. Avalon

      Main point of arrival for most visitors to Catalina Island, Avalon is a charming village on the water front. The town is characterized by narrow lanes dotted with vacation homes, small hotels and restaurants.

    2. The Grove

      The Grove is centrally located between Hollywood and Beverly Hills and serves as a large shopping, dining and entertainment venue. Frequented by a mixed crowd of locals, celebrities and tourists, its one of LA"s prime must sees.

    3. Santa Monica

      An independent city of its own from that of Los Angeles (but surrounded by LA), Santa Monica is a beach side community full of high rise hotels, an amusment park on a pier, biking trails and numerous shopping and dining venues.

    4. Venice Beach

      Santa Monica's neighbor to the south, Venice Beach is world famous for its eclectic crowds, colorful facades and white beaches Venice has an array of activities and stores that cater to most tastes and is one of the best spots in LA to people watch. .

    5. Hollywood

      This "neigbhorhood" of Los Angeles has reinvented itself as one of the prime entertainment areas of the city. Today it is the official tour bus departure point and its streets are lined with history