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Why you will love California

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I am fortunate to have called California my home for more than 15 years (once as a teen and again for the past 11 years). Though the state has its fair share of problems, its beauty and unique culture are undeniable. Here are some reasons why you will love California (or why you should visit again!).
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California, USA
I started to rock climb outside this year. Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne meadows can be climbed in 5 pitches. This is the view from the top.
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52801 California State Route 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
After five hours in the car, I was more than happy to hop out and hike the 1.4 miles out to Pfeiffer Burns State Park and get the prize of a beautiful waterfall. The water's color is an unreal sea blue/green that I have never seen before. The best...
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I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset,...
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39171 Tassajara Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA
In 1967, Tassajara (already a storied hot springs resort) became the first Zen monastery outside Japan. Run by the San Francisco Zen Center, the monastery is open to the public from May through September and closed the rest of the year for...
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610 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
Think of the Oxbow like a high-end shopping mall for food and wine. On the east side of the Napa River, the market brings together a number of epicurean purveyors under one roof (well, technically, it’s three different roofs). The result:...
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1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA
Crowning any one location as having the “best view in L.A.” would be controversial, but the Getty Center is certainly a contender. The anticipation that builds upon approach to the arts and cultural center—up a driveway to park,...
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Carmel Beach, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, USA
The beaches and coastline of central California is not what one might imagine when hearing "California." They are rugged, rocky, and often cold or even foggy. Carmel Beach, at the end of the super-cute town of Carmel, is a bit of an exception....
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Lands End Trail, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
Land's End in San Francisco is an easy hike with huge payoff. This labyrinth sits just below the Legion of Honor parking lot and the Lincoln Park golf course. You can then scramble down to a beautiful rocky beach.
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The Monterey Bay area on California's central coast is possibly my favorite part of California--it is that beautiful. On a recent cold January morning, I took my dogs to Asilomar State Beach at one end of the town of Pacific Grove. As the clouds...
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1060 Dunaweal Ln, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
Playful art and sculptures are the centerpiece of the winery, Clos Pegase. A collection of sculptures by famous 20th-century artists greets visitors outside, and the collection continues in the courtyard and tasting room. The owner, Jan Shrem,...
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1425 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
It was my first dinner out in Downtown Napa (the new place to be in Napa Valley), and it set the bar very high for the rest of my stay. My dinner at Oenotri was one of the best I've ever had. From the salad of beets, arugula, and oranges, the...
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Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, USA
A 1,200-acre green space filled with museums, theaters, and gardens, Balboa Park is the center of art and culture in San Diego. It’s also one of the city’s most historic sites, built for the Panama–California exhibition in 1915....
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200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
I had heard that the botanical garden at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, California, was worth visiting, but I didn't expect it to be so beautiful. Set among the hills that rise above the city, the botanical garden seems to go on and on, one beautiful...
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2501 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Orinda, CA 94563, USA
This is my favorite 30-35 mile ride in the East Bay, and spring and fall are the times to see the colors really pop. Make your way up and out of Berkeley on Spruce and head straight on Wildcat Canyon to enter the majestic Tilden park, when you hit...
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111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
This bowed silver building stands out among the skyscrapers of Downtown L.A. (though it now has an equally interesting-looking neighbor in the Broad). Those stainless-steel curves have a purpose, though. Architect Frank Gehry designed the...
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17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, USA
J. Paul Getty’s original museum is as much about the transporting setting as it is about the pieces inside. When the billionaire oil tycoon decided to open a museum for his extensive collection of antiquities in 1974, he modeled it after an...