Traveling California: places to visit this winter break without leaving the state

Laura Liera

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Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort:

 Home to some of the greatest views in California as well as the best winter recreation options.

 Over 3,500 ski-able acres.

 Take a dog sled ride, cruise around in a snowmobile or take kids snow tubing or ice-skating.

 $55.99 per night. The Travelodge Mammoth Lakes is a AAA approved property located in the heart of the village of Mammoth Lakes. Within a short walk are unlimited restaurants, outlet shops and other services. Amenities: lake view, high speed Internet, rural/country etc.

McArthur-Burney Falls/Shasta

Cascades:

 The McArthur-Burney Memorial State Park includes the parks centerpiece, 129 ft. Burney Falls, which is not the highest or largest waterfall in the state, but possibly the most beautiful and flows all year.

 The park’s landscape was created by volcanic activity as well as erosion from weather and streams.

 60 miles northeast of Redding.

 $85 per night. Dunsmuir Inn & Suites is a clean, comfortable and modern motel in the heart of the Shasta Cascades. Amenities: boat rentals, skiing/snowboarding, water skiing, water sports, etc.

San Francisco:

 The Golden Gate Bridge remains San Francisco’s iconic structure, stretching almost 2 miles to Marin County and soaring 4,200 feet above the bay.

 The Blazing Saddles rents bikes to bike across the bridge alone or join the three-hour Bike and Bridge tour, which takes you through the Presidio, across the bridge and into Sausalito.

 Union Square in San Francisco is an urban shopping mecca. Surrounded by 30-story sentinels of global commerce, the square is the doorway to the fashionable apparel.

 The Cheesecake Factory and outdoor Paris-style coffee at Mocca are places to enjoy a sweet treat after shopping.

 $60 per night. The Rodeway Inn San Francisco Downtown is located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. It is close to attractions such as San Francisco Cable Cars, Museum of Modern Art, Chinatown, Union Square and the Embarcadero Center.

Hearst Castle:

 Architect Julie Morgan built the castle over 28 years ago for newspaper king William Randolph Hearst.

 56 bedrooms, 41 fireplaces, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, four different houses: Casa Grande, Casa del Mar, Casa del Monte, Casa del Sol, indoor Roman Pool, Neptune Pool, Animal hill, airport, etc. There is also a gift shop where visitors can buy Hearst Castle souvenirs.

 $89.10 per night. The Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, Cambria and San Simeon’s only oceanfront accommodation, is located just three miles south of Hearst Castle. The Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort is located on California’s scenic Highway 1, the world’s most beautiful roadway and is your gateway to the natural migrating Gray Whales, California Sea Otters and some of California’s finest vineyards and wineries.

Sequoia and Kings

Canyon National Park:

 This landscape testifies to nature’s size, beauty, and diversity; huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s largest trees. Grant Grove is the home of the General Grant tree, which has been called the “Nation’s Christmas Tree.”

 Activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowplay, hiking, yoga classes and sight-seeing tours.

 The winter season begins in late November and lasts throughout mid-April. Pacific rains turn foothills grasses green and snowy silence to higher elevations. These conditions often linger.

 $44.99 per night. Western Holiday Lodge Three Rivers is located on Highway 198 at the entrance to the Sequoia National Park in Three Rivers, Calif. The Western Holiday Lodge is only minutes from Kings Canyon National Park, Lake Kaweah, and the Giant Forest Museum. Just a short drive will take you to Sequoia College, and area shopping.

Anaheim:

 Disneyland Resort.

 Adventures at Disneyland now include, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, the chance to meet and greet with Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow, and an opportunity to learn light-saber moves from a Jedi Master. California Adventure includes Hollywood Tower of Terror, Soarin’ Over California and the new Toy Story interactive ride and game. From now until Jan. 3, Disneyland resorts are celebrating the holidays with their “magical holiday season.”

 $64 per night. Clarion Hotel South Bay is located across the street from the South Bay Pavilion mall, featuring more than 100 stores. This Carson, Calif. hotel is close to several of the area’s major attractions, including the Home Depot Center, Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Chinatown Los Angeles, the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

San Diego:

 Sea World Shows: Shamu Show: Believe, Sea Lions LIVE, Pets Rule! The Dolphin Experience, Blue Horizons, Shamu Rocks, The Shamu Story, Sea Lions Tonite, Shamu’s SkySplash, Cirque de la Mer, Riptide.

 Sea World Exhibits: Shark Encounter, Wild Arctic, Rocky Point Preserve, Shamu: Close up, Penguin Encounter, Forbidden Reef, Manatee Rescue, Sesame Street Bay of Play, California Tide Pool, Pacific Point, Freshwater Aquarium, Aquarium de la Mer, World of the Sea Aquarium, Seaport Marketplace, Clydesdale Hamlet.

 Sea World Rides: Journey to Atlantis, Shipwreck Rapids, Wild Arctic Ride, Bayside Skyride, Skytower, Elmo’s Flying Fish, Oscar’s Rocking Eel, Abby’s Sea Star Spin.

 $55.20 per night. Best Western. This full-service San Diego hotel is a property featuring newly renovated guest rooms and convenient access to local attractions such as the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

California’s environment is diverse and there are many more places one can visit and see. If interested in exploring, go online to visitcalifornia.com for more information on your next traveling destination in California.

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