Page 78 - Discover America
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The romance of Hollywood, the glamour of Beverly Hills, those dare-devil Pacific Coast surfers, the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, the spectacular coastline and the thrills, spills, fun and laughter of the Theme Parks; these are just some of the images that a trip to California will bring to life. The unique diversity of the ‘Golden State’ is exemplified by the stark contrast of the stunning scenery in National Parks such as Yosemite and Sequoia, and the vibrant and often dazzling city life in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
A journey through California will reveal why a holiday spent in the ‘Golden State’ will present you with a multitude of experiences. Located in the historic Gold Country of the Sierra Nevada, El Dorado County was the site of the gold discovery at Sutter Mill that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Within San Benito County’s coastal mountains, the historic town of San Juan Bautista is home to a splendidly preserved Mission founded by the Franciscan monks.
The Beaches
Probably the most famous of California’s beaches is Malibu, just west of Los Angeles and home to many celebrities. There are, however, many less familiar but arguably more attractive coastal spots, such as Pismo Beach, 3 hours’ drive north of Los Angeles, where you will often see people and sea otters hunting for clams, and where Dinosaur Caves Park is worth a visit. Point Lobos is located just off Carmel-by-the-Sea, with ocean- hugging trails which are ideal for hiking, as well as a handful of peaceful and unspoilt beaches. Tucked away along the Mendocino Coast, 3 hours north of San Francisco, Fort Bragg is a one-time army garrison, boasting a breathtaking coastline with a mild, year-round climate.
Mammoth Lakes is a popular tourist spot and it is where, thousands of years ago, a volcanic explosion left a network of hot springs, several of which can be safely bathed in today. Back to the coast and about mid-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles is Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Preserve where, depending on the time of year, up to 15,000 of the world’s largest species of seal can be seen resting on the beach.
And further inland...
Lake Tahoe is the USA’s second deepest lake, its shimmering waters, beaches and surrounding mountains, a year-round lure for holidaymakers. Staying near the Nevada border, Death Valley is the lowest point in the US, a land of extremes,
its towering peaks frosted with snow, its rare rainstorms feeding vast fields of wild flowers, and its searing summer heat dictating visitors should always carry plenty of water.
Just north of San Francisco, the groves of the famous Northern California redwoods are the setting for the forest of 1,000-year old trees standing 260 feet tall.
Also worth a visit is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, located in the White Mountains and where the trees grow up to 11,000 feet above sea level.

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