Take a Native Traveler Approach To California Sight Seeing

By Jessica Kane- Documents Int. LLC

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California Palm Trees - Visit Southern California


Take a Native Traveler Approach To California Sight Seeing


There is no place for traveling like Southern California. Native residents know all the hot spots, but they also know these are not the sites that make California the wondrous place that it is. The real key to experiencing California's dreamiest qualities is to take a native traveler approach to California sight seeing.

Skip the places that novice traveling folks always go, meaning not trips to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, the Hearst Castle, Sutter's Mill or the San Diego Zoo. As nice as all these spots are, they are for beginners not real travel enthusiasts. Go see some things that extend beyond the walls of the well explored Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco borders.

So here are 5 sites to visit in Southern California that probably won't be in the latest traveling brochures. These are places that aren't ranked highly on most websites, but are well worth the trip. Try to have a sense of adventure, when traveling through California and see it through a local native's eyes.

The Ocean Front Boardwalk in Venice Beach

This landmark is also called the Venice Beach Boardwalk, this worldwide known site is a major site in California that often gets overlooked by local travelers. It is a walkable stretch of one and a half miles along the sandy Pacific Ocean properties. On the West side walkway, there is a cornucopia of street vendors, performance artists and other kinds of entertainment running around. Everything from roller skating electric guitarists to juggling break dancers can be seen stalking the boardwalk by day. In the evenings, another world of mimes, magicians and musicians opt in and take over the landscape. Artists in residence abound with mixed medium and tattoo shops dotting the landscape. This ocean front boardwalk is one of a kind and not to be missed while in Southern California.

LA Life on the beach

The Baths at the Ensalen Institute in Big Sur, Monterey County

Great names like Ansel Adams, Joseph Campbell, Hunter S. Thompson, Timothy Leary, and Joan Baez all loved to stop at the Baths of Esalen. Better known as the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, is considered a Mecca among the elite and artistic minds of the 20th century. It is an educational institution and offers visitors a wide range of workshops on topics like art, religion, philosophy, psychology, sexuality and healing. The most popular activity is getting naked at the Esalen baths, a clothing optional spa of sorts for both men and women. Couples or singles can book time for healing massage treatments, before or after experiencing the bathhouse. Those who attend workshops or retreats at Esalen can visit the hot spring free of charge The bathhouse is a must see two-story terrace designed by architect Mickey Muennig and hangs on the oceanside cliffs. All these things make this a great and unusual traveling excursion.

kites on the beach

Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino County

Joshua Tree National Park is an place for rock star climbers, but only secretly known around the world. Spelunkers know Joshua Tree for the unique mix of granite formations and spiny desert plants it contains. Only the Mohave desert region of Joshua Tree and the Sahara desert actually have the trees for which this area is named after. The most special part of the park is called Hidden Valley, where local visitors are joined by hikers, campers, nature lovers and whole families that come to stay overnight, or long in this magical piece of desert ground. The valley is literally hidden away amidst the concealment of giant boulders making it a strange surreal landscape for visiting. From most vantage points inside Joshua Tree, the night sky is so clean and clear, that all the stars and constellations can be seen. This Southern California park is a wonder of recreation that never ceases to astound travelers with its brilliance and majesty.

Little Petroglyph Canyon at China Lake in Ridgecrest, Kern County

It is unknown, who created the artwork throughout the Little Petroglyph Canyon, but many images are thought to be over 10,000 years old. This wash of desert and basalt rocks is located just outside the Mojave desert and became a natural habitat for bighorn sheep, but also bow hunters. Over time it was discovered that the region contained some of the best Amerindian rock art in the United States. To visit the canyon you must contact the local Naval base or attend with a tour group spear headed by the Maturango Museum. Be prepared the canyon site is a rough 40 mile drive to the trail top, followed by some hiking and more side winding along the canyon, and visitation is only allowed during the fall or spring seasons.

Montaña de Oro State Park in San Luis Obispo County

South California's jagged jawline coast is in full display from the cliffside bays of Montaña de Oro State Park. It lies just six miles south of Morro Bay, being a magical place where land, water and shadowy coves meet. It is a choice location for painters and photographers, as it looks like someplace that God might have placed an easel herself. The sea winds here hit you straight in the kisser. The entire effect -- land, water and shadows -- is painterly, the exact spot God placed his easel. At any of the 50 local drive-in campsites, you are likely to meet up with a fine mix of California's menagerie of wildlife, such as raccoons, pelicans, sea otters, dolphins and other human beings. The Northern part of the park is a long winding path of sands, that beachside joggers, hikers and fitness fans consider sacred. But the biggest draw is the mystical 1,000-foot cliffs that are truly breath taking. Forget beach parties and bikini surf bunnies, here is where Southern California has never been so cool.


Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Documents International LLC, a leading apostille service for individuals and businesses.

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