Category Archives: Southern California

Free admission, national parks, national monuments across the US!

Visitors to Yosemite gaze at Half Dome from Glacier Point.

Free admission, national parks, national monuments across the US for MLK holiday and three more dates… National parks, monuments and other federal lands which charge entrance fees will be free on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Additional no-fee days in national parks include April 21 (first day of National Parks Week), September [...]

Also posted in Central California, Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 must-visits in California; freshen your travel bucket list!

Wildflowere bloom after winter rains in Death Valley National Park; photo taken in February, 2016.

Freshen your California travel bucket list with 12 months of suggestions! As we enter the new year, take time to tune-up your travel bucket list. Let’s start with 12 ultimate destinations in California, with suggested month by month schedule (next week we’ll bring you suggestions for the western US). Here are California’s best, as well [...]

Also posted in Central California, Northern California, Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Stockton/San Joaquin County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anza Borrego Desert State Park: sunshine, stunning vistas and ghost resorts on eerie Salton Sea

The California Palm oasis, awaiting hikers on the Palm Canyon hike above the Anza Borrego Desert.

Winter sun, stunning vistas make Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the ghost resorts on eerie Salton Sea a place to reflect upon. Last week’s column featured California’s two desert national parks, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. Both feature a mild winter climate and evocative topography; this week we’ll cover nearby Anza Borrego Desert State [...]

Also posted in Central California, Sierra Nevada | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What is your favorite family-friendly vacation destination?

Ashland, OR, was named by one reader as a favorite family vacation destination; it's home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a wealth of outdoor activities!

Family-friendly vacation destinations – what is your favorite? We are seeking your own family-favorite vacation destination – for a newspaper article to appear during the holidays! With the holidays, families have the opportunity to discuss and plan a family vacation for the coming year. My own family, with two daughters, their husbands, three grandkids and [...]

Also posted in Central California, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Parks offer balmy temps just hours from Central Valley!

Desert wildflowers burst forth in Death Valley National Park in February.

Three evocative desert parks, just 2/3 day drive from San Joaquin county… Wanting to beat these cold, frosty holiday mornings? Get your dose of balmy days with three world-class desert parks, offering daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s, wonderful hiking and exploration opportunities, all flush with history and unique ecology. Best of all, they [...]

Also posted in Central California, Sierra Nevada | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Family-friendly vacation destinations…planning that perfect get-away!

Pt. Arena Lighthouse on N. California coast can act as key attraction for a family get-together in this scenic area!

Family-friendly vacation destinations… use the holidays to plot and plan a family vacation for 2018! With the approaching holidays, families have the opportunity to discuss and plan a family vacation for the coming year. Over a recent birthday celebration our family discussed the idea of a family retreat sometime in spring or summer, 2018. Around [...]

Also posted in Central California, Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Stockton/San Joaquin County | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

So, you want to own a classic travel trailer?

Our rebuilt, newly painted Scotty after several years languishing in our garage.

So, you want to get a classic travel trailer? Challenges on the way to a successful rebuild… Owners of classic travel trailers, when asked “why?”, give these answers. “We wanted a small trailer easy to store, tow and that offers good gas mileage”. “We aged out of tent camping and wanted more comfort”. “We’ve seen [...]

Also posted in Central California, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, Teardrop and tiny travel trailers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dining like royalty without raiding the treasury!

Happy hour at Five Palms, Wailea; sushi, coconut shrimp, two drinks, about $27.

Fine but frugal dining – dining like royalty without breaking the treasury… Over the last four-plus years, Susan and I have traveled extensively across the US three times, the TransCan Highway across Canada to the Maritime Provinces and frequently throughout the US western states and Canadian provinces. Along with two two-week cruises on the rivers [...]

Also posted in Canada, Eastern, Canada, Western, Central California, East Coast US, Europe, Hawaii, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, Teardrop and tiny travel trailers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teardrop and larger classic travel trailers; class, comfort and a smart investment!

T@B trailers, available new for about $20K, used for less than half that.

Classy, comfortable and a smart investment; teardrop and larger classic travel trailers… Years ago, with kids in school, we would load them into a small car, pack our camping gear into a canoe, car-top the canoe and head off to Mount Rainier National Park or remote campgrounds on the Olympic Peninsula for a week or [...]

Also posted in Alaska, Canada, Eastern, Canada, Western, Central California, East Coast US, Hawaii, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, Teardrop and tiny travel trailers, United States beyond! | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plotting that perfect (well, almost perfect) road trip!

Roy's Motel and Cafe (and our Scotty teardrop trailer), historic Rt. 66 in Amboy, CA.

How to plan that perfect (well, almost perfect) road trip We recently dined with old friends, including one couple where she had recently retired, and was looking forward to the retirement of her husband – and to them making those long-delayed road trips. Whether retired or planning that next vacation, here are suggestions for planning that [...]

Also posted in Canada, Eastern, Canada, Western, Central California, East Coast US, Hawaii, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, Teardrop and tiny travel trailers, United States beyond! | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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    Tim Viall

    Viall is a local travel writer who retired in 2012 after 10 years as executive director of Stockton, CA's, Emergency Food Bank and six years with the Downtown Stockton Alliance. Previously, a 21-year career in daily newspapers helped shape his ... Read Full
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