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California Dreaming? Head to San Francisco & LA

California Dreaming? Head to San Francisco & LA

story by: House of Travel

The sun shines bright here, the beaches are golden, the waves are aquamarine and there is a bubble-gum happy atmosphere throughout the coastal cities of sunny California. Why not drive through the stunning coastal highways between Los Angeles and San Francisco?

Los Angeles 

The city of angels and the home of Hollywood! Obviously, the main must-dos are everything Hollywood related: seeing the giant sign itself, heading over to the Hollywood Walk of Fame so you can go palm-to-palm with your favourite celebrities, or trying your luck at spotting some of them in person along Rodeo Drive. But that's not to say this coastal city doesn't have plenty of beachy activities so you can unwind by the ocean.

In LA, Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier are must-do coastal attractions and the best places to go for seaside fun. Time Out, a worldwide guide for art and entertainment for a myriad of international cities, calls Venice Beach "the kooky Mecca of California" thanks to the quirky vibe in the area. Skate boarders thunder along the Ocean Front Walk boardwalk promenade, tourists hire roller skates and dart through the palm trees and local cafes and restaurants are eccentrically decorated. Artists tend to flock to Venice Beach, so you can always enjoy some great conversation when you bump into people on the sands.

If surfing is your idea of the ultimate time under the sun, simply make your way over to Venice Breakwater, situated north of the Venice Pier and Lifeguard Headquarters but south of the Santa Monica Pier. This is a beloved surf spot by the locals. It's called 'Breakwater' because of an artificial barrier that protects surfers, built using a long sand bar, large rocks and piping along the northern edge. As for the Santa Monica Pier, this iconic landmark is part of the fabric of the city, its Ferris wheel lit up with dazzling lights in the evenings that reflect in the waves below. Since its opening on September 9, 1909, the Santa Monica Pier has delighted tourists and residents alike. When you visit, be sure to participate in the free historical walking tours every weekend at 11 a.m. and at noon. Your tour guide will inform you about the fascinating story of the pier as it has evolved over 100 years, including stories of Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin and their time on the pier. Once you've had a spin on the Ferris wheel, check out the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium to complete your coastal experience among colourful schools of fish. 

San Francisco
 
Another major coastal city in Cali, San Francisco is located on the tip of a peninsula with San Francisco Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Needless to say, there are plenty of coastal activities to enjoy here. The city skyline boasts the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, with towers soaring 227 metres into the sky in between the arched cables. Opened in 1937, the bridge spans an impressive 2.7 kilometres. Visiting this bridge is one of the must-do tourist activities in San Francisco, and the Bridge Plaza on the southeastern end has a range of specially organised visitor experiences for your enjoyment. 

Other sea-side attractions here include the Fisherman's Wharf, and you can travel there by admiring the scenic views of the city sitting on board the classic cable cars. These depart from Hallidie Plaza all the way down to Fisherman's Wharf, where you can hop off and explore the wide range of restaurants and jump onto the San Francisco Ducks. These special boats can drive on land as well as sail on water, making a fun splash as they get into the waves near Fisherman's Wharf. 

Which coastal activity will you do first? 

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