Fodor¿s California the Complete Guide with Coastal Drives, National Parks, Cities and the Wine Country '99


Experienced and first-time travelers alike rely on Fodor's Gold Guides for rich, reliable coverage the world over. Updated each year and containing a full-color, foldout Rand McNally map, a Fodor's Gold Guide is an essential tool for any kind of traveler. Smart travel tips and important contact info make planning your trip a breeze, and detailed coverage of sights, accommodations, and restaurants give you the info you need to make your ...

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Experienced and first-time travelers alike rely on Fodor's Gold Guides for rich, reliable coverage the world over. Updated each year and containing a full-color, foldout Rand McNally map, a Fodor's Gold Guide is an essential tool for any kind of traveler. Smart travel tips and important contact info make planning your trip a breeze, and detailed coverage of sights, accommodations, and restaurants give you the info you need to make your experience enriching and hassle-free. If you only have room for one guide, this is the one for you.

  • Great tours, from neighborhood walks in San Francisco and San Diego to drives along the coast and in the mountains
  • Beaches, the redwoods, Lake Tahoe, Monterey, Palm Springs, Death Valley, Santa Barbara, and Yosemite
  • Where to bike, canoe, fish, golf, hike, ski, and surf, plus tips on whale-watching and adventure cruises
  • Balloon rides, panning for gold, and other good times
  • The best nightlife — from the "in" to the far out

Where to stay and eat, no matter what your budget
  • Beachside resorts and hilltop ranches, Gold Rush inns and sleek hotels, simple motels and rustic campgrounds
  • California cuisine in Beverly Hills, seafood in coastal La Jolla, dim sum in San Francisco's Chinatown, and "grub" at a North Coast loggers' cookhouse

Fresh, thorough, practical — off and on the beaten path
  • Costs, hours, descriptions, and tips by the thousands

81 pages of maps, 15 vacation itineraries, and more
  • Smart travel tips
  • Festivals
  • Complete index
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679001485
  • Publisher: Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/27/1998
  • Series: Fodor's Travel Guides Series
  • Edition description: BOOK&MAP
  • Pages: 589
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Read an Excerpt

This partial excerpt, from the Pleasures and Pastimes section, gives you a taste of what California has to offer and the sights and scenes that make it a great place to visit.


With 1,264 miles of coastline, California is well supplied with beaches. You can walk, lie, and sun on them, watch seabirds and hunt for shells, dig clams, or spot seals and sea otters at play. From December through March you can witness the migrations of the gray whales. What you can't always do at these beaches is swim. From San Francisco northward the water is too cold for all but the hardiest souls. Even along the southern half of the coast some beaches are too dangerous for swimming because of the undertow. Look for signs and postings and take them seriously.

Access to beaches in California is generally excellent. The state park system includes many fine beaches, and ocean-side communities maintain public beaches. Through the work of the California Coastal Commission, many stretches of private property that would otherwise seal off a beach from outsiders have public-access paths.


California's name has come to signify a certain type of healthful, sophisticated cuisine made from local ingredients, creatively combined and served in often stunning presentations. San Francisco and Los Angeles contain top-notch restaurants -- an expensive meal at one of these gourmet shrines is often the high point of a trip to California. The Wine Country north of San Francisco is also known for superb restaurants, as is the city of Santa Barbara. In coastal areas, most menus usually include some seafood, fresh off the boat. Don't neglect the state's manyethnic eateries -- among them Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Scandinavian, Italian, French, Belgian, Vietnamese, English, Thai, and German.


Golf is a year-round sport in California. Pebble Beach and the Palm Springs desert resorts have the most famous links, but there are championship courses all over the state.

Hot-Air Ballooning

Large, colorful balloons drift across the valleys of the Wine Country, where the air drafts are particularly friendly to this pastime, as well as in San Diego, the Palm Springs area, and the Gold Country. Hot-air ballooning is not cheap, however: a ride costs in excess of $100.


National Parks

There are eight national parks in California: Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Lassen Volcanic, Redwood, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and the Channel Islands. National monuments include Cabrillo, in San Diego, and Muir Woods, north of San Francisco.

California has three national recreation areas: Golden Gate, with 87,000 acres both north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; the Santa Monica Mountains, with 150,000 acres from Griffith Park in Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County; and Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity, with 240,000 acres, including four major lakes, in the far north. The Point Reyes National Seashore is on a peninsula north of San Francisco.

State Parks

California's state park system includes more than 200 sites; many are recreational and scenic, others historic or scientific. Among the most popular are Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, reached by ferry from San Francisco or Tiburon; Anza-Borrego Desert, 600,000 acres northeast of San Diego; Humboldt Redwoods, with its tall trees; Empire Mine, one of the richest mines in the Mother Lode, in Grass Valley; Hearst Castle at San Simeon; and Leo Carrillo Beach, north of Malibu, with lively tidal pools and numerous secret coves. Most state parks are open year-round.


Snow skiing in the Lake Tahoe area and elsewhere is generally limited to the period between Thanksgiving and late April, though in years of heavy snowfall skiers can hit some trails as late as July. Other ski options include Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Far North; Mammoth Lake and the San Bernardino Mountains in southern California; and Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park.

Water Sports

Swimming and surfing, scuba diving, and skin diving in the Pacific Ocean are year-round pleasures in the southern part of the state, although these become seasonal sports on the coast from San Francisco northward. Sailboats are available for rent in many places along the coast and inland. River rafting -- white-water and otherwise -- canoeing, and kayaking are popular, especially in the northern part of the state.

Wine Tasting

You can visit wineries in many parts of the state, not only in the Wine Country of the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Vintners associations in the Gold Country, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and other wine-growing areas provide brochures with lists of wineries that have tastings. Wineries and good wine stores will package your purchases for safe travel or shipping.

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Table of Contents


On the Road with Fodor's

About Our Writers: Each year the Gold Guides are written and updated by more than 500 resident writers.


How to Use This Book: Describes organization, icons, and other key information.

Don't Forget to Write: Tells you how to get in touch with our editors.

The Gold Guide

Smart Travel Tips A to Z: An easy-to-use section divided alphabetically by topic. Under each listing you'll find tips and information that will help you accomplish what you need to in California. You'll also find addresses and telephone numbers of organizations and companies that offer destination-related services and detailed information and publications.

Destination: California, Helps get you in the mood for your trip.

Restless Nirvana

New and Noteworthy: Cues you in on trends and happenings.

What's Where: Gets you oriented.

Pleasures and Pastimes: Describes the activities and sights that make California unique.

Fodor's Choice: Showcases our top picks from special restaurants and one-of-a-kind accommodations to out-of-the-ordinary sights and activities... Let them inspire you!

Books and Videos

Festivals, Seasonal Events: Alerts you to special events you'll want to seek out.

The North Coast

The Far North

The Wine Country

San Francisco

Sacramento and the Gold Country

Lake Tahoe

The Sierra National Parks

The San Joaquin Valley

Monterey Bay

The Central Coast

Los Angeles


San Diego

Palm Springs

The Mojave Desert and Death Valley

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