California dreamin’

Few destinations summon as many daydreams as California, the breathtakingly gorgeous West Coast state with its impressive blend of landscapes… from beaches and vineyards to mountains and deserts.

sunset palms, california

Birthplace of the road trip, the rewards as you explore this Golden State are abundant and immediate, with swathes of sandy beaches along the Pacific Coast; the Sierra Nevada’s snow capped mountains; Big Sur’s dramatic coast road; Yosemite’s granite peaks; the characterful cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco; boutique wineries in Sonoma and Napa; other-worldy desert landscapes in Palm Springs; and dense, ancient forests with towering Redwoods. Luxurious retreats and secret hideaways reveal California’s alluringly charismatic side, away from the sun, surf and celebrity.

cycling in palm springs, california

10 unusual facts about California

1. California accounts for 90% of the USA’s wine production from over 400 wineries across the state. In worldwide production terms, California is the fourth after France, Italy and Spain.

2. Throughout California, you’ll encounter the American obsession with S’mores. Simply sandwich a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate between two crackers for a tasty campfire treat!

3. Redwood National Park is home to the world’s tallest tree, Hyperion (115m) but its location is kept under wraps for fear of causing irreversible damage.

4. The state’s coastline is an impressive 840 miles long and includes the world famous Pacific Coast Highway – Highway 1 – an awe-inspiring, cliff-hugging, all-American drive.

5. Mount Whitney (4421m), in California’s Sierra Nevada, is the highest summit in the contiguous United States and is located less than 100 miles from the lowest point in North America – Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park (86m below sea level).

6. El Capitan in Yosemite National Park is a climber’s dream. The fastest ascent of this sheer granite rock face is an impressive 2 hours 24 minutes! The average climb time is 2-3 days.

7. One of the hottest places on Earth, Death Valley’s temperature peaked at 134°F/57°C in July 1913.

8. Almond, date and avocado lovers rejoice…California produces 80% of the world’s almonds, 99% of the country’s dates and 90% of the USA’s avocado’s.

9. California has more national parks than any other state – including these world famous wonders; Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Redwood, and these lesser known marvels; Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Channel Islands.

10. It’s not just about sunshine and surfing…California is home to 30 ski resorts with alpine activities for all abilities. The fist slopes open in November each year, and stunning Mammoth Mountain goes right through until 4th July.

golden-gate bridge, san francisco, california

James Bell is Managing Director at The Turquoise Holiday Company.

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