5 Californian gems you may not have considered

California is the annual holiday destination for thousands of Brits and many book into their same hotel and enjoy the same experiences. Yes, it’s a fantastic experience but perhaps it’s worth looking further afield and trying something different. You’ll be amazed at some of the different experiences available in the areas surrounding your usual haunts.

Shramsberg Vineyard Tour

Down in Napa Valley you’ll find some of the most enjoyable wines in the whole of America. The Shramsberg Vineyard has been producing the finest sparkling wines for many years and in fact produces the official sparkling wine of the White House since President Nixon’s time. You can spend an hour touring the estate and underground caves with wine tastings included too.

Grapes

Café Jacqueline

The profile of this fabulous restaurant was boosted considerably when the late Steve Jobs announced it as his favourite of all time. Its specialty is soufflés which Jobs himself so adored but it’s truly worth stopping by for a full course of meals to enjoy the full indulgence of the high quality fayre. Enjoying the wonderful staff cooked cuisine at your private villa is one thing but eating out is an indulgence you should try at least a couple of times.

Sandstone Peak – Santa Monica Mountains

Sandstone Peak has won awards for the quality of its hiking experience. It’s stunning from afar and as you approach and begin your ascent you’ll see California in a brand new way. It’s an uphill hike but the views are worth it and because it’s only 1.5 miles long you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting to the top. This is one location you’ll definitely want your camera and you can take a chance to look down on the region in awe.

Coronado Butterfly Preserve

Marvel at the beautiful natural creatures of Coronado. The preserve is home to a coastal sage shrub habitat comprising eucalyptus groves as well as birds and other wildlife who live naturally in the area. The heart of the preserve is of course the stunning butterflies and during butterfly season you’ll see a stunning array of creatures including thousands of Monarchs. It’s a spectacle you won’t want to miss.

Coronado Butterfly Preserve

Torrey Pines State Beach

Sitting north of La Jolla the Torrey Pines State Beach is a hiking area and beach which is much less popular than others, for no obvious reason. It offers eight miles of twisting hiking trail which allow you to look out over the seas and enjoy the great views. As a nature reserve you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some native wildlife including cottontail rabbits and even perhaps the elusive grey fox. The quiet beach is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the sunshine too.

James Mannings is Co-Founder of Luxury Villa Rentals.

Comments (1)

  1. Dan Robinson says:

    Was shocked to see tiny Cafe Jacqueline on your list. It is an amazing restaurant owned and operated by a 70yr old Parisian woman and boy does she know her Souffles. Best spot in SF for a romantic dinner…just make sure you give yourself at least 2hrs for your meal. It’s location in North Beach makes it a perfect place eat after a pre-dinner drink and there is plenty of entertainment around for after dinner celebrations.

    A very local and good find….well done including it.

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