California's 12 Regions and What They Offer

Someone had the bright idea to break up the state of California and market it as 12 pieces that make up one big enchilada. What they came up with was actually pretty clever. Shasta Cascade, North Coast (Redwoods), Bay Area, Central Coast, Central Valley, Deserts, High Sierras, Gold Country, Inland Empire, and Counties: Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego.

The regions really don't mean much or impact most travelers in any manner, but for those who want to know where there deserts are, or what destinations and resorts are in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the program really helps. We've mapped out the the regions and started getting the wanderlust that happens each year as vacationers hit the road to explore California.

imgsSome recommendations:

Deserts are hot! It's over 100 degrees most days and in places such as Palm Desert, many shows and events don't occur during summer months. For exercise, people come out at night. If you are a night person, this may be a great place, but otherwise, you may want to wait till around October when things cool down.

North Coast - With over 40 inches of rain in the giant redwoods territory of the North Coast, rain is nearly always on the forecast. However, July is the one month where there are more days without rain than any other time. It is a great window of opportunity to take a drive trip to see the world's tallest redwood trees, including one or two you can drive through!

Central Coast - If you are hoping to sunbathe, this is the only time you will want to don a skimpy bikini. The breezes make this treasured coastline kind of cold for sunbathing in the winter. Even in the summer, be prepared for cooler temps.

Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties - This is the peak tourist season for the hot beaches of Southern California. Expect crowds-especially on the freeway. Tourists from elsewhere are bummed by the huge traffic jams, even at odd hours when you don't expect them. And even at the Number One theme park, Disneyland, the crowds are massive. You have to plan strategies to take in your favorite rides.

Shasta Cascade - Beautiful "God's Country" scenery, but it's hot in this region (except for cave exploring or the Lassen Volcanic National Park, with portions of the park open only during summer months. For the great outdoors, this is a great vacation!

Central Valley - It's kind of hot during the summer in the Central Valley, but some tourists love the heat and actually go to the Central Valley to get away from the cool climate of the beach.

Inland Empire - There's a lot of heat in the valley floor, and when you wine taste in Temecula, for instance, you will experience hot days and cool nights. Many prefer the mountain resorts such as Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino mountains, or Idyllwild in the San Jacinto mountains. They offer great weather and the mountain pines.

Gold Country - Though slightly warm during the summer, many of the docent programs are geared toward summer crowds. It's probably the best time to go and learn about California Gold discovery!

Bay Area - Is there ever a bad time to see San Francisco and the Bay Area? Summer offers the warmest weather and for that alone, many prefer to visit during the summer months.

High Sierras - Shifting from skiing and snow (though Mammoth Lakes often has skiing into July) you'll find the summer drives are fabulous. Many like to head to South Lake Tahoe, where they can take in some gambling across the street at the Nevada casinos in Stateline.

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