|The State of California is the largest of the United States by population and third largest by area. For ease of discussion we've divided the state into four geographical regions.
To begin with, the state can usually be broken into coastal and inland regions. Then there is northern, central, and southern California. In terms of cities, Southern California extends from somewhere
south of Santa Barbara on the coast and Bakersfield inland, including Big Bear Lake, the Coachella Valley where Palm Springs is located and the Imperial Valley. Included in this area is greater Los
Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, and a number of other cities and suburban areas. Most people think of Hollywood when they think of California, and we offer great Los Angeles Hotels and travel tips. Northern California is San Francisco and points north, including the coastal areas, the
Sacramento Valley, and Lake Tahoe. The Central Coast for our purposes extends from just south of Santa Barbara up to just north of Monterey. The Central, or San Joaquin Valley, extends from Bakersfield
in the south to Stockton in the north, the major city here being Fresno, of course. Hence, we've divided the state into four regions: Northern, Southern, Central Coast, and Central or San
Joaquin Valley. To a first order approximation, if we ignore several major mountain ranges that break the rules, the North and Central Coast are wet (and sometimes snowy in the mountains) while the
South and Central Valley are dry.
So that's the gross geography. What does it mean in terms of travel destinations? Well, Lake Tahoe is a popular ski and snow board destination in the winter and a wilderness playground in the summer.
The Nevada side of the lake features year around gambling. San Francisco is a major tourist destination with the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, and Alcatraz, being
some of the more well-known attractions. Santa Barbara combines beach sand and wine country. Big Bear, like Tahoe, is a winter ski area and a summer lake and wilderness playground. Palm Springs congers up visions of the over 100 golf courses in the Coachella Valley, arty boutique shops, and summer heat reaching 120 degrees. San Diego is all about Mediterranean-like weather, beach, sun,
and a pretty good zoo. There is more, much more, but that will have to be deferred to one of the city specific pages.