Things to do in California

Food, fun, friendliness – the Sunshine State’s got it all

Celeb Watch
You’re unlikely to see anything but the names of Hollywood’s hottest stars on the Walk of Fame. No, Rodeo Drive is where you can witness the A listers spending their millions, while the Sunset Marquis hotel and eaterie is a great place to sit in comfort and watch them come and go.

Join the Hipster Tribe
Stay in one of the city's more artistic hotels like Inn at Venice Beach, within stumbling distance from the quirky boardwalk. Cruz round the laid back streets of, erm, Santa Cruz or munch on foodtruck fare in San Fran’s diverse Mission District. Oh, and grow a mo of course. 

Scoff Seafood 
Hit Tomales Bay for BBQd oysters at the Marshall Store smokehouse, the San Fran bay area for clam chowder, or San Diego’s South Beach Bar and Grille for mouthwatering mahi mahi tacos.

Drink in Views 
Drive along the windy Big Sur coast from LA to San Fran, breaking the road trip for a room and breakfast-with-a-vista at Dream Inn, Santa Cruz.

Life’s a Beach
The best sandy spots in the state include Gold Bluffs, El Matador, Stinson, Baker and Crystal Cove. Grab your swimmers and go!

Go Mad for Mexican
California’s colonial Spanish roots and Mexican history is the reason for the state boasting some of the yummiest Mexican munchies around – try corn chips dunked in cheese fondue at Pink Taco or the homemade guac and pork belly tacos at Rosa Mexicano.

Live Like a Star 
Escape the busy roads and buzzy nightlife of LA and retreat to one of the Sunset Marquis Hotel’s luxurious villas. Their huge comfy beds, lolly buffets, deep baths and shower benches will make you think you’ve hit the heights of celebrity.

Shop Till You Drop
If you can’t afford the designer togs of Rodeo Drive, Abbot Kinney Blvd in LA offers slightly more affordable yet quality clothes. In San Francisco, Union Square offers all the best high street stores in one handy spot.

Eat Amazingly
Michael Schlow’s Cavatina serves up delicious food in an uber-relaxed inner-city setting. Try their grilled Spanish octopus, lamb meatballs or crispy Brussels sprouts.

Wine Time
Paso Robles is the latest growing wine region in California, producing top drops such as Zinfandel and Mourvedre. Wineries like Croad Vineyards are bringing a taste of Down Under to the US with their Aussie and New Zealand methods and Californian climate.

Lap Up Landscapes
Yosemite National Park offers breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls and dramatic rock faces (and snow if you pick the right time of year). If you’ve got the time, spend a night in a heated tent in the park (watch out for bears!), then spend the next day detouring through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks to see some of the biggest Christmas trees in the world.

Do the Desert 
Pioneertown is only a couple of hours outside LA and is a great place to stop en route to Vegas. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a Wild West movie as you stay at Desert Willow Ranch’s cosy wooden cabin, surrounded by spiky Joshua Trees and sandy ‘scapes.