Whether you live elsewhere in the United States or are visiting the country from abroad, one of the best destinations to check out on your travels this year is Southern California. SoCal, as many people call it, undoubtedly has a global reputation for many reasons.
Some people assume that Southern California is only all about movie stars and the traffic. But, there are dozens of reasons why you should make it a destination to add to your itinerary. Here are 8+ top reasons to visit Southern California this year:
1. The Sun
If you’re a sun worshipper, you will undoubtedly want to visit places on your travels where you’ll see a lot of blue skies each day. The weather in Southern California has been likened to that of the Mediterranean - dry summers, with cool weather being rare.
To give you some idea of what to expect, during August the temperatures can peak at around 85 degrees.
2. The Fishing
Are you a keen angler and enjoy seeking out trophy seabass or large bluefin tuna? If so, you’re going to love Southern California for that reason alone. There are plenty of lakes and rivers where you can cast your line and pick up a good haul.
One of the most popular spots for fishing is on Santa Catalina Island, around 29 miles south-southwest of Long Beach. Take a look at this handy guide to Catalina Island fishing if you’d like to learn more about where to fish from the island.
3. The Beaches
Let’s face it: one of the reasons hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Southern California each year is because of the beaches. Places like Venice Beach are great for romantic strolls, and if you want to go whale-watching, Coronado’s beaches are a good idea.
Whether you enjoy swimming, surfing, or just lying down on the sand and getting a tan, you’ll find countless opportunities among Southern California’s famous beaches.
4. You Can Escape From Reality
If you’re someone that prefers their own company, the good news is there are many parts of Southern California where you can escape from reality. The Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs is one example, particularly if you head on the Barker Dam Trail.
Other places like the Mojave National Preserve are also perfect for people wishing to spend some time alone and away from civilization.
5. You'll Love the Food
Yes, there are many places in the country and around the world where one could say that you’ll love the food. However, Southern California is undoubtedly a gastronomic delight for all visitors.
For instance, you’ll find an abundance of cafes, restaurants, and other eateries that cater to all niches and dietary requirements. Plus, one fact that anyone in the area will confirm is how local produce at farmer’s markets tastes absolutely delicious.
6. You'll Probably Spot a Celebrity or Two
Most tourists that spend an amount of time in Southern California will likely come across some famous faces on their travels. It’s not a strange coincidence, of course, because many celebrities live in the region.
You might come across KISS frontman Gene Simmons, for example, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, or even TV personality Lauren Conrad.
7. There's Plenty to See and Do
If you don’t want to spend time out in the desert or sunning yourself on a beach somewhere, you’ll find there are hundreds of attractions and points of interest spread out across Southern California.
There’s the Santa Monica Pier, where you can visit the various arcades, retail stores, and amusement park, or there’s Disneyland Park in Anaheim if you’ve got kids in tow. For something quirky, check out Salvation Mountain north of Calipatria.
8. You Can Get Your Retail Fix in SoCal
Did you know that Southern California has plenty of shopping spots to get your retail fix? Perhaps the most famous place to visit for shopping is Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, but there’s also the Irvine Spectrum Center in Orange County.
Other retail shopping destinations to consider include South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and Third Street Promenade in downtown Santa Monica.
9. SoCal Is Stargazing Heaven
Lastly, if you enjoy taking in the night sky on a clear evening, Southern California is the place for you. Sure, you could simply gaze up at the night sky or even use a portable telescope. But, you should check out the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
It’s free to enter and often stays open late at night to accommodate stargazers that want to enjoy getting more acquainted with the sky above SoCal.
*Post contributed by peer travel writer and bicyclist, Kris Branson.*