From So-Cal’s deserts to jewels on the coast, here are seven ideas for things to do in Southern California that are not to be missed.
- Earthquake Canyon Express Bicycle Tour by Big Wheel Tours. A leisurely 20-mile route that descends 1,200 feet into the San Andreas Fault zone, winding through the narrow canyon walls of Box Canyon toward the Salton Sea and the agricultural region of Coachella Valley is exhilarating.
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. A rotating tramcar climbs 2.5 miles as the temperature drops 20 degrees. Overlooking the desert while standing in the snow is an extraordinary experience in and of itself. The hiking trails though the forest and the endless panoramic view of the valley are spectacular.
- Sound Bath at Integratron. Quartz crystal bowls are played to correspond to our chakras for deep relaxation. The wooden dome in which we lay is “based on the design of Moses’ Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla and telepathic directions from extraterrestrials…to be an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel.”
- The Cave Store in La Jolla. Descend 145 steps from the store into a tunnel that leads to an ocean-carved cave.
- Visit Julian, a California frontier town with pioneer storefronts. Tour the historic mines, and enjoy an apple pie, which is as good as gold.
- Hike The Slot, a narrow siltstone canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. View gravity-defying rock stacks. Stargaze at night in this Dark Sky Preserve.
Daytrip to Tijuana
- The busiest border crossing in the western hemisphere has also become a launching point for some amazing food tourism. Taco tours and craft brewery tours are all the rage. Tourista Libre crosses into Mexico, on a decommissioned school bus for a Mexican Market Hop. Visit Mercado de Artesanias to shop for artwork and ceramics. Outside the market the aroma of carnitas beckons. Who knew that a place that looks like an auto body shop would also be making the most delicious fresh tacos? Next up, Sobre ruedas la villa, where each taco is more scrumptious than the last. Pair them with Tejuino, a sweet and salty corn juice served with a scoop of lime slushy. Last stop, Mercado Miguel Hidalgo, a farmer’s market to sample wonderfully balanced coffees, and meander through a world of peppers, vegetables, mole and spices that reflect the terroir of Mexico. Here, delight in savoury duck tacos with hoisin drizzle. * Despite the genuine fun, one can’t help notice the omnipresence of the border, and that Mexican development pushes right up to it. Viewing the difference on either side is profound, but the value of this tour is the inadvertent but inevitable understanding and appreciation gained with just a taste of the industriousness and flavours at the heart of a striving community. Go to: www.turistalibre.com
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.