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Travel Tales

California- The Golden State

California, one of the most popular state of west coast USA, is famously known as a Golden state due to the discovery of gold in 1848 and fields of golden poppies that can be seen each spring throughout the state.
By: Saleha Raza

Saleha Raza Saleha Raza has a postgraduate degree in Business Administration. She is a stay-at-home mother of her 5-year-old daughter.

I had always wanted to visit Hollywood, so when when my husband informed me about our trip to California, I got super excited. But my joy was partial, as I was given the crucial task of planning and routing out the whole 15 days of our vacation in California. I thought it could be a tedious task and that I might not be able to plan it out correctly, but thanks to Google Maps and the Internet, I managed to plan the perfect itinerary. So this last summer my husband, our 5-year-old daughter and I began the trip of our lifetime. Here’s a little guide for Motherhood readers about what to do and what to expect if you are planning a trip to California.

San Francisco:

California- The Golden State We started our trip from San Francisco, and the first thing that surprised us when we left the airport, was the gust of cold winds. It was least expected in the month of June, and I didn’t gather from the information on the Internet, that how chilly the weather could be in this city. The hotel we stayed at was Marriott at Union Square, which was located in the most happening environment in San Francisco, due to the presence of all the top brands in the vicinity. The next morning, we walked all around Union Square and visited some splendid stores. The best one for men was definitely the Ferrari and Porsche store. And for my daughter, it was the Disney store that had a beautiful magic mirror inside.  

Afterwards we drove to Sausalito Bay Area, which is named as one of the Top 3 "Happiest Seaside Towns". To go to Sausalito we had to drive through the most amazing Golden Gate Bridge.

What to expect at Sausalito?

• Lush scenery, open marinas, houseboats, café life, and artist’s colony. View of Alcatrez prison from the bay (Visit recommended if you don’t have kids along).

• A pleasant weather with a bright sun and a light, slightly cold breeze.

• Fresh seafood.

On the way back we went to the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods; if you have seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you will know which bridge and woods I am talking about. It is the most amazing place for sightseeing and bike riding. But be prepared to be welcomed by an extremely chilly wind. A light woolen hat is recommended; we were not wearing one and, hence, ended up with a headache by the time we got back.

The next day we undertook a trip to Napa Valley. And what an absolutely breathtaking road trip it was, with beautiful scenery and some amazing landscapes all along the way. There are many wineries present along the way. One can take the winery tours if interested in seeing how it is all done.

What to expect at Napa Valley?

• A very serene and calm environment with several fine-dining options.

• The sunrise balloon flight- an amazing hot air balloon ride.

• Amazing spas, bike riding locations, and culinary classes.

• A pleasant weather with a light breeze.

Napa Valley is surely the best place to be if you want to just relax and unwind. After another shopping spree at union Square, we travelled to Fresno.

Los Angeles:

Wow, what can I say about Los Angeles? It surely is the city of stars. So bright and so happening all at the same time; it makes you feel like a star yourself. There are two main attractions in LA. One is Disneyland, and the other, of course, Hollywood. Our trip to LA began from Anaheim, where Disneyland is located. If prior hotel reservations are not done elsewhere, then a good option is to stay at one of the Disney resorts. Almost every hotel in the vicinity of Disneyland provides a shuttle service every 20 minutes. The concierges at these hotels are quite helpful and can guide you well for your trip. I would suggest that you do a little homework yourself before going there. That will help you decide better about which parks to go to according to the age of your child and your area of interest.

What to expect at Disneyland?

• Expect to feel like a child again and fulfill all your childhood fantasies.

• Expect to get really tired as these parks are huge and sometimes it is difficult to see everything in one day, so do opt for a two day park hopper ticket.

• It was pretty hot there. So be prepared with a lot of sunscreen and caps as the lines could be long and tiring. Do look for the character greeting areas in order to meet your favorite characters live. And don’t forget to take your Disney photo pass.

• You can dine with your favorite characters too. There are information desks for your convenience.  

• The items inside Disney are pretty expensive; so if you are not ready to spend a fortune on little things like an autograph book, or a pen, do take one along.

• Do not miss out on the parades or the fireworks at night.

• If you have a daughter, do not forget to take her to the Bibbidy Bobidy boutique and give her the experience of her lifetime.

After a two day trip at LA Anaheim, we went to Disney downtown to explore the world of Hollywood.

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