I got started when I hiked the Long Trail in Vermont in 2008. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Shasta, Northern California has no shortage of diverse backcountry terrain. California wasn’t colonized nearly as fast as the east since it was so far away from Europe. Like everywhere else in the country, everything changed when Europeans came to colonize. Oakland has had a pretty rough reputation in the past, but it’s one of the most eclectic places in California. Airbnb's Most Unique Properties Worldwide. <. In this California travel guide, I’ll do my best to convince you why California is one of the most diverse places on earth, whether you need convincing or not. Most US states have thousands and thousands of acres of public land and free campsites. In the US, "backpacking" means what you probably cal trekking or tramping--hiking in the wilderness with everything yo need in your backpack (tent, sleeping bag, stove, food etc.) When it comes to just walking around – eating and shopping – you can’t go wrong in Pac Heights, the Marina, Hayes Valley, Nob Hill, and Russian Hill. San Luis Obispo is surrounded by woods, volcanic-formed hills, and rugged coastline, all of which are prime places for hiking and adventure sports. But tickets cost an arm and a leg, and they’re harder to score than one on one against LeBron. The short answer is yes, very much so. Most places will be decorated and lit up like a Christmas Tree. If you want to ski in winter, but don’t want to break the bank, I can recommend Homewood – much smaller (and cheaper) than the other ski resorts around Tahoe. If you are traveling in California during the third Thursday of November, keep in mind many businesses will be closed and many people will be traveling that week. If you are looking for a free campsite in California, or anywhere in the United States for that matter, check out this website. Beyond Yosemite Valley, the 120 is also one of the most beautiful and famous roads in California because it goes over the Tioga Pass. This is definitely worth the trip. If you’re visiting SF on a Thursday, hit the after-hours, where you can learn about science and drink at the same time. I recommend Tomales Bay. This is the festival that kicks off the year. SD will be the perfect way to end your vacation. You can hike to the top of El Capitan, for example, and view Half Dome across the valley. It would take me an entire post to cover what to do in San Francisco, so thankfully, we already have a San Francisco city guide. While you have plenty of options for places to stay in California, most of them are not cheap. I travel with a debit card without fees. Christmas, Dec 25th: The holidays are a wonderful time to visit California. All rights reserved. 66. Solo Backpacking. Don’t want to spend over $100 a day on your trip? Consider that the OC beaches are very crowded in the summer. He was heading to the Grand Canyon and the NYC! Answer 1 of 9: I'm planning my first solo backpacking trip to Yosemite. I quickly discovered that I liked it more than hiking with a partner or a group. Sebastopol and Petaluma are charming towns to check out and grab a bite to eat. Indeed, there are endless options for backpacking in California, but there are a few fan-favorite standouts. Check out this detailed article for everything you need to know to start teaching English online. This California travel guide includes costs and how to budget for a trip to California, what to wear, how to travel, etc. Right now, I’m rocking an Active Roots parachute hammock – it’s light, colorful and tough. John Muir Wilderness and Ansel Adams Wilderness are also worth exploring. It’s about protecting what sustains us. Cool bars, breweries, and restaurants are opening up all the time. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. California – and the US for that matter – do not cater to backpackers well. I’ll include the best road trip itineraries below too. It’s in the movies and TV shows we grew up on. You won’t be able to see every beach, but luckily they’re all good in their own way. That said, these places get crowded and expensive. You are better off renting a car. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed by this quirky hotel. But head into the hills and you can reach Big Basin and Castle Rock State Park, awesome for hiking and climbing. However, I always try to support local co-ops and farmer’s markets too. If you’re looking for a place to stay in San Diego, be sure to check out our SD hostel guide for some great tips and reviews! into high Yosemite country. Save the world, one backpack at a time. Catalina Island is probably the most popular place to dive. The story is about his entire life, from growing up in the City of Angels surrounded by drugs and bad influences, to becoming a rockstar. That said, California is a blue state, meaning most voters lean towards liberal social views, and California has some of the most liberal environmental laws and taxes. HIDE.ME –  I always have a VPN ready to go on both my phone and laptop, I personally use Hide Me which is one of the fastest and most reliable options out there. Partying in the big cities will almost always be expensive. I have covered tons of essential information for backpacking California below. Definitely, a must-do if you are visiting this part of California. Next make the scenic, windy drive to Yosemite Valley National Park. There are certain parts of LA, SF, Oakland, etc. Staying in Santa Barbara is expensive but beautiful. Ideally, you want 3 days in Yosemite though. (California grows 75% of the United States’ food, and much of the best, freshest produce comes from the Foothills, home to a ‘Mediterranean Climate’ and year round goodies.). From Santa Cruz to SF, surfers can find big wave surfing. Travel with a portable backpacking stove to save some serious cash whilst backpacking across California. Meaning if I want to go backpacking or camping, I usually have to go solo. You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy. Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income—from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. One of the most incredible places in California is Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada. Let’s start with a realistic vacation budget. SLO is like another planet. I wrote this 3-week California itinerary for hikers, explorers, and climbers. Don’t be surprised to smell the grass. Giant redwood clusters include Redwood National Park’s Lady Bird Johnson Grove. I wrote about Dick’s Lake here. Located very near the coast. You are absolutely spoilt for choices. I just hiked this easy hike this year. Are you planning to wine and dine in Napa Valley? The largest cost will definitely be your rental car, as it is unavoidable for a road trip. World Packers is an excellent platform connecting travelers with meaningful volunteer positions throughout the world. Stop for lunch (or stay if you can afford it) at the Madonna Inn. Moreover, you will probably cover a lot of ground in one of the largest states, so this is an inevitable cost. Separated by the mountain ranges and deserts, these different tribes had different languages and cultures. Keep in mind the park itself is massive. Again, refer to the LA city guide for more information. Ties are rarely worn to the office. This is mostly thanks to homework, planning in advance and sticking to basic guidelines about where to go and what to take. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. (UC Santa Barbara is actually in “Isla Vista” 15 minutes north.). The desert temps will also be more manageable and the coast experiences an Indian Summer, meaning it’s less foggy up north. It would be true to say that, every year, thousands of women are backpacking solo around Europe and indeed the rest of the world, without coming to any harm. Aside from Balboa Park, the best places to visit in San Diego are the many coastal neighborhoods and beaches, like Coronado, Mission, La Jolla, and Pacific. Within that same year, the US and Mexico went to war, and California became a territory in the US in 1848. Oakland and Berkeley are the East Bay’s stars. Fern Canyon is a green, pristine canyon in the coastal range of the Redwoods. At night, the Marina, Polk Street, North Beach, the Mission, and Castro have the best nightlife. For a hiker of moderate experience, backpacking alone for several days may be just as challenging, and rewarding, as a free solo ascent is to Honnold. These two towns are utterly charming and you’ll have plenty of choices for beaches, hikes, wine tasting, and food in a much more relaxed and crowd-free atmosphere than further south. Stop for a wine tasting or two (responsibly) in the Napa and Sonoma region. She spends most of her "down-time" out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health. There are alcohol superstores in California that are dangerously inexpensive, and you can buy alcohol in any grocery store in California (which is not the case in many states). Other recommendations include catching a minor league baseball game (like the River Cats in Sacramento). I'll elaborate. For more intimate concerts, check out Rickshaw Shop in SF. We have a travel guide on Los Angeles that will help you plan this part of the trip! You won’t find many hostels outside of the main cities, however, and these dorm beds can be upwards of $50 a night. I’ll also cover costs and budget hacks, several California itineraries, information on food and drinks, when to visit California, camping, California’s national parks, and so much more. The JMT stretches from Yosemite to Sequoia over 211 miles. The King Range area is nearly untouched by civilization, with only a few small towns along the two-hour shuttle from Shelter Cove to the Mattole Beach trailhead to the north. While there isn’t much to do here for tourists, you’ll find plenty of shopping, coffee shops, and good restaurants. Northern California. If you need to stop for groceries, get them in the North Bay before we go into no man’s land, where the lack of options correlates with expensive prices. There are some pretty fun and high-quality wineries in the foothills too for a 1/20th of the cost. Are you a native English speaker looking to earn cash whilst traveling the world? Speaking of parks, Golden Gate Park is absolutely beautiful and frankly underrated. Best places to eat Mexican food have to be the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco, LA, and anywhere in San Diego, but really you can find a good spot anywhere in the state with a little help from Yelp. Recommend if you are road tripping from north to Santa Cruz, California... Tex-Mex, by the mountain top platform connecting travelers with meaningful volunteer positions throughout the Golden gems California!, ” south Shore is best attempted in the heat, and guacamole and all! A simple walk why I use world Nomads, local microbrewery, serve... About where to begin the sites other essentials that we recommend if you flying! 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