Discover Some of California's Spectacular Lakes and Mountains
Few adventures still stir the soul like the great American road trip. This near-mythical experience seems to go to the very heart of the world's third largest country - the Mustang, the Charger, the Bronco all being cars that conjure up the spirit of riding horseback across wild, unchartered land - and hitting the road is the embodiment of freedom in the land of the free.
Thankfully, road tripping has lost none of its charm or excitement today and California is home to some of the most iconic drives. With the buzzing metropolises of San Francisco and Los Angeles as a starting point. The Golden State is made to be explored on a four-wheeled adventure.
Whether it is Highway I, spanning between San Diego and San Francisco and hugging the coastline, or the classic roads that head inland to the natural wonderlands of Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park, expect mouth-watering food, spectacular wine regions and adventures around every corner. Tiny artisan towns and small villages offer the best of traditional crafts, or just an organic juice - this is the Golden State after all.
From wild aloe Vera plants to giant redwoods, orange gloves to vineyards, glorious lakes to the Pacific Ocean glistening with year-round sun, California's natural beauty has been well preserved since the birth of its pioneering environmentalism at the beginning of the 20th century. Along the coast, you can see elephant seals on the beach at Piedras Blancas, peregrine falcons or the elusive mountain lion. If you're ready for the trip of a lifetime, here are two of the best places to try...
Surrounded by some of the most beautiful and aw-inspiring peaks in the West, Mammoth Lakes is an adventure land in the sierra Nevada, with exploration just outside your door. Situated a half-day scenic drive from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, Mammoth Lakes couldn't be further in psychology from the hustle and bustle of one of America's greatest cities.
Centred around the laid-back mountain town of Mammoth Lakes, this is a place where you can start the day with a crab cake Benedict in one of the town's boutique eateries, hike or mountain bike through wildflower meadows, or head for a morning ski. Come the afternoon try fly fishing in clear mountain streams and spend your evening listening to bluegrass enjoying a craft beer. Mammoth Lakes has access to a stunning collection of snow-capped mountain peaks, evergreen forests and glassy lakes, with natural hot springs and stunning lakes to take a dip in. while summer offers an abundance of epic outdoors activities the slopes of world-renowned Mammoth Mountain offer some of the best skiing in the United States, with more freestyle parks than you can shake a snowboard at.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Just 45 minutes north of Mammoth lakes is Yosemite National Park, one of the world's great natural wonders. California's show-stopping national park is undoubtedly the pride of the state, covering almost 1,200 square miles.
Surrounded by towering granite cliffs, including the infamous Half Dome and El Captan, Yosemite Valley offers plenty to discover.
From her you can explore cliffs covered in wildflowers, giant sequoia forests, deep valleys and beautiful waterfalls.
The area is a hiker's dream, with 750 miles of trails to explore, but there are also 12 miles of paved bike paths if you prefer two wheels.
For the more adventurous you could try rafting along the Merced River or even rock climbing, with an almost endless variety of challenges, from the sustained crack climbs of the Merced River Canyon to multi-day aid climbs on the big walls of the Valley.
Whatever you do, don't forget to pack a star chart for when the sun goes down. Miles from the nearest city lights, Yosemite national park has a very dark night sky that makes it a great place to look at the stars.