With so much to see and do, California is an endlessly invigorating destination which appeals to all five senses and every age group.
Whilst The Golden State is a glorious setting for a unique luxury holiday at any time of year, 2016 is set to see California become synonymous with celebration as the state enjoys a glittering array of high profile events showcasing all that the renowned region is famed for. The patriotic passion and pride is present within each aspect of this year’s California calendar of celebrations, ranging from dazzling award shows, sporting spectacles and natural wonders. Everything from Disney’s Diamond Year Celebrations, San Francisco’s Fleet Week, to the magic of Coachella can be enjoyed in California, making this year one of the best to explore California.
In 2016, the USA’s National Park Service celebrates its 100 year anniversary, and with no fewer than nine national parks, California boasts some of the country’s most captivating and awe-inspiring landscapes and scenery. No luxury holiday to California is complete without uncovering one of these geographical gems; the tough part is deciding where to begin!
Yosemite National Park is a truly stunning space, bordered by incredible glacier-honed geology and home to more than 400 species of wildlife, whilst world-class recreational facilities set this pristine park apart from anywhere else. A genuine geographical wonder, Yosemite’s granite playground is a true hiker’s and climbers paradise, but those seeking a more leisurely pace for their exploring are certain to enjoy the picturesque panoramas, even from ground level. The peak months for visiting Yosemite are July and August, but the natural resplendence of this stunning setting can be enjoyed at any time of year. The park is less crowded in the months before and after peak season, but Yosemite enjoys a favourable climate throughout. June is the perfect month to see the park’s wildlife and wildflowers in bloom.
When most people indulge in their California dreaming, they envision sun-soaked days and beguiling beaches, so it may come as a pleasant surprise to discover the sprawling state is also home to world-class ski resorts. California’s oldest ski resort, Badgers Pass, is located in Yosemite National Park and is renowned, not only for the exceptional scenery and slopes, but for its ski school’s ‘Guaranteed Learn to Ski’ promise, which has beginners feeling confident and gliding with grace in no time. Mammoth Mountain is another of California’s comprehensive ski destinations. Picturesque peaks and endless space make this a perfect destination for those seeking to tick every adventure box during their time in California. Lake Tahoe is another top ski spot, with over 22,000 acres of ski and snowboarding terrain available across nine premier ski resorts. This location encapsulates the best of California’s thrill-seeking mentality, against a backdrop of awe-inspiring panoramic vistas.
For families seeking quality time and fabulous fresh air, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are the perfect stomping grounds for would-be explorers. Home to the largest tree in the world, Sequoia National Park is the ideal place for young adventurers to roam freely whilst parents can enjoy technology-free family time, set in stunning landscapes that are sure to inspire imaginations and adventure for years to come. Kings Canyon is located a stone’s throw from neighbouring Sequoia and its beguiling scenery can be traced back to the Ice Age. With canyons appearing to reach to the deepest depths of the earth, King’s Canyon is an utterly remarkable environment to experience, but even the canyons themselves cannot eclipse the beguiling beauty of the park’s twin rivers, Kings River and San Joaquin. Startling expanses of two of California’s most pristine and picturesque rivers, admiring these natural majestic marvels is to know true awe.
Joshua Tree National Park is famed for its vast and visually stark landscape save for the signature and eponymous Joshua Trees that grow in abundance across the uninhabited landmass. Joshua Tree’s resplendent rock formations are nature’s equivalent of a hybrid between modern art sculptures and a children’s jungle gym. Therefore, it is no surprise to find this park is particularly popular with families seeking outdoor adventure and activities with an authentic ‘back to nature’ ambience. The park’s wildflowers bloom in the spring, but the summer sees temperatures soar so Autumn is a great time to visit if you prefer a cooler climate.
Hollywood is famed for its stars on the Walk of Fame and star-studded events, but in Joshua Tree, it is the original stars which steal the show. The lack of humidity and light pollution within the park make this spot one of the best on earth to see the Milky Way in all her glory and the dazzling display of starlight and cosmic luminosity is sure to take your breath away. Too many stars to count, but memories impossible to forget, Joshua Tree is the root of any captivating California holiday.
Death Valley might sound like a Hollywood horror movie, but don’t be misled by the eye-catching name, this national park is perfectly safe to explore – so long as you’ve packed your sunscreen and plenty of water! The temperature can hit record highs in Death Valley, but the scenery is too hot to miss. Picture swathes of unspoilt desert land, rugged mountains and vast canyons and you might begin to understand Death Valley’s intriguing allure. The best time to visit is late-afternoon, when the heat beings to subside and the sun’s languid setting casts a lightshow over the imposing mountains to bathe their rocky façade in various, vivid colours. Death Valley’s exceptionally high temperatures subside in the winter and this is a great time to visit, as you can enjoy the park’s extraordinary landscape in cooler temperatures. It often surprises visitors to discover that Death Valley is home to many wildflowers, which bloom in the spring, making the park come alive with nature and colour during these months.
The abundance of natural wonder to be found throughout California is unrivalled and the sheer scale of land, water and natural affluence within this state has been the subject of international admiration for countless years. However, the National Park Service’s centenary celebrations will shine a brighter spotlight on these immaculate parklands in such a way as to showcase the best aspects of each park as never before. With so much to celebrate, and immeasurable amounts to see, time spent exploring some of California’s incredible national parks is the perfect complement to any luxury Californian holiday and is the best way to truly know why The Golden State deserves its crown.
For further information about this dazzling destination, or to explore more of California’s vibrant array of activities and adventures, please view our California destination guide. To order an official California State Visitor's Guide, please visit: http://www.visitcalifornia.com/uk/fuel-your-california-dream-our-free-visitors-guide-and-roadtrips