back to top

14 Ways To Tour The World Without Leaving California

The West Coast is the best coast, because it has all the coasts in one. Hop in the car, and travel the world without leaving the Golden State. Get there with Ford. Go Further.

Posted on

1. Get lost in a Chinese garden in San Marino.

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is home to the gorgeous Garden of Flowing Fragrance, which is modeled after the scholar gardens of Suzhou, China.
Michael Lawenko Dela Paz/Michael Lawenko Dela Paz

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is home to the gorgeous Garden of Flowing Fragrance, which is modeled after the scholar gardens of Suzhou, China.

2. Eat pastries in the Danish village of Solvang.

Tucked away in Santa Barbara County, Solvang is a village that was founded by Danish-Americans in 1911. It's home to many Danish cafes and restaurants. Also, it's the place where Paul Giamatti refused to drink Merlot in Sideways.
frankix/frankix

Tucked away in Santa Barbara County, Solvang is a village that was founded by Danish-Americans in 1911. It's home to many Danish cafes and restaurants. Also, it's the place where Paul Giamatti refused to drink Merlot in Sideways.

3. Get spiritual in the Buddhist temples and monasteries of California.

Buddhism is the second-most popular religion in California, so it's no surprise that there are many temples you can visit. You can visit Buddhist centers in the Chinese tradition such as the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. You could also visit monasteries in the Thai forest tradition such as Abhayagiri in Redwood City.
Wolterk/Wolterk

Buddhism is the second-most popular religion in California, so it's no surprise that there are many temples you can visit. You can visit Buddhist centers in the Chinese tradition such as the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. You could also visit monasteries in the Thai forest tradition such as Abhayagiri in Redwood City.

4. Take in the German charm of Huntington Beach.

The Old World Village in Orange County's Huntington Beach feels like a little German town. They have German restaurants, Dachshund races, and one of Southern California's most solid Oktoberfests. They also threw in a British phone booth, because why not?
Rex Gray (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: rexgray

The Old World Village in Orange County's Huntington Beach feels like a little German town. They have German restaurants, Dachshund races, and one of Southern California's most solid Oktoberfests. They also threw in a British phone booth, because why not?

5. Hike the rough terrain of the Vasquez Rocks.

If you can't make it to the Australian Outback, Vasquez Rocks in the northern part of Los Angeles County is the next best thing. The park has terrain unlike anything else in the area. It's a must-visit for movie buffs too, because it's been the backdrop for many films over the years.
jveigel/jveigel

If you can't make it to the Australian Outback, Vasquez Rocks in the northern part of Los Angeles County is the next best thing. The park has terrain unlike anything else in the area. It's a must-visit for movie buffs too, because it's been the backdrop for many films over the years.

6. Ring in the Chinese New Year in San Francisco.

San Francisco hosts "the largest Chinatown outside of Asia." It's a great place to stroll any time of year, but it's a particular delight around Chinese New Year.
SpVVK/SpVVK

San Francisco hosts "the largest Chinatown outside of Asia." It's a great place to stroll any time of year, but it's a particular delight around Chinese New Year.

7. Visit a rainforest in Muir Woods.

The giant redwoods located in Muir Woods National Monument are part of the Pacific Temperate Rainforest's ecosystem, which is home to some of the oldest trees in the world.
© Swapan Jha

The giant redwoods located in Muir Woods National Monument are part of the Pacific Temperate Rainforest's ecosystem, which is home to some of the oldest trees in the world.

8. Celebrate the dead in Hollywood.

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the memory of our passed-away ancestors with a bright, beautiful, big ol' party. One of the biggest celebrations in the United States happens in the heart of Los Angeles at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Gabe Shore (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: gabrielshore

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the memory of our passed-away ancestors with a bright, beautiful, big ol' party. One of the biggest celebrations in the United States happens in the heart of Los Angeles at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

9. See the effects of a volcano at Mono Lake.

You don't have to go to Hawaii or Iceland to see the effects of volcanoes. California's Mono Lake had a volcano erupt right in the middle of the lake! The effects can still be seen today.
aiisha5/aiisha5

You don't have to go to Hawaii or Iceland to see the effects of volcanoes. California's Mono Lake had a volcano erupt right in the middle of the lake! The effects can still be seen today.

10. Get spooked by an Old West ghost town in Bodie.

Not far from Mono Lake, you'll find Bodie, the once-bustling gold-mining town of 10,000. Bodie is now preserved by California's state parks system as a monument to the state's gold-mining past.
CelsoDiniz/CelsoDiniz

Not far from Mono Lake, you'll find Bodie, the once-bustling gold-mining town of 10,000. Bodie is now preserved by California's state parks system as a monument to the state's gold-mining past.

11. Check out a Tuscan castle in Napa Valley.

According to its website, Castello di Amorosa is modeled after a 13th-century Tuscan castle and winery. If you're into drinking Italian-style wines, you might as well do it in a castle, right?
Jim G (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: jimg944

According to its website, Castello di Amorosa is modeled after a 13th-century Tuscan castle and winery. If you're into drinking Italian-style wines, you might as well do it in a castle, right?

12. Get your Champagne from nowhere near Champagne.

OK, to be fair, it's true that Champagne technically can only come from Champagne, France. However, Napa Valley makes plenty of sparkling wine on its own, and it's just as pretty as France.
Kevin Reid/Kevin Reid

OK, to be fair, it's true that Champagne technically can only come from Champagne, France. However, Napa Valley makes plenty of sparkling wine on its own, and it's just as pretty as France.

13. Party like the Vikings did in Lake Tahoe.

Located in Emerald Bay State Park, Vikingsholm is one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in North America.
Ciprian Tutu (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: tzutzanu

Located in Emerald Bay State Park, Vikingsholm is one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in North America.

14. Say hello to the wild animals of Africa in San Diego.

The world-famous San Diego Zoo is full of African animals, like this baby white rhino, Kayode. The zoo is also home to lots of other animals from all around the world.
Ken Bohn / Reuters

The world-famous San Diego Zoo is full of African animals, like this baby white rhino, Kayode. The zoo is also home to lots of other animals from all around the world.