One of the most famous destinations for surfing, Southern California has plenty more to offer.
This idyllic region boasts perfect weather, sandy beaches, incredible shopping and dining and a never-ending variety of entertainment. I'm a local, and introducing visitors to the brilliant attractions and entertainment here never gets old.
Surfing Central at Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach, a friendly, laid-back California city, is known as the epicenter of surfing culture and consequently dubbed 'Surf City'. No matter the time of year or time of day, you will see large groups of wet-suited men and women headed into the ocean with a smile on their face and a board in their arms. It is quite a sight to see.
Huntington Beach’s wonderful waters and year-round near-perfect weather mean you can always find something to do, from lying on the nearly nine miles of sandy beaches to perusing cute shops and eating at the many great restaurants.
Huntington Beach is offers wonderful surfing for beginners and surfing enthusiasts alike.
Eclectic and Fun Venice Beach
An hour north, you will find an entirely different beach experience at Venice Beach. Here, beginner surfers can take advantage of the calmer waves, so it is a great place for a surfing lesson. Beyond the waves, Venice Beach truly has the most eclectic beach atmosphere in the world. Surfers, skaters, hippies and hipsters all make Venice their home. See and hear a different culture with every few steps as you walk along the famous boardwalk and past the diverse vendors of the many arts and craft stalls.
There are many things to do: skating at the fantastic skate-park, working out at the famous Muscle Beach, playing on the basketball or tennis courts, eating in beachside restaurants or attending events and festivals throughout the year.
Seeing the Sights in Hollywood
A visit to Southern California wouldn't be complete without a 30 minute drive from Venice Beach to Hollywood.
There is an excitement that fills the air here. If you ever need a reminder of that fact, turn your head at many locations, look up to the hills, and view the iconic Hollywood sign, or take a drive farther into the Hollywood Hills for a closer view.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must-see. Visitors can view the more than 2,500 stars honouring celebrities in various fields of entertainment as they walk along Hollywood Boulevard. At the world-famous, stunningly beautiful Chinese Theatre, you will also find over 200 hand and footprints in the cement from many past and present stars. I have been lucky to partake in a few film premieres here, but don't worry; even without an invite you can often catch a glimpse of your favourite actor or actress as they walk the carpet.
Nearby, the Hollywood and Highland Center, with its many great shops and delicious restaurants, offers a wonderful break for tired feet.
Tinker Bell's Hollywood star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.
Studio Tours: Where the Magic of Film Comes to Life
Another quintessential Hollywood experience is a studio tour at either Universal Studios or Warner Brothers. At Universal Studios, you will board a tram that takes you around to see some of the famous sets and characters you know and love. Partake in a little mischief with Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, come face to face with Jaws, experience the destruction of Tom Cruise's War of the Worlds, drive down Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane and more. The Warner Brothers tour will take you to the sound stages and sets of some of the most well-known television shows and films.
I haven't even mentioned the wonderful art galleries, museums, music and theatre performances and shows; hiking and visiting the zoo in lovely Griffith Park; and the many more brilliant things you can do here. Book your holiday today to discover how much you can experience in fantastic Southern California.