Always a Great Time to go to Catalina Island

Just about 26 miles from the Southern California coast and it took most of my life until I visited this wonderful place. Some people have never been even though they have lived in So Cal all of their life.

I hope this story will inspire you to go visit!

Catalina Island
The adventure to Catalina Island begins with the boat trip that ranges in length of time depending where you depart.

Boat trips are available from most of the harbors in Southern California so we decided to leave from Dana Point Harbor for the hour and a half trip across the Pacific.

The newer and larger boats get you there a lot faster these days and most of the time it is smooth sailing which helps to keep the sea sickness at a minimum.  However, just to be sure we loaded up on the Dramamine.

About 30 minutes out of port, we were treated to a visit from a pod of dolphins about 100 strong. A few were jumping the wakes of the boat so the Captain slowed us down to watch them frolic for a few minutes.

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On a typical cloudy morning in California we couldn’t see Catalina from the shore so it was a thrill when we first spotted land as the sun starting peek out of the haze.  On a clear day you can see Catalina from most coastal cities  in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.

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Catalina Island, officially called Santa Catalina Island is a rocky island that spans 22 miles long and 8 miles wide with a population of about 4,000. The highest point on the island is 1,097 feet. The main harbor where you disembark is called Avalon or Avalon Harbor and this the hub of Catalina with nearby restaurants,shops, hotels, etc.

Continue reading “Always a Great Time to go to Catalina Island”

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White Water Rafting on the Kern River

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White Water Rafting on the Kern River
We move away from the beach this time and travel inland to the very hot Bakersfield, California for white river rafting.
At 90 degrees in May, Bakersfield was a three hour drive for us from Oceanside, California.

White Water rafting is very popular in California as there are many rivers that offer tours at every level that suits your adventurous spirit. We wanted the lowest difficulty level as this was the first time for most of us. However, we did want some thrill too. We were told that this is the place for us.
See this link for other rivers and other levels of difficulty: http://www.aorafting.com.

BLAME IT ON US.
On our first day in Bakersfield we decided to go to the river and check out the conditions we would soon be facing.  As we are standing on the bank of the river we are saying to ourselves, “this doesn’t look so bad”.

So going into the next day we are feeling pretty confident but apprehensive as we didn’t know really what to expect.

The air conditioned ‘Rivers End Rafting Center’ is a great place with a deli and store to hang out in as you are waiting for your tour.

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Once called, we go down to the bus and pick out our life jackets.  During the short drive to the river, we are instructed on what and what not to do in the boat or if we “heaven forbid” fall in.

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We were assigned a guide and off we go. I had a Go Pro camera and our guide found a helmet especially made with an attachment.   Perfect!   However, that is where the trouble begins.

This is where the title to this story starts… blame it on us.  Every adventure I have tried by myself and with others, we are very enthusiastic. We hoot, holler, scream, laugh, and show enthusiasm for everything we are experiencing.  You can tell by hearing us on the video below, and you can hear the guide laughing that we are having a good time.  We are clearly out for fun and it seems like the guides, drivers, pilots, etc. want to do a little more for us.

As I look back on other adventures I realize that we bring it on our selves. Once while parasailing, we paid for going up 600 feet and as we are taking off we are laughing and screaming with joy. The guides decide to take us to 800 feet because of the fun we seemed to be having.  800 feet high was very scary, I preferred 600 feet better.

Another time I took flying lessons for the day. The pilot shows me this narrow ravine and how much fun it is to fly in there. So I tell him to go ahead, take the controls. As we are free falling nose first into the ravine with my head slammed against the window and with the full G’s pushing me, I realized, that I brought this on myself.

The same was to be said about this whitewater rafting trip. We were clearly out to have fun and were very vocal and fun loving. Our guide, Cortez told me later he wanted to give me a great shot with my Go Pro on my helmet. What better shot than to have us flip over. I have to admit that would be a great video but then I realized, I don’t want to go into the water!

I also found out later that our staycations crew were terrified as we found, or should I say Cortez found every rock on that river in an attempt to flip us. All of us in the boat were over 50 year old woman and one was 68. What the heck? However, never underestimate the power of middle aged woman. We weren’t having none of that falling in the water crap.

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In the video you can see my hand grabbing on to the seat in an attempt not to fall off.  It was pure determination from all of us not to flip over.

Continue reading “White Water Rafting on the Kern River”

Laguna Beach

One of staycationscalifornia’s favorite places is Laguna Beach.

Laguna sits between Newport Beach and Dana Point in Orange County , California. This small community with a population of about 25,000 as of 2010 features pristine beaches, shops, galleries,  and coves.

Laguna Street signBoard walk low
There are parts of Laguna Beach’s coastline that rival Hawaii with the palm trees and crystal blue water.  In fact in all of the places I have visited in California,  I think it is the closest thing to Hawaii as far as scenery.

House by CDM Continue reading “Laguna Beach”

Ocean Beach


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Staycationscalifornia loves piers. I think that is evident on our many features on piers.

Where else can you stroll  and view the coast while atop the ocean.

It’s a  place you can kick back, people watch, fish, stroll, or just take photos.

Our newest excursion was the Ocean Beach pier in Ocean Beach California. Located about 7 miles northwest of downtown San Diego, The town of Ocean Beach is not only known for its pier but also its wide span of beach that is perfect for surfing, sun bathing, swimming or other beach type activities.
Continue reading “Ocean Beach”

Alamitos Bay and Naples Canals

A little known area in the Long Beach area is the Alamitos Bay and Naples Canals.  This happens to be one of my favorite places in Southern California.

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Nestled a couple miles from Long Beach, the Naples canals are unlike the  Venice canals in Los Angeles County, mostly because they are wider and deeper.    This means that more small to medium boats can travel in the canals.

Built on three islands located in Alamitos Bay, most of the streets on the island and around the vicinity, have Italian names. The center of Naples features a large fountain appropriately called La Bella, which serves as a popular meeting spot.

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During the holidays the canals are  ablaze with color as the colored lights reflect on the water.  A good portion of the homes decorate and there are pathways and small bridges to stroll along.

Gondolas float by and if you are lucky you can hear the sweet voice of a Gondolier singing Italian songs. All of this adding to an already beautiful place.

There are only a few places in California where you can take a Gondola ride and this one of the few. Check this link: http://www.gondolagetawayinc.com.

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I looked around for any “For Sale” signs and I saw not a one.   I mean, why would you want to leave!

It is so peaceful and tranquil among the canals.   A few residents were sitting on their porch enjoying a cocktail at sunset and I felt like yelling to them on how lucky there are.  I held back, as my jealousy was oozing a little too much.

Nearby on this early December day,  the channels of Alamitos Bay  had  Christmas Tree barges  lined up every  50 feet or so.  This is a great tradition and made the bay look so magical.

Situated near Long Beach, Alamitos Bay is a great place to visit regardless if it is the holidays or summer.  It is a short hop from Long Beach’s popular attractions like the the Queen Mary, the Long Beach Aquarium, and the Pike.

The locals favorite, Second Street near the Coast Highway provides plenty of shopping and restaurants.

You can also rent  boats, fish, swim, kayak, and all sorts of fun stuff.

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The Christmas trees in the day along the Alamitos Bay.

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The city of Long Beach with its modern and historical buildings is only a few minutes away.

Here is a link for things to do in that area including Long Beach: http://www.doitinlongbeach.com/attractions/naples-island.htm

 

All you have to do is get there!!

Parting shots: More Alamitos Bay:

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