Along the scenic northern California coast, the compact, walkable town of Arcata is sandwiched between mountains and the northern edge of Humboldt Bay, which is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a barrier island. Originally founded as a timber town in the mid-1800s, today Arcata is the home of Humboldt State University.
Attractive, friendly Auburn, tucked in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, sits along Interstate 80 about 30 miles north west of Sacramento in north central California. It dates back to the California Gold Rush and is listed as a California Historic Landmark.
Perched on the southern tip of L.A. County in Southern California, Avalon is 22 mile southwest of Los Angeles and is the only incorporated city on Santa Catalina Island. About a mile wide and only reachable by ferry and small plane, it is a beautiful, upscale place.
About an hour northeast of San Francisco and 20 miles from the Napa Valley in northern California, Fairfield is a comfortable city and home to the famous Jelly Belly jellybean factory.
About half way between San Diego and San Francisco, mellow, "beachy" Morro Bay became a summer vacation destination at the turn of the 20th century. After World War II, it also became a fishing village and still is one today.
This tiny, quirky East Bay town is in a lush canyon 30 miles north east of San Francisco and is part of the scenic Carquinez Strait shoreline. It started out in 1879 as a bustling ferry landing but saw its population diminish when bridges were built and the city was bypassed.
Twenty miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and about an hour north of San Francisco, rural, mellow Sebastopol makes its home. It is surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards and is a part of the state's fertile wine region.
A lively cultural scene, classic beaches, good medical facilities and a fun downtown are Ventura highlights. Is it a great place to retire?
Thanks to the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, the Golden State became a U.S. territory in 1847. Gold was found at Sutter's Mill in 1848. The land crowded with fortune seekers, and, shortly thereafter, California entered the Union as its 31st state.
California has 900 miles of coastline and claims the highest and lowest point in the continental U.S. Its terrain varies dramatically - from sandy beaches to rugged mountains, deserts to fertile farmland. Landmarks like Hollywood, Disneyland, and the Golden Gate Bridge play a large part in the nation's history and imagination.
Although Texas and New York have tried to close the gap, California's economy continues to be nation's largest. Agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, and tourism are some of its leading industries.
Cities of the Golden State have put some odd laws on the books. It's illegal to molest a monarch in Pacific Grove. Want to throw a frisbee on an L.A. County beach? Better ask a lifeguard first. What about bowling on the sidewalks of Chico? Strictly forbidden!
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