Cal­i­for­nia Dreamin’

Win­ter or Sum­mer, The Dream is Alive

Westcoast Families - - Westcoast Families - By Jodi Iver­son Don’t for­get your cam­era! South­ern Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try of­fers a re­laxed, wel­com­ing vibe and is cel­e­brat­ing it all year long! www. visit­te­mec­ula.org

with its mild weather, nat­u­ral beauty and prox­im­ity to YVR, many lo­cal fam­i­lies will visit Cal­i­for­nia this year, but how many will look be­yond the fa­mous mouse? We re­cently vis­ited the sun­shine state and found some less ex­plored al­ter­na­tives for fam­ily fun!

Long Beach

Named for its miles of sandy beach, there is a real sense of “walk­a­blity” in Long Beach that al­lows your fam­ily an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore world-class at­trac­tions at your own pace. We strolled through the wa­ter­front ma­rina and stopped for lunch at the charm­ing Shore­line Vil­lage, an old fash­ioned sea­port board­walk, with shop­ping, games and a plethora of restau­rants. The whole fam­ily can en­joy lunch in­side Park­ers Light­house with its ex­ten­sive menu and gor­geous views it was a hit with our group. Be sure to check out the Queen Mary, just across the har­bour. This lux­ury liner turned warship turned ho­tel is full of his­toric fun. We also vis­ited the world renowned Aquar­ium of the Pa­cific which boasts 11,000 an­i­mal ex­hibits! We were es­pe­cially im­pressed with the up-close en­coun­ters and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties. Long Beach also hosts many cul­tural events that may co­in­cide with your visit. Check www. vis­it­long­beach.com for more info.

Ter­ranea Re­sort

With its breath­tak­ing lo­ca­tion cov­er­ing 102 acres of the Pa­los Verdes Penin­sula, there is plenty of room to for the whole fam­ily to play here. The set­ting is truly one- of-a-kind with 270-de­gree panoramic ocean view that kept us mes­mer­ized. Golf, fine din­ing, out­door ad­ven­ture and spa ser­vices abound, but most im­pres­sive to us was…wait for it…the kids’ club. In­no­va­tive pro­grams pro­vided by the award win­ning staff at have the kids en­gaged with ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing birds of prey and buried pi­rate trea­sure! If you are look­ing for a re­lax­ing, re­sort-style fam­ily friendly va­ca­tion you would do very well con­sid­er­ing Ter­ranea. www.ter­ranea.com

Greater Palm Springs

Not just golf, shop­ping & sun, al­though th­ese are all amaz­ing! Greater Palm Springs, which in­cludes nine beau­ti­ful re­sort cities, is ap­peal­ing to a whole new gen­er­a­tion of young fam­i­lies look­ing for a desert va­ca­tion. Our visit was jammed packed with day trips start­ing with a Desert Ad­ven­ture Eco tour. This was a truly mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence as we piled into the red jeep and ven­tured deep into the San An­dreas Fault guided by an ex­pert nat­u­ral­ist. Our tour ended with a meal at their pri­vate min­ing camp venue and evening stargaz­ing – highly rec­om­mended! We also spent a day at The Liv­ing Desert, a na­ture pre­serve span­ning 1,080 acres in the Sono­ran Desert. The Liv­ing Desert is also home to col­lec­tion of an­i­mal ex­hibits and gar­dens to ex­plore. An­other high­light was the Palm Springs Ariel Tramway. Board a ro­tat­ing tram car that moves you 4 kilo­me­tres ver­ti­cally in just 10 min­utes! Once you reach the top of the Tramway take some time to ex­plore the 14000 acre Mt. Jac­into State Park with a hike and pic­nic. We only just scratched the sur­face of Palm Springs good­ness and look for­ward to re­turn­ing soon! www. vis­it­greater­palm­springs.com

Te­mec­ula Val­ley

Te­mec­ula is a wine lover’s par­adise with many pic­turesque winer­ies to visit, but if wine is not your thing, not to worry, Te­mec­ula still has you cov­ered. Old town Te­mec­ula is a throw­back to the Wild West with wooden side­walks and rows of spe­cialty shops and at­trac­tions. One of our fa­vorites was Pen­nypick­les`s Work­shop, an award­win­ning Chil­dren’s Mu­seum that wel­comes you into the home of Pro­fes­sor Phineas T. Pen­nypickle. Filled with whimsy and science this is a must see! We also en­joyed a bird’s eye view of the val­ley from the seren­ity of a hot air bal­loon. Float­ing peace­fully, our group had fun spot­ting wildlife, vine­yards and cit­rus groves be­low.

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