Southern California might be known primarily for its beaches, but there is so much more to see in the Golden State than sand. From incredible national parks to sweeping wildflower fields, we’ve put together a collection of the most gorgeous spots around, and what you can expect if you visit them.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Sequoia National Park
A huge park located in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Sequoia National Park stretches across 400,000 acres (162,000ha). Established in 1890, the park is renowned for its giant forest, filled with some of the oldest and largest ancient coastal redwood trees in the world. It’s also home to Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. There’s a variety of activities to enjoy here, including camping, hiking, backpacking and fishing.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, on the northern side of Los Angeles county, is protected under the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The reserve is home to the best California poppy blooms in the state, filling the space with bright, vibrant flowers. In addition to poppies, it is known for its wildflowers such as owl’s clover, lupine, goldfields, cream cups and coreopsis. To catch the best colors of the year, time your visit between mid-February and late May.
Death Valley National Park
Draping across the border of southern California and Nevada lies Death Valley National Park, east of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is the largest national park in the contiguous United States, containing a portion of the Mojave desert as well as salt flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons and mountains. The majority of the park is a designated wilderness area, housing an array of desert-adapted plant and animal species. When visiting, you can camp, hike, drive, bike, backpack and more.
Joshua Tree National Park
Also in southern California, Joshua Tree National Park brings together the distinct ecosystems from the Mojave and Colorado deserts to provide a home for an incredible range of plants and animals. The land has been shaped by strong weather over the years to create a fascinating landscape where you can enjoy hiking, camping, climbing, bird watching and stargazing.
Los Padres National Forest
Stretching along the coast and slightly inland between Ventura and Monterey sits Los Padres National Forest, with about 875,000 acres (354,000ha) of forestry. Included within the park’s boundaries are the Ventana, Silver Peak, Santa Lucia, Machesna, Garcia, San Rafael, Dick Smith, Sespe, Matilija and Chumash wilderness areas. This a great spot for hiking and backpacking, with over 1,200mi (1,931km) of trails.
In the San Diego area is Coronado beach, a gorgeous stretch of shore spreading out in front of the Hotel del Coronado. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy the 1.5mi (2.4km) beach and admire some of the beautiful Ocean Boulevard houses. There’s swimming, boogie boarding, body surfing and visiting the tide pools here, although for ideal surfing conditions, head to North Beach, or opt for a doggie day even further north at Dog Beach.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Located in Monterey County on the central coast of California, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park spans more than 1,000 acres (405ha), stretching across the Big Sur River and sloping down the west side of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Filled with redwoods, conifers, oaks, sycamores, cottonwoods, maples, alders and willows, the Pfeiffer is a beautiful spot for visitors to explore. Be on the lookout for animals such as bobcats, deer, squirrels and colorful birds. Today, the park is best known for its camping facilities and hiking trails.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.