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"California is a garden of Eden a paradise to live in and to see"                 Woody Guthrie 1912-1967

One of many songs penned in awe and wonder about the splendid Golden State that is California. Golden Gate Bridge When the team at Far Flung asked me to do a feature on California they didn't need to ask twice!! It is, after all, my favourite place on the planet. A native born Scot from the West coast I often feel that I have lived in California in a different incarnation. I have spent every spare penny earned exploring the four regions of the state and with every visit I find a new favourite place to be! My first love is San Francisco, "Baghdad by the Bay", the glittering jewel of the coastal region and the Golden gate to the hinterlands of the north. What we will do in this feature is to give you a brief description and potted history of the state and it's four regions and then go into more detail about the sights and sounds and places to see in each of them.

The name "California" came from a knightly romance book that was published in 1510. It was about an island paradise near the Indies where beautiful Queen Califia ruled over a country of beautiful black Amazons with lots of pearls and gold. Men were only allowed there one day a year to help perpetuate the race. Cortez's men thought they found the island in 1535, because they found pearls. Later, Francisco de Ulloa found that the island was really a peninsula.

California has four main regions. The temperate Coastal region, the Central Valley, once an inland sea, the Desert, and the Mountain region. The imposing Sierra Nevadas caused California to develop in relative isolation from the rest of the nation.

  • Coastal Region

  • The coastline of California stretches for 1,264 miles from the Oregon border in the north to Mexico in the south. Some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of California lies along the Pacific coast. More than half of California's people reside in the coastal region. Most live in major cities that grew up around harbors at San Francisco Bay, San Diego Bay and the Los Angeles Basin. There is so much to do on the glittering Shores of California that we have broken the areas down into their natural order, North Coast, Central Coast and South Coast with a full guide of what there is to do and see plus all the information on California Hotels, California car hire and Cheap California flights to get you there.
  • The Central Valley

  • The Central Valley lies between the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada. More than four hundred miles long and about fifty miles wide, the Central Valley is the most productive agricultural area in California. Oak woodlands and bunchgrass prairies once covered the valley floor and great tule marshes extended over the flood plain. Beavers in the inland streams first lured European Americans across the continent to California in the 1820s. Overhead is the Pacific flyway, a heavily traveled route for migrating birds. Beneath the surface of the valley lie rich deposits of oil and natural gas, created millions of years ago from the remains of marine plants and animals. Irrigated cropland today covers most of the valley and produces more agricultural products than any comparable region in the world.
  • The Mountain Region

  • Mountains cover most of the surface of California. The various ranges tended to isolate the diverse Native American cultures that flourished within the present boundaries of the state. The mountains also were formidable barriers during the early decades of European American exploration and settlement. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the United States outside Alaska, rises to a majestic 14,495 feet above sea level in Sequoia National Park, at the headwaters of the Kings and Kern rivers. In southeastern Siskiyou County is Mount Shasta, a solitary peak of volcanic origin whose summit is 14,162 feet. Just to the south stands Mount Lassen at 10,457 feet. Mt. Lassen was an active volcano between 1914 and 1921.

    The Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges are California's two major mountain ranges. The Klamath Mountains and the Cascades are located along the northern border of the state. The Transverse Ranges bisect southern California. The mountainous spine of the Baja California peninsula extends north into the Peninsular Ranges.

  • The Desert

  • Much of the eastern half of southern California is a large desert triangle--a vast expanse of sandy valleys, dried lake beds, and short ranges of rugged mountains. These southern deserts were as much a barrier to overland migration to California in the eighteenth century as the steep eastern face of the Sierra Nevada was in the nineteenth. Among the deserts of California are the Mojave and Colorado as well as the foreboding Death Valley.

The land surface of California covers almost 100 million acres. It's the third largest of the states; California Regions Map only Alaska and Texas are larger. Within this vast area are a greater range of landforms, a greater variety of habitats, and more species of plants and animals than in any area of comparable size in all of North America.

After you have read and digested all we have written about this wonderful holiday destination we will help you with every facet of planning, booking and savouring that tingle of anticipation that comes with a major trip to the Golden State. We will offer you the latest offers and best deals for your cheap flight to California, Hotels in California, best-priced tickets for Disneyland California, all your accommodation in California if you are traveling, plus the cheapest car hire in California, a guide to the wine country with a guide to the best California wine to sample. There is an exclusive guide to the national parks at Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. We leave nothing to chance for your holidays in California so while you are "California Dreaming"; we are constantly updating the offers in our California guide so that you can rest happy "on such a winter's day!

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