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CALIFORNIA & PACIFIC WI N T E R 20 1 9

BOUNDLESS BEAUTY Bike, hike, behold national parks

CRUISING THE COAST Bluffs, beaches, majestic views

BIG HARVEST CRUSH Fine wines, festivals & food

Go West

Natural, experiential getaways beckon La Jolla Cove, San Diego, Calif.


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CONTENTS

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CALIFORNIA & PACIFIC

BECKONING BOUNTY It’s harvest season in West Coast wine country

Castello di Amorosa winery, Calistoga, Calif. CASTELLO DI AMOROSA


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CONTENTS This is a product of

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EDITORIAL TRAVELPORTLAND.COM

DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com

THE REGION

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ALASKA Seeking a new adventure? Try mountain heli-biking

HAWAII A professional photographer shares underwater shooting tips

TORDRILLO MOUNTAIN LODGE

UP FRONT

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STILL CLASSY

8 SANDIEGO.ORG

Get behind the wheel with these luxury driving experiences

San Diego celebrates its 250th anniversary

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CALIFORNIA

An immersive experience awaits at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

BOUNDLESS BEAUTY Nature is calling you to these West Coast national parks

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com

MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com

ISSUE EDITOR Harry Lister ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Tracy Scott Forson Sara Schwartz Debbie Williams DESIGNERS Hayleigh Corkey Amira Martin Debra Moore Gina Toole Saunders INTERN Amber Tucker

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Sacramento emerges as a go-to destination

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Celebrate surfing culture in Huntington Beach

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Enjoy rocket launches and wineries on the Central Coast

FEATURES

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Alderton, Diane Bair, Brian Barth, Sam Boykin, Scott Craven, Erin Gifford, Robin Roenker, Sarah Sekula, Zach Urness, David Volk, Mackenzie Warren, Corinne Whiting, Eric Woomer, Pamela Wright, Amy Wu

ADVERTISING VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com

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OREGON Food, beer tours offer refreshing takes on Portland

GOLF GETAWAYS The swing’s not the only thing at these upscale resort destinations

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Vanessa Salvo | (703) 854-6499 vsalvo@usatoday.com

FINANCE

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WASHINGTON Embrace the great outdoors without leaving Seattle

Billing Coordinator Julie Marco ISSN#0734-7456

ON THE COVER: LA JOLLA COVE, SAN DIEGO, CALIF.

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COASTAL CULTURE These heritage hot spots celebrate a diversity of experiences

PHOTOGRAPHER: GETTY IMAGES

BACK PAGE

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WILDLIFE WONDER Discover Tern Lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula

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A USA TODAY Network publication, Gannett Co. Inc USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Copyright 2018, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108, and at (703) 854-3400. For accuracy questions, call or send an e-mail to accuracy@usatoday.com.

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UP FRONT | SAN DIEGO

Still Classy San Diego makes news with a milestone anniversary By Harry Lister

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ON BURGUNDY MAY HAVE been a legendary

anchorman, but he was a lousy historian. Indigenous people have called his beloved San Diego home for millennia; the Germans had nothing to do with its discovery; and its

association with marine mammals begins and ends with SeaWorld. California’s birthplace and second-largest city is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. While we can’t quite declare it, as Burgundy did, “the greatest city in the history of mankind,” its beauty, weather and history do go down smoothly, so drink them in:

Hotel del Coronado HOTEL DEL CORONADO


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UP FRONT | SAN DIEGO

BALBOA PARK The 1915 Panama-California Exposition commemorating the opening of the Panama Canal was held in Balboa Park. The park’s Spanish Colonial architecture is an enduring symbol of San Diego, and another of the city’s famous attractions, the San Diego Zoo, opened there the following year with quarantined animals that were forbidden to leave after the close of the Panama-California Exposition.

HOTEL DEL CORONADO San Diego became part of Mexico in 1822, a year after the country gained its independence from Spain. U.S. westward expansion led to war with Mexico. In July 1846, U.S. Army Captain John C. Frémont and Commodore Robert

MISSION BASILICA Archaeological evidence suggests ancestors of the Kumeyaay people were living in the region more than 11,000 years before the first explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, arrived in 1542. Sixty years later, Sebastían Vizcaíno mapped the bay and surrounding coast and renamed the harbor San Diego in honor

Stockton sailed into San Diego Bay and claimed the city for the United States. The Mexican-American War ended two years later, and California became the 31st state in 1850. The town grew slowly until the transcontinental railroad arrived in 1885,

bringing with it speculators and developers. Two, Elisha Babcock and H.L. Story, purchased the Coronado peninsula and began construction of the Hotel del Coronado in 1886. It opened two years later and remains one of the area’s iconic landmarks.

of a 15th-century saint. The city traces its official founding to the 1769 dedication of Mission San Diego de Alcalá in what is now Presidio Park. The mission was moved to its present site in Mission Valley five years later. San Diego, the first European settlement in what became known as California, served as the starting point for future

Spanish expeditions. In 1775, the Kumeyaay revolted against their rulers and burned the San Diego Mission. Subsequent American rule resulted in the Kumeyaay’s eviction and the establishment of the reservation system. With 18, San Diego County has more Indian reservations than any other county in the United States.

SAN DIEGO HISTORIC CENTER (3); BRETT SHOAF/ARTISTIC VISUALS; STACY KECK/SANDIEGO.ORG; JOHN BAHU


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UP FRONT | NATIONAL PARKS

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska MACKENZIE WARREN/USA TODAY

Boundless Beauty Nature is calling you to these West Coast wonders

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HE PACIFIC COAST BOASTS many spectacular

national parks — from some of the most popular to the most remote, where you can truly get away from it all. Here are some top choices identified by the USA TODAY Network:


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UP FRONT | NATIONAL PARKS SEASONS OF WONDER Yosemite Valley, Calif. When planning a trip to Yosemite National Park, consider the season. Summer is extremely popular, and nearly all areas of the park are generally accessible by car. When fall arrives and the rush dwindles, visitors can enjoy a closer encounter with Yosemite. Most areas of the park are open through October. Short-term closures may occur, however, due to snow. Make use of the free Yosemite Valley shuttle, which operates year-round. Take a guided tour to get a good overview of the park and visit Yosemite’s museum to learn background information. The Yosemite Conservancy offers adventures such as birding quests and challenging hikes. Of note: As part of a lawsuit settlement, historic facility names have been restored. The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is again known as The Ahwahnee; Half Dome Village is Curry Village; and Big Trees Lodge is the Wawona Hotel. ▶ nps.gov/yose

Yosemite National Park

— Eric Woomer

ERIC WOOMER/USA TODAY

THREE PARKS IN ONE Port Angeles, Wash.

Roosevelt Elk in Hoh Rain Forest ELAINE THOMPSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The terrain of Olympic National Park is so diverse that it can seem like three distinct parks. Visitors climb approximately 5,200 feet on the 17-mile drive from the park’s visitors center to Hurricane Ridge, according to public information officer Penny Wagner. On a clear day at Mount Olympus, you can see across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The character of the Hoh Rain Forest makes it feel half a world away. Twelve feet of annual rainfall give it a lush, otherworldly feel, and there are old-growth trees and greenery as far as the eye can see. The rocky shoreline of Rialto Beach is about as far removed from tranquil coastline as you can get. Tidal pools, piles of driftwood logs and sea stacks dot the shore surrounded by acres of wilderness. The area’s frequent, heavy waves serve as a reminder that it remains wild, while the presence of Hole-in-the Wall, a natural arch carved by time and tide, remains an irresistible magnet for visitors. Of note: You’ll experience high altitudes, lush rainforest and rugged beaches, so dress accordingly. ▶ nps.gov/olym — David Volk


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UP FRONT | NATIONAL PARKS EVEN THE SOLITUDE IS BIG Port Alsworth, Alaska

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is 100 miles from the nearest paved road. The closest town is named for a missionary family that in 1950 established a post office there; Alsworth family members still offer many of the services travelers will need, including cabins, meals, hikes and canoeing and kayaking tours. Perhaps the most important are the custom air charters to the more than 8 million acres that make up Lake Clark and Katmai National Park and Preserve. To access either park, fly in via air taxi from Anchorage, King Salmon, Kodiak, Dillingham or Homer. Fly into the lake-filled crater on Mount Katmai, which blew its top in 1912 in the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. Combine an air tour of Lake Clark and surrounding active volcanoes with a day watching bears snag salmon in a waterfall at Brooks Camp in Katmai. Of note: The memoir One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey was developed from the journals of Richard Proenneke, who lived alone and off the grid for decades on Lake Clark. ▶ nps.gov/katm; nps.gov/lacl — Mackenzie Warren

SCIENCE MEETS SCENERY Kimberly, Ore. Home to deep gorges, painted hills and one of Oregon’s most scenic rivers, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a landscape painting come to life. But as the name implies, the monument was established because of what’s below the ground — one of the richest collections of fossils in the world. It’s that combination of science and scenery that makes this small monument, about 130 miles east of Bend, Ore., such an interesting place to visit. More than 15 hikes let you explore the landscape up close. One of the best is to Blue Basin, a multicolored canyon of volcanic ash that entombed many animals. Display cases filled with replica bones are found along the trail. Perhaps the monument’s most scenic location is the Painted Hills, one of Oregon’s most popular spots for photographers. Of note: Start your visit with the park orientation film at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center. ▶ nps.gov/joda — Zach Urness

Painted Hills on the Red Scar Knoll Trail ZACH URNESS/USA TODAY


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Harvest season is the perfect time to visit wine country By Robin Roenker

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HERE’S JUST SOMETHING MAGICAL about harvest season in

wine country. Sometime between August and October, depending on the year’s weather and the specific grape variety, the hanging clusters reach peak ripeness, and West Coast wineries begin the arduous — but exciting — task of gathering the literal fruits of months of labor. In California alone, where more than 80 percent of the country’s wine is produced, vineyards harvest around 4 million tons of grapes each year. And, if you’re lucky enough to visit in early fall, you can witness the process firsthand. “There’s an artistry that goes into harvest and a lot of pride behind it,” says Hunt Bailie, owner and founder of Sonoma

Adventures (sonoma-adventures.com), which offers bicycle tours of Sonoma wine country. “I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve shown up for a tour at one of the smaller vineyards, and the winemaker has turned to us and said, ‘I am still crushing grapes. I’d be happy to have your help.’ And my group has gotten to join in and feel the intensity of the process.” As grapes ripen, many wineries widen their welcome — through harvest festivals and community crush events — so visitors can bask in the beauty of the season and anticipation of the wines the harvest will eventually yield. “Harvesting time is definitely the most beautiful time to come visit,” says Kendall Blakely, assistant manager at Hawaii’s Volcano Winery. “The weather is beautiful. The grapes are ripe on the vine, and it’s just very scenic.”

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WASHINGTON Washington Wine Country is home to more than 240 wineries and encompasses several distinct growing regions, including Yakima Valley and Walla Walla Valley. In Yakima Valley, harvest season is feted each fall at Catch the Crush (wineyakimavalley.org/ event/2019-catch-thecrush-2), with many wineries

planning special tours and events Oct. 12-13. As part of the festivities, Airfield Estates (airfieldwines. com) in Prosser will host a five-course, gourmet winemaker’s dinner on Oct. 11, followed by a 5K Vineyard Run and Grape Stomp on Oct. 12. “Crush weekend is a great time to get out to our farm and see the beauty of the vineyard,” says co-owner and marketing director Lori Stevens. “The 5K is such a favorite because you’re running through these scenic, undulating hills past 11 varieties of grapes.” Interested in getting insights on the wine-making process? Consider the Two Mountain Winery (twomountainwinery. com) Winemaker for a Day experience in Zillah on Oct. 12, where you’ll get an intimate tutorial. “Our winery is owned by two brothers. Everything here is estate grown, and we do everything — including all of our barreling and bottling — here on site,” says Susie McFerran, Two Mountain’s wine club manager. “It’s like Winemaking 101. In two hours, you’ll get an introduction to the entire wine process — from growing and picking the grapes to putting the wine in the bottle.”

Two Mountain Winery KATHRYN RAWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Hotel Maison HOTEL MAISON

The Hotel Maison in downtown Yakima blends historic architectural details with modern comforts, including a complimentary European-style continental breakfast and wine tasting events with local sommeliers. ▶ thehotelmaison. com

With a menu that includes everything from pizza and burgers to fish & chips and ribeye, at Yakima’s Second Street Grill it’s easy to find a great meal to cap off your day of wine tasting. ▶ secondstreet grill.com

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Willamette Valley Vineyards WILLAMETTE VALLEY VINEYARDS

OREGON Located between Portland and Eugene, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is home to some 23,000 acres of grapes — the vast majority of them pinot noir. The entire region celebrates the harvest, culminating in fun citywide events like the annual Carlton Crush Harvest Festival (carltoncrush.com) Sept. 7. You’ll find food trucks, local wines, stomping competitions, artists’ markets, live music and more. On Sept. 14, Carlton’s Anne Amie Vineyards (anneamie.com) will host a harvest lunch where guests can dine alongside the winemaker’s Müller-Thurgau vines. Think you’re a champion grape stomper? On Sept. 21-22, Willamette Valley Vineyards (wvv.com) in Turner will host its 29th Annual Oregon Grape Stomp Championship & Harvest Celebration. Winners earn a trip to compete in the World Championship Grape Stomp (harvestfair.org/grapestomp) Oct. 4-5 in Santa Rosa, Calif. You can even come in costume: In a nod to the classic I Love Lucy conveyor-belt scene, “We see a lot of Lucys with their sidekick Ethels,” says winery director Christine Clair. “We love having the community here and having them feel a part of the winemaking process.”

Once you check in at the Carlton Inn Bed & Breakfast, you won’t have to drive again unless you want to: It’s within walking distance of more than a dozen tasting rooms and wineries as well as local shops and restaurants. ▶ thecarlton inn.com

At Subterra in Newberg, you can enjoy three-course dinners — as well as the restaurant’s scratch-made breads and signature desserts — in wine cellar ambiance. ▶ subterra restaurant.com

Volcano Winery VOLCANO WINERY

HAWAII Want to enjoy the magic of harvest in support of a great cause? Each year, the Big Island’s Volcano Winery (volcanowinery. com) holds a harvest festival where proceeds benefit the nearby Volcano School of Arts & Sciences. The event, scheduled for Sept. 8, includes food samples from local vendors, wine tastings, live music and prize raffles. While there, be sure to sample the winery’s signature wines — like Hawaiian Guava-Grape, Infusion and Symphony Mele — created by blending traditional wine grapes with local ingredients like guava fruit, tea and lychee.

+ At Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant in Volcano Village, cozy, rustic rooms — the property was built as a YMCA camp in 1938 — are surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The on-site restaurant is a visitor favorite known for serving locally inspired foods at breakfast, lunch and dinner. ▶ highwaywest vacations.com/ properties/ kilauea-lodge

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CALIFORNIA

Round Pond Estate

Together, Northern California’s Napa and Sonoma counties are home to approximately 900 wineries, most of which continue to offer their regular daily tours and tastings throughout grape collection season. Want a more immersive experience? In Healdsburg, Alexander Valley Vineyards (avv wine.com) will host its annual harvest party on Sept. 14, complete with continental breakfast, Calistoga Motor grape picking and Lodge and Spa stomping, a bocce ball offers high-end tournament, bingo, tours amenities — like of the grounds and live a spa and walk-in music and dancing. rainfall showers On Sept. 20, take part — but also a bit in one of the country’s of whimsy: The largest grape stomp rooms boast bold, competitions in Calistoga vintage-inspired with a Tuscan-style fabrics and access castle as your backdrop. to board games, Last year, more than 160 hula hoops and participants descended jump ropes. upon Castello di Amorosa (castellodiamorosa. ▶ calistogamotor lodgeandspa.com com) winery and rolled up their pants to give crushing a try. After the stomp, enjoy a rustic dinner buffet, Rutherford Grill harvest and winemaking offers classic demonstrations and live American fare — music on the crush pad. from burgers and Visiting the region a barbecue to hearty bit later in the season? salads — paired Consider taking part with the best wines in the Day in the Life of the region. event Oct. 5. at Round ▶ rutherfordgrill. Pond Estate (roundpond. com com) in Rutherford. Find out what it’s like to be a winemaker. Get a hands-on tutorial in production — including tours of the vineyard, crush pad and tank room — followed by an artisanal lunch presented by estate chef Jamie Prouten in the winery’s garden. “You’re actually going out in the vineyards and sorting grapes,” says Round Pond’s special events manager Jenn Cornell. “It’s a very exclusive experience.”

ROUND POND ESTATE

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Grand Golf Getaways The swing’s not the only thing at these destinations By Brian Barth eter Flanigan, a Hollywood lawyer, loves to travel — mainly from one golf course to another. Having played several hundred courses in nearly all 50 states, he would admit that his passion for golf travel borders on the obsessive. Golf resorts are the ultimate “twofer,” says Flanigan. “You play great courses and get to experience different parts of the world — the food, the culture, the scenery — that you might otherwise never have a reason to visit.” His travels recently took him to Bandon Dunes on the remote and rugged Oregon coast, a destination consistently ranked as one of the top golf resorts in the country by outlets like Golf Digest. “The architecture of the courses, the spectacular ocean cliff views, everything about the restaurants and lodging catered to the players — it’s a playground for golfers.” You can read all about it on Flanigan’s golf travel blog re-gripped.com, where he geeks out as much about course design as he does the beer, poolside patios and shampoo found at the resorts he visits. Soren Jacobsen shares a similar mania on fairwaysandfreeways.com. In celebration of his 50th birthday, in 2017 Jacobsen and his wife Melanie played 50 rounds of golf in 50 states in 50 days. Jacobsen is a fount of tips and insights. Chief among them: Do your research before dragging your family to a resort, as some are “golf-buddy” destinations with limited appeal to nongolfers. Also, golf resorts tend to be expensive: “For the budget-conscious golfer, which is me more often than not, it’s wise to check if the course requires caddies, as that can boost the cost significantly,” he says. “If the course does have a caddie requirement, check if they have a ‘youth on course’ program, which engages local teens with the game and provides a more affordable caddie option.” If you’re looking to link your passions for golf and travel, here are seven spectacular West Coast options to consider:

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Princeville Resort Kauai ROB PERRY PHOTOGRAPHY


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The Lodge at Torrey Pines

THE LODGE AT TORREY PINES; GETTY IMAGES

BARBARA KRAFT; GETTY IMAGES

La Quinta Resort & Club La Quinta, Calif. Situated between the Salton Sea and the winter golf paradise of Palm Springs, La Quinta boasts five world-class courses, including the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course, three clubhouses and infinite blue-sky views of the surrounding San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains. Looking to improve your game? Register for the on-site PGA West Golf Academy for pro lessons. Afterward, relax in one of La Quinta’s swimming pools — there are 41 in total, including the five attached to private suites and a 21-and-up pool with a built-in cocktail lounge. ▶ laquintaresort.com

PATRICK KOENIG PHOTOGRAPHY; GETTY IMAGES

Princeville Resort Kauai Princeville, Hawaii A perennial high-ranker in Golf Digest’s list of best courses, Princeville Makai Golf Club is also found on National Geographic Traveler’s Top 5 Most Scenic Golf Course Setting list. With ocean cliffs on one side and lush tropical mountains on the other, the scenery is tough to beat. And there’s the added cachet of playing on celebrity golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s first solo design. There’s also a world of adventure for the nongolfers in the family — including zip lining, kayaking, horeseback riding and hiking to an 80-foot waterfall — at the nearby 2,500-acre Princeville Ranch. ▶ makaigolf.com; princevilleresorthawaii.com

La Jolla, Calif. It’s rare that municipal golf courses receive world-class accolades, but Torrey Pines, owned by the City of San Diego, is home to the PGA’s annual Farmers Insurance Open and will host the U.S. Open Championship in 2021. One benefit of staying at the adjacent five-star lodge is that you’re eligible for priority tee times, which otherwise must be booked far in advance. Other perks abound: stunning views of the Pacific, a full-service spa, oversized bathtubs and private patios with fireplaces in select suites. These features, plus an exceptional concierge (complimentary car service to destinations within 5 miles of the resort is included), are key reasons the lodge has been named to Condé Nast Traveler’s Best Of lists annually for more than a decade. ▶ lodgetorreypines.com/golf

FOUR SEASONS RESORT MAUI; GETTY IMAGES

Four Seasons Resort Maui Wailea, Hawaii Maui’s Wailea Golf Club, while not located on the same property as the Four Seasons, is just a stone’s throw down the road, and the resort concierge is happy to ring up a house car to take guests there. Wailea Gold, one of three courses at the club, is known as a “thinking player’s course” for the way the design forces golfers to strategize and has been hailed as one of the best on the islands. The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is known for sparkling luxury at every turn and, for the nongolfers in the family, a variety of adventure experiences that include helicopter rides into Maui’s dormant volcano and whale-watching excursions. ▶ waileagolf.com; fourseasons.com/maui


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BANDON DUNES GOLF RESORT; GETTY IMAGES

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort Bandon, Ore. Bandon enjoys near-mythical allure among serious golfers. Set atop the cliffs in a remote region of the Oregon coast, the original Bandon Dunes course was designed by Scottish architect David McLay Kidd. Then in his 20s, he sought to re-create a bit of the golf heritage of his homeland, where the game was traditionally played in semi-wild seaside settings amid swards of coastal grasses and rolling dunes. Three full-length courses and several shorter ones have since been added to the site, along with immaculately designed accommodations and a homey Scottish pub. ▶ bandondunesgolf.com

SUNCADIA RESORT; GETTY IMAGES

Suncadia Resort Cle Elum, Wash. Located on the sunny eastern slopes of the Cascade range, this relatively young resort has garnered rave reviews. The Rope Rider Golf Course, the second of its three courses, was named Best New Course of the Year in 2011 by Golf magazine. Designers who have contributed their artistry to the grounds include the Arnold Palmer Design Company and celebrity golf architect Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Designs. The resort is located in the middle of an outdoorsmans’ paradise, so if you get golfed out, there are numerous other entertainment options, including a winery, dairy farm and fishing in the Yakima River. In the off-season, the area offers cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, and snowshoe and brew tours. ▶ destinationhotels.com/suncadia-resort

The Inn at Spanish Bay Pebble Beach, Calif. Pebble Beach is a mecca of West Coast golf: Five of Golf Digest’s top 10 California courses — Cypress Point Club, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore and Dunes courses — are located in this upscale community perched on a rocky Monterey Bay headland. The area’s namesake course, Pebble Beach Golf Links, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is widely considered the best public golf course in America. And the attached Pebble Beach Resorts development is deemed one of the best golf resorts in California. Three properties comprise the resort development, of which The Inn at Spanish Bay is the largest and most affordable (though rooms still go for around $1,000 per night). Be sure to take a leisurely drive or bike ride along Pebble Beach’s iconic 17-Mile Drive, one of the most scenic stretches of asphalt in the world. ▶ pebblebeach.com

PEBBLE BEACH COMPANY; GETTY IMAGES


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THE REGION 30

ALASKA

Heli-biking may be the outdoor adventure you’ve been seeking.

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HAWAII

Tips to help you shoot underwater photos like a pro.

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CALIFORNIA

Drive fast, play hard, explore and then unwind with wine.

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OREGON

Work up an appetite on food and beer walking tours of Portland.

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WASHINGTON

Seattle’s parks let you embrace the great outdoors right in the city.

48 Surf City, here we come! Huntington Beach, Calif.

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ALASKA | ADVENTURE

Fly Up, Ride Down Looking for a new outdoor experience? Give heli-biking a try. By Sarah Sekula

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S THE HELICOPTER TOUCHES down, Joe and

Francy Royer are downright giddy. They’d spotted moose on the scenic flight from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, a luxury retreat 60 miles west of Anchorage that will serve as their home base for an adventurous five-day vacation. But here’s what’s truly thrilling: They are about to go where no other mountain

bikers have gone before. Their excursion is known as helibiking. A fancy chopper with bike racks attached swoops across wide-open spaces and drops them, the bikes and a guide on the flank of Mount Susitna at about 3,500 feet. Their guide removes several fat-tire bikes from the chopper’s racks, and the group pedals off. The scenery is absolutely stunning. They are headed toward an 11,000-foot volcano, and the impressive Tordrillo Mountains rise in the distance. There’s

open alpine tundra as far as the eye can see, wildflowers and, of course, glaciers galore. It’s no wonder the Royers consider this the trip of a lifetime. It is drop-dead gorgeous. “The vistas actually make it hard to concentrate on the riding,” says Mike Overcast, their guide and part-owner of Tordrillo Mountain Lodge (tordrillomountainlodge.com). “Alpine terrain in Alaska is very unique no matter the CONTI NUED

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ALASKA | ADVENTURE season — green in the summer and red in the fall.”

ENDLESS WILDERNESS Heli-biking, which is popular in places like British Columbia and New Zealand, is still catching on in the U.S. In the summer of 2017, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge became the first U.S. outfitter to offer the unusual excursions. “There just aren’t that many places to participate, which makes the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge experience even more attractive,” Joe Royer says. Royer knows a little something about adventure activities: He’s the longtime owner-operator of Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing in Lamoille, Nev. Pro mountain biker Eric Porter believes the activity has great potential. “The big holdup has been bike racks for the helicopters, which they have finally figured out,” he says. “Now they can get six riders and their bikes on the same” helicopter, whereas before operators had to drop off the bikes and then return with the riders. Instead of having to bike your way up a mountain for hours just to go down it, the helicopter gets you there in a few minutes. Plus, there are no crowds, and you can take multiple runs on a big mountain. The Royers’ group explored miles of brushless terrain that has never been biked before, pedaling down smooth sections of firm tundra and alpine heather. It’s an area reachable only by helicopter, so it’s even more special. “We are unrestricted,” says Overcast. “We ride bikes wherever we want. If it looks like the terrain is smooth enough, we drop in to give it a try.”

Taking off from the lodge TORDRILLO MOUNTAIN LODGE

NOT JUST FOR THE PROS It may sound like a daring excursion, but it doesn’t have to be. Tordrillo Mountain Lodge guides can take anyone who can ride a bike on a customized heli-biking adventure. Another bonus: You never encounter other bikers or have to load and unload bikes from chairlifts. Adventurous souls can be dropped at 11,000 feet for a full day packed with thrilling routes. Or, keep it tamer and bike a few hours on friendlier pathways. And because Tordrillo Mountain Lodge has access to 2,800 square miles of potential biking space, there is a nearly limitless number of opportunities. For the Royers, the experience was terrific. “The vistas were off the scale,” Joe Royer says. “Like Nevada, the terrain was unimproved, which made the effort even better.”

Ready to blaze a new trail TORDRILLO MOUNTAIN LODGE


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION HAWAII | ADVENTURE

Shoot for the (Sea) Stars Capture amazing underwater images with advice from a pro

By Sarah Sekula

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N ANY GIVEN DAY

it’s not uncommon to find Jenny Sathngam bobbing around in the blue-green waters off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. As a Honolulu-based underwater photographer, her assignments have included cover shots for Southwest Airline’s in-flight magazine, campaigns for major brands like YETI and working with tourism companies to capture the beauty of the ocean. Likewise, she gets to experience

a side of Hawaii that few encounter. Take bait balls and giant schools of fish, for example. “Those are probably the most amazing things I’ve ever seen,” she says. “I love the way they move and change shape.” Sathngam recalls sitting on the ocean floor about 30 feet below a giant column of schooling fish. “They didn’t swim away from me ... just circled me for as long as I could hold my breath, treating me like I was just another ocean creature,” she says. “It was hypnotizing.” Sathngam shares some tips for getting epic subaquatic images:

GRACE WOLFF


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HAWAII | ADVENTURE

Sunken buoy JENNY SATHNGAM

“My favorite is my little Nikonos V film camera. ... When I am diving with my Nikonos, I feel like an old-school underwater explorer.” — JENNY SATHNGAM, photographer

JENNY SATHNGAM

Spinner dolphins JENNY SATHNGAM

WHAT GEAR CAN PROVIDE SATISFACTORY IMAGES WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK? “I don’t think you can beat the functionality and price point of a GoPro Hero7. They have the built-in wide-angle lens (necessary for underwater photos because water magnifies) and can actually go much deeper than most entry-level DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) housings can go. Plus, you can send the photos straight to your phone and edit them on the spot. “If you are going to shoot in the surf or want to create those under/over photos, you can get a dome attachment for the GoPro. Or, if you want to dive deeper and capture all the colors of the reef fish, you can use an LED lighting attachment. I prefer to shoot with ambient light, but that means most of the colors in my photos are blue, unless I’m right by the surface. “While I love my underwater housing for my DSLR, it is big and bulky. When I have that with me, I am in work mode. My favorite is my little Nikonos V film camera, a modification of Jacques Cousteau’s famous Calypso underwater camera. When I am diving with my Nikonos, I feel like an old-school underwater explorer.” WHAT ARE YOUR TYPICAL CAMERA SETTINGS? “I keep a small to medium aperture (to keep more of the frame in focus) and use a higher ISO (for faster shutter speed) if I need to. Probably one of the bigger secrets of the pros: Sometimes, even with the fancy housings, we just shoot on auto. Especially in waves or rough

water, the bulk of your attention needs to be on getting in the right spot, staying out of danger and getting your subject in focus. Shooting manual in those situations would only make things more complicated. When you are starting out, try shooting (on) auto until you get the hang of it.”

BEST TIME OF DAY TO SHOOT? “The middle of the day will provide those beautiful light rays and beams.” FAVORITE SPOTS ON OAHU? “Oahu is lucky to have many great places to snorkel and dive that are accessible from shore. Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life conservation area, and the coral attracts plenty of creatures. At Electric Beach, sometimes you can see dolphins in the morning, and Shark’s Cove is amazing in the summertime.” BEST ADVICE FOR NEWBIES? “There are not many things you can control once you are in the water. Keep your expectations in check, and don’t be afraid to shoot a lot when you are first learning. If you don’t live by the ocean, practice in a pool for your big trip so you aren’t distracted with your new gear in the water. Even in the clearest water, underwater images usually need a little work afterwards. I use Photoshop Express and Lightroom CC for Mobile; both are a lot more simple than their desktop software counterparts. Dehaze is very helpful with underwater images, and if it’s an especially bright day you can bring the highlights down. Don’t overdo it on the edit, though, to keep things looking natural.”


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

CALIFORNIA | LIFESTYLE

Life in the Fast Lane

Learn how the other half drives with these luxury-car experiences By Matt Alderton

C

ALIFORNIA AND CARS NATURALLY

go together, but driving in the Golden State is a head with two faces. You can see the first on any given day in Los Angeles, where the average resident spends 128 hours in traffic every year. An exasperated grimace, it snarls like the motorists on the 405 Freeway, who spend rush hour crossing town like snails through a garden. If one face is enraged, the other is elated. An

uncontrollable grin, it emerges while driving a sports car through the Hollywood Hills, a convertible down the Pacific Coast Highway or a classic car down Beverly Drive. Or better yet, while burning rubber at the BMW Performance Center West in Thermal, Calif., 30 miles south of Palm Springs. I experienced the latter on a sizzling Thursday in July. Although the temperature outside was a skin-searing 115 degrees, the air conditioning was utterly arctic inside my BMW M3 Competition — one of four BMWs I sampled during my

two-hour visit. Still, I sweated through my shirt. Blame it on the G-force, which at speeds of up to 120 mph agitated the adrenaline in my body like a cocktail in a shaker. Under its hood, the car’s engine was wrestling the laws of physics. Under my own hood, however, the only thought my brain could muster was, “This is crazy fun.” That’s what the luckiest drivers experience every time they get behind the wheel of their high-performance luxury vehicle: fun. If your commute typically elicits any other ‘f’ word, it might be time to learn how the other half drives.

BMW PERFORMANCE CENTER WEST


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CALIFORNIA | LIFESTYLE

PORSCHE EXPERIENCE CENTER LOS ANGELES

Simulator lab

911 on hydraulic kickplate

Carson Driving a Porsche is a quintessential bucket list item for many car enthusiasts. You can cross it off yours at the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles, where showcasing the Porsche ethos while molding safer drivers is the goal. Opened in 2016, the 60,000-square-foot facility features a rotating race car exhibit, a fine-dining restaurant serving Porsche-inspired cuisine, a simulator lab where visitors can experience world-famous racetracks from behind the wheel of a virtual Porsche, and a 4.1-mile driver development track where visitors can learn new skills while putting late-model Porsches through their paces. The driver development track features eight training modules, including two handling circuits, an ice hill, an off-road course, a dynamics pad for agility training, an acceleration straight for full-throttle driving, a low-friction handling circuit, a low-friction circle and a hydraulic kick-plate for skidding and spinning. During personalized 90-minute experiences with a professional instructor ($350 to $995), visitors can choose any Porsche and any combination of modules. The Porsche Experience Center “is like an adult theme park except there are no long lines, and the food is exceptional,” says center manager Jennifer Malacarne. ▶ porschedriving.com/los-angeles

Restaurant 917

PORSCHE EXPERIENCE CENTER (3); GINA TOOLE SAUNDERS (2)


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CALIFORNIA | LIFESTYLE

LAND ROVER EXPERIENCE DRIVING CENTER Carmel-by-the-Sea

M Track Drive

BMW PERFORMANCE CENTER WEST Thermal For more than 40 years, BMW’s motto has been “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” The BMW Performance Center West was designed to show consumers why. Opened in 2015, it now occupies 32 acres of The Thermal Club, a private motorsports country club. Its members generously share with BMW three professionally designed racetracks. There’s also a dedicated BMW track; a polished wet skid pad; an 8,500-square-foot building with classrooms and a café; and a fleet of 100 BMWs and 20 MINIs. Visitors can enroll in a one- or two-day car control school ($849 to $1,699) or purchase a two-hour Performance Drive experience ($299). The former are all about the drivers, who receive instruction in areas like vehicle handling and accident avoidance. The latter, on the other hand, are all about the vehicles, which strut like models on a runway as they show off their superior engines. During the two-hour BMW Performance Center Drive, visitors choose from a menu of high-speed programs. They can zip around a handling course in four different BMW models or enter a timed autocross, where they compete to get the fastest lap. There’s also the one-hour M Track Drive ($299), which includes six circuits around one of the Thermal Club’s professional tracks. Each program ends with a “hot lap,” during which visitors sit in the passenger seat as a professional driver races around the track at top speeds. “This is about as much fun as you can have in a car,” says operations manager Stephen Saward. “BMWs can perform all day long with a high degree of performance, safety and responsiveness. You can’t necessarily capture that on a test drive at a dealership.” ▶ bmwperformancecenter.com

BMW PERFORMANCE CENTER WEST

If brands were people, Land Rover would be a brawny outdoorsman with impeccable style — at once rugged and refined. At the Land Rover Experience Driving Center at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, visitors sample both power and panache during off-road driving lessons and adventures. The first Land Rovers “weren’t really about luxury and comfort,” says instruction manager Justin Demayo. “They were used heavily on farms and … off-road for hunting and fishing. They became luxury vehicles over time, but they have not strayed away from their heritage.” Land Rover proves it every day to center visitors, who can book onehour, two-hour, half-day or full-day experiences ($275 to $1,200) in any current model, as well as half- or full-day “Heritage” experiences ($1,200 to $1,500) in a 1997 Defender 90. Whatever the program, expect equal parts education and adventure as your instructor guides you over wooded off-road trails packed with steep inclines and descents, hairpin turns, rocks, logs, water crossings and mud — obstacles that begin to look like opportunities from behind the wheel of a Land Rover. ▶ experience.landroverusa.com/california

LINCOLN EXPERIENCE CENTER Newport Beach Luxury driving isn’t all — or even mostly — about horsepower. It’s about creature comfort and exceptional service. That’s what Lincoln showcases at its Lincoln Experience Center on Newport Beach’s Fashion Island. The facility features a lounge, a café, a “Story Wall” that teaches about the brand, an interactive studio where visitors can design their own vehicle and a listening room where audiophiles can experience the Revel audio systems that make Lincoln vehicles sound as good as they drive. The center also offers complimentary 30-minute test drives in the latest Lincoln vehicles. For out-of-towners, this provides an ideal way to experience not only Lincoln, but also Southern California, as test drives can take visitors on the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, through Newport Beach and up scenic Newport Coast Drive. “We seek to bring local California experiences to life,” says Lincoln Client Experience Manager Becca Anderson. “There’s so much more to our brand than our vehicles. We also want people to experience our effortless service and hospitality.” ▶ lincolnexperiencecenter.com

LAND ROVER EXPERIENCE DRIVING CENTER; LINCOLN EXPERIENCE CENTER


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

CALIFORNIA | THEME PARKS

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run DISNEY PARKS

The Force is Strong An immersive experience awaits visitors to Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

By Scott Craven

W

ITH JUST A FEW steps through an arch, Disneyland visitors are transported to a galaxy that was, until now, impossibly far away. On more than 14 acres that are larger than life, a distant world unfolds with each ship, droid and blaster mark. The dreams of most Star Wars fans are largely fulfilled at Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a design-driven land of awe and wonder.

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CALIFORNIA | THEME PARKS

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is completely set apart from the rest of the park.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO ▶ Disney FASTPASS

and MaxPass services are not available for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. ▶ The area is open

only during normal park operating hours — no Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour. ▶ The initial 4-hour

visitor time limit has been lifted. ▶ The second

featured ride, Rise of the Resistance, is scheduled to open Jan. 17, 2020.

ROBERT HANISHIRO/USA TODAY

The setting is the Black Spire Outpost appear. You can find Savi’s Workshop on the remote planet Batuu. This is a one of two ways. The preferred method beat-up, lived-in world, with every nick, (by Imagineers, anyway) is via the Play dent and bruise carefully applied to look Disney Parks app, which transforms your absolutely right. Every phone into a data pad sight and sound, from upon entry into Galaxy’s a Resistance camp that Edge. Or simply join the The interactive looks hastily put together end of the line that’s nature of Star to the rogues and scounlikely to form each day drels roaming the nearby outside the workshop, Wars: Galaxy’s village, is there to let you where guests can build live Star Wars, if only for a light sabers. You’ll need Edge allows few hours. more than the Force to guests to volThe camp provides complete the transaction; the first otherworldly the experience costs unteer for tasks Instagram opportunities $199.99 per person. because you are, after Farther along a series or missions. all, tourists. The X- and of tracks cast using the A-wing fighters are parked treads of R2-D2 is Droid off to the side, apparently fresh from Depot, where you can build your own battle, and look as if their engines could droid ($99.99) or pluck one off the shelf. spool up at a moment’s notice. What you don’t see — anything As you progress, businesses begin to beyond Batuu’s mythical border — is

integral to the experience. Just as Walt Disney sealed off his park with a berm, Imagineers have erected the Black Spire Outpost to block visual contact with the outside world. All employees, from merchants to maintenance workers, are dressed in galaxy-far-away garb. And don’t call them cast members: They’re residents who were encouraged to design their own backstories. Even their nametags are written in Aurebesh, the language of the realm. That same philosophy dictates character encounters. You may well see Chewbacca, but he’ll be recruiting volunteers rather than motioning the next person in line to join him for a photo. The interactive nature of Galaxy’s Edge allows guests to wade in as deep as they’d like, from remaining anonymous to taking on tasks or missions. The focal point of Galaxy’s Edge is the Millennium Falcon. Riders of Millennium

Falcon: Smugglers Run, currently the land’s only functioning attraction, are tasked with piloting, protecting and repairing the ship. The opening of the other featured ride, Rise of the Resistance, has been delayed until Jan. 17. Not far from the Millennium Falcon sits a life-size TIE Echelon fighter that marks the presence of the First Resistance, its storm troopers looking to weed out rebels as they patrol. While on opposite sides of the controlof-the-galaxy spectrum, the Resistance and First Order do share one commonality — an urge to get their branded clothing and accessories into the hands of visitors. Because when it comes down to it, this is still Disney. Bring your sense of awe and wonder. Just make sure to pack a credit card, as well. Scott Craven writes for the Arizona Republic.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

CALIFORNIA | THEME PARKS

COMMON THEME: AWESOMENESS New, updated attractions at other California parks

SIX FLAGS DISCOVERY KINGDOM

BATMAN: THE RIDE Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo The ride is billed as a 4D free-fly coaster that thrusts you into a high-speed Gotham City adventure. Riders experience a sensory overload as they flip at least six times along a weightless, tumbling journey with unexpected drops and vertical free-falls.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD

MIKE AGUILERA/SEAWORLD SAN DIEGO

TIDAL TWISTER SeaWorld San Diego On this horizontal, dueling coaster — billed as the first of its kind in the world — riders twist and bank as if they are riding the tide along a tight, figure-8 track that includes dynamic zero-gravity rolls at the center section. Two trains load at opposite ends of the ride and cross in the center, with guests facing both forward and backward.

JURASSIC WORLD — THE RIDE Universal Studios Hollywood If you rode the previous version of the dinosaur attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, you may wonder if the updated and renovated iteration is any different. You bet Jurassic it is. The entry is where you’ll find the clearest distinction between the versions. While the classic gate-opening scene was dramatic, the realistic video effects, and how actual water sloshes from a fake aquarium, is impressive. The new and updated dinosaurs are another feature of World that crushes predecessor Jurassic Park: The Ride. While retaining several elements of the original, Jurassic World — The Ride is a necessary update with some clever effects. It demands to be ridden more than once, especially with the aquarium scene and the big dinosaur finale in the dark. — Scott Craven


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

CALIFORNIA | SACRAMENTO

Capital Comeback After revitalization, Sacramento emerges as a go-to destination By Sam Boykin

I

Golden 1 Center in Downtown Commons SACRAMENTO KINGS

T WASN’T THAT LONG ago that

Sacramento’s future looked bleak. The city’s downtown was blighted with empty and run-down retail centers and office buildings, and the owner of the Sacramento Kings was threatening to move the NBA team to another city. But Vivek Ranadivé, a tech entrepreneur, put together a new ownership group and purchased the Kings in 2013, enabling the team to stay in its hometown. Moreover, Ranadivé developed a new downtown arena, the Golden 1 Center, which opened in September 2016. Since then, “(The city Sacramento has undergone is) laid out a dramatic transformation, very well. with a thriving I just love new entertainment and the feel and cultural center, character a burgeoning art and culinary of the scene, and a reinvestment downtown in its charming area.” historical corridor. — KIMBERLY “Sacramento GARZA, has really owner, Atlas Lab Inc. evolved into an innovative and special city, and I’m so glad I’ve been here to see it,” says Lyndsay Burch, the artistic producer at B Street Theatre, which produces a variety of contemporary plays and musicals. She lives in the vibrant midtown area, surrounded by bars, restaurants, art galleries and music venues. “I love the growth that’s happening here in the arts and cultural community,” says Burch. That includes Wide Open Walls, a mural festival that transforms Sacramento’s downtown and midtown neighborhoods into open-air galleries. More established cultural attractions include the renowned Crocker Art Museum, which has an esteemed collec-


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CALIFORNIA | SACRAMENTO

Crocker Art Museum

Kimpton Sawyer Hotel

Revival

Downtown Commons Plaza

California State Railroad Museum

Echo & Rig

KIMPTON SAWYER HOTEL; BRYAN SUHR/CROCKER ART MUSEUM; ECHO & RIG; KELLY B. HUSTON/CALIFORNIA STATE RAILROAD MUSEUM; DOWNTOWN COMMONS PLAZA; REVIVAL

tion of California art, European master drawings and international ceramics. For live music, Burch frequents Torch Club, a gritty venue founded in 1934 that hosts local and national blues acts. Kimberly Garza grew up in Sacramento, but left to attend college and pursue a career on the East Coast. After spending one-too-many cold winters in Boston, she returned to Sacramento, where she now owns and operates Atlas Lab Inc., an urban design studio. Garza lives just south of downtown, and one of her favorite activities is walking the city streets. “The city is very walkable. We’re on a grid; we have big sidewalks; our blocks are really short,

and the streets are lined with trees,” she says. “From an urban design standpoint, it’s laid out very well. I just love the feel and character of the downtown area.” Burch often takes visiting friends or family to Old Sacramento, the city’s historic district. This popular destination is a 3-mile stretch along the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, with cobblestone streets and more than 50 stores, boutiques, restaurants and gift shops. Highlights in Old Sac include the restored railroad cars and locomotives at the California State Railroad Museum and the Delta King Hotel, a five-story, 285-foot riverboat reinvented as a charming hotel with two

restaurants. Visitors to Old Sac can sometimes feel lost among the gift and novelty shops. For a more authentic, behind-the-scenes experience, embark on an adventure with Sacramento History Museum’s Underground Tour, which winds beneath several blocks of Old Sacramento where engineers had to raise a 2.5-mile stretch of buildings after the floods in the 1800s. Golden 1 Center remains one of downtown’s biggest attractions. In addition to NBA games, the venue hosts a variety of events and top musical acts. The arena is part of the expansive Downtown Commons development and sits about 50 yards from the Kimpton

Sawyer Hotel. The luxury hotel boasts Echo & Rig, an upscale steakhouse, as well as a rooftop bar and pool. It is connected to Punch Bowl Social, a popular “adult playground” with bowling, video games, multiple bars and a top-notch restaurant. Want to venture out from downtown? One popular activity is biking along the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. This scenic 32-mile trail system runs from Discovery Park to Folsom Lake. Among the trail’s top destinations is the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, home to millions of chinook salmon and rainbow trout before they are released into the American River.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

CALIFORNIA | HUNTINGTON BEACH

Huntington Beach Pier

Hang Ten! Celebrate rad surfing culture at Huntington Beach By Erin Gifford

S

URFING HAS LONG BEEN a

favorite pastime in Huntington Beach, Calif. With an average of 281 glorious days of sunshine each year, as well as breaking waves that can accommodate surfers of all levels and abilities, it’s no surprise that this beach town earned the nickname “Surf City, USA.” “Huntington Beach is a community that celebrates the history, culture and lifestyle of surfing. It’s a way of life, our DNA and our passion,” says Jennifer Tong, director of public relations and

communications at Visit Huntington Beach. In 2020, surfing will debut as a medalearning sport at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “Seeing surfing evolve over the years — now as the official sport of California and its inclusion in the Olympics — is a milestone for the sport,” adds Tong. “It’s an opportunity for global viewers to connect with the sport and understand why we find it so special.” Start your visit to Surf City with a walk along Huntington Beach pier, one of the longest on the West Coast at 1,850 feet. CONTI NUED

VISIT HUNTINGTON BEACH; GETTY IMAGES


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CALIFORNIA | HUNTINGTON BEACH

IF YOU GO Book an oceanfront room in the Twin Dolphin Tower at the Waterfront Beach Resort. Laze by a heated pool with two waterslides, then, when the sun goes down, settle in for a cozy beach bonfire. ▶ waterfrontresort.com Take a private or semiprivate surf lesson through the Clint Carroll Surf School. On land, instructors teach you how to paddle out and stand up on a surfboard before letting you give it a go in the ocean. ▶ facebook.com/ClintCarrollSurf

VISIT HUNTINGTON BEACH

“Huntington Beach is a community that celebrates the history, culture and lifestyle of surfing. It’s a way of life, our DNA and our passion.” — Jennifer Tong, director of public relations and communications at Visit Huntington Beach

Here, people-watching is king. Just 30 feet below, you’ll see dozens of surfers straddling their boards, scrutinizing the swells and waiting for the perfect wave to ride back in to shore. A few blocks from the pier, stroll the Surfing Walk of Fame (surfingwalkoffame.com). Granite plaques in the sidewalk pay tribute to

notables and legends such as surf champion Mick Fanning and Quiksilver co-founder Bob McKnight for their contributions to surf culture. Inductees are added each August. Just around the corner, the International Surfing Museum (surfingmuseum.org) welcomes visitors with displays of famous surfboards and newspaper articles extolling surf legends. Before you step inside, snap an Instagram-worthy photo of the world’s largest surfboard — a 42-foot behemoth that rests on an exterior wall of the museum. Inside, a short film documents how the surfboard was made, as well as the seaside city’s quest to earn world record status for the “most people riding a surfboard at once.” They did it in 2015 with 66 people between the ages of 15 and 79. Huntington Beach attracts more than 50 surf competitions each year, including the annual U.S. Open of Surfing, the world’s largest surfing event. Last year, the electrifying spectacle drew more than 500,000 people.

It’s free to drop a line from Huntington Beach pier — no fishing license required. Rent poles at Let’s Go Fishing, a bait and tackle shop on the pier. Go early in the morning or closer to dusk when the fish are more likely to bite. ▶ facebook.com/letsgofishing.surfcity Rent a cruiser from Wheel Fun Rentals to bike along the paved 10-mile Huntington Beach bike trail. Watch the surfers ride the waves, then reward yourself with a post-ride soft-serve ice cream cone. ▶ wheelfunrentals.com

Run with the pups at Huntington Dog Beach. Just north of Huntington Beach Pier, this paw-some section of beach is free to the public and dogfriendly. Bring your canine or just enjoy watching the others splash and play. ▶ dogbeach.org

Surfing Walk of Fame ERIN GIFFORD

World’s largest surfboard VISIT HUNTINGTON BEACH

Grab a bite and do some shopping just south of the pier at Pacific City, a retail and restaurant complex boasting trendy eateries, like Burnt Crumbs, a gourmet, artisanal sandwich shop. Gear up at surf shops like Tommy Bahama and Molly Brown’s Swimwear. ▶ gopacificcity.com

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CALIFORNIA | CENTRAL COAST

Liftoffs & Libations Central Coast offers rocket launches and some of the state’s finest wineries

Feminist Party wine CASA DUMETZ WINES

By Amy Wu

Y

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California DOUGLAS STEWART

OU DON’T HAVE TO be a

space fanatic to appreciate viewing a live rocket launch — especially if it later involves wine. On California’s Central Coast, pairing the two is an unforgettable experience. Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 10 miles northwest of Lompoc, Calif., is one of two spaceports in the U.S. that conducts government and commercial rocket launches viewable by the public. But what elevates Vandenberg is its proximity to great wineries. With some careful planning — and a flexible attitude — you can bookend your day with both. Start by visiting spaceflightnow.com, which provides updated information on launch scheduling, delays and cancellations. Check often, as mission details and weather dictate launch times. My friend, a native Californian who spent a decade working in the aerospace industry, talked me into watching a rocket launch in May 2018. We planned to watch the InSight Mars lander launch aboard an Atlas V-401 rocket, heading on a six-month journey to research the Red Planet. Using the charming and historic Santa Maria Inn (santamariainn.com) in nearby Santa Maria as our base, we awoke at CONTI NUED


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BE YOUR OWN DARN TRAVEL GUIDE. Know how to make the most of your trip and be the best vacation-taker you can be! Plan the vacation that’s right for you.

Excite your travel bug. Download our free app.

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CALIFORNIA | CENTRAL COAST

The Bubble Shack THE BUBBLE SHACK

Casa Dumetz Wines

Sonja’s Suds CASA DUMETZ WINES

3 a.m. to heavy fog. Typically a hindrance for Vandenberg. to viewing launches, the fog wasn’t Other prime viewing spots include stopping us, and we headed out. Lompoc Airport, Allan Hancock ComWhile there’s no science to picking munity College and along West Ocean prime viewing spots, a few miles away Avenue. Even in the predawn hours, is ideal. For launches out of south you’ll find plenty of company — families Vandenberg, one of the best viewing with bleary-eyed children in pajamas, spots is along Santa college students wrapped Lucia Canyon Road. If you in fleece blankets and want to be farther out, space fanatics gripping With planning take Highway 246 about smartphones tuned to 5 miles west of Lompoc. live streaming feeds. and flexibility For launches out of north The countdown Vandenberg, take Highway started, and the distinct you can book1 a mile north of the main sound of a sizzle could end your day gate to Firefighter Road. be heard. While heavy Roughly a quarter-mile fog and early morning with a rocket up Firefighter is a large darkness masked the open area with fields and view of the launch, the launch and roadsides where you can sound — which lasted wine tastings. park and look down on the less than a minute — was launch complex. crisp and haunting until About 5 miles away from it steadily diminished the launch pad, we found a spot already into nothing. Launch goers remained well-occupied by fellow launch watchers. silently transfixed. Afterward, some of us The base has a public viewing area south nodded at each other, shaking our heads, of the main gate called the Hawk’s Nest mouthing “wow.” that’s typically open to the public for Later, refreshed from a post-launch daytime launches, according to 1st Lt. nap, we ventured out in the late-morning Amy Rasmussen, a public affairs officer sun to some of the area’s wineries. You

CASA DUMETZ WINES

can follow numerous established wine trails, including Santa Maria Valley and Foxen Canyon. “You can literally hit 10 wineries in a 15-mile drive — it’s a beautiful area,” says Ryan Swack, general manager for the Santa Maria Inn. We headed first to Casa Dumetz Wines (casadumetzwines.com), a small production winery in Los Alamos. Run by Sonja Magdevski, a highlight was the Feminist Party wine, a blend of grenache, syrah and Mourvèdre that Magdevski created to honor the “fabulous women” and “wonderful men” in her life. The Bubble Shack (bubbleshack.com), in the heart of bustling Los Olivos, was our next stop. In the tasting room, traditional reds and whites divert into bubbly blanc de blancs, brut rosé and blanc de noirs. We loved the Sibling Bubblery Sparkling Grenache. Our final stop was the charming Carhartt Vineyard (carharttvineyard.com), tucked away inside a tiny shed in Los Olivos’ downtown. This one stood out for being purposefully pint-sized — it’s known widely as the “World’s Smallest Tasting Room.” It’s always packed, but sampling the 20 different wines is worth the squeeze.

Santa Maria Inn PATRICK ANG PHOTOGRAPHY

Minuteman III SENIOR AIRMAN IAN DUDLEY


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OREGON | PORTLAND

Olympia Provisions is a regular stop on The Big Foody tours. TORSTEN KJELLSTRAND/TRAVELPORTLAND.COM

Pound the Pavement in Portland Walking tours offer refreshing takes on city’s food and beer scenes By Sam Boykin

S

TROLLING ALONG 3RD AVENUE in downtown

Portland, Alan Soles points out a particularly eclectic row of shops that includes the city’s oldest bookstore, a Korean grocer, a couple of strip clubs, a retailer that specializes in Western wear

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OREGON | PORTLAND and farmed. During the tour’s stop at and a tattoo and body-piercing salon Southpark, guests typically dine on aptly named Straight to the Point. smoked trout or scallops paired with “This is the kind of thing that helps a local beer. keep Portland weird,” says Soles, with “Coming to Portland can be a very the same impish enthusiasm he uses overwhelming experience,” Burnette to explain what makes a beer hoppy says. “We’ve become such a noted or how a beer’s bitterness ranks on city for dining and drinking that it’s the IBU scale. really hard to wade through all the Soles is a guide with BeerQuest options. We let you sample a variety Walking Tours (beerquestpdx.com), of restaurants, and that can help you one of many local organizations that set the tone for the rest of your trip.” help visitors explore Portland. If you prefer a more off-theKnown as one of the most walkable beaten-path experience, The Big cities in the country, Portland’s Foody (thebigfoody.com) provides a downtown is noted for its compact design and shorter behind-the-scenes look (200 feet) city blocks. at some of Portland’s The elm-lined streets iconic food and beverage “We don’t and sidewalks boast brands. The company’s really care a vibrant lineup of Portland Makers Tour retailers, restaurants, focuses on the Central how it’s bars, cultural venues Eastside Industrial served, as and gathering places. District. Located across Walking tours are the river from downtown, long as it’s a great way to get the this historic area was inside scoop on this once home to dozens good and dynamic city, as well of mills, factories and local.” as check out some of packing houses, many of the area’s top sites and which have been con— HEIDI BURNETTE, attractions. During a verted to food and drink Forktown Food Tours guided tour with Soles, manufacturing facilities. you can indulge in some “This is not an area of the city’s best beers — there are where people would typically come about 65 craft breweries in the city on their visit to Portland,” notes Laura limits — and learn about fascinating Morgan, who started The Big Foody in historical oddities, including the 2016. “But I love this part of the city. 5-foot-high water mark on a stone It’s such a great representation of building at 133 2nd Ave. commemohistoric Portland and where we come rating when the Willamette River from, as well as the future of the city flooded in 1894. and how we’re a destination that In addition to beer, Portland, the really focuses on craft and producing birthplace of culinary icon James high-quality food and drink.” Beard, is also known for its wonderful restaurants. Heidi Burnette knows all about this; she launched Forktown Food Tours (forktown.com) in 2010. Forktown’s two-and-a-half-hour tours are designed to showcase the scope of Portland’s restaurant scene. “We visit everything from finedining restaurants to food carts,” Burnette says. “We are a pretty democratic city when it comes to food. We don’t really care how it’s served, as long as it’s good and local.” Forktown tours typically make five stops, including at one of Burnette’s favorite restaurants, Southpark Seafood (southparkseafood.com), which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. Noted for its fresh, local offerings, the restaurant is part of the Farmers market Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, an organization that helps ensure seafood is sustainably harvested TRAVELPORTLAND.COM

Southpark Seafood FORKTOWN FOOD TOURS

BeerQuest Walking Tours stops at Old Town Brewing. OLD TOWN BREWING


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WASHINGTON | SEATTLE

Exploring Emerald City Embrace the great outdoors without leaving Seattle SEATTLE PARKS & RECREATION

By Corinne Whiting

S

MAGNUSON PARK EATTLE OFFERS COUNTLESS RICHES to its residents and visitors. Chief

among them: natural beauty that simply cannot be beat. Whether the skies are gray or blue (which they are more often than the rumors suggest) it’s imperative that you pencil in sufficient time to explore the great outdoors. Here’s where you should go, according to USA TODAY’s 10Best:

The second-largest park in Seattle, it includes pieces of the city’s military past (it’s situated on the former Sand Point Naval Air Station at Pontiac Bay, Lake Washington). Visitors can enjoy boating, walking, kite flying and swimming. The beach here includes a tiny pebble shoreline, the perfect gateway to refreshing waters that average 67 degrees during summer months. Grassy flats west of the beach provide perfect lounging territory, and guests can also find a children’s wading pool, picnic shelters and tables nearby.

SEATTLE PARKS & RECREATION

WOODLAND PARK

SEATTLE PARKS & RECREATION

DISCOVERY PARK Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Seattle’s largest park offers 2 miles of beach trails, 9 miles of winding footpaths and breathtaking views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. Ostensibly a bluff-top reserve, Discovery Park protects a remarkable urban wilderness and is a great place for naturewatching. The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, which features art and cultural exhibits, is also located at the park, as is a marine reserve. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the beach near the West Point Lighthouse; built in 1881, it is the oldest lighthouse in the area.

Located on approximately 90 acres, this multipurpose park and recreation space is just southwest of Green Lake and north of the Fremont district. Bisected by Aurora Avenue, the part to the west of Aurora is largely occupied by the Woodland Park Zoo, but it also has picnic space, a formal rose garden, open space and a play area for children. East of Aurora, you’ll find an ideal spot for picnicking, as well as grills, trails and an off-leash dog area.


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HIRAM M. CHITTENDEN LOCKS AND CARL S. ENGLISH JR. BOTANICAL GARDEN

SHANE WALLENDA/U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS SEATTLE DISTRICT

Built more than a century ago, these locks (known locally as Ballard Locks) offer a fascinating lesson in technology from days gone by. Observe ships and sailing vessels as they enter the locks and — following a series of mechanical adjustments — depart into either Puget Sound, Lake Union or Lake Washington at a completely different water level. A viewing area allows visitors to see salmon run from fresh to salt water in season (June through October and March through April). Also, be sure not to miss the 7-acre Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden, which hosts nearly 2,000 varieties of plant life.

SEATTLE PARKS & RECREATION

GREEN LAKE PARK This park attracts joggers, in-line skaters and sunbathers who exercise and bask along the greenbelt that circles Green Lake, the park’s picturesque centerpiece. The park also serves as a natural preserve for hundreds of species of trees and plants, as well as for numerous birds and waterfowl. Make sure to visit the Green Lake boating house, which offers rowing, canoeing, kayaking and sailing rentals.

SEATTLE PARKS & RECREATION

OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK Stroll the 9-acre grounds and admire the fascinating large-scale works on display. Extensive landscaping enhances the park’s beauty, and a walkway, extending from the beach to Belltown, provides views of Puget Sound and downtown landmarks. Among the pieces on view along the way are Eye Benches I, II, III by Louise Bourgeois, a series of functional carved-granite benches that take the form of giant eyeballs, and The Eagle, a 1971 work from famed sculptor Alexander Calder. Free public tours are offered; times and topics vary by season.

SEATTLE PARKS & RECREATION

GAS WORKS PARK On the north end of Lake Union, this 21-acre former gas plant was transformed in 1975 into a recreational complex. Activities in the park include kayaking, sailing, picnicking and bicycling. From atop the park’s 60-foot hill, visitors enjoy some of Seattle’s best views and can watch sea planes taking off and landing.


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ALASKA | KENAI PENINSULA

WILDLIFE WONDER Tern Lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula is just off the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Seward. In addition to dramatic views of the surrounding Chugach Mountains, you might see a variety of migratory birds, moose, sheep and spawning salmon in the late summer.

GETTY IMAGES


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Profile for STUDIO Gannett

GO ESCAPE CALIFORNIA/PACIFIC Winter 2019  

GO ESCAPE CALIFORNIA/PACIFIC Winter 2019