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California: 4 Ways to Celebrate the Land of Plenty

California

California: 4 Ways to Celebrate the Land of Plenty

By: Heather Lalley

Visit California/Max Whittaker
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    California

From food trucks, fine dining and farm tours, to wineries, breweries and distilleries, California offers a bounty of eclectic culinary experiences that are always in season

California’s culinary scene draws inspiration from the land, sea and sky. The state is truly the land of plenty– a combination of perfect growing conditions, innovative people and, of course, glorious and abundant sunshine.

Go Hands-on in the Central Valley

California’s lush Central Valley is a virtual supermarket – an 800-kilometer expanse where more than 400 different food crops flourish. Take home some edible souvenirs with a visit to one of the area’s many bustling farmers’ markets, like the popular Davis Farmers’ Market. You’ll be in good company if you pedal your bike here. Or, go even more hands-on and visit one of the Central Valley’s many you-pick farms to load up on the freshest berries, stone fruits, vegetables and more.  

Fresh, organic fruit and vegetables are plentiful at California’s many farmers’ markets.

Fresh, organic fruit and vegetables are plentiful at California’s many farmers’ markets.
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Max Whittaker
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Stellar Seafood – With a View

It’s hard to beat watching a stunning sunset off the 1300-kilometer California coast while enjoying the freshest catch of the day. In Oceanside, grab a seat on the rooftop patio of the Hello Betty Fish House for beachfront views and relaxed dishes like ceviche and fish tacos. In Santa Monica, head to Catch, located in the breathtaking Casa Del Mar hotel, to dine on oysters and grilled fish while gazing at the ocean from floor-to-ceiling windows. Or, settle in for some fine people-watching on San Francisco’s bustling Embarcadero Center. That’s where you’ll find Sally’s Seafood on the Water and The Fish Market.

Outdoor dining options in San Francisco, California come with great food and stellar views.

Outdoor dining options in San Francisco, California come with great food and stellar views.
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Take a Sip of Wine Country

California is one of the world’s biggest wine producers, and about 90 percent of all wine in the United States is made here. So, it’s the perfect place for experienced and novice drinkers to taste and learn about wine. Tour the winding Wine Road between Mendocino & Sonoma County, home to more than 150 wineries. Follow Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail, a rural, scenic route dotted with stellar wineries. Stroll through downtown Healdsburg to sample sips in dozens of tasting rooms. Visit Gold Country in the Sierra foothills, known for its old Zinfandel grapevines. Or, check out the Central Valley’s Madera Wine Trail, a less-traveled but up-and-coming area.

With a glass of wine in hand, enjoy a stroll around one of California's many scenic vineyards.

With a glass of wine in hand, enjoy a stroll around one of California's many scenic vineyards.
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Festivals Celebrating the Land of Plenty

California knows how to celebrate its abundance. Around the state, hundreds of food festivals are thrown each year, honoring everything from artichokes to zucchini. Rub elbows with top chefs at the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Hang out with locals at the Riverside County Fair & Date Festival. Sample more than 400 brews at the San Diego International Beer Festival. Grab a glass of award-winning wine and gaze skyward at the vibrant hot air balloons at the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival.

Sample every kind of beer at the San Diego International Beer Festival, from traditional styles to unique brews.

Sample every kind of beer at the San Diego International Beer Festival, from traditional styles to unique brews.
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Visit California/Max Whittaker

Getting There

Flying is easy in California, with international and domestic airports located statewide. International airports in Los Angeles (LAX) and San Diego (SAN) offer easy access to Southern California. Reach Central California via smaller airports in Fresno (FAT) and Santa Barbara (SBA). And major airports in San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC) and Oakland (OAK) will take to you into Northern California from many global destinations.