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10 Driveable Locations to Visit This Year, Part II

Don't let an unstable economy keep you at home this year. Instead, use it as an excuse to stay local and explore parts of your state you may have only ever seen on a map. Last week, we revealed five of our can't-miss spots for 2009. Read on for our remaining five picks of delectable escapes within driving distance.

5. The Shasta Region

New Year's Resolution: Get Your Belay On

Two very popular New Year's resolutions: get in shape and try something new.  Why not kill both those birds (and also impress a lot of people) with a visit to one of San Francisco's climbing gyms.  There's old-timer Mission Cliffs (2295 Harrison Street) and new-comer Planet Granite just off of Crissy Field (which boasts some seriously impressive views of the Bay).  Both gyms offer lessons,  routes for beginning and advanced climbers and extensive bouldering terrain for those who don't want to tie in (e.g.

10 Driveable Locations to Visit This Year, Part I

2008 was the year of the staycation, and 2009 doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon. This is excellent news for California residents who have everything one could want--sand and snow, mountains and deserts, plains and valleys--all within the state's confines, plus some stellar ongoing deals on local getaways. In this two-part list, we'll tempt you with 10 can't-miss spots to visit in the coming 12 months--make it your New Year's resolution to hit them all.

10. Mammoth Lakes

A Revamped Redding?

Let's be honest, Redding has not historically been the hippest of destinations.  But what was once written off as a rural wasteland has now evolved into a hopping little city that serves as a convenient jumpoff point for Mount Shasta escapades. Here are our recommendations for the next time you happen to be passing through.

5 Tips for Making Holiday Travel Less of a Nightmare

If you're not from California, chances are you're one of the projected 8.1 million travelers who will be heading home by plane this holiday season. Which means--sorry to break it to you--you'll likely be spending more time than necessary sitting in the airport or on the tarmac, dealing with weather delays, air traffic, mechanical issues or overbookings. But your experience doesn't have to be miserable. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your holiday travel a little less painful.

A Little Bit of History and R&R All Rolled Into One

You needn't pack your Outback and hightail it all the way to the farthest reaches of the Lost Coast for a refuge from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco living. In fact, as little as an hour's drive east will land you in the remote and rustic Lockeford, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place encapsulated by cherry tree orchards and wide expanses of nothingness. This classic Delta town has just one of everything--one bank, one market, one antique store and one perfectly charming inn. And the inn in itself--chock full of history and quirks of its own--is enough of an excuse for a weekend jaunt to Lockeford.

Snow!!!

Now that we're finally getting the shivers, let's all take a deep breath of cold, cold air. For many Bay Area skiers and snowboarders, this storm has quelled the nervous wait. Our prayers were granted; our snow dances were answered. There will be skiing and snowboarding this year in the Sierras, and just in time for Christmas. Hallelujah!

Need proof? Check out these live cams.

 

 

All Aboard!

It's been one strange year for the travel industry. First, gas prices rose to an all-time high, topping out above $5 a gallon here in California. Then, they were the lowest they have been in years, but thanks in part to a recession (and perhaps a heightened awareness of the environment), people have been driving less, thus keeping the supply-and-demand factor in favor of the consumer. Air travel became increasingly more difficult, what with the ridiculous addition of fees--baggage fees, paying-for-exit-row-seat fees, purchasing-tickets-via-phone fees, sky-high fuel surcharge fees, anything the airlines could come up with really. And long-distance buses...well, who takes those anyhow? They're crowded, slow and unreliable.

Where's the snow?

With the Sierra snow pack at 2 percent of average for the date and no storms in the near forecast, skiers and snowboarders are terrified. What if it doesn’t snow this year? What if we have to suffer through a gray SF winter without an escape to that sparkling white powder?

Northern California Hotels Make Holiday Travel More Affordable

It's true there's no place like home for the holidays...but sometimes you just want to get away from it all before the chaos ensues (or rather family togetherness--or in-laws--becomes just too much to bear). The current state on the economy has put a damper on many people's travel plans, but hotels are beginning to take note of this by significantly lowering their rates to an affordable level and creating packages that allow you more bang for your buck this holiday season. Check out these amazing opportunities before it's too late.

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