The Getty Villa is an extension to the J. Paul Getty Museum. Located on the coast in the Pacific Palisades, this art museum displays art from ancient Greece, Rome & Etruria. The collection contains more than 44,000 pieces dating from 6,500BC to 400AD. Beautiful exhibits and galleries surrounded by courtyards overlook the Pacific Ocean in this 64 acre art institution.
The USS Midway Museum is an important museum at San Diego's Navy Pier and is one of the most visited museums with well over a million visitors annually. USS Midway was the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Commissioned after WWII, it was the largest ship in the world at the time. It sailed between 1945 and 1992 and served about 200 thousand sailors. San Diego is a fitting home since naval aviation was born here. Explore over 60 areas of this massive ship.
Point Vicente Lighthouse is one of the crown jewels of Rancho Palos Verdes. On the National Register of Historic Places, this Lighthouse was built in 1926 to help guide ships as they sail the ever-changing California coast. Standing 130 feet on a cliff above the ocean, it was first operated by the United States Lighthouse Service which merged into the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939. The Lighthouse was manned until 1971 where it continues to function as an electronic aids-to-navigation monitoring system.
Oceanside Harbor outside of San Diego is known as one of the friendliest harbors in the world. The village along the harbor features shops and restaurants as well a picturesque lighthouse. Oceanside Harbor makes for a peaceful stroll anytime of day but the sunsets are equally spectacular.
Franceschi Park in Santa Barbara is the essential spot to view a panorama of Santa Barbara. The drive up via Alameda Padre Serra road is a thrill in itself. Located on the former estate of Francesco Franceschi, an Italian Botanist, this 18 acre park contains the ghostly remains of a mansion and gardens. During the turn of the 20th century, Franceschi imported nearly one thousand different species of plants into Southern California transforming the way SoCal would be landscaped forever.
Ventura Pier is one of my happy places. You can feel the history as you walk the wooden planks with signs depicting the natural history of the area. Originally built in 1872, the pier has had many lives from agricultural and oil trade to modern day Central Coast tourism. The pier has always been and will always be a pier for the people. Everyone is welcome in Ventura and the sunsets are a bit of heaven.
La Piedra State Beach is a beautiful secret beach in Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It is overshadowed by the popular El Matador State beach next door. La Piedra in Spanish means rock, a fitting name for this rocky shore. It is one of my favorite beaches ever because of its solitude as well as it was the first beach I explored when moving to California.
Dinosaur Caves Park is a bluff-top park in Pismo Beach. Along Highway One on California's Central Coast, this charming park offers stunning Ocean Vistas as well as a dinosaur themed playground. The rocky cliffs are a joy to the eye as the waves splash against the coast.
The RMS Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner docked in the Port of Long Beach. It sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. Luxury & Opulence is the key to this Art Deco Dream. Queen Mary was the last great ocean liner built during the golden age of world travel. Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, Gloria Swanson & Fred Astaire among many other silver screen stars called this sailing palace home while on voyage to Europe.
During WWII, it was nicknamed the 'Grey Ghost' and transported 765,429 Military Personnel. It became the worlds largest and fastest troopship. Winston Churchill even considered it his headquarters at sea. In 1947, passenger service resumed. Modern amenities such as air conditioning were added but this would not prove to be enough as jet planes began to change the industry.
Queen Mary opened as a tourist attraction in 1971 and continues to delight today with a hotel, museum and restaurants. The ship in full can be explored at your leisure. It is even on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Historic Hotels of America. One visit to Queen Mary will have you longing for more. Are you ready to set sail?
Silver Strand State Beach on Coronado Island in San Diego is constantly named one of the best beaches in the country. It is also my personal favorite sandy beach. The sand dances to create 'silver strands' that shine and glimmer in the sunlight. Soft and fine sand make it is a great beach for walking or running. As a west facing beach, it is one of the best spots to catch a famous San Diego Sunset. In the early morning hours or at night as the tides roll in, perfect sand dollars wash ashore.