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Adventure in Santa Cruz

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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic seaside amusement park located along a beautiful sandy beach in a friendly beach town. The Boardwalk features more than 40 rides and attractions including two National Historic Landmarks: the world-famous 1924 Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster and the beautiful 1911 Looff Carousel, plus many scream-inducing thrill rides, gentle kiddie rides, casual restaurants, gift shops, games, indoor arcades, and miniature golf.
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Natural Bridges State Beach
This park and beach is an excellent vantage point for viewing shore birds, migrating whales, as well as seals and otters playing offshore. Further along the beach, public access tidepools offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea. Low tides reveal sea stars, shore crabs, sea anemones, and other colorful ocean life. The park also includes a large area of coastal scrub and grasslands, with bright native wildflowers in the spring. Moore Creek flows through the park, forming freshwater wetlands and a salt marsh before it reaches the sea.
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West Cliff Drive
West Cliff Drive ridiculously, scenic pathway traverses one of the most inspiring settings along the California coast. Hugging the shoreline of the majestic Monterey Bay, the waterfront thoroughfare stretches from the sandy beach at Natural Bridges State Beach to the Santa Cruz Wharf. Along the way, you’ll pass vivid, succulent-covered cliffs, secluded beach coves, and some of the region’s most famous sights including big wave surfers at Steamer Lane, playful pups at Its Beach, and the Santa Cruz Surf Museum at Lighthouse Point.
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Pleasure Point
The small surf community of Pleasure Point is located in an unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County, nestled between Moran Lagoon and 41st Avenue, adjacent to the Monterey Bay. Nearly a dozen famous surf breaks make this an ideal destination for skilled surfers. It’s a classic beachside town and the genesis of surf culture in Santa Cruz – home to wetsuit pioneer Jack O’Neill – where locals mix effortlessly with visitors eager to capture that authentic surf vibe.
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Roaring Camp Railroads
Travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest. In the 1880s, narrow-gauge steam locomotives were used to haul giant redwood logs out of the mountains. Roaring Camp's steam engines date from 1890 and are among the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam engines providing regularly scheduled passenger service in America.
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Mount Hermon Adventures
Mount Hermon Adventures has grown immensely since it began and has become an internationally recognized provider of adventure experiences and team development programs. They now operate the world-famous Redwood Canopy Tours, multiple aerial adventure courses, intentional Team Building programs, and provide Mount Hermon overnight guests with mountain biking, surfing, sea kayaking, target sports, aquatic facilities, paint ball, skate park and more. Guests experience Mt. Hermon's core values of quality, authenticity and inspiration with the final goal of living a transformed life.
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Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Located in Kelley Park in San Jose, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo has been providing affordable family entertainment, education and fun since 1961. The Park is a peaceful, creative and safe place for children of all ages, with the main focus on “little ones” between the ages of 2-10. There are creative play areas, children’s rides, hand puppet and marionette shows, special events, and birthday areas. Learn about wildlife up close during daily meet-and-greets, leap like a lemur on the playground, brush and feed the goats, or take a peek inside Doc’s Critter Care building and the Ranch House. Double-H Ranch features a combination of animal exhibits, including giant anteaters and red ruffed lemurs, as well chickens and domesticated animals that are docile enough to touch.
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Lake Cunningham Regional Skatepark
At 68,000 square feet, Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park is the largest skate park in California. Featuring the the world's largest cradle, tallest vert wall, and largest full pipe, LCRSP offers a wide variety of terrain for all skill levels to learn and enjoy.
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Twin Peaks
Want a spectacular 360 degree view of San Francisco? Head for the top of Twin Peaks, San Francisco. These two hills rise almost 1000 feet above the City and sit just about in its geographical center.
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San Francisco Cable Cars
Cable cars are a historic symbol recognized around the globe and offer real working transportation up the steep hills of San Francisco. The cable cars begin their runs at 6 a.m. and continue until midnight. From Union Square to the crest of Nob Hill, cable cars offer a thrilling way to move with the City. A ride on San Francisco’s cable cars may be the most iconic and memorable of your entire trip to California. Even people who might dismiss cable cars as a cheesy tourist attraction will admit that there is something incredibly romantic about these rides.
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Lombard Street
Lombard Street in San Francisco is often called the most crooked street in the world. Actually, it's the second crookedest, but San Francisco has the number one street as well! The pretty, postcard view of Lombard Street has become famous worldwide and many visitors enjoy seeing the cars carefully winding down the turns among the beautiful flower beds.
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Pier 39
Pier 39 is located on the San Francisco waterfront near the Fisherman’s Wharf area of the city and is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to California. The pier is home to many great restaurants offering local seafood as well as other cuisines. If shopping is your thing you will find 90+ stores offering everything from souvenirs to sports memorabilia. Pier 39 is also where you can find fun and exciting attractions such as the Aquarium of the Bay and the 7D experience. If you walk to the end of Pier 39 and visit K-Dock you will find the world famous sea lions who have made the pontoons their home. The sealions first appeared after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and began taking over the piers on the Pier 39 marina, much to the annoyance of the marina tenants. After numerous attempts to shoo them away they eventually had to give up and the numbers grew and grew reaching a peak of over 1500 in 2009. Today they have become one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco and have their own area of Pier 39. While there why not pay a visit to the Marine Mammal Center just upstairs from the viewing area where you can learn more about the sea lions and pick up some sea lion related souvenirs.
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Fisherman's Wharf
As San Francisco’s most popular visitor destination, Fisherman’s Wharf offers a wide range of land, sea, and air activities. A food lover's haven, Fisherman's Wharf boasts some of the best dining in the world. Salivate over fresh Dungeness crab served steaming hot at outdoor stands or in a variety of gourmet recipes at the Wharf’s many seafood restaurants. The Wharf's eclectic mix of international cuisine is sure to make a hit with your taste buds.
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Muir Woods
Walk among old growth coast redwoods, cooling their roots in the freshwater of Redwood Creek and lifting their crowns to reach the sun and fog. Federally protected as a National Monument since 1908, this primeval forest is both refuge and laboratory, revealing our relationship with the living landscape. Muir Woods National Monument is world renowned for its old-growth coastal redwoods, attracting over one million visitors each year. With the park’s popularity come pressures on a fragile ecosystem representing more than 380 different plants and animals. The incredible diversity of flora and fauna at Muir Woods can be daunting sometimes, elusive at other times. The redwoods themselves dominate the scene, but the Steller's jay often steals the show. Ladybugs clustering by the thousands on ancient horsetail ferns boggle the imagination, while the slimy banana slug is able to disgust and fascinate all at once. Plants adapt to low light levels on the forest floor, while whole plant and animal communities bustle in the canopy above our heads.
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Van Nuys Airport
Van Nuys Airport (VNY) has all the elements of a blockbuster film—action, adventure, war, world records, movie stars, mystery, and suspense. It’s the story of success, defeat, and reinvention—the ultimate "little engine that could" —and yet it can be considered one of the largest "hidden gems" in Los Angeles because there is so much to learn and experience—and much of it is free.
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Universal Studios Hollywood
Find a full day of action-packed entertainment all in one place: thrilling Theme Park rides and shows, a real working movie studio, and Los Angeles’ best shops, restaurants and cinemas at CityWalk. Universal Studios Hollywood is a unique experience that’s fun for the whole family. Go behind the scenes of a real working movie studio! Visit 13 city blocks on four acres of historic studio lot in the largest set construction project in studio history, built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg himself. Or see what awaits you inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! From magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it’s all here at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, now open at Universal Studios Hollywood. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade, and sample fare from some of the wizarding world’s best-known establishments. Plus experience pulse-pounding rides and attractions that transport you into a world of magical thrills and excitement.
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Disneyland
Enter a magical kingdom where you can sail with pirates, explore exotic jungles, meet fairy-tale princesses, dive under the ocean and rocket through the stars! Disneyland Park is a beloved Southern California destination where generations of families have made their Disney dreams come true. Walt Disney’s original Disneyland theme park, which first opened on July 17, 1955, is now divided into 8 extravagantly themed lands: Main Street, U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, Frontierland, Critter Country, New Orleans Square and Adventureland.
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Tuweep
At 3,000 vertical feet (880 m) above the Colorado River, the sheer drop from Toroweap Overlook offers a dramatic view. The volcanic cinder cones and lava flows in this ancestral home of the Southern Paiute people make this area unique. Situated below the iconic rim of Grand Canyon, a visit to Tuweep provides an opportunity for an uncrowded, rustic, and remote experience. Access is challenging and demands skill at negotiating difficult roadways. Summer brings monsoonal rain and lightning. Winter includes rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Be ready for quickly changing conditions.
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Havasu Falls
The phrase “Havasu Falls” is often referencing the actual waterfall called “Havasu Falls” and it’s also often referencing the area where all 5 of the Havasupai Waterfalls exist on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon. Havasu Falls itself, the waterfall, is arguably the most aesthetic of the 5 waterfalls at Havasupai. It is the third and middle waterfall from top to bottom, and provides the best swimming, cascades, shade, places to relax, and general amazing ambiance. Havasu Falls is approximately 80 feet high, where the turquoise waters of Havasu Creek plunge from the travertine terraces above down to a large, idyllic pool of water below. From the pool below the waterfall, the water cascades down through a series of pools, each one a wonderful little swimming pool.
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Hermit Road
Hermit Road is a scenic route along the west end of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim which follows the rim for 7 miles (11 km) out to Hermits Rest. This extremely popular route is accessed by free park shuttle bus, foot, bicycle, or commercial bus tour most of the year, with private vehicles allowed only during winter months of December, January and February. Along the canyon rim are nine designated viewpoints where the free Hermits Rest Route shuttle bus stops. The Canyon Rim Trail also follows the rim of the canyon for 7.8 miles (12.6 km) along Hermit Road and offers the opportunity for short or long walks between viewpoints on both paved and dirt trails. In addition to the Rim Trail, three miles of paved greenway trail provide additional views for cyclists and hikers.
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Grand Canyon Village
Find everything you need for a Grand Canyon adventure in Grand Canyon Village. This historic village has excellent shopping for all the hiking and camping gear you need, as well as authentic American Indian crafts and plenty of canyon souvenirs. The village also has stellar lodging options and a top-rated walking tour. Grand Canyon Village, located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona, holds some of the best scenic overlooks in the park, including Yavapai Point. Begin your Grand Canyon tour at the visitor center. Here you can pick up a copy of the self-guided walking tour brochure for in-depth information on the canyon and its history. Highlights of the tour include Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel Buckey O’Neill Cabin, Hopi House, Lookout Studio, and Kolb Studio. You’ll also learn how Grand Canyon Village grew up around the Santa Fe Railroad starting in 1901. Stop by the rustic Grand Canyon Railway Depot, which welcomes Grand Canyon Railway passengers to the village.
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Tooele County
Just 35 minutes west of Salt Lake City in the heart of Tooele County is the Deseret Peak Complex. This venue features a wide array of activities, and there is something to satisfy every sports enthusiast's hunger for excitement. The complex is nestled in the heart of the Tooele Valley and is full of family fun activities. Imagine a place so flat you seem to see the curvature of the planet, so barren not even the simplest life forms can exist. Imagine the passing thunder of strange vehicles hurtling by on a vast dazzling white plain. This is not an alien world far from earth; it is Utah's famous Bonneville Salt Flats. The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the most unique natural features in Utah. Stretching over 30,000 acres, the Bonneville Salt Flats is a fragile resource administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It is located along I-80 near the Utah-Nevada border. Wendover is the closest city. Thousands of visitors, commercial filmmakers, and of course, high speed auto racers, make the Bonneville Salt Flats a world famous destination. Wanna fly? It is no longer just a dream. You can fly; Skydive Utah will teach you how. Your first skydive is only a phone call away. Fly high above the Great Salt Lake with a view that goes on for miles. Tooele County is one of the few places in Utah where skydiving is allowed.
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Phantom Ranch
Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, is a popular destination for both hikers and mule riders. Overnight hiker dormitories and cabins can be reserved and meals are available for purchase. Advance reservations for meals and lodging at Phantom Ranch are required. Reservations are made through Xanterra via an online lottery 15 months in advance. The park's Backcountry Information Center does not make reservations for Phantom Ranch lodging or meals. Overnight guests of Phantom Ranch who have advance reservations do not need to obtain backcountry camping permits. Taking a mule ride at the Grand Canyon is a tradition that began more than 100 years ago. Trips into the canyon - as well as rides through the park's woodlands to scenic canyon overlooks - are offered on both the North and South Rims
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Desert View Drive
Desert View Drive is a scenic route to the east of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim which follows the rim for 25 miles (40 km) out to the Desert View Watchtower and East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. Along the way there are: Six developed canyon viewpoints, Four picnic areas, Five unmarked pullouts and Tusayan Museum and ruin site (Ancestral Puebloan). Private vehicles, are allowed on Desert View Drive.
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Desert View
Desert View is a small settlement on the South Rim located 25 miles/ 41 km east of Grand Canyon Village, and near the eastern edge of Grand Canyon. Arizona Highway 64, Also known as Desert View Drive, is a scenic road that connects Desert view with Grand Canyon Village. Also discover The Tusayan Ruin, is the remains of a small Ancestral Puebloan village located 3 miles (5 km) west of Desert View. This was a thriving community that created pottery, arrowheads and other household artifacts.
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North Rim
A worthwhile trip for those who enjoy the road less traveled, the North Rim, or "other side" of Grand Canyon is visited by only 10% of all Grand Canyon visitors. The North Rim is over 8000 feet/2438 m. in elevation. For classic North Rim views, start at the Grand Canyon Lodge patio, then walk the paved trail out to Bright Angel Point. From the main parking area it is a relatively short, easy walk to Lodge itself. During winter months, the North Rim closes because of snow.
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The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake and its islands provide outstanding scenery and recreational opportunities in northern Utah. Sunsets over the lake can be breathtaking. Amazing red, orange, lavender and magenta hues slowly dissolve in the evening sky. The lake's turquoise waters attract sailors, its white sand beaches are popular with swimmers and sunbathers, and craggy outcroppings on Antelope Island and some shoreline areas draw hikers and mountain bikers. The Great Salt Lake is one of the most asked-about tourist destinations in Utah. A remnant of the massive ancient Lake Bonneville, the lake is now landlocked and its waters are salty. It is the largest lake between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean, and is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. Legends abound about the lake. Early explorers thought the lake was an inland extension of the Pacific Ocean, or that a river connected the lake to the ocean. Some Indians and early settlers thought the lake was inhabited by a terrible monster with an enormous head. The lake and its legends are an intriguing part of Utah's landscape and history.
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River Trips
There are different river trip opportunities through Grand Canyon National Park: half-day and full-day smooth water trips on the Colorado River or noncommercial trips that launch from Diamond Creek and takeout at Lake Mead typically are 2 to 5 days in length. These are also professionally guided raft trips, available to the public and often reserved a year or two in advance.
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Bonneville Salt Flats
Imagine the passing thunder of strange vehicles hurtling by on a vast dazzling white plain. This is not an alien world far from earth; it is Utah's famous Bonneville Salt Flats. The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the most unique natural features in Utah, stretching over 30,000 acres. It is located along I-80 near the Utah-Nevada border. Perhaps the most impressive spot to view the Salt Flats is along along I-80, about 10 miles east of Wendover. A rest stop has been established there (offering restrooms and water). The rest area is surrounded by perfectly flat land that looks like it is covered by snow. To the north and west, low mountains break the view. To the east and south, it looks like flat land extends virtually forever. At the rest stop you can walk out onto the salty soil. When you return, a water spray station has been set up so you can wash the salt from your shoes.
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Camelback Mountain
Camelback Mountain is an amazing natural attraction in Phoenix, Arizona. The mountain gets its name from its unique shape. For the most part, it looks like the hump and head of a camel on its knees. It is located in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area and is a well-known landmark near metropolitan Phoenix. The area is one of the best places to indulge in a spot of hiking and rock climbing. The mountain is believed to be a sacred site of the Hohokam, the prehistoric North American Indians, up until the 14th century. There are 2 hiking trails to explore at Camelback Mountain. For a shorter hiking experience you could choose the Echo Canyon Trail, which is 1.14 miles long. On the other hand, if you are game for a longer adventure then 1.4-mile long Cholla Trail is the ideal alternative. The trails are challenging with steep grades although there are sections with handrails to make things a little easier. There is also a red sandstone rock formation known as the Praying Rock, which resembles a person kneeling down to pray. Avid rock climbers will find the region most challenging.
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Skiing at Park City
Winter mountain skiing is always a pleaser with its perfect combo of groomers and powder. Also Park City has more biking and hiking trails in the summer than any outdoorist can handle. Park City is a unique combination of easy access and remote appeal. At times you feel like you're hundreds of miles from the civilized world yet you're just 35 easy miles from the Salt Lake International Airport
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Bear Creek Golf Complex
Chandler's Bear Creek Golf Complex is a 36-hole inland links golf facility consisting of both a championship course and an executive course. Both golf courses and practice area at Bear Creek Golf Complex were created by the Nicklaus Design Group and architect Bill O'Leary.
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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest (UWCNF) encompasses Utah's Wasatch Mountains adjacent to the state's northern metropolitan area, and the north slope of the High Uintas Wilderness. Containing nearly 2.1 million acres of geological and ecologically-diverse landscapes, this collection of forest areas is one of the most frequently visited in the nation. Ski and summer resorts located in this forest along the Wasatch Front near Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Park City provide world-renowned downhill skiing, Nordic and snowmobiling options, as well as a variety of summer activities ranging from the IMBA-certified mountain biking trails of Park City to the mountain coaster and Oktoberfest of Snowbird. Further south, American Fork Canyon and Provo Canyon offer a stunning mix of aspen and tree-covered slopes that include the zip lines, Blue Ribbon fly-fishing and singletracks of Sundance Mountain Resort, Deer Creek State Park and other destinations. Between the two canyons lies the 11,750-acre Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness.
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Mount Rainier National Park
Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems. A lifetime of discovery awaits.
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Santa Catalina Mountains
Located on Tucson's north side, the rugged Santa Catalina Mountains in Coronado National Forest are Tucson's most prominent range with the highest average elevation. The highest point is Mt. Lemmon at 9,147 feet, noted as the southernmost ski destination in the United States. A trip from the Tucson valley to Mt. Lemmon takes you from 2,000 to about 9,000 feet, with scenery that resembles a trip from the Mexican to the Canadian border.
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Point Defiance Park
Point Defiance Park sits on 702 acres at the northern tip of Tacoma and features the best of everything, with miles of forested hiking and walking trails, beautiful rose gardens, picnic areas, beachfront access, and a 29-acre zoo. It’s no wonder over 2 million people visit each year – once you come here, you won’t want to leave!
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Rincon Mountains
Located on Tucson's east side is the Rincon Mountain Wilderness Area of Coronado National Forest. The most popular way to experience the Rincons is at Saguaro National Park East, which offers numerous trails, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park, a massive underground labyrinth and one of the largest dry caves in the world.