Travel Planning
Travel Planning

California at a Glance

The Western edge of the United States is dominated by California, and as much as it’s a state of the union, it’s also a state of mind. Travelers and adventures of all stripes have felt the magnetic pull of California, whether they set out in search of gold, stardom, a Silicon Valley tech fortune or just a really good drive along the ocean.

Practically synonymous with laid-back, casual cool, California is a state that doesn’t have to try hard – it just simply has the stuff that dreams are made of, from its towering redwood forests and monumental national parks to its movie studios and prized wine country. So go West, young man (or woman) and you won’t be disappointed.

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Top Forum Questions about California
Where is Big Sur?
posted 10/29/2014 by j_stone1970 California Big Sur
  • Northern California Northern California
  • Central California Central California
  • Bay Area Bay Area
  • Southern California Southern California
Popular Places
  • Los Angeles Los Angeles
  • San Jose San Jose
  • San Francisco San Francisco
  • Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park
  • Lake Tahoe Lake Tahoe
Getting There
Major Airports

Passport / Visa Requirements

All travelers to the United States are required to hold a valid passport; the passport should be valid for six months beyond your departure from the U.S. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 37 participating countries to travel within the United States without a visa for 90 days; travelers must have valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel, return travel tickets and a passport with a photo and an electronic chip. Visitors not eligible for VWP must apply for a non-immigrant visa. For more information, visit the U.S. State Department's travel website.

Need to Know

Severe Weather and Seismic Events Wildfires are a concern in the southern part of the state during summer, but they can occur throughout California. The San Andreas Fault also runs through the state, making earthquakes a concern and possibility.

Safety Concerns Crime rates vary widely across the state. Taking general safety precautions is wise, e.g. avoiding dimly lit streets and areas not frequented by travelers, wearing inconspicuous or no jewelry and carrying small amounts of cash.

Health Concerns Drinking water is safe throughout California. Health concerns are more likely to come into play during hiking, trekking or other outdoor exploration, during which insect-borne diseases (lyme disease, West Nile virus, etc.) and wildlife encounters could potentially happen.


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