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May 26

Car camping recommendations in the Plumas/Graeagle/Gold Lake area?

Planning a week long car camping trip to California's Lakes Basin region -- roughly Gold Lake/Yuba River/Feather River (the general area of this map). Looking for recommendations for campgrounds. More details/requirements below the fold. [more inside]
posted by mosk around Sierra City, CA at 10:34 AM - 2 answers has best

May 25

Best place to hang out in a parked car in San Francisco?

This is not a sex question, I promise. Owing to some logistical ridiculousness, I'm going to have to spend part of a weekday sitting in my parked car, somewhere in San Francisco. No leaving the car. Where's the prettiest place that can be appreciated from a parked car? [more inside]
posted by pickingupsticks around San Francisco, CA at 4:22 PM - 11 answers has best

May 19

California Dreamin': Road Trip Edition

What would you see in California if you were starting out in LA and had a car and 7 days to travel, only caveat being that you need to be in San Diego on the morning of the 8th day? We're going to LA for a family wedding in August. Taking an extra week afterwards to travel around and see as much of California as possible. However, we have to prioritize as we only have 7 days. Flying out from San Diego on the 8th day. We will have a rental car and we're interested in seeing as much as possible, as it will be my first time in California. Driving a lot is not a problem; we love roadtrips, and both of us drive so we can take turns. Please help us plan an itinerary! [more inside]
posted by spicytunaroll around California at 11:04 AM - 18 answers has best

May 16

Getting the most out of the Magic Castle

Hola Mefi, Growing up, my Dad was a party clown and stage magician. He wasn't half-bad, either! I have a lot of fond memories of learning little sleights of hand and spoiling the trick at other kid's birthday parties (Sorry.). And while Pops doesn't really do magic anymore, he still loves the theater of it and binges on YouTube shows etc. So, I snagged us an invite to the Magic Castle next time he's in town. Since I've never been: What's it like? Best/worst things to do? Stuff to avoid? [more inside]
posted by GilloD around Los Angeles, CA at 10:29 AM - 12 answers

May 12

I'll be in Arnold, CA this weekend: activity suggestions?

We are planning to check out Murphys and also maybe go hiking in Stanislaus National Forest or Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Can anyone suggest a specific trail/area/place that would be good for novice/intermediate hikers? Or other activities/attractions in the area? Good picnic spots? Also, any ideas on where we might find vegan food (restaurant or grocery store)? Thanks!
posted by désoeuvrée around Arnold, CA at 11:06 AM - 8 answers

May 10

Get me to San Jose

Which is the most advisable method? [more inside]
posted by sprezzy around San Jose, CA at 6:11 PM - 26 answers

May 8

Can I See Half Dome From The House?....

I waited too long to try to book my trip to the Yosemite area, and now the only accommodations I can find are in places that are 90 minutes' drive from Yosemite Valley. Is that going to suck? Should I give up and go somewhere else instead? [more inside]
posted by EmpressCallipygos around Yosemite Valley, CA at 8:18 PM - 35 answers

May 1

Are radar detectors still useful?

I'm heading out on a US west road trip soon (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah) and was digging out my old radar detector when it occurred to me that perhaps there isn't any point to them anymore. I haven't used it in about 5 years. My detector is an old BEL 980 (X, K, KA, and laser). I'm not interested in buying a new one. I typically disabled the X and K bands, too many false alarms. The laser warning never went off, not sure it even works. But 5-10 years ago the KA band warnings were very effective. Still worth hooking up for the trip?
posted by cosmac around Paicines, CA at 5:14 PM - 4 answers has best

Which LA Beach vacation?

I want to take my family to the beach in LA for a vacation in July. Which beach will be less crowded and best for my daughter to dig giant sandcastles? [more inside]
posted by Margalo Epps around Los Angeles, CA at 3:22 PM - 11 answers has best

April 27

Transport options in LA without a car--cabs, Uber or what?

Later this year my daughter (by then 18 yo) and I will be visiting Los Angeles, probably staying somewhere round Santa Monica. We want to do some of the touristy things and will be going on at least the tour to the Hollywood sign. However, hiring a car is not an option. I gather the public transport options aren't great either. That leaves cabs, Uber and Lyft. Given my constraints (see below), convince me which I should use. [more inside]
posted by Logophiliac around Los Angeles, CA at 10:54 AM - 23 answers has best

April 25

48 hours in San Francisco

We've got 48 hours in San Francisco in mid May. It's not our first trip, but, it's been a while. What are your recommendations for fun/cultural things to do that aren't super touristy. How would you spend a weekend in S.F. with your wife and friends. [more inside]
posted by trbrts around San Francisco, CA at 2:12 PM - 24 answers

April 20

Groveland and Yosemite...let's dream! Toddler edition!

I've never been to Yosemite, which I'd like to remedy this summer. It's totally overwhelming to me, as I want to do EVERYTHING, but probably can do a little since we'll be bringing a toddler. Looking for recommendations! [more inside]
posted by Toddles around California at 8:46 PM - 5 answers

April 19

Bay Area beaches: out to murder me or what?

When and where in the SF Bay Area can I safely boogie board? Are there safer beaches? Safer tides? I see scary reports of several drownings a year, and it seems like all the beaches say, "Hazardous rip currents, if you go swimming you're an idiot." Baker Beach and Ocean beach don't seem especially hazardous to me, but the conventional wisdom is that they aren't safe for swimming. [more inside]
posted by wnissen around San Francisco, CA at 6:37 PM - 7 answers has best

April 11

Tips for a first-timer to Legoland California (and southern California)?

Tips for a first-timer to Legoland California (and southern California)? [more inside]
posted by DakotaPaul around Carlsbad, CA at 9:36 AM - 16 answers has best

April 6

How is Joshua Tree camping (first come, first served) during Coachella?

We're a non-Coachella family group looking to camp that weekend someplace spectacular within ~2hrs of LA. What are the Joshua Tree camping spots around Jumbo Rocks like during the festival? I understand the reserved spots are sold out months in advance, but that's normal for JT any time of year, correct? During the festival, is it mostly a festival crowd? Or too far away to be much affected? Bonus Q = will traffic out of LA on the 105 & 60/Pomona be crazy beyond normal around noon that Friday?
posted by cocoagirl around Joshua Tree, CA at 10:10 AM - 2 answers

March 28

Fun, street-art photo op, geeky things to see in San Diego?

Me, my elementary-age kid and spouse will be traveling to San Diego in several weeks. Things I would love to see there: fun street art (eg - a giant Mario on a brick wall, murals, pop art, etc) cool outdoor sculptures that kids are allowed to climb on, etc. [more inside]
posted by 41swans around San Diego, CA at 1:17 PM - 7 answers has best

SFO to Lower Haight and back. Howto?

Coming to San Francisco. Non-travelers need a reasonably affordable way to get to an apartment in the Lower Haight area. [more inside]
posted by Thorzdad around San Francisco, CA at 11:09 AM - 15 answers

March 25

Pebble Beach and Menterey- Travel fun

I am working the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Shindig March 31-April 3. Looking for cool local fun. [more inside]
posted by metasav around Monterey, CA at 7:49 PM - 6 answers has best

March 19

Inca Trail: How much to tip for surprise private group

My boyfriend and I signed up for a group hike of the Inca Trail (the longer 5 day version). No one else signed up, so it is functionally a private hike. All the guidelines for tipping are from a group as a whole (so, we budgeted to split with other people). Are we ethically obligated to tip the whole, normally-pooled amount? As much as if there has been another couple? Something in between?
posted by DebetEsse around Yucca Valley, CA at 7:18 PM - 4 answers

How is Uber at 5:30am in San Francisco?

What is the availability of Uber rides like at 5:30 am on a Sunday in San Francisco? [more inside]
posted by Joey Buttafoucault around San Francisco, CA at 4:21 PM - 12 answers