5 Ways to Explore California Like a Local

If you’re traveling to California, you may be dreaming of sunshine, beaches, and fun things to do in the summer. Whether you’re heading to Northern or Southern California, there are incredible choices for exploring all this great state has to offer.

While this state is loaded with popular tourist destinations, you can still step off the beaten track. Of course, stay safe and be sure to check for current guidelines for domestic travel.

Here are the top 5 ways to explore California’s hidden treasures, like a local.

Visit Just Before Closing

Like many tourist destinations, if you go at mid-day, you’ll find yourself amid throngs of people. Since you want to see life like a local, go at an ‘off-time.’ The exact time will vary, based on when sites are open.

For instance, check out the classic amusement park at Santa Monica Pier. If you go in the evening, you’ll see glowing lights and a stunning summer sky. Check for current hours and go just before closing so you can catch the last ride on the rollercoaster or Ferris wheel.

If you’re in a community surrounding San Francisco, check out the local farmer’s markets. Marin Farmers Market has special offers just before closing. You can meet small food producers and local farmers – and you’ll get delicious produce for your next picnic.

Be An Early Bird

You know the classic phrase, “the early bird gets the worm.” Just like that, when you get up early, you’ll catch some amazing sights. You may be shocked to find that there are very few people up in the early dawn. Just before sunrise, you’ll find a tribe of like-minded folks, seeking beauty in the wee hours.

While this tip works in many cities, it’s especially potent in the San Francisco Bay area. 

Check out these places, at or before dawn:

• Walk along the marina and see the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco

• Climb the hills to Coit Tower

• Walk or jog through Golden Gate Park

• Walk along the water near Tiburon

Hike The Hills

Oddly, many tourists seem to like the flatlands. When you walk the hills, you’ll often only encounter local walkers and residents.

A great place to experience this is in the hills of Sausalito. In San Francisco, jump on a Golden Gate Ferry and get off in downtown Sausalito. Then, just look up. You’ll see several stairways to explore and get a vantage point from above the village.

While you explore, just remember that when you’ve had enough – just head down. All roads, stairways, and walkways lead you back to the center of town. 

Steer Clear of Crowds

In California, there are great options to steer clear of crowds. You can visit the Marin Headlands and walk trails for miles – often without seeing a soul. You’d never know that you’re only minutes from the bustling city of San Francisco.

Similarly, you can walk along the hills and trails of Tiburon and only see locals. Head out of the tiny downtown, and trek along the backside of Tiburon for a locals-only view.

Although if you’re looking for achieving peace of mind, you may want to just jump on a ferry and head out on the Bay. 

Enjoy — Without Phone Calls.

San Francisco, Palo Alto, and San Diego are places where you can live with all the high-tech conveniences. You can experience life like a local, and do almost everything without ever picking up the phone. 

Heading out to find a food cart? Check out a free app such as Street Food Finder. 

Ready to upgrade your insurance? Get health insurance quotes without phone calls.

Looking for a last-minute ticket? Jump online to pick the best events of today.

You’ll have a blast wherever you choose to go. And, you can do it all without having to talk to anyone.

Appreciate Beauty

California is brimming with beautiful vistas, parks, and beaches. If you want to truly get off the beaten track, do so with a single purpose: enjoy the beauty.

With this motivation, you’ll get into all kinds of creative mischief that you might otherwise miss. For example, take photographs.

• capture a sunrise or sunset in every favorite spot.

• Take photos of benches – in parks, by the Bay, and under trees.

• Snap photos of gates, arches, and doorways.

• Visit the Conservatory of Flowers and capture your favorites.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy beauty?

Explore California like a local…and have a great adventure!

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