Lay of the Land
Beyond California’s major cities lie a number of destinations that add depth to any visit to the Golden State. Orange County provides a family-friendly add-on after a few days in Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley, the epicenter of San Francisco’s booming technological industry and location of Google and Facebook headquarters, is a destination for businessmen and -women and prospective students visiting Stanford.
One of California’s poshest residential areas, Orange County is second only to San Francisco in population density thanks to its location just beyond Los Angeles and stunning, jagged coastline. The scenic destination, which experiences warm Mediterranean weather nearly year-round, boasts over 40 miles of beach and is a prime destination for surfers. Huntington Beach and “The Wedge”—a stretch of beach known for wedge-shaped waves—are two of the most popular destinations for avid surfers.
Two theme parks, Disneyland (in Anaheim) and Knot’s Berry Farm (in Buena Park), make for good family day trips. Both are located roughly 30-45 minutes from the region’s best hotels, including Montage Laguna Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill, St. Regis Monarch Beach and the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel.
The term ‘Silicon Valley’ became commonplace during the tech boom in the 1980s, when IBM and numerous other software companies became household names. Over time, it came to signify the area located 40 miles south of San Francisco, which is now a major destination for tech conferences and business meetings. One of the main reasons for Silicon Valley’s success is Stanford University, which, along with its graduates, has played a major role in developing the region. Students visiting the university, as well as professionals in town for business, will find the most upscale accommodations at Rosewood Sand Hill Road, the definitive choice of hotel in the area.
When possible, guests should fly directly into Palm Springs (from LA, it is about a two-hour drive). If you must fly into LA, a fun alternative is to break up the trip with a night in Pasadena while en route.