Magazine article Sunset

Splashing Down

Magazine article Sunset

Splashing Down

Article excerpt

Not all of California's beauty is in its peaks--unless you count the towering cable of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Although manmade, the bridge's beauty rivals that of the giant sequoia across the state, and it represents the strength and vision of California. The bridge is also a beacon for thousands of travelers who realize that only its golden span separates them from the mighty Pacific Ocean.

While most visitors identify California with the pristine, sunlit beaches of Southern California, it's the Northern California seascapes that best illustrate the state's adventurous spirit. Jutting rock formations, and crashing waves are picture-postcard beautiful, which is why visitors return to San Francisco like swallows returning to Capistrano. With its own spectacular views and delightful nooks and crannies, the city is the urban answer to Yosemite.

Now it's easier than ever to see the city by the Bay, thanks to CityPass. This unique visitor's program allows travelers access to San Francisco's best attractions at one package price. The Golden Gate Bridge, North Beach, and Fisherman's Wharf--including a cruise aboard the Blue and Gold Fleet--are all included. CityPass is also available in other U.S. cities, including New York, Boston, and even Hollywood. For more information, call (707) 256-0490 or visit www.citypass.net.

Just south of San Francisco lies the small town of Half Moon Bay, home of Maverick's, a dangerous surf break. This small surfing enclave is world renowned for the size of its ocean swells--some as big as small mountains themselves--and for the adventurous spirits who ride those waves. As so vividly illustrated in Wild California, surfers like Jeff Clark must put fear and panic aside to, tackle the ocean's fury.

Just an hour south of this surfer's paradise begins the more pristine Monterey Bay and on its shores the seaside resort towns of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, Monterey, and Carmel. One of the best-known landmarks in this region is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with living exhibits along the shores of Monterey. The Kelp Forest, Deep Reefs, Sandy Seafloor, and Shale Reefs are all examples of near shore exhibits, while the Outer Bay, Drifters, Swimmers, and Ocean Travelers make up some of the outer bay exhibits. There are several interactive and hands-on galleries for children and older students, as well as the Marine Mammal Gallery, where visitors can walk beneath life-size replicas of whales, dolphins, porpoises, and other marine mammals.

Perhaps the most playful exhibit is the sea otters, curious and talkative critters who have made the Monterey and San Francisco Bays two of their favorite habitats. …

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