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Old 06-13-2006, 11:22 AM   #31
Master Chef
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
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California is just too big and diverse to say just one place is best. I think we spend 6 mos there when we were on the road, and still only put a dent in it -- and I was raised partially in California and have relatives all over the state. If I were to have to nail down my favorite, I'd go with that Napa Valley thing -- a tasting lunch at Greystone CIA, the wine train. I'm not a beach person any more, so skipped that, but it would be important to others; certainly everyone in the world wants to at least dabble their toes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific (and, by the way, when I say I skipped the ocean, it's a bit of a lie. I mean going swimming and long days at the beach were not in my agenda. I went to all the beaches of my childhood, but more did winter wading and sightseeing). Hubby and I have always found that when hotel-ing it on a budget, planning one restaurant meal a day, then picking up cheese, meat (i.e., sausages/salamis etc), fruit, bread and a bottle of wine for either the hotel room or a picnic can really boost your budget. Our prediliction for little mom & pop ethnic places also helps -- we don't look for high end, famous places except for real splurges, and even then usually find we enjoyed the mom & pops more. Lunching out rather than dining helps as well. It also makes it so that you can enjoy the spectacular views (for example, the wine train dinner is more expensive, as is the CIA -- but you miss half the beauty of doing it). So go to those high end, beautiful scenery places for lunch. Then be absolutely decadent at the geat gourmet stores -- but the cheese and wine you bring back to your room or to a great little park with be pricey, but still a fraction of what you'd pay for a high end restaurant dinner.

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Old 06-13-2006, 11:31 AM   #32
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Location: Galena, IL
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Florida is also one of those states that is too large to break down to one thing. First off, in both states you're either a theme park person or not. That narrows it down. The very best kept secret of Florida (like California, I lived there for 6 years) is the series of fresh water springs that go right down the middle of the state. There are old hotels, and parks and restaurants that were all put in in the 20s and 30s that are to die for, and if you want to just sit in a tube and float you can't beat it. Like California, you cannot do it all, so don't try. Prioritize. If you're an old hippie, you want Key West, no doubt about it (Venice in Ca). If you fancy yourself a glamorous 1920s movie actress, then it will be South Beach, Miami. If you want to relive your childhood as it never was to begin with, then you have to do Disney and other theme parks (both coasts). People tend to realize the size of California, but are unaware of the size of Florida. It is huge, and I don't know about you, but 5 hours in the car (the distance from one of my sister's house to my parents' -- and they do not live at the extreme ends of the state) is NOT my idea of a vacation. Both states have a lot to offer, but don't get wrapped up with thinking you want to everything. Pick and choose, and enjoy.

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Old 06-13-2006, 12:29 PM   #33
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: California
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If you want to do beaches, San Diego water is about 70° in the summer. The farther you do north the colder the ocean.... Not much swimming and playing in the surf in San Francisco. The gulf off TX is in the 90°s as is the south Atlantic ocean.... bath water temp.

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