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Top 30 Destinations by Personality Type
Venturers Journeyers
Pioneers Sightseers
Voyagers Traditionals

Southern California

Great Destination:

Value for Money:

Total Stars:

Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know…?

  • Death Valley is the hottest, driest and lowest-altitude place in North America.
  • About 10,000 earthquakes shake Southern California each year.
  • An estimated 20,000 gray whales migrate along the California coast annually.
  • Furnace Creek Resort (Death Valley National Park) has the world’s lowest golf course.
  • The 115-room Hearst Castle, in construction for 28 years, was never completed.

A kaleidoscope

Mention Southern California and images come to mind as varied as colors in a kaleidoscope: Beaches and surf, sunshine and smog, Rodeo Drive, desert living and golf courses, the Dodgers, Hollywood and moviemaking, the Rose Bowl, Disneyland, the San Diego port and its zoo, palm trees, highways and bumper-to-bumper driving, oversized ocean-facing homes and, maybe, a quick trip across the border to Mexico. Southern California has avid fans who visit for entertainment, pleasant weather and a chance to share space with the rich and famous.

Northern and Southern California share a number of desirable features. Both have beautiful shorelines, parklands that offer access to nature, scenery, uncrowded spaces and a range of physical activities. They also have many good hotels and restaurants, shopping with snob appeal and varied attractions.

Northern California has bigger mountains and, hence, the association with winter sports. However, air and water temperatures are warmer in the south, which means that, in this area, many of the sports for the active vacationer are in or on the water.

Attractions in Southern California are widely separated, which means visitors need to book a tour or rent a car to get around effectively if they want to do more than concentrate on one city.

Disneyland continues to be a big draw for families. The Los Angeles area also has the Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain as part of the theme park mix. Visitors can see tapings of popular TV shows in the Los Angeles area. These attractions appeal in particular to the less venturesome personalities.

The same can be said about San Diego, the metropolis to the south, with its mild climate, lovely bay and famous zoo, and about beautiful Santa Barbara, to the north. The latter city is tucked in between the coast and mountains and is loved for its palm tree-lined beaches, golf courses, shopping and Mediterranean climate.

People come all year. “Snowbirds” visit in the winter, swelling the populations of desert communities like Palm Springs. Families headed for the beach or theme parks come in summer because that’s when their kids are out of school.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Go whitewater rafting on the Kern River, which flows from head-waters surrounding California’s highest peak, Mount Whitney (14,495 feet), to the arid landscapes near Bakersfield. Guided trips operate from April through August and come in varying degrees of difficulty.
  • Follow the Fresno County Fruit Trail which puts you on the scent of orchards filled with fresh fruit from May to September. More than 40 farms participate.
  • Kayak in the Channel Islands National Park. Also, at this park, you can dive and snorkel, go fishing, do some bird-watching and, depending on the season, watch seals, sea lions and whales.
  • Go surfing in the Pacific.
  • Choose hiking, and the trip can be as challenging as you want. Consider the two-day hike 21 miles up San Gorgonio Peak which, at 11,499 feet, is the tallest mountain in the region (about two hours east of downtown Los Angeles, in the San Bernardino National Forest).
  • Attend a Boot Camp for Women (Rancho Cucamonga, Upland and Riverside) that can last four weeks and addresses fitness, diet and motivational training.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Fish for trout at Irvine Lake; camp on site.
  • Come to Pasadena for the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Parade. You have to plan that in advance, and the same applies to the Rose Bowl football game if you want to attend.
  • Sample Mexican food, Southern California style.
  • Vacation at a guest ranch. You determine if this will be a soft adventure (golf, tennis, hayrides and slow jaunts on a horse) or not so soft (participating in ranch activities like rounding up cattle).
  • Go bird-watching in the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, where more than 240 bird species have been observed.
  • Attend the races at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Sample the original Disney experience at Disneyland. For a change of pace, visit Knott’s Berry Farm.
  • Go to theater at La Jolla Playhouse.
  • See the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. See the Air Force One craft that served U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon through Bill Clinton. George W. Bush flew on it once.
  • Look in on Solvang, which was founded by Danish Americans and retains a distinctly Danish character with Old World architecture, gas-lighted lamps and traditional windmills, not to mention the restaurants and bakeries.
  • Take a tour of Beverly Hills, and book a tour to see the interior of a movie or TV studio. This may sound very stereotypical, even corny, but it can be lots of fun.
  • Spend a day at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park. It is part of Balboa Park, which also houses several museums, lovely gardens and the Ruben H. Fleet Space Theater.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Visit California at