Channel Islands

Most people in the Southwest have probably heard of Cornado Island just off the coast of San Diego. But what about the Channel Islands? You'll have to go a few hours north to the Los Angeles coastline (Ventura) to see these beauties. Just an hour's ferry ride away, these eight islands boast bold and rugged coastlines with tons of hiking and vegetation, sometimes reminding you of a Jurassic Park movie. Here are some pictures of Santa Cruz island, the biggest of the eight islands and part of Channel Islands National Park:

A $60 ferry ride will get you to a remote part of the world and out of the hustle and bustle of LA. It's a nice escape that you can turn into a day of kayaking, hiking, or even some cliff diving and an ocean swim on one of the secluded beach areas.

Death Valley

With a name like Death Valley I thought I might be stumbling upon a place of depravity and desolation, on my hands and knees crawling to find a drop of water. Boy was I wrong. Hills and hills colored with tans, browns, and golds, a basin full of salt that covers the ground like a blanket, and miles of silky smooth sand dunes proved my thesis wrong. The views were other-worldly; the kinds of places where you have to blink twice to remind yourself you're actually there. Here a few pics to prove my point.

Now, don't get me wrong...your experience of Death Valley will much depend on the time of year that you go. May I recommend winter?! Highs were in the 60's instead of summer highs of the not so hot 120's. Yikes! I definitely recommend going to the visitor center which lies in the middle of the National Park. From there you can head in many directions to enjoy the park. I think that you will find your time there surprisingly wonderful!

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