Step Outside - California WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - California 144 144 Mon, 12 Nov 2018 14:48:06 -0600 SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve On the far reaches of Los Angeles sits Antelope Valley—a magnificent space often overlooked. With its annual explosion of beautiful poppies each year, this reserve is a sight that must be experienced. If you can’t make it in the spring, you’ll still find plenty to do and see both within the park and the surrounding area. From local museums that showcase area history to top-notch restaurants, here are the best things to do in and around Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. 

The Antelope Valley California Reserve is located in the high desert and relies on nature to create the amazing blooms that draw visitors from around the world each year to gaze in awe at the poppies and wildflowers that bloom. During the spring the area is filled with people taking a look at the fields or exploring single blossoms. The park is for day use and picnics, so you can bring a pack and explore the miles of trails that go through the blooms, but don’t veer off and risk crushing the flora. Nearby are other state parks, where you can find other types of flora and fauna to check out. Be sure to check in at the visitor center, which has a lot of information about the park as well as features artwork inspired by the flowers.

The Lancaster Museum of Art and History is a good way to learn about the original citizens of the valley as well as check out historical structures, local artists, and spend some time indoors. Lancaster’s weather tends to fluctuate between hot and cold so having a museum to step into can be a great relief. Museum hours vary depending on which building you check out so be sure to plan ahead.

Apollo Community Regional Park isn’t your typical neighborhood park. Fifty-four acres named after the Apollo 11 astronauts include three large stocked ponds for fishing. Walk around on the walking trails or enter one of the annual fishing derbies! 

The Antelope Valley Winery features wines from local vineyards as well as exotic meats. Sign up for a tour or try a tasting. You can also pick up a picnic to enjoy in the poppy fields or other park. Call in advance for details, especially if you’re planning a trip with a large group. 

Wine tasting 🍷

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There is almost always something going on at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. Bridal shows, food fairs, bingo parties, and more are frequently at the fairgrounds. There are often events for kids, including book fairs, petting zoos, and more, and all events are held throughout the year, not just during poppy season. Stop by to check it out.

The Antelope Valley Mall is a spacious spot to shop. The mall features many of the biggest chain stores as well as a few local retailers in addition to holding shopping and makeup events. The movie theater at the mall is also a good place to spend a few hours relaxing between seeing the sights! 

BeX Bar & Grill is a local gastropub with a casual vibe. Chill out with a beer from the selection on tap or indulge in weekend brunch before you head out to the poppy fields. Friendly service and a big selection helps ensure a good time and good grub. 

The Modern Tearoom is an unexpected retreat from the heat. You’ll find salads, sandwiches, and tea but with a more laid-back vibe than a traditional tea service. Locals enjoy snacking between shopping.

A great taste of Cajun country in the desert, Crab N Spice is a fun way to get messy and indulge in a seafood spread. Try it for lunch or dinner and choose your own spices and seafood! 

Gasoline & Coffee is a garage-themed coffee shop that is a perfect blend of swanky coffee and rough and tumble. Whether you like your coffee decaf or regular, you can find a basic cup of black alongside sweet treats and frozen blends.

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in California California isn’t all cities and towns. When you need to get out and off the beaten track, you can head to one of California’s numerous ATV off-roading trails. Family fun, buddy trips, and more can be planned around the state’s ATV adventures. Many offer campgrounds so that you can spend the night in an RV or tent after your ride. Here are five cool spots for ATV off-roading in the Golden State. 

Ocotillo Wells has over 85,000 acres to explore. You can camp but be sure to check the website for the rules and the supplies that you can and can’t bring into the area. While fans love the Wild West, comforts like clean bathrooms stocked with everything you need are also appreciated. Spend the day or night to enjoy the natural beauty. And be sure to be respectful so that Ocotillo Wells can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Just miles from the Mexican border, Heber Dunes is a favorite for ATV riders and other off-road vehicles. You can’t camp but you can play in the dunes from dawn until dusk. Winding trails and different types of sand dunes mean that you’ll have plenty of space to explore for a day. You can also find classes on safety and rules of the off-road. You’ll also find community events and other activities that come up during holiday weekends and other fun things to do at Heber Dunes.

Hollister Hills is filled with various ranches to take out your ATV.  Have a picnic or campout and enjoy panoramic views and amazing trails. The Upper Ranch sits on 800 acres and has about 24 miles of trails to explore. Watch out for wildlife and be cautious. The stunning views and few crowds make it a favorite spot to enjoy. Maps and clearly marked trails make it a place to experience nature safely.

As the third largest unit of California State Park’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, Hungry Valley is one of the more accessible SRVA spots for the city of Los Angles. Just a short ride north of the city off the I-5, Hungry Valley is an easy weekend getaway for when you need to get away but the kids are still in school. The vast variety of trails means that you can be a beginner or an experienced rider and find a trail or two to experience.

Located near Oroville, Clay Pit is a small but prime spot for riding motorcycles, ATVs and 4x4s. The pit is left over from the days of building the Oroville Dam. It’s a prime spot for beginners or teaching kids. There aren’t many jumps or different types of terrain, so it’s easier to get acclimated to the area.

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in California In the fall, the forests of California come to life with vibrant colors, painting a landscape of oranges, yellows, and reds. The very best way to view nature’s annual showing of magical colors is by embarking on a fall foliage hike. These five stunning hikes help you experience Mother Nature at her best. 

Are you seeking outdoor adventure? Do you love the season’s changing leaves and flowers with the cinnamon reds, fiery peaches, bright golden hues, and muddy browns? Bishop Creek Canyon has more than a dozen day trails that take you into autumn nirvana. The only limitation is your imagination and how far your feet will take you. Beautiful baby blue skies and fluffy white clouds are your ceiling as you travel through this magnificent wilderness area. You’ll see pristine lakes and rocky mountain majesties. Make sure you have plenty of water with you and stay on the marked trails. There’s no fee for day hiking, but if you plan to stay overnight, you’ll want to get an overnight pass at the White Mountain Ranger Station. 

Home to Native Americans originally, the Shasta Cascade region is in the northeast/north central part of California at the edge of Oregon and Nevada. There are seven national forests in the region, and well-known waterways, unspoiled lakes, and plunging waterfalls beckon a visit and a photograph or two. A favorite spot of John Muir’s, there is activity for everyone. Water recreation like canoeing, paddleboarding, a moonlight kayaking tour, or fishing, you name it, it’s here for the enjoyment. If you prefer a solitary hike where you can experience the peace and serenity of a crystal-clear lake or the pounding and rushing sound of water falling 138 feet, there’s that, too. Visit for day. Stay for a while. Remember forever. 

If you’re looking for a nice place to pitch your tent, tether your RV, or just spend the day hiking and fishing, Lundy Lake is the right place for you. This three-mile trail is not heavily traveled and is listed as difficult. The trail is dog-friendly as long as you remember to keep them under control. If you’re an avid photographer, you’ll find plenty of great photo opportunities here with the birds and fall foliage, and it’s not a far hike to the waterfalls. Summer and fall are the best times to come, and the aspen groves and beaver ponds are added perks to the hike. 

Known as the “Father of the National Parks,” John Muir was also a naturalist, environmentalist, and advocate for protecting the wilderness areas in and around Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park in California. The 211-mile hiking trail named after Muir is good for hikers of all ages, and every mile holds amazing and picturesque views of the state. This trail has the sunniest climate for a mountain range in the world, but hiking the trail is best between July and September. The complete trail can be accomplished in three weeks if you follow a steady pace. A permit is needed, so make sure to obtain one, and bears are frequently seen, so bring along a food container if you plan to spend the night. 

Recovering from the damage caused by a wildfire in nearby Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in 2003, the area around Palomar Mountain State Park is coming back to life with the fire of autumn. With almost 2,000 acres of green coniferous forests in the park, there are still brilliant bursts of color as the cedar trees change from green to golden yellow to vibrant orange to earthy brown. Evenings are cool, but you can take any of the 11 miles of hiking trails to locations like historic Boulder Hill, where the view from the old fire tower is magnificent. Part of the Boucher Summit Trail is handicap accessible, and there is information available about the tower, originally built in 1921 and maintained by park volunteers. Some of the trail provides an easy, slow-paced walk, but others require a half-day to complete. Maps are available and remember to get a day pass, which includes your overnight camping fee if you’re spending the night. 

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Johnson Valley OHV Area Although it feels fairly desolate with its desert terrain, Johnson Valley is close to nearby towns so that you can make a trip of your ATV off-roading adventure. The unincorporated community in San Bernardino County is bordered by mountains on one side and the high desert on the other, so you can explore both Big Bear and the Mojave. Check out how to spend a weekend off-roading in California’s Johnson Valley and the surrounding area. 

Before you start your day of adventure, you must stop to check out Calico Ghost Town. This town is one of the few remaining in California, and not far from the Johnson Valley area. It can be a nice spot to stretch out your legs and relax before you hit the trails. 

Before you hit the trails, fill your belly with a hearty meal at the Slash X Ranch Café. The Slash X Ranch is known for filling meals and also hosts events and fundraisers for off-roading enthusiasts. Open only on weekends for cold beer and hot food, Slash X is a decades-old family business known for their delicious chili cheese fries.

Johnson Valley is one of the best spots for off-roading in America and is local for much of Southern California. Johnson Valley hosts major off-roading events each year including the “King of the Hammer” competition. At the Johnson Valley community center, you can get maps of the off-roading area, which is very expansive and has welcomed families looking for off-roading adventures for years. You can camp at Johnson Valley, and millions of visitors do each year. Johnson Valley has a variety of terrain, from spots that resemble a rough lunar landscape and are rocky enough to rip metal off your vehicle, to canyons, washes, lakebeds and plenty of trails and offshoots.

After your day in the desert, head to the mountains. Big Bear isn’t far and is pretty easy to find after a day of exploring. Teddy Bear Restaurant is a home-style cash-only spot with a breakfast-all-day menu and a children’s menu. They’re open until 11 p.m. every day of the week. 

Johnson Valley offers plenty of rural campgrounds, but if you want something a little more contemporary, then head up to the Lodge at Big Bear Lake. The rustic cabin set up has all the modern amenities and a prime location right on the edge of town. There’s even a sauna to soothe aching muscles after a long day on the trails.  

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5 Best Fishing Spots in California California’s bounty of waterways makes it among the best fishing destinations in the country. From rivers and lakes to the Pacific Ocean, you can catch a variety of fish including bass, salmon, trout, and other varieties. Some of the biggest bass have been reeled in in California. Whether you’re an experience fisherman or just looking to get started, you’ll find plenty of fishing spots to fit your skills. And be sure to have a fishing license, which is required at all fishing spots in the state, to make your catch legal. Here are the best fishing spots in the state. 

Clear Lake State Park has a long history in California as the site of historic Native American and early settlers. Clear Lake is a favorite spot for fishing and other water activities. You can find largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and channel catfish in the lake and also explore hiking trails if you get tired of spending time on the water. Clear Lake has been named a favorite fishing spot by various publications.

Brannan Island is home to a variety of wildlife including waterfowl, otters, and a diverse array of fish. Fish species include striped bass, sturgeon, catfish, bluegill, perch, and bullhead. You can spend the day fishing or camp out on one of the available campgrounds. If you plan to camp out during the summer, then be sure to make a reservation because it’s a popular spot to camp and fish during the long days of summer.

Santa Monica Bay may seem like an unlikely fishing spot but it has a reputation for being a great spot to enjoy urban fishing. You can fish from select spots on the shore and there are even fishing classes available for beginners or those that want to learn more about fishing. It’s a perfect day spot so that you can lounge on the beach while you fish or rent a boat to take you around the bay and then stay in a swanky hotel in Santa Monica.

Shasta Lake offers fishing year-round, with different varieties filling the lake at different times of the year. You can rent a houseboat and fish day and night or take a small watercraft out on the water to try your luck. Be sure to buy a fishing license and you can rent gear at one of the helpful agencies that can provide you with everything you need to know about fishing in Lake Shasta.

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Sure, Echo Park Lake is probably familiar from its many appearances in movies and television shows, but did you know that you can also fish in the park? It’s one of Los Angeles’s best-kept secrets but many parks with lakes are stocked by the city’s fish and game department. Whatever isn’t caught is handily devoured by waterfowl. Try your luck in a paddleboat.

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in California RV camping is a great way to bond with friends and family and enjoy the outdoors. RV camping gets you away from the stress of the everyday and can help you explore new places and meet new people without totally giving up all your creature comforts. Saving money, exploring new regions, and trying new things are all possibilities when you travel in an RV. Along the way, spend some time at some of the best RV campsites in California. 

Livermore Valley Wine Country is just moments away from picturesque De Valle Regional Park in the East Bay area of Northern California. Close to the major cities of San Francisco, it’s also not a far drive to the more famous wine regions of Napa and Sonoma. You’ll find plenty to do inside the park with swimming beaches, boating, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and more activities. There are accommodations for RVs and campers as well as tents. Be sure to make a reservation as the campground is popular with families during the summer months but can also get chilly during the winter. 

Big Basin Redwoods is the oldest state park in California and also home to some of the state’s largest attractions: historic coastal redwood trees. The park is a popular spot to camp so make reservations in plenty of time. During the dry summer months, campfires are not permitted to prevent forest fires, but you can cook in permitted areas. Due to storms, some trails are inaccessible but you can still enjoy the amazing trees, waterfalls, animals, and forest wonders.

Malibu Beach is the only RV park in the area and is close to beach city’s most famous attractions and celebrity hot spots. Campsites are available with both ocean and mountain views. The well-maintained RV park is a favorite with people looking to spend time in the world-renowned region. More expensive than many parks, the showers and bathrooms are said to be worth the higher price—as are the views and close proximity to beaches and events in Malibu.

Pismo Sands is run by a family that loves to RV camp. The award-winning RV park has cottages in addition to parking spots, a pool, paved sites, free but limited Wi-Fi and cable, activities, sports, and other amenities including showers, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. Just moments from the beach, the grounds are well maintained and it’s easy to see why Pismo Sands is one of California’s favorite RV parks. 

Yosemite Pines is just 30 miles outside of the national park. The campsite offers premium pull-through and back-in sites and can be a good option if you find that campsites inside the park are full. You can choose from a variety of hook-up sites that offer power and water in addition to bathroom and shower facilities, picnic tables, and campfire rings. You can take a shuttle into Yosemite National Park and also take the opportunity to explore the small towns around the area. On-site, there are many activities for families including a playground, sports and games, and a gold mine for kids and even a petting farm.

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5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in California Is your idea of camping roughing it and pitching your tent far away from the maddening crowd? Or do you prefer a little closer to civilization and paved roads? Do you like the idea of camp fires and the smell of the changing season but not sure you want to experience all that nature offers and give up the soft life? Whatever your taste in outdoor overnight lodging, these five perfect fall camping spots in California will help you find the ideal setting for your fall adventure! 

Beautiful reflecting lakes in this northern California campground will enhance your autumn adventure and provide excellent photo opportunities. There are several camping sites in the area with half accepting reservations. There’s a picnic table, fire ring with grill, and food storage container at each site, but no RV hookups. A new volcano adventure camp opened and gives kids a chance to learn about the volcanic activity that formed the area. Make sure to use the food storage containers as bears frequent the area and don’t always ask before taking food. 

Park of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the oldest park in the state. Visitors will have the chance to see the kings of the forest, the giant redwood trees that can grow from the size of a tomato seed to a height of nearly 367 feet tall and an average circumference of 22 feet. There are more than 80 hiking and backpacking trails in the park, but check to see if any are closed before heading out on your adventure. Fall is a particularly great time to camp at Big Basin, and is the best time to escape the heat of the summer and accompanying storms. Autumn brings abundant color changes in wildflowers. The four waterfalls are a special delight and may provide opportunities to see some of the animals and birds that live there. Leashed dogs are permitted in the camping area, but not on the trails. Check at the ranger station to see if any fees apply on trails that lead to hiking or rock climbing areas. 

One of 19 national parks and nestled in the southern part of the state, Sequoia National Forest is part of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, and has over one million acres with the world’s largest number of sequoia trees. Over 850 miles of trails and 14 campgrounds in the two national parks found there, the views are unsurpassed for majesty and the raw beauty of nature. From the spring wildflowers to the blankets of snow, fall may be the best time to visit the park with the golden tones and cooler temperatures providing optimal opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and just enjoying nature. There are many recreational activities in the area including horseback riding, boating, fishing, swimming, and mountain biking as well. Passes or permits may be required, so check in with the local rangers’ station. This is a wilderness area, so use caution when traversing on trails and stay on the established paths. 

If the idea of pitching your tent on the ground and roughing it doesn’t appeal to you, El Capitan Canyon is just the place for you. With 108 comfortable cabins and all the amenities of home that will make you feel warm and cozy, there are 300 acres to roam and explore nature. Located on the Pacific Coast, an unusual perk of camping here is that it’s a great place to catch a wave or two, kayak, or climb a rock. There are beautiful hiking trails for those who want a little more adventure. Imagine spending the day in the sun and surf, then coming back to your cabin to enjoy a brisk fall evening around a cozy fire singing camp songs. There are special camp experience packages available for those who want to enhance their stay, such as s’more and barbecue kits, massage treatments with licensed therapists, and wine tasting events with other campers. 

With over 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas, and 110 miles of hiking trails that include 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrega Desert State Park is many things, but ordinary isn’t one of them. This state park inside the Colorado Desert in southern California gets its name from the bighorn sheep that live there. Many people choose to set up base camp at Borrego Springs and travel to one of the world’s oldest and most diverse areas where you can see badlands, canyons, and mountains. Any season brings a special color, but fall is one of the best times to visit. You’ll see desert plants and flowers not seen elsewhere, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife. This is also a Dark Sky Community, perfect for stargazing. The local Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Associate offers over 150 free programs that will give you more information about the area and enrich your visit. Check with local ranger stations for any applicable fees or passes needed while there. 

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Start Your Trek: 7 Unbeatable Hiking Retailers in California California is filled with gorgeous hiking trails waiting to be explored. Before you head out into the great outdoors, you’ll want to be well-equipped with the best hiking gear to tackle an adventure. When it comes to choosing gear, it’s best to ask an expert, and the retailers in California offer the advice of intrepid hikers. They’ll provide you with all the gear you could possibly need to enjoy the hike, wherever it may lead. Check out these awesome places to buy hiking equipment, whether you’re hitting the trails for the first time or climbing a mountain for the fifth time.  

Elevation is a small shop tucked into a small town of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The owner and staff are friendly and offer everything you need to enjoy the outdoor scene in the area, whether you’re climbing Mt. Whitney or something a little lower. They stock big brands like Mountain Hard Wear and Mammut and smaller brands like Keen.

REI retail stores are peppered throughout California, and the REI location in Saratoga has been providing hiking equipment since 1985. Many hikers love REI’s liberal return policy supported by great service and a huge selection of name brands. This location frequently hosts events designed to help both novices and experts have a safe time in the outdoors. You’ll find hiking equipment from trusted brands like Outdoor Research and Salomon as well as things you might overlook like daypacks and blister kits.

+ ๏ REI 21.09.17 #PP #camping

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Patagonia’s outdoor wear has set new expectations. Started in Ventura County, you can find Patagonia products and stores all over the nation, but one of the best remains in Ventura. Patagonia continues to be an example of truly appreciating the outdoors by creating fabrics that don’t harm the environment while you appreciate it. If you plan to hike in the area, check out all the lightweight clothing that Patagonia is known for.

Nomad Ventures has several locations in Southern California. You’ll find a lot of recognizable brands as well as smaller brands. Stop in to find gear from Camp USA and Wild Country. The staff is filled with adventurers that can recommend new products as well as help new adventurers get started.  

Sonoma Outfitters is located in the midst of wine country, some of California’s most scenic spaces. Despite the relatively small name, Sonoma Outfitters offers a big array of hiking options. The store is continually updating stock from names in outdoor gear and wear. You can find kids’ hiking clothes from Columbia as well as stuff for grownups from SmartWool and Thorlos.  

Marmot is a well-known outdoor clothing brand that has select flagship stores, including a San Francisco location. Look for waterproof clothing, windproof clothing and items that you can easily layer as well as pants, accessories, jackets, packs and other gear that you might need for hiking. You can often find a great deal on the high-quality apparel when it goes on sale at the end of a season. 

Arc’Teryx is a brand hailing from Canada and taking its name from the first reptile to grow feathers for flight. You can find their products in various outdoor stores around the world and in select brand stores as well, like their new Los Angeles location. You pick up hiking boots from the namesake brand as well as attend events on things like the best ways to care for your cold weather gear. The store is a good place to find high-end clothing, shoes and gear for any hiking or camping that might be done in less than sunny weather.

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in California There’s more to archery than a simple bow and arrow. The sport takes invested time, patience, and the latest in technology to hit your mark. From deer hunting to target shooting, California’s first-rate archery outfitters will set you up for success. For high-quality brands and the proper guidance, check out the 10 best in the state! 

Customers love that Wilderness Archery not only carries top brands like Mathews, Hoyt, PSE, Bowtech, and more, but a staff that is knowledgeable about archery and can do things like tune and repair equipment. The staff is patient and helpful to make sure that customers know exactly what they need.

Upgrading #archery #bow #bowhunting #hoyt

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At Predator’s Archery, you can take lessons and learn about archery before you purchase equipment. Many fans love the experts for patience and guiding wisdom and end up taking more than one lesson! Check out the local Groupon for deals on lessons as a unique way to spend an afternoon.

Can't wait to get my bow!!!

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Riverside Archery has a knowledgeable staff that has made it a favorite with both new archers and more experienced fans. Look for Groupon deals as an introduction to the sport and then check out the store’s stock of gear and equipment to continue to enjoy the sport.


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Hi-Tech Archery offers one-on-one training for new archers as well as the latest gear for more experienced archers. Patient instructors offer guidance for both adults and kids, making it a family-friendly place to stop.

Bullock’s Archery is a one-stop shop for all archery needs. Whether you need lessons, guidance, or help to start things out for the first time, Bullock’s can steer you in the right direction. More experienced archers will find gear and services to customize equipment and repair it.

Another shipment of new bows came in today.

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The helpful and friendly staff help new archers and experienced hunters find everything they need to enjoy the sport! The owner has a long-time fan base of loyal customers that drive to his store from all over the Bay Area to get personalized attention that can’t be found at larger outdoor equipment shops.

Shopping #archery

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The family-run business has been a favorite spot for archers of all experience levels for years. The experienced staff will help you find the right bows and equipment to fit your needs and skills as well as offer lessons, rentals, and other tools and tips. 

Bow N Arrow Shop is a good place to start learning about archery. From helping you get set up with gear to offering advice on how to best shoot, Bow N Arrow has it all. Be prepared to wait if you go on a weekend as the customer service is excellent and accommodates each individuals’ needs. 

FS Discount Archery is a no-frills shop that offers customized service. You’ll find great deals and prices as well as a smart staff that can help you out with all of your archery needs. Hours are limited but you can also make orders online and over the phone. The shop has been a family run business since 1968, so they must be doing something right! 

TLC Archery is a labor of love from a husband and wife with a big ranch and many years of experience as professionals in archery. Call ahead to make a reservation for a lesson or a practice session and check out the variety of equipment they have in stock. The staff is happy to help with all your archery needs and even custom order anything that they may not carry. 

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9 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in California From the sparkling Pacific Ocean to shimmering mountain streams, California is king for top-quality fishing opportunities. With such a diverse topography and the opportunity to catch bass, perch, halibut, and more, it’s an angler’s haven. Make sure you’re outfitted with all of the right rods, reels, and bait, before you head out. Here are nine trustworthy bait and tackle shops in California. 

Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle is for serious fishermen only. If you’re looking to catch a big fish in the surrounding waters, head here for the best gear, the best advice, and the best overall knowledge of fishing in California. Due to its proximity to the ocean, the shop mostly focuses on saltwater angling.

The Longfin has been catching fish since the 1980s and has continued to grow since then. Now, the Longfin is stocked both in store and online and has an expert staff ready to help you with your fishing needs. You can book exclusive fishing tours and find other unique help with your catch. 

With two Southern California locations to serve you and online help available, CharkBait is serious about fishing. They help you whether you’re looking for something small or big and can answer pretty much any question you have while suppling all of your fishing needs.

It’s always good to have insider information and Pier Bait has it all. The shop may be new but the staff has been fishing off the Oceanside Pier for years and knows all the secrets of how to land your catch. You can rent gear and find all the stuff you need to spend a relaxing day fishing.

Penny Rod & Bait has created a beloved presence in the fishing communities of West Sacramento. Early opening hours and a location near the freeway make it an easy place to stop in on your way to a number of fishing spots in the river-filled area.

Bob’s Bait Shop is located in one of the best fishing regions in the country. The nearby rivers are filled with bass, sturgeon, and salmon and Bob’s Bait Shop has what you need to catch them all. It is a rare bait shop in that it carries live crawdads and other specialty items.

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Johnny’s Sport Shop is where locals head to get their gear repaired between fishing trips. The shop is where fishermen stop by on the way to fish the waters of Catalina or Mexico and need to stock up on supplies. The friendly staff makes recommendations and offers everything you need for a great trip.

Jiggling along. #fishing #johnny'ssportsshop

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Coyote Discount Bait & Tackle has deals on gear and equipment whether you’re looking to fish the rivers and lakes of Northern California or head further away to snag your catch. The knowledgeable staff keeps a well-stocked store so that locals always find something new each time they stop in. 

Last Chance Tackle draws its name from its location as the last chance to get gear before you head up the mountain to fish. From a bare bones operation, Last Chance Tackle has grown to offer everything you need to enjoy a successful fishing trip—whether it’s local or far.

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Best Places to Fish on the West Coast This Fall For offshore saltwater fishermen, tuna grab most of the attention along the Pacific Coast in autumn as the pelagic fish work their way up the coast following vast schools of Pacific anchovies and sardines. Tuna or salmon – either way, there’s a real tug-of-war involved. Check with state and local tourism offices for information about charter boat and guide services.

Tuna Time

In July, a trio of tunas –yellowfin, albacore and bluefin – start showing up in numbers offshore in northern Mexico, and by October it’s an all-out fishfest for anglers aboard charter boats from California to Washington. 

Considering that most boats are likely to fish well offshore, tuna-fishing expeditions might stay out up to a week in the peak of season, though some trips can be shorter if the skipper thinks anglers can fill their limits in a day. With San Diego, CA the southern epicenter of tuna charters, and Westport, WA, on the northern end, visiting fishermen won’t have any trouble finding rides.

Expect to pay $215-$275 for day trips to the inshore tuna grounds. Some charters go farther offshore and stay a few days. The cost then is about $275 multiplied by the number of days.

Hot Spots To Fish: H&M Landing (619-222-1144, at San Diego is a recommended portal to adventure. Go north as the season progresses, and try a boat out of Westport Charters (360-268-0900, in Washington.

Tackle You’ll Need: Any of the three types of tuna might weigh from 20 pounds to more than 300 pounds (for bluefins). Thus, unless they plan to rent rigs for about $20 and up per day, anglers take along their own tackle and that might include two or three fishing outfits to cover any contingency. Everything from medium baitcasters or spinning outfits to heavier revolving-spool rigs, such as the Shimano TLD 20 and TLD 25 reels matched with Shimano TDR70MB 7-foot trolling rods (10- to 17-pound test) or TDR70MHB 7 foot medium-heavy (12- to 30-pound test line), match up well with most tunas likely to be encountered.

Quick Tip: Make friends with the mates on the charter boat you’ve chosen. They’ll be more likely to help you when the big tuna on the end of your line is ready to come into the boat. Be sure to tip generously – say 15 to 20 percent of the charter fee.


Best Lures/Baits: Depending on the flexibility of the skipper, anglers might be limited to using live bait such as anchovies or sardines, or jigging spoons such as the Shimano Flat Fall. However, sometimes anglers can troll big crankbaits such as the Rapala Magnum X-Rap 30, the Yo-Zuri 3D Magnum or the Mann’s Giganticus.

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North Coast Chinooks

Like the fall tuna run off the Pacific coast, the chinook (king) salmon run advances in stages, with October being the peak month and extending into November. For the widest window of opportunity, plan to fish the rivers and tributaries of Washington and Oregon that feed into the Columbia River.

Hot Spots To Fish: Though much less known and much smaller than its more famous neighbors to the north, Oregon’s Chetco River produces hundreds of jumbo kings weighing more than 20 pounds throughout the fall. The Winchuck, closer to California, is another small fishery with big salmon. Call Ironhead Guide Service (530-598-0530,, to set up a trip to either.

Tillamook Bay and its feeders are prime hangouts for chinooks, and Marvin’s Guide Service (503-314-5087) can put you on them. For numbers, it’s hard to beat the Winchester Bay, Rogue River, Umpqua and Coos systems. Salmon Harbor Tackle & Marine (541-271-2010) is well-stocked with tackle and salmon fishing advice. Up the Columbia River Gorge, the folks at Jones Sport Fishing (208-861-0654, have the latest scoop on salmon.

Photograph Courtesy of Jones Sport Fishing
Most of the West Coast’s rivers and bays are swarming with autumn-run salmon. Whether an angler is fishing on a charter boat or with a guide, the action can be fast and furious.

Tackle You’ll Need: Fall chinook might weigh more than 50 pounds, so meat fishermen who go after salmon typically use heavy spinning or baitcasting gear. Consider the Ambassadeur S Combo with a Model 6500 baitcaster and matching 7-foot medium-heavy rod. For spinning fans that do a lot of casting, the Shakespeare Ugly Stick 9-foot rod with matching reel is a good choice. For the sportier types who like challenges, 10- or 12-weight fly fishing tackle is popular. Just make sure the reel is spooled with lots of backing.

Quick Tip: The big waters such as Tillamook Bay and the Columbia River basin yield tons of salmon to hundreds of fishermen in prime time, but don’t overlook the other rivers along the northern Pacific Coast. Get a map and locate some streams that range far inland, then find out what you can about the fishery via the internet or calls to local tourism and Game and Fish offices. You might be happily surprised with what turns up.


Best Lures/Baits: Chinooks will eat a variety of cut bait gleaned from the local larder, or go after any lure that is large, wobbling and shiny. Various trolling spoons from Luhr-Jensen such as the Coyote Spoon or the Moonshine Trolling spoon, as well as the Luhr-Jensen Crippled Herring jigging spoon, work well. The original Buzz Bomb or Zelda jig are good choices when salmon are ganged up on herring schools.

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10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in California From the ocean to the mountains to the desert, California is full of possibilities at any time of the year, but fall brings with it some unique experiences in the Golden State. Whether you’re looking to explore Joshua Tree National Park or find the perfect jack-o’-lantern at a local pumpkin patch, here are 10 excellent autumn activities to enjoy in California. 

If orange is the new black, then pumpkins reign this time of year. There’s no better place to find the perfect Jack-o-lantern than at Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon. While you’re there, find your way through their beloved corn maze that has been featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. Coming or going, make a pit stop just down the road at the Nut Tree, a legendary road stop, now shopping complex, that’s been drawing travelers since 1921.

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This iconic mollusk put Pismo Beach on the map, so what better way to appreciate them than by throwing a festival in their honor?! The Pismo Clam Festival celebrates with three days of festivities—so expect to indulge on some seriously delicious clams. The Pismo clam is making a comeback, but they’re still too small to harvest. If the festival doesn’t satiate your clam craving, stop by Splash in downtown for a bowl of award-winning clam chowder.

For more than 100 years, Filoli, a country estate in Woodside, has been home to magnificent gardens that capture the Golden Age of American garden design. This time of year, there are a number of fall festivities that showcase the garden’s autumn beauty. The house and garden are managed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. After the garden party, have a tea party at Lovejoy’s Tea Room in nearby Redwood City.

Pick a peck of apples at Stone Soup Farm and Heritage Orchard in Oak Glen, home to a 130-year-old heirloom apple orchard. Their signature apple is Stayman-Winesap, a late harvest variety. Before pickin’, visitors are treated to the history and information about the farm. Just down the road, wind up at your apple time at Los Rios Rancho. On the weekends, this orchard offers hay rides, free packing house tous, and a turn at cranking the antique cider press fors ome fresh apple cider. Yummy! 

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The fall’s cool evening air settles over the desert, making camping so much more enjoyable. With 600,000 acres of desert landscape, you’ll have plenty of room to breathe in the crisp fall air at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The crystal clear skies make stargazing accessible with the naked eye. To identify even more at this International Dark Sky Park take a Borrego Night Sky Tour and you’ll spot stellar clusters, planets and distant galaxies. 

Drive up Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada to Bishop, a jumping off spot for a parade of gold, orange and russet colors from the aspen, cottonwood and willow trees that line the creeks, circle the lakes and climb up the mountain summits. Pick up a picnic lunch at Schat’s Bakery, a landmark in town since 1938, and home of the original sheepherder bread that makes one heck of a sandwich.

Traditional Bavarian fun is the on display at Alpine Village which hosts the oldest and longest running Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California. They’ve been hosting it for 50 years, so they’re spot on when it comes to brats and beer. A German market, bakery and Beerhall onsite helps keep the fun going year-round. If the magic of Bavaria starts to wear thin and you’re hankering for something other than Paulaner beer, try a craft beer at the nearby Smog City Brewing’s beer garden. The Devil Up a Tree sour ale is frightfully good. 

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Find out at Joshua Tree National Park where the Mojave and Colorado desert merge northeast of San Diego. Autumn brings the temperatures down a notch and a hike in the Park is a reasonable option. Personalize the outing with a single, multi-day or backcountry guided tour from Joshua Tree Excursions. The morning and evening glow in the desert environment is ideal for picture-taking. Unleash your inner photographer with a photography workshop with Joshua Tree Workshops. Not only will you discover what a yucca is, you’ll get up-close-and-personal with one.

Yes, you can surf the California coast just about any time of year, but fall brings with it really great cross swells, excellent offshore wind conditions and a few less people. Huntington Beach claims the moniker “Surf City USA.” So hang ten here and take a surfing lesson with Banzai Surf School. Lessons include surfboards, wetsuits and “all the sand you can eat.” If getting in the water is not your thing, grab a table at Ruby’s Diner at the end of Huntington Beach Pier to see all the ocean action.

Harvest is underway and crush is happening at wineries throughout the state. The vineyards in Monterey County’s Salinas Valley, though, are a best, little known secret. Drive The River Road Wine Trail past vineyards aglow in crimson, orange and yellow. Take a tour with Monterey Guided Wine Tours and leaving the driving to them. They’ll even pack a picnic lunch to take along. The area is well-known for its Pinot Noir grapes, growing more than any other region in the state. Check out the beautiful Mazoni Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands and snag a bottle or two for keepsake. 

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Camping Done Right: 5 Essential Outdoor Stores in California California’s plethora of wide open spaces, stunning beaches, tall mountains, and other natural wonders make it a prime spot for camping. Whether you are new to the outdoors or need to replace some old gear, you can find an excellent camping gear retailer in California. In addition to many big-brand name stores, you can find outstanding independent retailers or California-only chains. Check out some of the essential places to stock up on everything you need to spend time in the great outdoors, whether you’re looking to explore beaches or mountains.

Gear Coop has roots as a climbing equipment store but has since grown to offer gear, gadgets, and more for all types of outdoor activity, including camping. The brick and mortar store has expanded to an online shop but diehards still love going to the store to shimmy up the in-store climbing wall and test items like climbing shoes. The store’s return policy and friendly and knowledgeable staff has created legions of fans that go back for climbing shoes and camping equipment. At Gear Coop, you’ll find everything from Camelbak backpacks, to Marmot jackets, to Granite Gear, which is perfect for a backcountry adventure. 

Adventure 16 has roots in an Orange County garage but has grown to include four stores in locations all over California in the over 40 years it has been in business. As Adventure 16 has grown, it has introduced a signature lifetime guarantee on many products. Lightweight tent poles and warm camping wear were early introductions to the company’s long policy of well-made products. In addition to fulfilling outdoor adventure needs such as camping gear, Adventure 16 also hosts in-store events and clinics that teach about outdoor adventuring. Find excellent brands such as Big Agnes, Darn Tough, Osprey, and much, much more. 

Orange Army Navy store in Orange is a rare family-owned store that has been in business since 1955. Orange Army Navy offers everything you need for camping and campers appreciate the ability to purchase high-quality used military-grade products. The spot is also popular for offering a wide variety of sleeping bags, camp stoves, and cooking gear. The store carries brands such as Camelbak, Bushnell, and GSI

Last Minute Gear is great for when you randomly decide you want to go camping but don’t have any equipment. The store will even deliver everything you need to wherever you happen to find yourself, for an additional fee. You can buy or rent a variety of camping equipment and the store has a very flexible 24/7 availability policy so that you can augment your camping gear any time you need it—just make an appointment. Choose from excellent brands such as Big Agnes, Marmot, North Face, and more. The unique camping gear model is a hit with people that don’t have enough gear to share with unexpected friends or are first time campers feeling overwhelmed with options.

Outdoor World has three locations from Santa Cruz to Seaside. Not affiliated with Bass Pro Shops, Outdoor World has been serving the Monterey Bay area for nearly 40 years. Although there are a lot of campgrounds and beaches to explore, there aren’t a lot of camping stores and Outdoor World offers every imaginable item for camping from pads and air beds to tents and accessories from known brands like Coleman, Therm-a-rest, and other major players.

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5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in California Do you dream of white sandy beaches and pitching your tent on one of California’s sunny coastal areas? Most beach campsites are maintained by California State Parks and are charged with protecting and preserving the environment, plant and animal species, historic landmarks, eco-sensitive areas, and Native American sites. Over 67 million people travel to the 340 miles of coastline to hike the 4,500 miles of trails, and camp at the 15,000 campsites across the state. Below are five of the most beautiful beach campsites in the Golden State.  

This RV-only camping ground offers three miles of sandy shores and overnight camping spots can be reserved through Los Angeles’ online reservation system. Land lovers will appreciate the four miles of bike trails that are part of the larger 22-mile coastal bike system called the Marvin Braude Bike Trail. If you prefer water activities, you can boat, scuba dive, snorkel, swim, and windsurf. The campsites have hookups for RVs, but you’ll want to get your reservation early since there is typically a six-month wait. 

Located along the Pacific Coast Highway, Bolsa Chica State Beach is a sun worshiper’s dream. And if you want to find the perfect wave for surfing, the prime waves and surf breaks here are some of the best around. Whether you’re into surfing, beach volleyball, swimming, or just relaxing on the beach soaking up the sun, you’ll find Bolsa Chica State Park to be the perfect place to stay at one of the 50 campsites. Tent camping isn’t permitted, but fire rings are available until 10 p.m. for late-night beach parties. The visitors center has exhibits and picnic tables and outdoor showers are available. You can even rent a special wheelchair for the beach for those who need it. One of the most unique activities for this state beach is the hand-fishing. After obtaining a fishing permit, you can try your hand at catching California grunion, a type of fish that uses the sandy southern California beaches for spawning. 

One of the few beach areas in the state that offers tent camping, there are a limited number for those who prefer that to RV sites. Literally steps away from the ocean, you might be lucky enough to see dolphins swimming in the distance. If you want to get up close and personal, you could rent a boat and go whale-watching. There are several aquariums nearby, and a visitor’s center where you can get more information on the area. Beach lovers who don’t wish to stay overnight can still enjoy the beach by using the five-acre law for picnics and beach volleyball games.

A sunken ship, the SS Palo Alto, can be seen lying in its watery grave on Seacliff State Beach near Santa Cruz, California. The first state beach granted for the preservation of land, Seacliff Beach is the natural habitat of birds, mammals, marine animals, and land and aquatic plant life. Surfing, fishing, hiking, biking, geocaching, and picnics are very popular here, and RV camping is permitted with fire pits for outdoor enjoyment. Beach-side grilling and dog walking on the beach are also very popular activities at Seacliff Beach. 

Point Reyes National Seashore is 100 square-miles of the most picturesque national camping beaches in the country with over 33,000 acres of natural coastal beauty. If you stop by the visitor’s center, you’ll see a fence that was split during an earthquake in 1903 along the San Andres Fault line. The fault runs through the park and provides a great visual of the movement that has continued separating the peninsula from its original location 310 miles away. There are a total of three visitor centers, including one housed in a lighthouse that gives information on several points of interest in the park, such as the redwood structure built by the Miwok people many years ago. Tomales Point is where you may see elephant and harbor seals, tule elk, and over 490 species of birds. There are options for overnight lodging, including a hostel, two historic ranches, and several campgrounds that are only accessible by boat or hiking. RV and tent camping are both allowed, but check the Point Reyes website for additional information. 

Comaniciu Dan/ Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in California When it comes to camping, sometimes it’s nice to go for the simple things. Although California is filled with glamping spots that bring the luxuries and the amenities of the indoors outside, a little-known secret is that it is also filled with locations where you can get back to basics. Be prepared and do your homework, check with park rangers and invest in maps and books so that you know what to bring with you, and what to look for, before you head into the wilderness to explore some of the best backpack camping spots in California. 

Yosemite National Park is filled with campgrounds, but you can also backpack to spend the night under the stars. Backpacking requires a wilderness permit so make sure that you have your paperwork in order before you go off trail to explore the park’s famous highlights, like Half Dome, valleys and peaks, and other stunning sites and views.

Joshua Tree is at the meeting point of two different ecosystems, so you can opt to explore hills or valleys—just be aware that the mountain regions are not for the faint of heart, given their great elevation. In addition to campgrounds and day trails, you can also backpack in Joshua Tree, just be sure to check the website for pertinent information and be sure to register at one of the park’s backcountry registration boards for safety—and to prevent your car from being towed. Joshua Tree has numerous points of interest, so you can visit multiple times and never camp in the same spot.

Kings Canyon National Park includes spacious wilderness areas, perfect for exploring with a backpack. Conservation and respect for the existing and fragile ecosystems are a top priority so check the website for information about what you can and can’t bring into the park. Also, be aware of safety concerns like overflowing waterways that can be treacherous at many times of the year. Permits are required to backpack and many fees are also necessary to help monitor the amounts of visitors entering the park at busy times of the year.

A little-known fact about one of Orange County’s remaining open spaces is that Crystal Cove State Park offers backpack camping spots. Many backpack camping lovers use the relatively easy trails as a kind of training ground for more advanced trips. Locals tend to use the area as a quick overnight getaway, hitting the trail after work before sunset and getting to see the sunrise before hikers take over. Crystal Cove is filled with lots of hidden gems worth exploring and the ocean views are hard to beat. It’s a good place for newbies or people that want the experience without some of the harder hiking of bigger wilderness areas. Although Crystal Cove is closer to civilization than other backpack camping sites, check out the website for details about how and where to hike and use precautions before heading out.

The Barker Valley trail is a lesser-known trail that is relatively hidden. The hike to the trailhead is several miles within the park and requires a pass from the forest service to enter. Although there are swimming holes, waterfalls and creeks within, experienced hikers advise bringing plenty of water as water isn’t available at many times of the year and may not be drinkable. Beyond a few historic features, including an old mine and a homestead, there are little indications of man within the park. You’ll find lots of flora and fauna and a somewhat arduous hike so many advise spending the night on the way to the trail. 

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