If only more people knew how incredible these limestone caverns are. There are beaches that are good for sunbathing, and there are beaches that are good for ocean swimming. El Matador is neither of those.
Billed as the "largest indoor family entertainment center on the West Coast," the Fun Factory at the Redondo Beach pier is a blast from the past. Yeah, you heard right. It's not as silly as it sounds.
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Even right downtown, Bakersfield still has darker skies than you'll find in the L. This 95,acre preserve operated by the Wildlands Conservancy just west of Grapevine closes daily at p.
But if you want to step back in time to the turn of the last century, when Newport Beach made its mark on seaside recreation, visit The Balboa Pavilion, one of the last such waterfront recreational pavilions of the time to survive. Kern National Wildlife Refuge. But it's big, and it's quiet. This State Park tucked into the El Paso Mountains has skies as dark as the rest of the western Mojave did way back in There are very few places in Southern California with virtually no light pollution. This is one of those places. Although you can drive across it now, the Cabrillo Bridge a.
Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge. Start your journey in your car by crossing the canals along Dell Avenue between South Venice Boulevard and 28th Avenue — but then park your car and finish exploring on foot along the Grand Canal, where there are four bridges you can cross.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Sister Aimee Semple McPherson founded the Foursquare Church and commissioned its home — the Angelus Temple — to be built as a kind of theater for her illustrated sermons, which were huge productions replete with props, actors, and sound effects. First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. Fort Tejon State Historic Park. If you go at the right time, hiking your way through this mini ghost town of barracks and mess halls and other military facilities can seem particularly ghostly.
Among the unincorporated communities up there, between the turn-of-the-last-century railroad town of Cantil and the watering hole of Indian Wells, lies an expansive California state park with stunning displays of red rocks, sites of paleontological significance and — if the weather cooperates — colorful wildflowers. This country road between Redlands and Beaumont is lightly traveled at night, with I and route 60 offering far speedier alternatives.
That means not too many headlights to destroy your night vision. Skies here still bear the influence of the Pomona and San Gabriel valleys' nighttime illumination, but you should be able to see lots of relatively faint stars here that would be washed out in San Dimas. Just a ten-minute drive from Interstate 15, the Lytle Creek Ranger Station is an easily accessed stargazing spot in the foothills of the eastern San Gabriels. One valley north of Lytle Creek, this sleepy mountain road between Wrightwood and Cajon Pass will have slightly darker skies, and fewer nearby lights, than its neighbor.
Skies are about as dark here as you can find in the non-desert portions of Riverside County.
This is another place that's great for those nights when you need some stars before you hit the sack. Borrego Springs is a great gateway to the state's largest state park, Anza-Borrego, and its residents and businesses have enthusiastically taken on the task of keeping night lighting to a minimum to preserve Anza-Borrego's night-time environment.
About half of this iconic National Park is in the Low Desert, and that just happens to be the darker half. Midland Ghost Town, Riverside County. The Colorado River Astronomy Club holds its meetups here, and it's not hard to figure out why: this desert ghost town has nice dark skies aside from the small light dome over Blythe and it's accessible. If being five miles up a deserted canyon in the Palo Verde Mountains seems a bit too civilized for you, then the Black Hills is where you'll want to be. Corn Springs campground is surprisingly quiet for being so accessible, and the formidable Chuckwalla Mountains that surround the campground do a great job of blocking off light from the highway.
This spot might be the only stargazing site we've heard of with a nine-hole disc golf course. Best known for being the one road into Parkfield, the Earthquake Capital of California, Cholame Valley Road also offers nice dark skies within easy striking distance of Routes 46 and 41 east of Paso Robles. Queen Califia's Magical Circle.
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Niki de Saint Phalle's last large-scale work can be found tucked away inside the Iris Sankey Arboretum of Kit Carson Park in Escondido — unbelievably preserved and, as the name implies, magical. Turn onto Red Hill and find a convenient wide spot away from the occasional headlights on You should be able to find a spot in the first few miles to pull just off the road and drink in the night skies. For darker skies along the coast it's hard to beat the Santa Lucia Range, which in their Monterey County portion offer night skies to rival anywhere in the California desert.
This is as close as you'll get to a desert on the Central Coast, in terms of both habitat and deep dark sky. James T. Hubbell's compound in East San Diego County where he lives and works is worth a visit if only to see his mosaic work. After years in disuse and finally being sold in , the former Wilshire Boulevard home of the Freemasons of the Scottish Rite Order has now transformed into the Marciano Art Foundation, a contemporary art museum that's free and open to the public. From the moment you arrive at the front gate of the Mosaic Tile House, the tile-covered labyrinth of the front yard — littered with bathtub benches, bathtub planters, and various arches crossing over above and animals arising from the patio below — is completely overwhelming.
Joseph Young was a critically lauded mosaic artist of national repute whose many masterworks in the field of decorative arts included the mural that embellishes the exterior of the Richard Neutra-designed Hall of Records building in the Civic Center of downtown L. In what's now California's northeast corner, lava flows from Medicine Mountain over the last half million years have left a network of lava tubes and other volcanic formations for you to explore. About a four hour drive from downtown Los Angeles, Mahogany Flat is a great destination for those weekends that start a little early, so that you can get there before the crowds arrive.
Walker Pass, Pacific Crest Trail.
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California's oldest lake sits at around 6, feet, making it a lot cooler in summer than many desert destinations. Mid-Hills, Mojave National Preserve. And at around 5, feet with northern exposure to the breezes off Cima Dome, Mid-Hills is a bit cooler than the big preserve campground at Hole In The Wall, a thousand feet lower. Lone Pine Campground, Owens Valley. The Owens Valley car-camping experience doesn't get better than this. Cima Dome, Mojave National Preserve. At elevations ranging from the 4,s to the dome's subtle summit a hair above 5, feet, this place is well above the worst heat of the desert summer.
That means some pretty dark skies, and the local stargazing community takes full advantage. If your tastes run more toward small stargazing groups of one or two people, you can still avail yourself of the southeast backcountry's skies. Midway between Palomar Mountain and Anza-Borrego, the placid mountain town of Julian is better known for its apple orchards than its starry nights.
It's tempting to call Caltech's observatory a relic of darker nights gone by, but there's still some top-notch astronomy being conducted here.
San Diego State has operated its Mount Laguna Observatory in the county's southeastern mountains since You won't see nearly as many stars from the Torrey Pines State Reserve north of La Jolla, but the Reserve offers darker skies than you might expect, given its close proximity to urban life. In the s, a large swath of land had been devoted to either lima bean fields or sheep and cattle grazing — and that included a large portion of the Rancho San Joaquin and Rancho Lomas de Santiago that James Irvine bought and transformed into his expansive Irvine Ranch.
Sunkist , situated along an old Southern Pacific rail spur in the Packing District, is one of the few that remain in Southern California — and the only one left in Anaheim. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, much of the San Gabriel Valley was covered with citrus trees — and the city of La Verne called Lordsburg until was right at the center of it.
This peak in Los Padres National Forest in the northeast corner of the county has some of the darkest skies to be found in the Greater Southern California Megalopolis. About 15 miles or so farther along Lockwood Valley Road from Lake of the Woods, the eponymous Lockwood Valley has some seriously dark sky by coastal California standards.
Closer in to the civilized end of the county, the Oak Canyon Community Park in the town of Oak Park near Agoura Hills offers reasonably dark skies for the Freeway corridor. Ventura County's share of the Santa Monica Mountains has some of the darkest skies that urban-influenced range has to offer.
You might not think of Ojai as a prime stargazing location, but the city at the foot of the Topatopa Mountains still has remarkably dark skies considering almost 8, people live there. Any discussion of stargazing in Ventura County would be lacking if it didn't include a mention of the Moorpark College Observatory. The oldest business in Sierra Madre is E. The flat land that remains looks like an archaeological site of the ancient Roman Empire. Beyond it, you can see how close the city's infrastructure is to the current edge of the cliff, and how it couldn't have been so close to the edge before.
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Originally developed in as part of a post-World War I building boom, Surfridge then known as Palisades del Rey was filled with charming homes and palm tree-lined streets. As part of the Rancho San Jose, Spadra was the first American settlement in the Pomona Valley and became a thriving village in the s.
It was settled mostly by poor families who fled the South.