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California: The trip of a lifetime without leaving the country

Everyone has their ideal “dream vacation” and as much as those dreams depend on location, they’re also made up of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. But often, people put those longed-for experiences on the back burner, thinking that it’s far more fantasy than possibility. The truth is, you might be closer to your dream trip than you imagined – it just takes a little creative thinking to make it happen.

In fact, you don’t need to look beyond the borders of the United States to find a destination that can be all things to all travelers. Take California: Whether you’re a gourmet, a film buff, a sports enthusiast or a parent, the opportunities to delve into the activities that you love are there in abundance – and on a world-class level.

For oenophiles, California’s wine regions are as enticing a destination as any wine-producing areas in the world. A tour of Napa and Sonoma, visiting wineries and taking in the idyllic scenery, ranks as one of the best wine-centric vacations in the world. Randy Lewis, former race car driver and now owner of Lewis Cellars, knows well the allure of California. Travelers have the opportunity to win a meeting with Lewis and seven other renowned Californians and delve deeper into their unique worlds and experiences by entering the California Travel & Tourism Commission “Live Like A Californian” sweepstakes, which begins April 25 and runs for eight weeks.

The sunshine, beaches and enticing climate of California has been a draw for travelers for decades, and those who want to get out in the surf have the perfect opportunity to do so all along the California coast. First-time surfers and experienced riders alike can find the experience of a lifetime getting to know the gorgeous coastal beaches – beloved by surfing legends like Jack O’Neill, who invented wetsuits and opened one of California’s first surf shops in Santa Cruz, just south of San Francisco.

Foodies looking for a palate-pleasing getaway find the meals of their dreams throughout the state. From sophisticated fine dining to delectable street food – like Korean-influenced tacos from famed Kogi food truck pioneer Roy Choi – the quality and diversity of dining opportunities available in California would be hard for any destination to rival. In September, the state’s culinary attributes will be further highlighted with state-wide California Wine Month activities. Wineries from Mendocino County down to the Temecula Valley celebrate with deals on wine tasting flights and vintner dinners paired with wine country escapes. After all, the Golden State is the perfect place to pair wine and food.

Those who love winter sports but aren’t so crazy about winter find a unique attraction in California: Snow doesn’t come to you – you go to the snow. With places like Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain on the agenda, you can spend time on the slopes and still enjoy beautiful weather. And if time allows, combine it with a trip to the coast – in California, you really can ski in the morning and paddle board in the afternoon

Travel is always more fun with the people that you love, and giving your entire family a trip they’ll never forget is something that has infinite rewards. Taking the kids to Disneyland or strolling down Hollywood’s Avenue of Stars, exploring the glamour of Los Angeles are sure to make an impression just as indelible as those handprints in cement.

There aren’t too many places where so many “bests” are so easily accessible. Because California contains all these wonders, it tops the lists of destinations to consider for your next dream vacation. To find out more about the “Live Like A Californian” sweepstakes or explore vacation packages tailored around iconic Californians in iconic places around the state, go to www.visitcalifornia.com/sweepstakes.

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