California in 2014: the top three destinations

California in 2014: the top three destinationsOne of the most celebrated states of America, California comes with a wealth of associations, from gold rush pioneers to glamorous film stars via the hippies, musicians and beat poets of the mid-20th century. The power of its image hasn’t faded with the passage of time – California has the highest population in the country, with one in eight Americans living there. Yet somehow, you’ll rarely feel overcrowded, and with acres of world-class vineyards in the north, sun-baked cities in the south and the third largest coastline in the country, California has plenty to see and do. Take a look at our E&V selection of the three destinations that represent the very best of California.

North Coast

Stretching from San Francisco to Oregon, the Redwood Coast is known for its rocky shores and endless forests of towering, ancient trees. Wildly different from the archetypal Californian beach with white sands and tanned surfers, the waters off the coast of Mendocino Country are home to humpback whales and sea lions, while the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands offer excellent hiking along the cliff tops.
Further inland, you’ll find the famed old-growth redwood trees. Preservation efforts have led to the establishment of several protected forest areas, including the Humbolt Redwoods State Park. Travel up here to drive along the Avenue of the Giants, whose wonders include a drive-through tree, a 950-year-old redwood and even a treehouse built entirely inside the hollow trunk of a living tree.

Downtown Los Angeles

The downtown district of L.A. has undergone a total transformation in recent years, thanks to a re-energised museum scene and a major overhaul of the 100-year-old Grand Central Market. This iconic landmark first opened its doors in 1917, and still has a well-earned reputation as one of the best places in the city to grab a bite to eat. Designer boutiques and high-end restaurants seem to be opening on a daily basis, while clubs here are rarely less than packed. Rooftop bars serving retro cocktails provide the perfect place for an aperitif, while the Staples Center is the place to go to see one of L.A.’s famous sports teams in action.

Lake Tahoe

Once celebrated primarily as a ski resort, the beauty of Tahoe now attracts visitors in every season. Located on the shores of a spectacular lake that crosses the Nevada border, over the past ten years the ski area has enjoyed a $1 billion investment plan. Its idyllic seclusion may soon be lost as the resort prepares a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, but for now, it remains a highly underrated spot for winter sports. In the summer, families from across the state arrive to spend sunlit days swimming, diving, sailing, jet-skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing in, on and around the lake. Tahoe also has a total of six golf courses, with the local tourism board claiming that a morning spent golfing has the power to cure a hangover – but that’s a theory you’ll need to test for yourself.

Whether you’re looking for a new investment for your portfolio or just a change of scene, Engel & Völkers USA can help you find your perfect property in the Californian sunshine. Just visit our website to start searching through houses, villas and penthouse apartments today.