July 4th Top-Five Travel Escapes for Southern Californians
Excited about the day off tomorrow? So are 2.92 million Southland residents who will travel someplace else, says the Automobile Club of Southern California.
According to a survey of AAA's travel agents, the top five destinations for Los Angeles residents and other Southern Californians are:
1. San Diego
People love cute animals. Really, really love them. San Diego ranks at the top of this list because crowds from Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire plan to flood the beautiful coastal city. Tops on the to-do list for many will be the San Diego Zoo, home to four giant Pandas -- Bai Yun, Gao Gao, Yun Zi and baby Xiao Liwu -- and Sea World, home to Shamu.
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2. San Francisco
San Francisco hates our guts, but we do not care because everyone hates L.A. who hasn't lived here yet. We adore San Francisco and we forgive them for being so small-minded and deluded. Many in Southern California will head to The City to visit friends or their kids. If you're a real tourist, actually going there for the first time, definitely ride the cable car, escape to Alcatraz, or skate through Golden Gate Park. Hug a local and tell them you're from L.A.
3. Las Vegas
Haven't lost enough money on the California Lottery quite yet? Roll the die and try your luck at the casinos on the Strip. Or walk up to the roulette table and put it all on red. You know you want to.
4. Grand Canyon
If you're tired of the partying and boozing in Vegas, hop in a private helicopter leaving from the rooftop of your hotel on The Strip (for a price we won't quote here) and dive into the one-mile-deep wonder of nature, the Grand Canyon in Arizona. If you see any litter left by the crowds, do the right thing: pick it up and bring it back to Los Angeles for your recycling bin.
Last but not least ...
5. Central Coast
Enjoy a road trip along the most welcoming coast in the nation -- Ventura County, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey Bay. On the way, you can stop for national and state parks or taste wine -- the Paso Robles Wine Country is spectacular, as is the much closer Santa Ynez Valley Wine Trail. But if you drink, don't get back on the road.
Marie Montgomery, spokeswoman for Automobile Club of Southern California, says that because the national holiday is on a Thursday this year, "People are more likely to take a four-day holiday for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday."
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