Spanish conquistadors introduced the name of this land bordering the Pacific Ocean. The word is taken from an imaginary island, an earthly paradise, in "Las Serges de Esplandian," a Spanish romance book written by Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo in 1510.
Baja California (Lower California, in Mexico) was first visited by Spanish in 1533.
The present U.S. state was called Alta (Upper) California. Statehood started in 1850.
Specializing in California, from the very beginning, we keep our focus on local destinations in order to discover the best stuff & hidden treasure the Golden State has to offer.
California doesn't stop at the state line or border either - we consider Baja California very much part of the scene too. Sometimes even venture as far out as Utah, the amazing red rock wonder lands.
Be prepared for anything when traveling this huge state. A truck load of fresh produce spilled across the freeway can have you sitting in gridlock for an hour or more, totally unexpected. The trains can be delayed for the slightest little reasons. Rush hour moves less than 20 mph in most metropolitan regions. Smog is a very common sight from most mountain peaks. Suburbia can spread out, up to the very edge of the wilderness.
Total Escape can steer you away from the tourist traps, out to the back roads. Our driving tips & traffic pages will help you avoid the tough spots. Winter weather can be a bear if you are not prepared. Our major interstates can even get snow - yep, here in Cali! Check the weather for conditions before you set out on your journey. We specialize in the boonies, so have several good maps on hand. And we are talking real topo maps, not just the 'print outs' off the web.