Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

With oceanfront views, cinematic festivals and fine wine, Santa Barbara has been called the "American Riviera" -- with a twist. The coastal city also comes with a down-home style all its own.

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Maui
Maui

Maui

With more than 120 miles of coastline, Maui tops Mandy Ingber's list. Channel your inner roar, and strike a warrior pose, as you take in the sights and sounds of the deep blue Pacific splashing against the island’s rocky headlands. 960 1280

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Ibiza

Ibiza

“This is one of the most beautiful, soulful spots I have been to,” says Ingber of this Mediterranean island off the coast of Valencia, Spain. “Bohemian, a place where living and enjoyment are an art -- even just sitting on the beach feels like yoga here!” 960 1280

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Viceroy Bali

Viceroy Bali

“I have wanted to travel to Bali, and have seen the pictures of the Viceroy -- luxury resort!” says Ingber. Luxury, indeed: The family-owned-and-operated property on the Indonesian island of Bali is home to 25 villas, nestled on a hill overlooking the “Valley of the Kings.” 960 1280

Viceroy Bali  

Harbour Island, Bahamas

Harbour Island, Bahamas

This island, located off the northeast coast of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, may be a trek to get to, but it’s worth it for the “quaint, sweet town [vibe] and casual, beachy feel,” says Ingber. We’re betting you’ll agree as you stroll past colorful rows of homes and “om” away on the island’s pink sand beaches. 960 1280

Adam Nowek, flickr  

Ganeshpuri

Ganeshpuri

This small village, about 50 miles north of Mumbai, is “very poor, but soulful and where many gurus have lived and died,” says Ingber. Explore the village’s Siddha yoga tradition at the local ashram, then while away the hours in one of the hot springs near the area’s Tansa River. 960 1280

Nadine Incoll, flickr  

Chiva-Som Resort

Chiva-Som Resort

This world-class resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, is on Ingber’s travel wish list. “They have programs tailored to detox, weight loss and rejuvenation here,” says Ingber. “Sign me up! Sometimes I want to be the one on the retreat!” 960 1280

Chiva-Som International Health Resort   

Kauai

Kauai

“Incredible setting!” says Ingber of this Hawaiian island. “Not only were we in a gorgeous, Bali-style house but the boat ride up the Na Pali Coast is dreamy. Waterfalls and beautiful hikes. So much wild nature here. One of the most bountiful and beautiful places I have been to and taught in.” 960 1280

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One & Only Palmilla, Mexico

One & Only Palmilla, Mexico

Ingber gives this Los Cabos resort overlooking the Sea of Cortez high marks. “I have been here twice, and have had some lovely yoga sessions in this beautiful setting,” says Ingber. “Many of my clients love Mexico because it’s sandy and close -- and we love the sunny weather!” 960 1280

One&Only Resorts  

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

This ancient city, one of the last inhabited and built by the Mayans, appeals to Ingber for many reasons: “The ruins and the blue of the ocean. The open-night sky. This spot is a dream … we were at a private estate. Heaven.” 960 1280

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Sha Wellness Clinic

Sha Wellness Clinic

This medical and luxury spa, overlooking Spain’s Costa Blanca coastline, also makes Ingber’s shortlist. A big draw is the surrounding natural beauty; the resort is situated in the Sierra Helada Natural Park, home to protected areas of plants as well as vibrant marine wildlife such as bottlenose dolphins. 960 1280

Sha Wellness Clinic  

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

This region in southern France is another personal favorite; Ingber stayed at a private estate in the country. “We had fresh eggs from the chickens on the property and practiced yoga daily,” she says. “A little sweaty in the summer, but with a farmers’ market and incredible architecture!” 960 1280

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Pranamar Villas and Yoga Retreat

Pranamar Villas and Yoga Retreat

This posh oceanfront hotel, built on a stretch of sand near the Costa Rican town of Santa Teresa, came recommended by a friend. “It’s on my wish list,” says Ingber. With 2-story villas built around a saltwater pool, a restaurant with organic fruits and veggies, tropical gardens … ah, we can see why. 960 1280

Pranamar Villas Yoga Retreat   

Sweet cinnamon sticky buns are perfect with pecans on top. 960 1280

  

Cooked in a vat of bubbling oil, these french fries are a true indulgence. 960 1280

  

Fill up with a plate of tasty spaghetti served with tomato sauce and flecks of fresh basil. 960 1280

  

The only thing that can improve on a tasty slice of rich New York cheesecake is a gooey topping of sweet cherries. 960 1280

  

This burger is an all-American favorite, topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, special sauce and, of course, bacon. 960 1280

  

Don't just dismiss mac and cheese as kids' food; the luscious, creamy goodness tempts adult palates, too. 960 1280

  

The crisp green beans and burst cherry tomatoes look tasty, but the star on this plate is the mouthwatering steak. 960 1280

  

Who needs a plain doughnut when you can enjoy one topped with creamy icing and colorful sprinkles? 960 1280

  

Food Porn  8 Photos

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Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Discover the highest waterfall in North America -- and the sixth largest in the world: Yosemite Falls. At 2,424 feet, the waterfall is a major attraction in the park, located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. It’s best viewed in late spring when snowmelt flows most vigorously. 960 1280

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Half Dome

Half Dome

The granite dome in the background is Yosemite’s most popular rock formation: Half Dome. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 feet above the valley floor -- hikers can ascend it with the use of cables. 960 1280

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Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

Discover this meadowy section of Yosemite along the Tuolumne River. Wild, wonderful plant and tree species to explore include Ross’s sedge, Lodgepole Pine and dwarf bilberry. The area also offers day-hike and camping opportunities (the park service campground is open July through late September). 960 1280

Steve Dunleavy, Wikimedia Commons  

El Capitan

El Capitan

Rock climbers will find few vertical rock formations as challenging as El Capitan (left, background). At one time “El Cap,” which stretches roughly 3,000 feet from base to top, was considered impossible to climb. Today, the most popular route to tackle is The Nose, which follows the rock’s huge projecting front. 960 1280

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Valley View

Valley View

Thank the 145-mile-long Merced River: It’s responsible for carving out the glacial valley known as Yosemite Valley. The valley is about 8 miles long and a mile deep, with an amazing vantage point offered at Valley View. This turnout is located near the park exit, traveling west on Northside Drive. 960 1280

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Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome

Got 3 hours to spare? Take a short hike (2.8 miles roundtrip) up the granite rock formation of Lembert Dome, which rises 800 feet above Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows. Then bask in the satisfaction of knowing you hiked up a real mountain. 960 1280

Ava Weintraub, flickr  

Tunnel View

Tunnel View

Journey along State Route 41 and you’re in for a treat: The viewpoint known as Tunnel View offers a breathtaking snapshot of Yosemite Valley and several of its attractions -- El Capitan, Half Dome and the waterfall Bridalveil Fall (pictured, right). 960 1280

Bala Sivakumar, flickr  

Cathedral Peak

Cathedral Peak

The Cathedral Range of mountains stretch through Yosemite -- and Cathedral Peak is their star attraction. At a height of 10,911 feet, the granite peak was first scaled in 1869 by naturalist John Muir -- perhaps the first person to undertake a class-4 climb anywhere in the Sierra Nevada range (of which Cathedral is a sub-range). 960 1280

Steve Dunleavy, flickr  

Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall

Looking to meet someone special? Head to Yosemite’s Bridalveil Fall. The 617-foot waterfall owes its name to a legend from the Ahwahneechee Native American tribe: They believed that inhaling the mist of the waterfall would improve one’s chances of getting married. 960 1280

Matt Haughey, flickr  

Glacier Point

Glacier Point

One of Yosemite’s best viewpoints is Glacier Point. Located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley, the overlook rises to an elevation of 7, 214 feet -- with great views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall (a 317-foot waterfall) and Nevada Fall (594 feet). 960 1280

Getty Images  

Vernal Fall

Vernal Fall

After an afternoon hike, cool off with the gentle mist sprays from a nearby waterfall. That’s what you’ll experience when you take a 2- to 5-hour hike near Vernal Fall. The hike starts at the Happy Isles trailhead and reaches the base of the waterfall. 960 1280

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Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Visitors look up at one of the largest living things on Earth: a giant sequoia. It’s also one of the oldest. Within Yosemite’s mariposa grove of 500 giant sequoias, visitors will find trees more than 3,000 years old. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Nevada Fall

Nevada Fall

Within a small glacial valley (Little Yosemite Valley), you’ll find Nevada Fall. The 594-foot waterfall owes its name to its location – it’s the nearest waterfall to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Meanwhile, the Native American name for it is Yo-wy-we, meaning “wormy” water, signifying the twists of the falling water. 960 1280

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Ruby's Diner is located at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier, one of the longest public piers on the West Coast. 960 1280

Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau  

Laguna Beach is a seaside resort city made famous by MTV's series of the same name following privileged SoCal teenagers. 960 1280

Jeri Koegel through Flickr Creative Commons  

Laguna Beach is the second-oldest city in Orange County, second to Anaheim. Its picturesque coastline is midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. 960 1280

Chris Eason through Flickr Creative Commons  

There's no shortage of shopping for real housewives or tourists in Orange County. 960 1280

La Citta Vita through Flickr Creative Commons  

The newly-renovated Hilton La Jolla sits atop the bluffs and overlooks the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course and Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Paul Cross through Creative Commons  

One of the youngest cities in the OC, Rancho Santa Margarita is a beautifully planned community set upon the rolling hills. 960 1280

Courtesy City of Rancho Santa Margarita  

The streets of downtown La Jolla are spotted with the world's shopping elite visiting storefronts from charming boutiques to high-end art galleries. 960 1280

Alejandro Mallea through Creative Commons  

San Clemente is a popular surfing destination, catching swells all year long. 960 1280

Curtis Fry through Flickr Creative Commons  

Newport Beach Harbor is a semi-artificial harbor that created several islands such as Newport Island, Balboa Island, Collins Island and more now mostly covered with private homes. 960 1280

John Martinez Pavliga through Flickr Creative Commons  

Imagine soaking in the sunset view at home in Laguna Beach. 960 1280

Jeri Koegel through Flickr Creative Commons  

La Jolla's curving coast along the Pacific Ocean is an affluent seaside resort with home prices averaging $2 million. 960 1280

Paul Hamilton through Flickr Creative Commons  

The South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa define luxury shopping with the highest sales in the US. 960 1280

  

With more than 12 miles of sand and surf and 8 miles of paved boardwalk downtown Huntington Beach offers one-of-a-kind shopping, dining, activities and nightlife. 960 1280

Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau  

San Francisco Solano

San Francisco Solano

Founded on July 4, 1823, by Father Jose Altimira, this historic mission was the site of the Bear Flag Revolt that led to the establishment of the California Republic in 1846. 960 1280

By M.Bucka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Rafael Arcangel

San Rafael Arcangel

This mission is located 20 miles north of San Francisco at the foot of Mount Tamalpais. It was established as a sanitarium and hospital for San Francisco neophytes suffering from depression and disease.
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San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores)

San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores)

On a site selected by Juan Bautista de Anza, the first mission church was a 50-foot-long log and mud structure. It was eventually moved to higher ground, adjacent to Lake Dolores. The mission was dedicated to Saint Francis by Father Serra in 1776. 960 1280

By Photograph by Robert A. EstremoLordkinbote at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.0], from Wikimedia Commons  

San Jose

San Jose

The most recent mission to have its church restored, the work truly captures the look and feel of 1830s prosperity. Founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen, the fertile site was chosen because of its view of Mission Dolores and Yerba Buena Island.
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By King of Hearts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons  

Santa Clara de Asis

Santa Clara de Asis

Located on the Guadeloupe River, the log chapel was founded in 1777 by Father Serra in honor of St. Clare. In 1851, work began which ultimately produced Santa Clara University as we know it today.
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By JaGa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons  

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Although the soil was excellent and the location ideal, this mission never reached its potential. The dedication of Mission la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz was made in 1791 by Father Lasuen, but the site was unfortunately located next to Branciforte pueblo, a community of ex-convicts and thieves.
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By Howcheng (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Juan Bautista

San Juan Bautista

Founded by Father Lasuen in 1797, this mission was unwittingly located directly above the San Andreas fault. Much of the original structure remains and has been restored. It's considered the largest California mission church and the only one with 3 aisles. It was named for John the Baptist. 
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By JimWhiteheadUCSC (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Carlos Boorromeo de Carmelo

San Carlos Boorromeo de Carmelo

Founded by Father Serra in 1770 on Pentecost Sunday, this mission was considered to be his favorite. Both he and Father Lasuen are buried here. It served as the ecclesiastical capital of California, as well as Father Serra's headquarters for administrative duties as president of the missions.
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By Didier B (Sam67fr) (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons  

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad

The padres named this mission for Our Lady of Solitude in 1791, which fits its isolated location. The rich soil and plentiful water helped the mission produce more than 100,000 bushels of wheat per year and raise nearly 17,000 head of livestock.
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By The original uploader was Lordkinbote at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Antonio de Padua

San Antonio de Padua

Located 40 miles north of Paso Robles, this picturesque mission is nestled in the grasslands and oak trees of the San Antonio Valley. Named for a saint known as the "miracle worker," it was dedicated in 1771 by Father Serra. The church is known for its campanario and archway bells. 960 1280
San Miguel Arcangel

San Miguel Arcangel

This mission was founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen. It completed the mission chain from San Luis Obispo to Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Located in the Salinas Valley, it was the mid point between the San Luis Obispo and San Antonio Missions. Under the direction of Esteban Munros, the Indians painted the walls and ceilings with ornate designs; the original murals are the best preserved in California today.
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By JPRoy2101 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

This humble chapel, built of logs, was dedicated to St. Louis, Bishop of Tolosa in 1772. It was the first mission to use tiles extensively on the roof due to repeated attacks by Indians who used flaming arrows to ignite the original thatched roof.
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By Rennett Stowe (Flickr: Mission San Luis Obispo) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

La Purísima Concepción

La Purísima Concepción

Founded in 1787 by Father Lasuen, this mission is located 50 miles west of Santa Barbara. Considered to be the best example of mission architecture, it has 37 rooms that have been completely restored and furnished.
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By Baseball636 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Santa Ines

Santa Ines

This mission was named for a 13-year-old Roman martyr, St. Agnes, who refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods in 304 AD. Santa Ines was dedicated in 1804 by Father Estevan Tapis. The museum contains a notable collection of vestments, church records and missals. 960 1280

By Ymblanter (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Founded in 1786, the "Queen of the Missions" was the first to be christened by Father Lasuen and has continuously served as a parish church for the local population.
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By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Buenaventura

San Buenaventura

The ninth mission in the chain was founded on Easter Sunday in 1782 by Father Serra and dedicated to St. Bonaventure. It was the last mission the humble priest would christen. Restored in 1957, the facade exhibits an unusual triangular design which opens onto the gardens.
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By Ricardo Holden (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Fernando Rey de Espana

San Fernando Rey de Espana

Father Lasuen named this mission in honor of King Ferdinand III of Spain in 1797. Located 25 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, the convent is the largest freestanding adobe in California and was originally used as a hospice for travelers.
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By The original uploader was Geographer at English Wikipedia [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Gabriel Arcangel

San Gabriel Arcangel

Founded in 1771 by Junipero Serra, this fortress-like structure with 5-foot thick walls and narrow windows is a design not found in any other mission. One-fourth of the wealth of the California missions' in stock and grain was credited to San Gabriel.
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By Robert A. Estremo (en-wkipedia, en:User:Lordkinbote) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano

Named for Crusader Saint John of Capistrano and designed in the shape of a cross, this great stone church once consisted of 7 domes and a bell tower so tall it could be seen from 10 miles away.
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By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Luis Rey de Francia

San Luis Rey de Francia

Known as the "King of the Missions," San Luis Rey de Francia lies in a sheltered valley just east of Oceanside on State Highway 76. Named for Louis IX, the crusading King of France, the cross-shaped church was dedicated on the Feast of St. Anthony in 1798 by Father Lasuen.
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By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

San Diego de Alcala

San Diego de Alcala

The mission trail in California began here on July 16, 1769, when Fathers Serra, Palou and Parron planted a large cross in the beachhead near the mouth of the San Diego River. A bell was suspended from a nearby tree, and the site was dedicated to St. Didacus.
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By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

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