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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Disney Fantasy
Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy

The fourth ship in the Disney fleet, the Disney Fantasy has 14 decks and can accommodate 4,000 passengers. Visit one of the 3 different pools on deck 11, or splash around in the AquaLab, a 1,800 square foot water play area. When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, catch a Disney musical show or a first-run movie in 3D. 960 1280

Disney Cruise Line  

Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic

Test your climbing ability at Carnival Magic’s SportSquare, the world’s first ropes course at sea! If you’d rather keep your feet firmly planted on the deck, catch a movie or sports game on the ship’s huge outdoor screen at the Seaside Theatre. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

MSC Divina

MSC Divina

Stare out to sea from MSC Divina’s infinity pool. For a more exclusive and luxurious experience, upgrade to the MSC Yacht Club and enjoy a private pool deck with a private restaurant featuring panoramic views. 960 1280

MSC  

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic

The Norwegian Epic certainly lives up to its name. With performances by the Blue Man Group and the Second City, an Aqua Park complete with 3 waterslides, Nickelodeon characters and 20 different dining options, the ship has something for everyone. Have a drink in the Svedka ice bar and then head to Spice H20—an adults-only Ibiza-inspired beach club (pictured here). 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

MSC Fantasia

MSC Fantasia

The new flagship of MSC cruises, the Fantasia has staircases made of Swarovski crystals and a transparent ceiling for stargazing. If that’s not enough to make you sign up, the Fantasia also has an Aqua Park, a Formula 1 simulator and an interactive 4D theatre. 960 1280

MSC   

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has everything you could ever dream of…including a zipline that’s 9 decks in the air. Climb a rock wall, test your skills in a surf simulator, go ice skating on the rink, play a round of mini golf or see a performance of Hairspray. There’s even a Starbucks on board! 960 1280

Simon Brooke-Webb  

Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze

Think all cruise food is boring? Think again. Hop aboard the Carnival Breeze and sample signature burgers by celebrity Food Network chef Guy Fieri. Then, take in a “5D” movie—a 3D movie with special effects and moving seats. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess

Christened in 2008 by Trista and Ryan Sutter of The Bachelorette, the Ruby Princess is a perfect ship for couples. Relax in a cabana in the adults-only sundeck called The Sanctuary, or cozy up for a first-run movie in the outdoor theatre. 960 1280

Princess Cruises  

Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

On the Celebrity Silhouette, order food and wine from an iPad menu in one restaurant and sample 50 international craft beers in another. Take a painting class, grill your own food in the “Lawn Club,” or rent one of the cabana-style “Alcoves” for a relaxing day at sea. 960 1280

Celebrity Cruises  

Disney Dream

Disney Dream

As the only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney's Dream lights up the sky to dazzle guests with the largest fireworks extravaganza presented aboard a cruise ship. The skies above the Disney Dream explode with brilliant colors during "Buccaneer Blast!" -- a pyrotechnic spectacular choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, "Peter Pan" and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction at the Disney theme parks. 960 1280

Matt Stroshane/Disney  

Mickey's Pool, a favorite feature of the Disney Cruise Line fleet, continues on the Disney Dream. This play area for children features a Mickey Mouse-shaped pool and an oversized version of Mickey's hand supporting a yellow winding slide that splashes down into the pool area. 960 1280

Jimmy DeFlippo/Disney  

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas' AquaTheater located in the ships Boardwalk neighborhood, hosts spectacular shows during its voyage. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean  

Fireworks cast a colorful light on the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Passengers aboard the Queen Mary 2 can enjoy planetarium shows in Illuminations. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Norwegian Pearl

Norwegian Pearl

The Norwegian Pearl's pool area can easily be mistaken for a full-blown water park. 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

The Emerald Princess Piazza dazzles passengers with its opulence. 960 1280

Emerald Princess  

Photos

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach

Just 5 minutes from San Diego, this family-friendly beach boasts wide stretches of sand, mostly calm surf and ideal whale watching (January through March). The lifeguards on staff, nearby public facilities and free parking along Ocean Boulevard add to its convenience -- and popularity. Couples can take a romantic walk to the luxury beachfront Hotel del Coronado and sip cocktails on its patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Tashka/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

La Jolla

La Jolla

You’ll have to leave the surfboards and boogie boards behind, but trust us it will be worth it. La Jolla Cove is the most desired area for swimming, snorkeling and diving; it is ecologically protected, making it a safe home for the bright orange Garibaldi fish (among others species) in the crescent-shaped cove. Called “the jewel” of San Diego, this beach is small, but you’ll find more room to stretch out on the mile-long La Jolla Shores to the north. 960 1280

John Hoffman/ iStock/ Thinkstock   

Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast State Beach comprises 13 miles of coastline, stretching from Blind Beach to Bodega Head. It’s dotted with nothing save hidden beaches tucked between the rocky coves and tall bluffs. Follow the Sonoma Coast Trail to visit these secret beaches and take postcard-worthy pictures, #nofilter necessary. 960 1280

Jairo Leiva/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, founded by the Chumash Indian Tribe, is located in central California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Whichever direction you travel from, there’s plenty of activities to keep you here: fishing on the 1,200-foot-long pier, strolling through the Monarch Butterfly Grove, horseback riding along private trails, and exploring tide pools and caves, to name just a few. 960 1280

JB325/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Main Beach in Santa Cruz

Main Beach in Santa Cruz

For most beachgoers in Santa Cruz, Main Beach is where the action is -- complete with restaurants, shops, surfing spots, beach volleyball courts and, of course, a scenic boardwalk and bandstand. If you ask us, it’s just the right amount of Americana. 960 1280

Mitch Diamond/ Photodisc/ Getty Images  

Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Pier

With a location at the end of Main Street and a nickname like “Surf City, USA,” Huntington Beach evokes a time gone by. The pier (one of the longest on the West Coast), the year-round surf (thanks to ocean swells around Catalina Island) and Ruby’s Diner (the milkshakes are a must) will continue to draw crowds here for years to come. 
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Christopher Riddler/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Our resident beach expert, Marianela Pereyra, can attest to its weirdness, but there’s a reason Venice Beach is world famous. It may bring to mind visions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muscle Beach of the ’70s, but let us assure you that the 1 1/2-mile-long boardwalk is still the perfect storm for people watching, street performers and souvenir shopping. 960 1280

Christian Kober/ AWL Images/ Getty Images  

Baker Beach

Baker Beach

To the west of the Golden Gate Bridge lies the rocky serpentine shoreline of Baker Beach. Rip currents make swimming unsafe, but you’re here for the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge … and maybe to picnic. Just don’t venture too far north unless you’re looking for another kind of scene: the northernmost end of Baker Beach, which attracts clothing-optional sunbathers. 960 1280

Jamairani/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Malibu Surfrider Beach

Formerly known as Surfrider Beach, Malibu Lagoon State Beach’s famous right point breaks have made it the most-surfed spot in Los Angeles since the ’60s. Arrive early to find a parking spot and pick a point -- some of the perfect swells due to Surfrider Beach will give you a ride all the way to the pier (a couple hundred feet away). And for non-surfers, the historic wooden Malibu Pier offers excellent saltwater fishing, bird-watching and picnicking. 960 1280

Ryan McVay/ Digital Vision/ Thinkstock  

Dockweiler State Beach

Dockweiler State Beach

Located just west of the LAX runway, Dockweiler Beach is where people come to relax and party. That’s because the 3-mile-long shoreline is the only Los Angeles beach that has an RV park and allows bonfires. S’mores, anyone? 960 1280

Jose Gil/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Coronado Bridge & Glorietta Bay

Coronado Bridge & Glorietta Bay

A peninsula situated across the San Diego Bay from the city of San Diego, Coronado only has 2 ways in or out – one of which is the Coronado Bay Bridge, which offers drivers unparalleled views of the water. 960 1280

Brett Shoaf, Artistic Visuals  

Dog Beach

Dog Beach

Located next to the Naval Air Station at the most northern end of the beach, Dog Beach is not only a great place to romp with your furry buddy, but is also the perfect spot to collect shells and sea glass. 960 1280

SanDiego.org   

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

A luxury, beachfront hotel, the Hotel Del Coronado -- "The Del" -- is full of history. Not only is it one of the largest all-wooden structures in California, but it's also one of the few surviving architectural examples of a wooden Victorian beach resort and is a designated National Historic Landmark. 960 1280

Oyster.com  

San Diego Bay and Skyline from Centennial Park

San Diego Bay and Skyline from Centennial Park

Centennial Park offers grandiose views of the San Diego skyline across the Bay. While there, take a ride on the ferry or check out the beautiful rose garden. 960 1280

Brett Shoaf, Artistic Visuals  

Golfers in Coronado

Golfers in Coronado

A resort town would not be complete without a golf course – and luckily, Coronado its fair share. And with San Diego’s near-perfect weather, every day is a great day for golf. 960 1280

Joanne DiBona, sandiego.org  

North Island Naval Air Station

North Island Naval Air Station

Built in 1917, Coronado's Naval Air Station North Island is known as the "Birthplace of Naval Aviation." 960 1280

Official Navy Page, flickr  

Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing

With its art galleries, eclectic boutiques and variety of restaurants, Coronado Ferry Landing is a necessary addition to your Coronado itinerary. Pick up a souvenir before dining on the freshest seafood around. 960 1280

SanDiego.org   

Gondolas at Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Gondolas at Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The Gondola Company at Loews Coronado Bay Resort provides the most romantic gondola rides this side of Venice – serenading gondolier and all. 960 1280

SanDiego.org  

Central Beach

Central Beach

The main beach of Coronado, Central Beach is situated directly in front of the Hotel Del Coronado. If the convenience of the hotel and picturesque views weren't enough to entice you, waiters also serve drinks along the boardwalk. 960 1280

Brett Shoaf, Artistic Visuals  

North Beach Surfers

North Beach Surfers

Southern California is known for its surfing, and in Coronado, the surfers head to North Beach. No worries if you're not a pro – there are plenty of local companies that provide surf lessons. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Coronado Shopping, Orange Ave

Coronado Shopping, Orange Ave

Orange Avenue, Coronado's main street and shopping district, is packed with quaint, local businesses ranging from upscale boutiques to mom-and-pop outposts. 960 1280

Brett Shoaf, Artistic Visuals  

Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA

Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA

An aerial view of the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA. 960 1280

  

Shopping for Ground Beef

Shopping for Ground Beef

DIY’s Cool Tools host Chris Grundy and Juicy’s CEO Brett shop for ground beef in the supermarket. They’ve filled 3 shopping carts, and they’re still not finished. 960 1280

  

The Cooking Staff

The Cooking Staff

The cooking staff mixes the ground beef that will be used to build the 800-lb. hamburger. 960 1280

  

Prepping the Bun

Prepping the Bun

Nick preps the giant hamburger bun. 960 1280

  

Juicy’s mobile grill

Juicy’s mobile grill

Brett and Nick talk about their plans for the giant burger in front of Juicy’s mobile grill. 960 1280

  

Assembling the Grill

Assembling the Grill

Nick and Brett begin assembling the grill that will be used to cook the hamburger. 960 1280

  

Grilling Juicy's Chickens

Grilling Juicy's Chickens

Juicy’s isn’t just about the burger. Brett’s cooking staff is hard at work grilling several chickens on a giant grill for the fair. 960 1280

  

Smoked Turkey Legs

Smoked Turkey Legs

Nick and Chris stand behind the grill at the smoked-turkey-leg food stand. 960 1280

  

Performers on Stilts

Performers on Stilts

Performers on stilts walk in front of the food stands at the county fair. 960 1280

  

Juicy's Burger Stand

Juicy's Burger Stand

A night shot of Juicy’s burger stand at the county fair. 960 1280

  

The 800-lb Burger

The 800-lb Burger

The finished product -- Juicy’s 800-lb. hamburger. 960 1280

  


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