While California ’ s big cities — Los Angeles , San Francisco and San Diego — remain top draws for visitors , there are a number of intriguing destinations along the way to those iconic places that deliver their own set of A-list experiences . Courier reached out to DMO representatives who promote the following six Golden State gems to learn more about their offerings :
Responses provided by Anand Patel of Fairfield CVB
Why is Fairfield such a great place ? Fairfield is an ideal location for groups because of our proximity to major destinations such as Napa , San Francisco and Sonoma — all within a short distance — to go with the wonderful attractions right here in Fairfield .
What are three popular local attractions ? Jelly Belly Candy Company , Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Suisun Valley Wine region
What is a must-do culinary experience in your area ? Fairfield is home to several great culinary experiences . Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company is an award-winning olive oil producer with a tasting room and professional kitchen that offers cooking classes .
What advice would you give a tour operator regarding packaging your area ? Ideally , three to five days would be perfect for a stay here . That ’ d allow visitors to explore surrounding destinations and visit Fairfield ’ s many attractions .
Tell us why GIlroy is such a great destination . Gilroy is a great area for groups , in part because we are located just 30 miles from San Jose International Airport and close to Silicon Valley , the San Francisco Bay Area and the Monterey Peninsula .
Gilroy Garlic Festival
If I have friends visiting from out of town , I always take them … Shopping at the Gilroy Premium Outlets . Another must-do is Gilroy Gardens .
What are a couple of your top annual festivals ? The Gilroy Garlic Festival ( July 27 – 29 , 2018 ) and Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Passport Weekend ( March 16 – 18 , 2018 )
What advice would you give a tour operator regarding packaging your area ? Gilroy ’ s central location at the crossroads of Northern California means you can settle down here for a few days , enjoy a budget friendly hotel room and easily explore other regional attractions .
To learn more contact Howard at director @ gilroywelcomecenter . org or go to visitgilroy . com .
CC FLICKR / MING-YEN HSU : bit . l . y / 2itScdj VISIT FAIRFIELD
Responses provided by Michael Vanderhurst of Mammoth Lakes Tourism
What makes Mammoth Lakes a great destination ? Folks can experience the beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains , stay in luxury at a fine mountain lodge and enjoy fantastic meals .
What are some of your top nature-based experiences ? Hiking in the Mammoth Lakes Basin , spotting the rainbows that make up Rainbow Falls and catching the best fall colors in California .
If I have friends visiting from out of town , I always take them to … The Top of California via the scenic gondola . It is any easy 10-minute ride up , and the views are out of this world .
What advice would you give a tour operator regarding packaging your area ? Fall is the best time of year to visit , as lodging rates are low , restaurants are quiet and the colors are just amazing . Mammoth Lakes is also an ideal base to explore Yosemite National Park .
To learn more contact Vanderhurst at mvanderhurst @ visitmammoth . com or go to visitmammoth . com .
Responses provided by Layma Askarzoi of the Simi Valley Chamber Tourism Alliance
Why is Simi Valley such a great destination ? Simi Valley has the charm of a small town — yet benefits from the sophisticated influence of being located just a short drive from Southern California ’ s most famous cities and attractions such as Hollywood and Los Angeles .
What are three popular local attractions ? The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum , Strathearan Historical Park and Museum , and the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum .
What is one can ’ t-miss local culinary experience ? Green Acres Market . Family owned and operated since 1968 , the market blends an old-fashioned atmosphere with an upscale , modern twist and many gourmet items .
What advice would you give a tour operator regarding packaging your area ? Simi Valley is a great option for places to stay for a Los Angeles visit . It is home to over 20 hotels and meeting facilities and also offers nearly 50 ethnic restaurants and a variety of attractions .