Destination Apps

11:59AM August 13, 2012 No Comments »

All of the content on 71Miles is now available in a free iPhone app.

You download the Northern California app, and all of our free regional apps, on our destination apps page.

We specialize in creating apps in partnership with DMOs (destination marketing organizations). More about Apps for DMOs

Off-Season Hotspots

10:47PM January 13, 2011 No Comments »

Boy, it sure is chilly out there. If you’re like me when you travel, you gravitate to what’s cozy—you lounge with a book in a charming suite, toasty from a stone fireplace, or dine on an outdoor patio, warmed up from heat lamps and several cocktails.

Don’t forget, though, that winter is an ideal time to explore places sans crowds—to seek solitude, to enjoy the silence. You can often claim an entire beach or hiking trail to yourself, all day long.

A few off-season getaways and day trips for the month:

Photo by Ashwin Sodhi

Camping on Angel Island: Book one of the 11 campsites. Some sites have views of the bay, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate Bridge (like Ridge Site 4), but are open spaces (thus can be windy). Others have beach access or are a bit sheltered among trees (including East Bay Sites 2 and 3). Sites not reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a spot, call (800) 444-7275 or visit

Carousel Riding at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: The kitschy, old-school beach boardwalk in sleepy Santa Cruz remains a favorite family destination, and rides, the arcades, and bowling lanes are open on the weekends. (Call 831-423-5590 the day of your visit to confirm which rides are open.) It’s breezy along the beach, but sunny winter days can be lovely; you can escape the cold by heading indoors, into Neptune’s Kingdom or, even better, onto the historic 1911 Looff carousel. Each winter, an artist comes to “groom” the horses, restoring them in time for the park’s busy season.

Photo by Tai Kuncio

Visiting Yosemite Valley: If you’ve explored Yosemite Valley during the summer, you know you must share the trails, the creeks, the meadows, and the views with everyone else. Come in the winter, however, and you will experience the vast, desolate wilderness that Ansel Adams captured in his shots.

Hiking in Redwood National Park: In the offseason, the Trillium Falls Trail in Redwood National Park is a 2.5 mile loop leading you deep into the home of the world’s ancient, tallest trees. The trailhead may be hard to find, but the misty trek down the narrow path to the 10-foot falls is worth it. Search for the trailhead in the Elk Meadow Day Use Area.

For more trip ideas near you, check out the latest on our sister site, Trazzler.

5:17PM November 8, 2010 No Comments »

Can travel make us better people? Can it make the world a better place? Is it possible to make a positive contribution to a community just by having traveled there? At Trazzler we believe that smart travel can accomplish all of this—and more—and we want to put this idea to the test on Trazzler and Twitter (and send two participants on a one-of-a-kind eco-adventure with our non-profit partner, Seacology).

The Smart Travel Contest provides anyone in the world with a platform to share meaningful travel experiences that do good and go deeper. Smart travel is active, not passive. It is often committed to economic or environmental sustainability. It could be staying at a solar-powered Colorado hotel devoted to conservation, visiting a visionary St. Louis museum with monstrous, play-friendly sculptures made from recycled industrial cast-offs, volunteering to walk rehabilitated pumas in the Costa Rican rainforest, immersing yourself in local life in a South African township, learning to make batik in Senegal, picking chestnuts on an organic farm in Corsica… read more examples.

Just by sharing an smart travel experience on Trazzler and Twitter, entrants will gain the chance to join Seacology staff and supporters on a ecotourism dream trip (valued at $7,500 each) to the South Pacific island of Tonga aboard the NAI’A, one of the world’s top dive and snorkel boats. Seacology is an award-winning charity dedicated to protecting the threatened habitats, species, and cultures of islands worldwide. Tonga is one of the few locations in the world where humans can swim with humpback whales. The 10-day trip will begin in Nuku’alofa, Tonga’s capital and continue north to the Ha’apai island group, where for many years, the NAI’A has been one of the only boats offering the opportunity to swim with humpback whales. In addition to up-close whale encounters, the trip will include opportunities for snorkeling and several night dives amidst Tonga’s pristine coral reefs—and a visit to the Seacology project in the Ha’apai islands, where Seacology is establishing a marine reserve.

While the Smart Travel contest will be an exciting ride for everyone involved, it is our hope that something more meaningful will result. Thousands of entrants will share their smart travel experiences with millions of people on Twitter. Perhaps while planning trip some day in the future, one of these people will recall the contest, think about a smart travel experience, and plan something within reasonable driving distance that fosters investment in a sustainable, local business.

Smart Travel Writing Contest – Enter Now

– Megan Cytron, Trazzler’s Editor

Fall Hiking in Northern California

9:34AM October 24, 2010 No Comments »

Autumn is here in Northern California, and the region teems with spots for fall hikes, from trails leading to waterfalls spilling onto the beach, to treks meandering into ancient redwood forests. Some of our favorites:

Alamere Falls: Ever seen a waterfall that tumbles off a cliff and into the sea? Alamere Falls, in Bolinas, does just that. The hike along the Coast Trail begins from the Palomarin trailhead and meanders about 4 miles to a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Not maintained by the park, the trail may be difficult in some parts, but the views of the falls and the ocean at Point Reyes National Seashore are worth it.

Armstrong Woods State Park: This reserve of coast redwood trees, the tallest living things on the planet, offers easy to advanced hikes. Those seeking a quick-and-easy route to view the famous (and oldest) tree in the grove—the Colonel Armstrong Tree (over 1,400 years old)—take the 1-mile Pioneer Trail, while more prepared hikers opt for numerous moderate- to advanced-level treks deeper into the grove.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: This coastal park, named after a pioneering woman of Big Sur, is home to another splendid waterfall-by-the-sea—stroll along a short, easy walk on Overlook Trail leading to a view of 80-foot McWay Falls, which drops from granite cliffs into the Pacific. In December and January, the bench at the trail’s end is a good spot to watch for gray whales migrating down to Baja California.

Tennessee Valley Beach: Tennessee Valley has hikes fitting for the whole family—the Tennessee Valley Trail starts near the parking lot and meanders about 1.7 miles to Tennessee Beach. The area is full of wildlife, from raptors circling above to deer and coyote roaming about.

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park: Drive seven miles north of Calistoga to this park to climb Mount St. Helena, where you’ll be rewarded with stellar views of the San Francisco Bay Area. The trek is five miles to the top, but on clear days you can see Mt. Shasta, nearly 200 miles away.

Want to discover more trails and treks nearby? Peruse these spots for fall hiking in Northern California.