Friday, March 30, 2012

Deal Alert: Groupon for USS Pampanito in San Francisco

They just keep coming. So, if you haven't checked out Groupon or Living Social for vacation destinations (or even local ones) you need to get on it right now. I don't check them out daily, myself, but if I do see a deal like this I like to pass it along. Today's deal on Groupon is a 50% discount for two adults ($10) to tour this historic submarine located at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. You can also purchase, for $14, admission for two adults and up to four children, a 61% discount. There are two days left to buy this deal, but the quantities are limited. The deal expires April 3, 2013, so there's plenty of time to use it.

The USS Pampanito is located at Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf and is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association. This National historic Landmark served six patrols in the Pacific during World War II, sinking six Japanese ships and damaging four others. The submarine museum is open daily at 9AM.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another Living Social Deal

I have to give a shout out to this Living Social deal for La Tosca restaurant in San Carlos (in the Bay Area.) I love this restaurant and definitely consider it a neighborhood gem. I've reviewed it on this blog before, so you can check out my past review. There are currently TWO days remaining to purchase the Living Social deal: for $10 will get $20 worth of food and drink. Yes, it won't cover an entire meal for two (or probably even one), but you're basically getting $10 off your food...a deal anytime you can swing it. The promotional value of the deal expires on October 1, 2012, so there's definitely time to use it. I highly recommend a visit to La Tosca as the food and service are always excellent. Whenever I'm in the Bay Area, I try to make sure I get there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Visit California iPad app review

Icon for the Visit California iPad app 
As promised, here's my review of the recently released Visit California iPad app. I downloaded it last week after I received notification about it being available. I've tried it out several times in order to give a thorough review. It's very pretty with lots of great images of various California locations. It's also very interactive with maps and guides, plus it has links to Yelp so you can check out reviews, buttons to post discoveries on Facebook and Twitter, as well as trip planner and trip journal tools.

In order to use the Trip Planner, you need to create and account (or sign in if you already have one.) I tried to sign up for an account via the app (it has the spot to do so); unfortunately, even though I tried several times, I never got the sign up to work through the app. So, I signed up on the Visit California website, and then logged in on my iPad. Once I created my online account and logged in on my iPad, I was able to create My Trip, which was pretty cool. You literally have information at your fingertips (just one fingertip will do.) Within the information about the attractions/locations are links to the attractions/locations website, if available. So, in app, you can view information on external websites and simply return to the app by touching the "cancel" button (you also have the option of opening the URL in Safari.)The trip journal feature is like your own little trip blog with the ability to add photos as well. You can also share your journal postings on Facebook or Twitter, however, when I tested the sharing feature (only on Facebook) all it did was post the title of my post with a link to the Visit California website, none of my content was visible.

Overall, I'd say this app is useful in planning your vacation, certainly the trip planner feature is nice as you can add or remove places to your itinerary as you see fit, keeping access to the information you need at your fingertips. I can definitely see how this would be a useful app when you are actually on your trip, especially if you are driving and come across other possible places of interest. The app also features the official visitor's guide, as well as a few other guides to help you plan your activities. The electronic version of the visitor's guide includes interactive features which allow you to access more information and images of various locations. So, download this app and save some trees and space in your luggage. On a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 4.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

There's an app for that...

I received an email the other day from Visit California announcing their new iPad app. While I was searching for it in the app store on my iPad, I discovered many other California travel related apps that are new or I had not previously seen. This gave me the idea to download a bunch of apps and come up with some reviews and recommendations. I already have a number of apps, both iPhone and iPad, but I've downloaded some more and will be testing them out over the next few weeks. Most of these will be free apps, but some won't be...I'll waste my money, so you don't have to.

Let me know if you have any favorite travel apps or favorite California travel apps. Tomorrow I will let you know what I think of the new Visit California iPad app.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Deal Alert! Another Living Social Deal for San Francisco

S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship in San Francisco
Seriously folks, you need to sign up for both Living Social and Groupon for cities you like to travel to (not just your hometown.) These sites often feature great sightseeing deals. I just spotted another one today on Living Social for two adult and two children's tickets to the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien National Liberty Ship Memorial. This family pack deal is a 52% discount and is only $12.  The deal is available for six more days and the tickets are good through July 26, 2012.

The Jeremiah O'Brien is located at Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. It is open daily from 9AM - 4PM. The S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien is only one of two remaining functional Liberty ships from World War II and remains historically accurate. The ship is a National Historic Landmark and is on my list of things to do in San Francisco. I've seen it from the outside, but have yet to go on it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DEAL ALERT: SF Chinatown Ghost Tours on Living Social

Who doesn't love a deal, especially as it relates to travel or fun (and isn't travel fun)? Anyway, I spotted this deal on Living Social for a 50% discount on one adult admission to a 90-minute Friday or Saturday night ghost tour and magic show. The tour is from SF Chinatown Ghost Tours and features walking tour departures at 7:30 PM by reservation. According to the Living Social deal info:

Your guides will take you off the beaten path, sharing the spine-tingling stories of Chinatown's more nefarious characters (some say their spirits still roam the streets at night). End the evening in an old gambling den where a magician will conjure the spirit of a gambler who swindled his way to his untimely doom.

While I haven't done this tour, I've definitely added it to my list of things to do in San Francisco. I love tours like this and have been on ghost walks in both Charleston, South Carolina and Edinburgh, Scotland. This tour looks to be frighteningly good, because as we all know from the movie Big Trouble in Little China, lots of supernatural things go down in Chinatown.

Act soon to walk the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown, because there's only 3 days remaining to purchase this deal!

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you saw this post earlier today and wonder why it's a little different, somehow I accidentally deleted the content. So, this is a rewrite of an earlier post and I couldn't remember it verbatim. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Find California Traveler on Facebook

California Traveler now has a Facebook page, so please join me over on Facebook and like my page. Subscribe to my FB feed, too. See you here, there, and in California!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My top five things to do in San Francisco

The BF and I went to a local Yelp Elite event last night and spent a delightful evening conversing with another couple. Inspired by our conversations, I've put together my Top 5 Things I recommend doing in San Francisco.   Now, since I haven't done everything in San Francisco, nor even everything I want to do or see, this is a work in progress. As of today, however, these are the five things I suggest you do (not in any particular order):

1. Coit Tower - Rising above Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower gives you a spectacular view of the city and surrounding areas. Take the elevator to the observation deck for 360 degree views of beautiful San Francisco. In addition to the view, the tower itself houses some 1930's era public works frescoes that are worth viewing.
Coit Tower
View from Coit Tower
 2.  Marin Headlands - Across the Golden Gate Bridge lie the Marin Headlands, a wild and wonderful landscape that seems much further away from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco than they short distance it actually is. The best part is the view of San Francisco and the new perspective you get high above the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Marin Headlands from the San Francisco side of the Bay.
View from Marin Headlands
 3. Golden Gate Park - So much more than just a park, Golden Gate Park is a destination chock full of things to see and do, from the Conservatory of Flowers to the California Academy of Sciences, there is something for everyone in Golden Gate Park. 
One of two windmills located on the western edge of Golden Gate Park.
A pagoda in Golden Gate Park's Japanese Tea Garden
The Conservatory of the Flowers
Inside the dome of the Conservatory of the Flowers
The deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park
 4. Sausalito -So what if Sausalito is across the Bay fro San Francisco, it makes my list of musts when in the City. Sausalito is a cute little town nestled along the coast, with its hillside homes and unique boutiques and restaurants, Sausalito is a quiet break from the larger city on the other side of the Bay. Sausalito is easily reached by car across the Golden Gate Bridge or via the ferry.
Homes in Sausalito are perched on the hillside
Sausalito has many shops and restaurants along the waterfront.
 5. San Francisco Waterfront - This encompasses many activities from the cheesy tourist kind to some unique sights and sounds, along with a variety of dining options. Encompassed in the San Francisco waterfront area are Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Musee Mecanique, the Ferry Building, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and many other places. Of course, since San Francisco sits on a peninsula, there's a lot of waterfront to explore. These are just some of the highlights (touristy or not.)
Fisherman's Wharf is bustling with tourists no  matter what time of year.
One of the restaurants at Fisherman's Wharf

Hyde Street Pier is where you'll find the historic maritime park

You can catch the famous cable cars at the Hyde Street turn around
Pier 39 from the water
Tourists aren't the only ones hanging out at Pier 39
You can catch a boat to visit Alcatraz at the Ferry Building