A month of World Poker Tour events during the California Swing took players nearly 500 miles from Los Angeles to Sacramento(ish). Many players needing a break are at the doorstep of some of the West Coast’s best vacation gems with National Parks in every direction.
If Allen Kessler is traveling with your group and you can truly never escape casinos, head over to Lake Tahoe. While the degens can catch a shuttle to the Nevada side, the California side offers some of the best fresh-water boating California has to offer.
Yosemite National Park
The most adventurous and physically fit, i.e. Jason Koon, have access to the best rock climbing in the world with Half Dome and El Capitan. The park has over a million square miles known for its camping, waterfalls and giant sequoia trees.
Mendocino National Forrest
For those that have Darryll Fish in the group, solitude in the Mendocino National Forrest is a perfect choice. It’s the only California national forest without a paved road or highway crossing the park. Mountain ranges top 8,000 feet for mountain biking, there are lakes for fishing and plenty of space to get lost.
California’s cliffs are meeting the Pacific Ocean highlight the longest undeveloped coastline in California. The coast is dotted with pristine beaches, wildlife and plenty of breaks to surf. Several small beaches and parks make up the greater Big Sur Park, complete with restaurants, lodging, and camping.
Sequoia National Park
Perhaps California’s greatest resource out is ancient Redwood trees, and the Sequoia National Park is the last haven for the timeless Redwoods. “General Sherman” – the tallest tree on Earth – receives millions of visitors a year. The prehistoric feel of the forests is found nowhere else on the planet.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the nation’s premier facilities for aquatic zoo operations and research. It annually hosts two million visitors with its Open Sea exhibit and is one of few aquariums to exhibit bluefin and yellowfin tuna. The aquarium has a Giant Pacific Octopus, multiple large species of shark and sea otters for those wanting something cuddlier.
Drown yourself in books, coffee, and hipsters in Portland and skip Seattle. You’ll get all the PacWest city culture you’ll want at a discount. The city has plenty to offer foodies, urban explorers, and miles of bicycle paths.
Vancouver is a chance for a player to experience something a bit different and earn a stamp on their passport. But most players making the trip will ignore Vancouver Island, Whistler, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge to fire up some online poker and not look out the window.