Start at the Dunes Center, a restored 1910 Craftsman-style home in the tiny burg of Guadalupe, with information on hikes, guided walks, and some of the 1,400 species of plants and animals that call the dune-wetland ecosystem home.
As the home of Vandenberg Air Force Base, one of the test sites for the national Missile Defense Program, Lompoc has one foot in the future.
It’s now the most extensively restored mission in California, from the foot-packed adobe bricks to living history exhibits that demonstrate weaving, blacksmithing, potterymaking, and other period activities.
Surfing is an integral part of the cultural identity of Southern California, and Huntington Beach has a good argument for claiming it’s the sport’s launching pad on the West Coast.
On the curved exterior of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, what was until recently the world’s largest mural depicts whales, dolphins, sea lions, and other sea life indigenous to Southern California—all at life-size.