Southern California’s Hidden Travel Gems

CONEJO VALLEY (KRON) — When you’re craving sunshine, heading south is the quickest and easiest way to get rid of the winter blues. Favorite spots are good to have, but you should save some time for new finds. Folks from Northern and Southern California don’t always see eye to eye, but don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of everything the destination has to offer for a great Bay Area Getaway. One of the things I love about Southern California – with all of the big name attractions to choose from, there’s so many areas and places that folks don’t know about. Case in point, Conejo Valley.

Ever heard of it? The name may mean nothing, but when you break it down on a map, it’s easy to put together space wise. Conejo Valley is made up of parts of northwest Los Angeles County and southeast Ventura County. It includes cities you’ve most likely heard of at one point or another. Names like Agoura, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Hidden Valley, Lake Sherwood, Newbury Park, Oak Park and Westlake Village.

Paramount Ranch

But recognizing the names doesn’t mean you know why you should go. Great spots like Paramount Ranch are why you should go. Star power isn’t limited to Hollywood, but that Paramount name should sound familiar. Three thousand acres bought in the late 1920s to be used as a movie ranch. The National Park Service is in charge now, but the filmmaking remains. What you see depends on when you go. Wander through the old western town and you just might run into to someone you’ve heard of. Kurt Russell was hard at work on a new movie the day I was in town. The set might look familiar, all sorts of shows have filmed here; Gunsmoke, The Dukes of Hazzard and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. After wandering the old west you can keep moving and hike one of the many marked trails.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

How about a walk onboard Air Force One? The well-traveled Boeing 707 that safely transported seven U. S. Presidents is on display at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The Library built the 26-thousand foot Pavillion specifically to house the plane. Along with President Reagan, the plane was used by Presidents Nixon, Carter, Clinton and both Bushes. While you are there, be sure to check out the exact replica of President Reagan’s Oval Office and the 6,338 pound, 9 ½ foot tall piece of the Berlin Wall.

If you plan your visit sooner as opposed to later, you can catch Amazing Automobiles: The Ultimate Car Exhibit. The Petersen Automotive Museum is closed for renovation and many of their rarely seen automobiles are on display through May 1, 2015.

Pepperdine University

Higher education with a view that will make you want to go back to school again, or at least visit the campus of Pepperdine University and check out The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. With every new academic semester comes a new art exhibit, so even repeat visitors are in for a change. Artists could be students or famous names like Chihuly. Open to the public every day but Monday, the museum comes with yet another bonus – it’s free.

Zuma Beach, Malibu

As much as I love finding new places, it’s hard to go to Southern California and not go to the beach. Malibu’s Zuma Beach, is an easy drive 10 to 15 minute drive from Pepperdine. So bring your bathing suit. Even if you think the water’s cold, laying on the warm sand will feel good. Bring a picnic or a good book and you’re all set.

Dana’s trip was hosted by Conejo Valley, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.

Dana’s weekends spent exploring the San Francisco Bay Area outnumber those at home in wine country, but her favorite trips require a passport and typically a destination with warm sand and blue water. Along with travel, Dana writes about food, wine and anything fun. Find her on Twitter @drebmann and Instagram @danarebmann

Paramount Ranch 1

Paramount Ranch 2

Pepperdine 1

Pepperdine 2

Pepperdine 3

Reagan Library

Zuma 1

Zuma 2

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