Southern California is the southern part of the U.S. state of California. It is divided into the Coastal Region and the Desert Region.
The Desert Region is home to the Colorado Desert and a major portion of the Mojave Desert. It includes several protected areas such as Joshua Tree National Park, part of Death Valley National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and many other nature preserves.
The Coastal region includes large cities like Los Angeles - the second most populous city in the United States – and San Diego. It is the home base for Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
With famous beaches and resort towns such as Malibu, Santa Monica, and Huntington Beach, Southern California is the cradle of the surf culture and industry.
The Coastal Region is densely populated and hosts many theme parks and waterparks like Disneyland, Legoland, Sea World, and Universal Studios.
Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Raging Waters San Dimas, and Pacific Park are located in Los Angeles County; Disneyland and the nearby Disney California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm and Knott's Soak City (about 7 km /11 mi from Disneyland) in Orange County; Legoland California, SeaWorld San Diego, Belmont Park (just across the bay from SeaWorld), Knott's Soak City, and Legoland Waterpark in San Diego County. A few other theme parks are situated in the Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
Some of these amusement parks are full-day affairs while others, especially Disneyland, are best enjoyed over several days.
Southern California is home to diverse cultural attractions such as the J. Paul Getty Museum and several other museums in Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles too, Old Mission Santa Barbara, and Balboa Park in San Diego.
The history of winemaking in California began with the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. As the mission chain advanced northward from San Diego, vine cuttings were planted at each of the new missions.Some mission sites were more successful than others at producing wines. In the late 1960’s Southern California winemaking began a dramatic revival in the Temecula Valley with the planting of substantial wine grape acreage. Currently, California, North and South together, is one of the largest wine producers in the world.
Southern California is a year-round travel destination. Most people visit the Golden State in summer between mid-June and August. The top attractions can be very crowded
Southern California is served by several airports, mainly Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Diego International Airport (SAN). Los Angeles International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world.
John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County is the nearest airport to the Disneyland Resort (23 km / 14 km). LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) is located in San Bernardino County. More than half of its passengers are carried by Southwest Airlines.
Greyhound, the nation's primary bus company, travels all over California.
Metrolink is a commuter rail system serving several counties in Southern California. It operates seven lines of 824 km (512 mi) long tracks. It connects with the Los Angeles County Metro Rail system, the San Diego Coaster and Sprinter commuter rail services, and with some Amtrak intercity rail services.
Exploring California by car is a comfortable way to get around since some attractions may be inaccessible by public transportation. Renting a car is easy. You must have a valid driver's license, a passport (for non- US citizens) and a credit card, and you usually must be at least 25 years of age.