Roadtrips for Couples Ideas for Exploring the Golden State

Our guest post and monthly column comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association’s annual international writing contest.  His prize winning story, Houseboating with My Pirate Pals, was in the Intergenerational Travel category.  In 2010 he also received a second place award in the Cancun International writers competition for his feature, Quintessential Quintana Roo. Hian was recently named as the San Diego Hotel Motel Association’s “Allied Member of the Year” for 2011 for his ongoing contributions to the city’s tourism industry through his travel writing.

photos courtesy of Howard Hian

If you are planning to travel this month, here are some Roadtrips for Couples ideas for exploring the Golden State.

San Diego – Two Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

The 29th Annual Fiesta Cinco de Mayo will be held in Old Town State Historic Park May 5 & 6. The free festival features Mexican dancers, musicians, food and historical reenactments. Additionally, the Bazaar Del Mundo Shops and Casa Guadalajara Mexican restaurant will showcase authentic Mexican food and folklore. Other festivities include mariachi and folkloric dance performances, craft displays and demonstrations, a margarita garden and carne asada BBQ ( On May 6, the Third Avenue Village’s Cinco de Mayo commemoration in downtown Chula Vista features over 200 vendors, live entertainment, authentic Mexican food and beverages, arts and crafts, a kid’s zone, rides, fashion shows and salsa dancing contests.

Balboa Park – There’s a lot going on at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. IMAX’ G-rated documentary, To the Arctic, narrated by Meryl Streep, features a polar bear and her cubs’ tale of survival in the wilderness. “Rock the Dome” also joins the regular roster of IMAX® films. It is an interactive digital concert featuring some of the greatest bands from the late 60’s through the early 90’s. Kids will love Secret of the Cardboard Rocket. Two young adventurers turn an old cardboard box into a rocket and with the help of a magical Astronomy Book and their vivid imaginations, blast off on a journey through the Solar System. Returning May 26, “Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body,” uses sophisticated animatronics and imaginative exhibits to tell you the good, the bad and the downright ugly about runny noses, body odor and much more. For tickets, show times, etc., call 1-619 238-1233 or visit

Ventura – An outstanding music festival takes place May 3 – May 12 in venues throughout the city. The line-up includes vocalists, string quartets, a “rising stars” competition, local artists and much more. An outdoor Cuban jazz concert kicks off the first weekend of the festival.

North Lake Tahoe – How about a free phone app for activities and events in and around the area? It’s easy to use and features nightlife, restaurants, happy hours, news, weather and more. The “What’s going on?” question now is easy to answer.

Oakland – Consider this: the New York Times listed Oakland as its #5 destination to visit in 2012. Reasons include the restaurant scene, a thriving arts community and exciting nightlife.

Safe travels and enjoy the journey…

Howard Hian