California Visitor's Guide 2010

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GOLD COUNTRY COOL

IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT ESCAPE WITH HER TEENAGERS, A MOM TURNS TO THE SIERRA FOOTHILLS—AND STRIKES GOLD

When it came time to plan a vacation with my two teenagers this year, I had two missions: 1) make it active and fun because we—Sam, age 18, Hannah, age 15, and I (age, well, whatever)—all like to play and explore, and 2) make it unplugged—no phones, laptops, or iPods for one whole week.

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I found it all in the Gold Country: boundless fun, with great ways to get out and explorewithout an electric gizmo in sight, and all an easy drive from two of California's major gateways—San Francisco and Sacramento. An added bonus was how cool our trip would turn out to be—not just in terms of the cool as in "wow, this is fun," but physically cool. With rivers, lakes, god-rush creeks, and dark caverns—and a welcome smattering of ice-cream parlors—we discovered that the region had no shortage of ways to beat the heat during the day. What's more, evenings are pleasantly cool for dining on outdoor patios and taking post-dinner strolls.

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Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveler Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservations Manager Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist 2007-2013 (River Rafting) Best of the Bay Area Winner

For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the "Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside Magazine in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program. In multiple years, O.A.R.S.trips have been honored as "50 Tours of a Lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler and since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler has recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler's standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category.

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