One of my favorite places to visit is Southern California, and namely, LA. I love the fact that they have lots of vegan restaurants and even several raw food restaurants and don't forget the farmers markets. I especially like that within LA you can get out into nature on their trail system and state parks. Eaton Canyon is a favorite with lots of wildlife anf flora...catch lizards suntanning on the sides of the trail or snakes slithering off as you approach. I even saw a rattle snake crossing the trail there once. I waited a long time to go ahead and proceed along the trail, lol. I took my daughter for a hike to the waterfall in Eaton Canyon (about two hours round trip from the trail start to the waterfall and back) and saw lots of butterflies, hummingbirds (my favorite!), blue jays, a lizard hanging out by a bees nest snagging bees as they entered or excited, squirrels, and we even saw a bunny when we got back to the parking lot as it was getting dusky by the time we returned.
But probably my favorite thing to do in LA is go to the pier and see all the critters in the tidepools. I especially love little crabs and of course, if you are fast, you can catch the little sand fleas that wash up with each splash of the tide and bury themselves in the sand leaving little bubbles up in the sand as their evidence.
Since I had my daughter with me this time and we were staying two blocks from the wax museum we decided to pop in a see some celebrities...
Another stop you shouldn't miss is the Long Beach Aquarium. It not only has an incredible array of aquariums, large and small, from the giant floor to ceiling tank that you can sometimes catch the divers feeding the fish, it also has an outdoor area with sea birds, seals, penguins and a shallow skate tank where you are allows to pet the manna rays. There is also a walk in lorikeet cage where you can feed the birds sugar water and they will land on you. An amazing place for fellow bird lovers.
If you get a chance definitely stop by Au Lac, which now has an LA location (in addition to the original location near Orange County)...they have a full vegan menu and lots of raw vegan choices as well as a full bar. You still have to go to the original location for their raw vegan bread, but the new LA location downtown is beautiful and modern with even more of Chef Ito's flair for combining health with deliciousness.
Add in the sights, the architecture, beautiful weather, the raw food, the flora, fauna and especially the cool bugs and birds and you have one of my favorite places to be in the US