Here is some info about California:
California is in the Pacific
Time Zone (GMT minus 8 hours). The state observes daylight saving time.
The state sales tax is 8.25%.
Local taxes may be as much as an additional 1.5%.
For local numbers, dial 411;
long-distance, 1 plus area code plus 555-1212; toll-free, (800) 555-1212
Many area codes have recently
changed. Call directory assistance if the number you have doesn't work.
Not all 800, 877, and 888
numbers work outside the U.S. Try a direct toll number or a fax.
You can call 911 toll
free from any public telephone to obtain police, fire, or medical
Alcohol is sold throughout
California. Legal drinking age is 21.
You must be 18 to purchase
tobacco products. Smoking is prohibited in all public buildings (including
restaurants, bars and casinos) and enclosed spaces throughout California. It
is illegal to smoke within 20 feet of doorways or windows of government
buildings. Most large hotels have designated smoking rooms; if you smoke,
Considering the fact that some
of California's finest attractions are inaccessible by public
transportation, most visitors find driving the best way to see the state.
That said, there's plenty to see by public transportation and plenty of
public transportation to get you between metropolitan areas.
Getting Around section of our website for more information.
By law, everyone in a vehicle
must wear a seatbelt, and motorcyclists must wear a helmet.
Speed limits are posted in miles-per-hour (mph). Generally, the speed limit
on multi-lane freeways is 65mph. On two-lane highways it is usually 55mph.
The speed limit on city streets is usually 35mph. In residential areas, near
schools and in areas with heavy foot traffic, the speed limit is almost
Along freeways with heavy traffic, car pool lanes (or "diamond lanes") are
identified by small black-and-white signs and by diamonds painted on the
roadway. To drive in a car pool lane, you must usually have two people
(including the driver) in the car. Some car pool lanes in the
San Francisco Bay
Area require three people (including the driver).
The new Wireless Communications Device Law (effective January 1, 2009) makes
it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an
electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while
driving a motor vehicle. Drivers must also use a hands-free device when
speaking on a cell phone.
Roundabouts are uncommon in California. Most intersections are either signed
by traffic lights or by stop signs. Unless signed otherwise, it is legal to
make a right turn on a red light after you come to a complete stop.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) publishes an online
version of its
California Driver Handbook
which thoroughly explains California road rules.
California is a year-round
travel destination, with weather that will please everyone from snowbirds to
sun worshippers. The best time to visit really comes down to what you want
to do and what you want to see.
Most people visit California between mid-June and August. It's summertime!
California is undeniably delicious, but there are some things to consider:
The state's top attractions and parks can be very crowded with visitors
paying top dollar for lodging and waiting in long lines for popular sites.
That said, it's never hard to hop off the beaten path and have forests,
fields and even
all to yourself. If you're planning on visiting the Sierra Nevada high
country, you have no choice but to wait until summer: roads above 8000ft
(2450m) are often closed until late June or early July.
Spring (March through early May) is a marvelous time to visit California.
Although it can still be cold at higher elevations, temperatures are
comfortable throughout much of the state. The hillsides are green, the air
is fresh, and wildflowers are blooming. During these months, you'll also
encounter shorter lines and better deals: Many of the state's top tourist
attractions are still operating at a slower pace, and hotels often charge
low-season rates until June. California's desert areas are much more
pleasant during spring than they are during the scorching heat of summer.
Fall (September through November) is another good time to beat the crowds,
and it can be an especially beautiful time to see Northern California and
the state's wine regions.
often shrouded in fog all summer long, sees some of its sunniest days during
its "Indian Summer," which generally lasts from September through October.
If you plan to ski, visit between December and February, when the Sierra
Nevada almost always has snow. It's not uncommon for
resorts to open by late October, but the snow is rarely as good as it
will be later in the season. Lift lines are mobbed between mid December and
the first week of January, when everyone hits the slopes during their