California may be the nation’s best state. Nowhere else in the United States — and maybe Earth — offers the diverse landscapes, gorgeous beaches, and eclectic communities that exist in California. It is a natural wonder and a paradise in terms of lifestyle.
But one thing some forget is that California is also one of the best places in the world for sports. More people are setting off on sports-themed road trips to see the hallowed grounds of the Green Bay Packers home at Lambeau Field or the elegant ivy wall of the quaint Wrigley Field in Chicago. A California sports road trip ranks right up there with some of the more iconic states.
But anyone who wants to truly see it all should head to California — the state that has everything. Though visiting in the summer means you won’t get a chance to catch the Los Angeles Lakers or Sacramento Kings, there are still many great games to catch.
Before you head off, however, make sure to keep one thing in mind. While a sports-themed road trip is meant to be fun, safety must come first. You need to follow California driving laws at all times as you jump from city to city to watch your favorite teams compete.
Starting in San Diego
California has five Major League Baseball (MLB) teams and many of their stadiums are worth the pilgrimage. The best place to start your trip will be in the south, where the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park sits in the heart of the city’s gorgeous Gaslamp district. It is the one of the best areas to have dinner, grab some drinks and, of course, catch a ball game.
This is also a prime area to catch a surf competition. The schedule varies by year, but La Jolla and Oceanside, in particular, feature an array of events every summer. View event listings at International Surfing Association and Western Surfing Association.
Los Angeles Area
Heading north to Los Angeles, you have two options for MLB: Dodger Stadium or Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson led a group that bought the Dodgers in 2012, helping to improve the team on the field and making it even more Los Angeles through and through. And its stadium is old, legendary ground that is a true landmark in the region. Angel Stadium of Anaheim, home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is newer and doesn’t have the same historic feel, but the beautiful weather and friendly confines make it a fine option for nine innings any afternoon.
Then there are the reigning Major League Soccer (MLS) champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy. With five cups, no team has had more success than the Galaxy and watching them play is always a treat. You don’t want to miss a chance to watch the nation’s best team play at the StubHub Center in Carson, especially now that the newest star player, Steven Gerrard, has just joined the squad.
Board sports are also popular along the beaches. X Games-like competitions and surf contests take place frequently around Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Venice.
In the Bay
Up in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics both have homes. The cavernous Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is now the only stadium left that is home to both an MLB and NFL team (the Oakland Raiders), so while it isn’t the prettiest venue, it is unique. AT&T Park in San Francisco, however is a true gem. It is a shrine to San Francisco that sits right on the waterfront — deep home runs to right field sometimes end up in the surf.
Another excellent option is seeing the San Jose’s MLS team, the Earthquake, play a game. Their new stadium just opened in May 2015, and the atmosphere has improved greatly now that they have a soccer-specific venue to play. Fan interest has reached new heights, and it’s a great pitch to watch a match.
Featured image via Tom Rants