73 episodes

The California Now Podcast explores the people and places that make California a unique travel experience. Host Soterios Johnson, veteran radio journalist and former host of NPR’s Morning Edition on WNYC in New York City, has recently moved to California and is using his journalism skills to learn every fascinating thing about his new home state. He interviews travel experts, chefs, local guides and many others on his journey of discovery. For more ideas on California travel, go to www.visitcalifornia.com

California Now Podcast Visit California

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 85 Ratings

The California Now Podcast explores the people and places that make California a unique travel experience. Host Soterios Johnson, veteran radio journalist and former host of NPR’s Morning Edition on WNYC in New York City, has recently moved to California and is using his journalism skills to learn every fascinating thing about his new home state. He interviews travel experts, chefs, local guides and many others on his journey of discovery. For more ideas on California travel, go to www.visitcalifornia.com

    Eco-Friendly Travel

    Eco-Friendly Travel

    On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores the Golden State’s wide range of eco-friendly travel experiences with four thoughtful guests.
    First, Johnson connects with Jessica Blotter, owner and CEO of Kind Traveler. The two chat about California’s many sustainable destinations and how to give back while booking your next hotel. Blotter also shares tips for minimizing your footprint while traveling.
    After that, our host talks with Oksana and Max St. John, the couple behind the award-winning blog Drink Tea & Travel. The pair recount their recent sustainable road trip in the Golden State, discussing stops in Sonoma County, the Tri-Valley region, and the seaside town of Ventura. The duo toured the state in a Tesla—an experience they found to be easy and enjoyable.
    Lastly, Johnson speaks with Ida Kaller-Vincent, Eco Tour Manager for San Diego-based non-profit Ocean Connectors. From witnessing gray whales by boat, birdwatching by bike, and kayaking amid sea lions, Kaller-Vincent shares the glory of experiencing the area’s rich biodiversity up close. As an added bonus, all tour proceeds go back into funding the organization’s educational programs.

    • 48 min
    Summer Travel in California

    Summer Travel in California

    On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson helps you fill out your summer travel itinerary as he confers with three knowledgeable experts.
    To start things off, Johnson chats with Robert Niles, the journalist and “professional rollercoaster rider” behind the website Theme Park Insider. Niles outlines what exciting new developments to expect in parks across the Golden State—ranging from gravity-defying coasters to nostalgic live entertainment experiences.
    Next, Johnson talks with Keryn Means, editor of PCH Travel Magazine, about her family’s epic Central Coast road trip. Means details where to discover incredible beaches and breathtaking views in Carpinteria, Cayucos, Cambria, and many more seaside stops.
    Finally, Johnson connects with author and trail master John McKinney about some lesser-known hiking spots in California’s national parks. McKinney shares expert tips for avoiding crowds and exploring the best nature has to offer in multiple national parks, including Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, and Pinnacles.

    • 51 min
    Wellness Experiences in California

    Wellness Experiences in California

    On this Episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores a few of the many ways to experience wellness in California with three knowledgeable experts. First, Johnson connects with Les Alfred, creator of the Balanced Black Girl website and podcast. Alfred shares highlights from a recent wellness getaway in Sonoma County, including biking trips, unique spa treatments, and an experience that combines forest bathing with wine tasting amid towering redwoods. Alfred, a wonderful storyteller, also gives tips on how to leave your travels feeling restored and refreshed.
    After that, our host talks to Nancy Furst, resident spiritual artist and advisor at the renowned Ojai Valley Inn, located east of Santa Barbara. Furst takes Johnson on a spiritual journey as she describes one of her healing sessions—a truly unique experience involving crystals and sage. She also shares the joys of blending wellness with nature at this picturesque property in the Topatopa Mountains.
    Finally, Johnson heads to the desert for a day of pampering with Kelly Steward, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Steward sets the stage for an over-the-top luxury spa experience at the award-winning resort with treatments ranging from aromatherapy showers to relaxing massages and breathing exercises.

    • 44 min
    Travel Tips from NorCal Locals

    Travel Tips from NorCal Locals

    On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson hits the beverage trifecta, connecting with beer, wine, and coffee experts who share a passion for Northern California.  
    First, Johnson speaks with California craft beer pioneer Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Grossman shares tales of how his empire took shape and offers insights into some of his favorite activities in and around Chico—including mountain biking, fishing, and taking a behind-the-scenes “Beer Geek Tour.”
    After that, our host chats with winemaker Chris Turkovich about the charming Yolo County town of Winters. Turkovich discusses where to go for private wine tastings, sunflower field tours, and eclectic dining. He also breaks down must-see stops along Highway 128’s Wine to Waves road trip, which runs from Winters all the way to the Mendocino coast.
    Finally, Johnson speaks with Sam LaRobardiere, founder of the award-winning Theory Coffee Roasters in Redding. The pair discuss a variety of outdoor experiences, ranging from swimming in Whiskeytown Lake to waterfall hikes to mountain biking along the Sacramento River.

    • 53 min
    How to Hack San Diego

    How to Hack San Diego

    On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson heads to the southwest corner of the state to conduct a deep dive with three San Diego County experts.
    To start things off, Johnson chats with beer aficionado, journalist, and podcaster Beth Demmon. From hoppy, West Coast IPAs to rich stouts, Demmon explains why San Diego is known nationwide as the Capital of Craft. She also shares insights on favorite watering holes in Barrio Logan, National City, Oceanside, and beyond, with a few bonus tips on window shopping and ice cream parlors.
    Johnson next speaks with Tyler Carter, Vice President of Operations for Sesame Place San Diego, a new family-friendly theme park in Chula Vista. Carter discusses the many experiences on offer, including water slides, roller coasters, and parades featuring Elmo and the gang. Sesame Place is also proud to be the only Certified Autism Center theme park in the area, Carter points out.
    Lastly, our host connects with Jessica Johnson, the creator of Hidden San Diego, a website showcasing under-the-radar spots around the county. Johnson discusses where to find everything from unique green spaces in Escondido to a UFO repair shop in the high desert. Johnson also shares some amazing speakeasies to visit for one-of-a-kind cocktails.

    • 47 min
    How to Hack Orange County

    How to Hack Orange County

    On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson discovers new and unexpected ways to experience Orange County with three longtime locals. First, Johnson speaks with Gisele Anderson of Capt. Dave's Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari. Anderson shares some of her most memorable whale-watching moments as well as insider tips for making the most of your tour experience. The Dana Point local also highlights where she steers friends visiting from out of town, including her favorite beachside hotels, go-to restaurants, and scenic hikes.
    Next, Johnson talks to Kurt Bjorkman, general manager of The Ranch at Laguna Beach, a resort nestled in the Aliso and Wood Canyons. Bjorkman discusses the picturesque property’s unique amenities, ocean view, and impressive list of sustainable initiatives. The outdoorsman also shares Laguna’s best spots for mountain biking, kayaking, and where to carve your very own surfboard.
    Finally, the host connects with Orange Coast Magazine dining critic Gretchen Kurz to discuss the area’s flourishing food scene. Kurz dishes on under-the-radar eats in Anaheim and where to score amazing tacos in the city of Orange before heading to the coast for ocean views and savory bites in Huntington Beach. 

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
85 Ratings

85 Ratings

Metwinsandaportie ,

Fun and informative podcast!

Whenever this podcast pops up in my new episodes list, it is always my first choice to listen right away!
Tips for learning about California and new spots to try are here- I’m a 3rd generation Californian, have a wine tour business and am a tour guide and I am always learning something new! Keep up the great work! I’m a true fan!

JSebor ,

Gem of a Podcast

Love!!! The CA Now podcast gives fresh and fun insight into an incredible state. Every time I listen, I end up with another place on my never-ending California bucket list.

TribecaRocky ,

So much more than Disney!

Disney, San Diego, San Francisco... it’s not hard to find things to do in California but the beauty of this podcast comes from the small scale and tailored recommendations. Given by real life experts, each segment highlights something off the beaten path that appeals to people from all walks of life. From free events to solo travel to keeping kids occupied, there’s something for everyone to be found through these exciting travel tips.

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