Southern California is most easily divisible by counties, from North to South:
- Santa Barbara County
- Ventura County
- Los Angeles County
- Orange County
- San Bernardino County
- Riverside County
- San Diego County
English is the official language of California and is the predominant language in Southern California. However, Spanish is also spoken by large Hispanic populations and it is not uncommon in Southern California to see store and street signs written in both English and Spanish. Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese, Hindi, Korean, Vietnamese, and Cambodian are also spoken by various immigrant groups.
Most Southern Californians drive their personal cars to get around. Just listen to the evening traffic reports and you'll get an idea of how many cars are driven in the area each and every day.
The metropolitan regions of Southern California consist of many small cities that run into one another. It can be confusing and you can get lost very easily if you do not have a map, even with detailed directions. A Thomas Guide, which contains detailed maps of all neighborhoods, is a useful tool if you plan on doing any driving in Southern California. This book can be found in local stores and bookstores.
Mass transit is available throughout the area, with many connecting together at shared stops. The regional commuter train,MetroLink, connects many of the outreaching areas, where many commuters live, with Los Angeles and Orange County, where they work. This train system comes in handy when you need to get from one area to another, even with their limited schedule.
It is not worth trying. Cities are too close together and there are too many access points to the highway, making it nearly impossible to find someone going your way. Your best bets are the 101 north of Santa Barbara, the 5 north of Santa Clarita, or east until you escape the sprawling cityscape.
- Cabrillo National Monument - (San Diego) Climbing out of his boat and onto shore in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. In addition to telling the story of 16th century exploration, the park is home to a wealth of cultural and natural resources.
- Crime can be high in certain parts of southern California, particularly in the Los Angeles area, although the media tends to exaggerate this sometimes.
- Many tourists may suffer respiratory problems due to the pollution in the air closer to southern California's major metropolitan areas. Drink plenty of fluids and keep outdoors activities within the city itself to a minimum.
- There are no extremely dangerous animals in southern California. There are rattlesnakes in the open spaces, but they are typically shy and their bites are only considered to be potentially fatal to the very young and the elderly- even so, it's best to always be alert while hiking. Mountain lions (also known as pumas, cougars and catamounts) do exist in many (if not all) of the National Parks and open spaces in Southern California. These cats are, however, EXTREMELY shy and elusive- you have very little chance of seeing one, let alone being attacked by one. Most hikers who have been hiking these areas their whole lives have never even seen or heard a mountain lion. Attacks are rare but do happen every few years- make sure to always hike with another person, especially near dawn and dusk.
This page was last edited at 21:21, on 20 March 2009 by Wikitravel user PalmSpringsCA. Based on work by San Francisco Girl, erik borowitz, Ryan Holliday, Anne, M. Hogue, KruMalee, Brandon Sideleau, Michele Ann Jenkins, Evan Prodromou and Tom Holland, Wikitravel user(s) Shiny Cupcake and Branddobbe, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.