Hotel Del Coronado, the first stop of the Southern California Author Adventures Trail ©Author Adventures

Literary California, a Haven for Imagination

With its historical ties to the Hollywood film industry and stunning national parks, the variety within the California trail is like no other. Yes, you can still dine at the hangout of almost every major American author of the early twentieth century. Yes, you can view magical natural vistas through the eyes of Will Rogers. And, yes, you can even visit the birthplace of Snoopy. Welcome to California.

Our Southern California Author Adventures Trail and Northern California Author Adventures Trail are not to be missed. The SoCal trail runs from San Diego to the famous Hearst Castle. The NoCal trail picks up from there and continues on to Monterey and beyond. Both trails are listed as running south-to-north but reversing the direction works just as well for those traveling north-to-south. Anticipate at least a few days of relaxed travel per trail or a week or two for both.

Southern California Author Adventures Trail:

Click any link below for author and place information.

A. L. Frank Baum (Hotel Del Coronado), Coronado
B. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), La Jolla
C. Robert Schuller, Garden Grove
D. Lewis Carroll and Louie Zamperini, University of Southern California
E. Central Library, Los Angeles (writing and research nerve center for numerous writers, including Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, etc.)
F. Musso and Frank Grill, Hollywood
GWill Rogers, Pacific Palisades
HEdgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzana
I. Scott O’Dell, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands
JHearst Castle, San Simeon

Central Coast Bookstore Ideas:

If you can spare an hour or more, visit Bart’s Books in Ojai before heading to Channel Islands. It is the largest outdoor independent bookstore in the US and has an impressively robust and eclectic collection of new and gently used books. After Channel Islands, we recommend stopping at Solvang to see its commemorative statue of Hans Christian Andersen and enjoy his namesake’s bookstore.

Northern California Author Adventures Trail:

Click any link below for author and place information.

K. John Steinbeck, Monterey
L. Robert Louis Stevenson, Monterey
M. Robinson Jeffers, Carmel
N. John Steinbeck, Salinas
O. Jack London, Oakland
P. Gertrude Stein, Oakland
Q. Literary San Francisco
R. Jack London, Glen Ellen
S. John Muir, Martinez
T. Charles M. Schulz, Santa Rosa
U. Arna Bontemps, Angwin (Pacific Union College)
V. Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Stevenson, St. Helena

The Central California Coast, where the SoCal Author Adventures Trail and the NoCal Author Adventures Trail meet, near the Eugene O’Neill house. ©Author Adventures

Off the Beaten Path

Two worthwhile California literary destinations not on either of our trails are Fresno, home of landmarks connected to writer William Saroyan, and Danville, home of Eugene O’Neill in the Big Sur area.

William Saroyan

Since our path hugs the coastline and Fresno is inland, we recommend visiting the Saroyan landmarks on a trip that is independent of either trail. Or, consider starting with Fresno and then travel westward to begin the Northern California trail.

Eugene O’Neill

The Eugene O’Neill house requires time and planning as it can only be accessed by a shuttle bus that picks up passengers in Danville. No personal cars are allowed at the site and tour reservations are required. That said, it is a gorgeous destination affording an unforgettable view from the playwright’s stately home, where he and his wife lived for six years as he wrote multiple plays while battling illness. The home includes original and period pieces. Also see Eugene O’Neill in Connecticut.

Starting in San Diego, our Southern California Author Adventures Trail includes stops A though J:

Our Northern California Author Adventures Trail picks up where the first left off and covers stops K through V:

The total California Author Adventures Trail is below.

Here are two timelines for the California historical site pages: