So I am making some decent money now and I have a humble amount that I can put away for travel. I have been to about 15 different countries in my 24 years (and I've never been to Mexico or Canada) but there are still some parts of the United States I haven't been to, one of which is California. I am going to Puerto Rico in January (another place in the U.S. I've never been) and would like to go somewhere in California next summer or fall.
What I would prefer to do is to have a hotel that will enable me to hang out on the beach a lot and also be walkable in terms of some shopping, restaurants, and some cultural stuff. I probably won't venture too too far away from my hotel during my trip. I really don't want to stomach the expense of renting a car but I am open to taking taxis a few times to get to certain places. Now, I love the idea of wine country as much as anyone but I want to do that when I am making more money and can rent a Cadillac or something and stay in all the nice bed and breakfasts.
I know it's a huge state and that it's pretty hot in the South and more temperate in the North. However, from the little I know it seems that if San Fran is the most similar to East Coast cities in terms of walkability but I also (think?) it never really gets hot enough there to spend a day in the sun on the beach. The LA area seems warmer but it seems that it is nothing but highways there and you can't really walk anywhere.
So I am pretty lost. If anyone lives in or has spent time in California and can help me out feel free to post.