Live Like a Californian Sweepstakes

Here’s something you can tell all of your out-of-state friends and family members about: The California Travel & Tourism Commission has launched a sweepstakes to encourage everyone to “Live Like a Californian,” and they’re giving away once-in-a-lifetime prize packages that will let winners do just that. All prize packages include round-trip flights for four, three nights lodging, a rental car and experiences that include things like V.I.P. treatment at a Jason Mraz concert in San Diego, a behind-the-scenes visit to the set of the Betty White hit comedy “Hot in Cleveland,” skiing with Glen Plake at Mammoth before the mountain opens to the public, surfing lessons, gear and a tour of O’Neill headquarters in Santa Cruz with Jack O’Neill and a private tasting and picnic with Randy Lewis of Lewis Cellars in Napa Valley. California residents are eligible to win; the sweepstakes end on June 19. Find all the details at

Run For the (Hollywood) Hills!

Sometimes the best travel adventures are right in your own backyard. Off ’N Running Tours offers guided running tours of the “hidden” Hollywood Hills suitable for runners and walkers of all levels. The five-mile tour takes individuals through Beachwood Canyon and an area known as Hollywoodland, ensuring the best views of Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign and all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Participants walk or run challenging hills while going past notable landmarks, celebrity homes and movie sites. Throughout the entire experience individuals get sweeping views of the Hollywood Sign while learning little-known facts and seeing historical sites. These are not group tours; bookings are made for one or two persons only so as to accommodate individual travel schedules. Cost is $65 per person, and tours are available on Sundays and Wednesdays.

NYC Rock ’n’ Roll History Tour

Rocks-Off, one of the most infamous concert promoters in New York has launched a series of walking tours in NYC. The two inaugural walking tours include the History of Art, Crime, Drugs and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side, a guided tour given by John Joseph of the Cro-Mags and the Past, Present and Future of Rock & Roll in New York City, given by Rocks-Off owner Jake Szufnarowski.

Both men are certainly qualified to give informative tours; Joseph has been a first-hand participant in the history of punk in the Lower East Side since 1977, and Szufnarowski has been promoting shows in the city since 1997, including the final 100 shows at the legendary club CBGB. If you want to see things like the place where Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers beat up a sound guy mid-show, these are the tours for you. Offered weekly, in-between Thursday and Sunday.

The Jet Bag

Ever want to bring back a bottle of tequila from Mexico or a bottle of tasty wine from some distant vineyard but hesitate to do so because you’re worried the bottle might burst inside your suitcase? The Jet Bag can put you at ease by helping you transport liquids safely. Just insert your precious cargo bottom first, seal the top of the bag (Ziploc style) and place the bag in your suitcase.

Should the bottle break in transit the bag’s special lining will absorb up to 750 ml of liquid, and you can just throw the whole mess away. Otherwise you can reuse the bag indefinitely and rest assured that your wardrobe will not be marinating in booze.

Free Birthday Zips, Rappels, Cave & Gold Mine Tours

For the remainder of 2011, bring your ID showing your actual birthday to any Cave & Mine Adventures location (in the Sierra Nevada foothills) for free admittance on your birthday. You can take a zip line ride across the gold country foothills, rappel 165-feet to the bottom of Moaning Cavern’s massive main chamber, climb a 32-foot custom climbing tower or take a walking tour at Moaning Cavern, Black Chasm Cavern, California Cavern or Sutter Gold Mine.

Most locations are open year round, and there are no restrictions on dates so if your birthday happens to fall on Christmas or another major holiday you can still enjoy your free activity.