Southern California

Southern California includes the Los Angeles Metropolitan area, the Inland Empire, the Antelope Valley, and Greater San Diego. The area goes from San Luis Obispo to the U.S. - Mexico border and east to the borders with Nevada and Arizona. It also encompasses the Channel Islands including Catalina Island. The Los Angeles Basin and The Greater Los Angeles Area are both in Southern California. The San Gabriel Valley, the Antelope Valley the Coachella Valley, the Pomona Valley, the San Bernardino Valley and the Victor Valley are all in Southern California.

There are eight metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in Southern California which includes over 60% of California's population.

There are 10 counties, out of a total of 58, that make up Southern California.


• Imperial

• Kern

• Los Angeles

• Orange

• Riverside

• San Bernardino

• San Diego

• San Luis Obispo

• Santa Barbara

• Ventura

County Seat

• EI Centro

• Bakersfield

• Los Angeles

• Santa Ana

• Riverside

• San Bernardino

• San Diego

• San Luis Obispo

• Santa Barbara

• Ventura

Southern California Association of Governments

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) serving six of the ten counties in Southern California including Imperial County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Ventura County. SCAG is the largest MPO in the United States covering nearly 19 million people, 191 cities, and one tribal government, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. SCAG is headquartered in Downtown Los Angeles.


Historical Society of Southern California

The Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC), established in 1883, is the oldest historical society in California. HSSC is committed to preserving, interpreting, and promoting the history of Southern California through various programs and publications. HSSC publishes both a quarterly journal and monthly newsletter that include a calendar of scheduled events and programs. The organization is located in Los Angeles and is governed by an elected board of directors.


California Historical Society

The California Historical Society, founded in 1871, is a membership based non-profit organization that is privately funded. The organization provides an extensive research center and museum, and publishes California History which is an academic journal. The museum offers exhibitions and programs on a continuing basis.


Pio Pico State Historic Park

Pio Pico State Historic Park is the site of El Ranchito, also known as the Pico Adobe or Pio Pico Mansion. The home, built in 1853, was the final home of Pio Pico, the last Governor of Alta California under Mexican rule. The home is situated on three acres and has been designated a California Historical Landmark. It is also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Just west of the famous landmark is the Los Angeles River and the city of Pico Rivera, named after the governor.


Richard Nixon President Library and Museum

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and burial site of the 37th president of the United States (1969-1974), Richard Milhous Nixon, and his wife Pat Nixon. The library and museum is located on land that President Nixon's family once owned in Yorba Linda, Orange,County, which is in Southern California. The 9-acre campus includes the library and museum, the Richard Nixon Birthplace, and a National Historic Landmark where the president was born in 1913 and spent his childhood. The museum is housed in a 52,000 square foot building and contains an extensive collection of artifacts, statues, photographs, memorabilia, and far more.


Cajon Pass

The Cajon Pass is a wide mountain pass in Southern California between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains linking San Bernardino to Victor Valley,


California Coastal Trail

The California Coastal Trail (CCT) is a network of public trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding along the 1,200 mile California coast. The trail is now more than 50% completed. When complete, the trail will span from Oregon to Mexico. The California Coastal Trail will not be one continuous trail that connects the entire coast. It will be a series of trails that will be in close proximity where it will be necessary to detour around environmentally sensitive sites.


Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail is a 1,210 mile United States Historic Trail and National Millennium Trail that extends north and west from Nogales on the U.S. - Mexico border in Arizona. It extends through the California desert and Southern California, and then north along the central coast to San Francisco. The trail commemorates the 1775-1776 route that Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza took from what was then New Spain into California. The National Park Service has prepared a brochure that provides detailed information about the historic route and places to visit along the way. The Chumash Museum and Interpretive Center in Thousand Oaks and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area are two of many areas to be explored along the trail. The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail starts in California at the southeastern corner of Imperial County and then heads west and north through San Diego County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and then north, eventually reaching San Francisco County.


Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is a large, shallow, saline lake located in Southern California within Riverside County and Imperial County. While the dimensions vary depending upon rain and agricultural runoff, it averages 35 miles by 15 miles with a maximum depth of 44 feet. It is the largest lake in California. The lake’s salinity is greater than the Pacific Ocean, but less than that of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The level of salt has been increasing over the years limiting the types of fish that can survive. The primary inflows are the Alamo River, the New River, and the Whitewater River. There are no major outflows. There are a number of groups, including the Salton Sea Authority and the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuse organization, working on strategies to save the Salton Sea. Towns along the Salton Sea include: Bombay Beach, Desert Beach, Desert Shores, Salton City, Salton Sea Beach, and North Shore.


Lake Elsinore

Lake Elsinore is the largest natural freshwater lake in Southern California. The lake, which is 6 miles long and averages 1.5 miles in width, is about 27 feet deep on average. It covers approximately 3,000 acres. Located in Riverside County, the lake is east of the Santa Ana Mountains, southwest of Canyon Lake and north of the Cleveland National Forest. It is fed by the San Jacinto River. Fishing, boating, and water skiing is permitted. The city of Lake Elsinore is adjacent to the lake.


Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is a 180,000 acre saline lake formed in 1972-1973 by construction of the Pyramid Dam on Piru Creek near Castaic in Southern California. The lake lies on the border between the Angeles National Forest and the Los Padres National Forest at the far north end of Los Angeles County. Pyramid Lake offers boating, fishing, jet skiing and several picnic areas. The lake is stocked with striped bass, largemouth bass, small mouth bass, blue gill, crappie, and brook trout.


Castaic Lake

Castaic Lake is a 320,000-acre man-made lake located on Castaic Creek in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in northwestern Los Angeles County. The lake was created by the construction of the Castaic Dam in 1973.


Castac Lake

Castac Lake is a natural 400-acre saline lake located in Kern County, near the community of Lebec, in the Tehachapi Mountains within the Tejon Ranch. The one-mile long Castac Lake is sometimes referred to as Tejon Lake due to its location. Castac Lake should not be confused with Castaic Lake located in northern Los Angeles County.


Diamond Valley Lake

Diamond Valley Lake is a man-made lake in Southern California in Riverside County near the City of Hemet. The lake has three earth fill dams and is filled by the Colorado River, using the Inland Feeder water conveyance system. The lake is approximately 4.5 miles long and 2 miles wide and covers 4,500 acres. Its maximum depth is 260 feet. Diamond Valley Lake offers both fishing and light boating. There is an aquatic center, visitor center, public park, and marina at the east end of the lake.


Lake Piru

Lake Piru is a 1,240-acre lake located within the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County. The lake is four miles long and about two miles wide. The Lake Piru Recreation Area, located on the western shore, offers 238 campsites, and facilities for boating, water skiing , and fishing. Lake Piru is downstream from Pyramid Lake and can be accessed from Piru Canyon Road near the small down of Piru. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, rainbow trout, bluegill, and crappie.


Point Conception

Point Conception is the point on the coast of California in Santa Barbara County where the Santa Barbara Channel meets the Pacific Ocean. It is the dividing point between Southern California and Central California and is the location of the Point Conception Lighthouse. Point Conception and the area surrounding it was occupied by the Chumash Indians for thousands of years before California was claimed by Spain and later by Mexico. Point Conception is called Humqaq in the Chumash language.


Southern California Association of Governments

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for six of the ten counties in Southern California, serving Imperial County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Ventura County. San Diego County's MPO is the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) which is a separate government agency. SCAG and SANDAG are the only Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Southern California. There are eighteen federally mandated Metropolitan Planning Organizations in California.

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