McCool Travel interview with Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

5 Minutes With Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

For McCool Travel’s 155th travel interview, I am happy to introduce you to Josh McNair of California Through My Lens. Josh was a member of a fun group of travel writers in Napa earlier this month. His travel brand is very popular and one of the top resources for things to do in California.

California Through My Lens bio:

Josh McNair runs the website CaliforniaThroughMyLens.com which is a travel site specifically for the state of California and which has been visited by over 7 million people. Over the last 6 years Josh has been exploring the state and documenting all of the best hikes, restaurants, road trips, and adventures.

McCool Travel interview with Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

Josh McNair: California Through My Lens

HOMETOWN …

Redlands, California

ALWAYS IN MY LUGGAGE …

My camera, I love photography and I pretty much never go anywhere without my camera. Currently it is a Sony but I shot Canon for a long time before that.

3 FAVORITE HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME PLACES …

  1. San Luis Obispo on the California coast, I have been going there for years and love the town.
  2. Portland, as I spent a lot of time there for school
  3. Big Sur as it is just one of those place I never want to leave when I visit.
McCool Travel interview with Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

Californa coast by Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

A FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORY …

Getting to the summit of Mt Whitney, the tallest mountain the lower 48 states. I tried for two years to get a permit, then when I did I trained a lot and me, my wife and my friend all made it to the top. It was freezing cold so we didn’t stay long but it was amazing.

3 FAVORITE TRAVEL BRANDS …

  1. Peak Designs is my go-to brand for camera accessories and travel bags. I am a huge fan of their stuff.
  2. Southwest is another favorite of mine as the flights are usually well priced and if you fly a lot you can get a companion pass which is an amazing travel perk.
  3. As a user, I probably use Booking.com the most for my hotel bookings. I like being able to cancel when a trip changes and they make it really easy on their site.

3 MONEY-SAVING TRAVEL TACTICS I USE …

  1. I will usually grab stuff to make a sandwich when I visit a new place. I often go out for breakfast and dinner so it saves money to just have a sandwich on the go for lunch.
  2. Public transportation is a big way to save money when traveling and I use it a lot. It can be hard when you go to a country with signs in a different language then you speak but after a few day you get used to it and save a lot of money.
  3. Lastly, I try to pay all of my major bills and expenses with my credit card so that I can get the points and use them for my travels.

3 WAYS THAT I HAVE FUN WHILE TRAVELING …

  1. Go hiking, I love getting outdoors and seeing what the area has to offer.
  2. Watching the sunset. Since I am a photographer I always try to find a unique spot to watch the sunset and photograph it when I travel.
  3. Trying new food. Whatever the local delicacy is I have to try it. Sometimes it’s not good but other times you fall in love with a new food.

8 WORD (OR LESS) TRAVEL MANTRA …

Explore what’s right outside your backdoor.”

McCool Travel interview with Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

Big Pine by Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

FAVORITE NON-TRAVEL WEBSITE …

I get a lot of value out of Yelp when I am planning my trips or just looking for a new place to eat around me.

MOST MEMORABLE SOUVENIR  …

When I walked 5 days on the Camino De Santiago in Spain, I got a shell with the sign that you follow on the trail. I love seeing that in my home as it reminds me of the people I met and the experience I had.

FAVORITE CHEAP EAT …

California Burrito – Carne asada, salsa, cheese, and French fries all piled together in a burrito.

RECENT DISCOVERY …

I recently fell in love with Channel Islands National Park off the coast of California. It is such a remote and amazing spot with great hiking and camping and there are multiple islands so I have yet to visit them all.

McCool Travel interview with Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

Channel Islands by Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

I AM FORTUNATE TO HAVE MET …

Charles McCool so that I could be featured in this awesome interview series!  [Ed. Note: Thank you much. My pleasure! ]

McCool Travel interview with Josh McNair of California Through My Lens

Napa Sunset by Josh McNair of California Through My Lens


Thank you so much, Josh, for sharing your travel inspiration and tips. Continue sharing that amazing content and keep us California Dreaming!

Follow Josh McNair and California Through My Lens on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and California Through My Lens.


McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes travel interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Check out McCool Travel’s previous travel interviews. Previous 5 Minutes travel interview: Mytanfeet.


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