Often called the birthplace of California the San Diego area can be characterized as an urban wilderness. The geography of the area, even within the city limits is extremely varied, with low mountains, wide, flat mesas, plunging canyons and valleys, and soft, sandy beaches lining the Pacific coastline. The climate is praised as one of the best in the country, with warm, sunny days filling most of the year. As such, the San Diego area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers. With numerous parks, gardens and wilderness areas for hiking, biking and animal watching, incredible beaches for surfing, kayaking, sunning, scuba diving, and swimming, and the city itself, which has a sizzling nightlife, unmatched cuisine, and a vibrant art and culture community, there is hardly a more active place in the US than San Diego.