Olivia Harden

Travel Reporter at SFGATE -- based in California. Writing about social justice and mental health everywhere else. Passionate about food, exploring the world, and uplifting the voices of those who often go unheard.


La Jolla Beach in San Diego is known for its beauty and rugged rocks. But what makes it even more remarkable is the sea lion population that’s chosen Point La Jolla to breed and nurse. However, the species often come in close contact with humans at the popular beach.

Continuing their efforts to protect the sea lion population, the San Diego City Council unanimously voted Sept. 18 to close the area to the public, according to La Jolla Light.

The 8-0 vote amended the city code to protect sea l

‘F—k the locals’: Calif. restaurant owner sounds off on community

“F—k the locals,” Roger Sharp said in a now-deleted TikTok video, with the profanity bleeped out. “That’s the way I feel in my heart. I mean, because they’re not going to be the ones that make us money, right? They’re not who this place is designed for.”

“I just popped off and said that,” Sharp told SFGATE. “And then I continued on with this conversation, which is the part that nobody sees is that … I even say it’s not that I don’t like them. But, you know, if they’re going to bitch about every

SF-bound passenger reunited with dog after it escaped on runway

The dog became separated from its owner after border control canceled the owner's visa. The animal then spent three weeks wandering the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia.

Paula Rodriguez and her dog Maia, a 6-year-old Chihuahua mix, were traveling Aug. 18 on Delta Air Lines from the Dominican Republic, her home country, to vacation in San Francisco. Rodriguez’s visa was canceled, according to CNN, and she spent the night in a detention center before returning home. U.S

Death Valley responds to trolls who mocked its 2 inches of rain

Hecklers had a good laugh at the decision to temporarily close Death Valley National Park due to the 2.2 inches of rain brought to the park by Tropical Storm Hilary. But on Sept. 12, the park decided to get in on the fun on social media with a cheeky yet informative post addressing the concerns.

“We saw you talking about our rain measurements in the comments. ‘2 inches of rain??? That’s it??’ Uh, yeah. Let’s talk about it,” the park wrote in an Instagram post.

Previously in August, the park po

‘Lower than a decade ago’: Domestic airfare prices are falling

The post-pandemic travel boom is slowing down, and flight prices are falling along with it.

“Everyone assumes, because airfare was sky-high last summer, that this is still the case when, in reality, the average price of airfare is as cheap today as it was in 2006. It has fallen 11 out of the past 14 months, so cheap flights are very much available,” Katy Nastro, a travel expert at Going, wrote to SFGATE in an email.

Nastro pointed out that although prices are falling due to seasonal change

Jack Nicholson's daughter selling 10-acre Pioneertown property

As California’s famed Pioneertown fights for its future, a nearby property from an Oscar-winning family is hitting the market.

Actor Jennifer Nicholson, daughter of famed actors Jack Nicholson and Sandra Knight, is selling her enormous 10-acre property and two-bedroom home that border Pioneertown.

Jennifer Nicholson has worked as a fashion designer and appeared in a few films; the most recent was a low-budget thriller from 2017 called “Johnny Christ.” She said was was inspired by her childhood

Famous Yosemite landform Royal Arches cracks, forcing closures

Visitors to Yosemite might have to deal with another barrier to access after the park blocked off certain trails and climbing areas due to a fissure on one of the park’s famous landforms.

The closures are caused by a crack in a cliff on the western side of Royal Arches near the popular climbing route Super Slide.

“As a precautionary effort to reduce risk from rockfall, the National Park Service is implementing a temporary area and trail closure while the area is investigated further,” the p

SFO police recommend travelers use bag tracking devices like AirTags

But it wasn’t enough that she could show Singapore Airlines employees that she had proof that her luggage was on the tarmac — she had to convince an employee to help her, and after an hour of pleading, she found someone willing to listen.

At least one influencer even claims that the tiny tracking devices are the most important thing you pack in your suitcase. Travelers can slip one of the small devices into their luggage and track it on their phone as it travels from the conveyor belt at check-

This 'not so secret' Malibu cove is worth the trip

I then discovered an Instagram video that described Nicholas Canyon Beach as a stunning haven from the crowds and traffic. The beach is in Malibu, where beach access can be difficult; the city has been accused of tearing down public beach access signs, and homeowners are penalized for obscuring access to a hidden beach.

Any Southern California native hearing the words “take the 405 to the 101” will immediately be skeptical of how “traffic free” the drive might be. While the drive from downtown

Major changes coming to airplane bathrooms

The U.S. has decided to address a significant issue of accessibility for some disabled airplane passengers.

Last week, the Department of Transportation announced a new rule that would amend the Air Carrier Access Act by requiring airlines to have accessible bathrooms on single-aisle planes.

“This rule-making requires airlines to make lavatories on new single-aisle aircraft large enough to permit a passenger with a disability and an attendant,” DOT said in its summary of the new guidelines. The

Bay Area county, nonprofit team up to save one of area's oldest redwoods

A county in the Bay Area is relying on a nonprofit to fundraise for a multimillion-dollar campaign to conserve an area of old-growth coast redwood forest that is home to one of the county’s oldest trees.

Sonoma County contacted the nonprofit Save the Redwoods League to kick-start an effort to preserve California’s majestic trees.

Save the Redwoods League is now on a mission to raise the $6.5 million needed to acquire 394 acres of the Russian River frontage. However, the acquisition would only

SFO testing new landing procedures after town complains about noise

San Francisco International has been on a quest to be a better neighbor for decades, and the airport’s latest initiative is expected to curb the commotion by allowing aircraft to fly higher over local communities and follow routes that keep them farther offshore.

Noise from the airport has troubled residents living on the Peninsula for generations. In the 1990s, a citizens’ organization called Uproar complained to several city mayors that SFO failed to implement some measures in a 1992 agreemen

Yosemite PSA said knock over rock towers. Other national parks say no.

The cairn controversy continues, and while Yosemite rangers have given visitors the green light to knock them down, other national parks have not.

Cairns are rock formations in which rocks are stacked on top of one another. Yosemite National Park made a controversial media post in July by asking visitors to knock them down to combat the anti-leave-no-trace art projects.

While some of the cairns that mark hiking trails and routes are done by park rangers, most are created “by hikers trying to p
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