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California attractions and things to do

Santa Monica pier at sunset California attractions

Looking for California attractions and things to do? California is one of the most popular vacation spots in the United States, attracting both domestic and international visitors. California is a fascinating land of travel options, with vibrant towns, beaches, amusement parks, and natural beauties found nowhere else on the planet. Start with our list of the greatest attractions in California if you’re planning a road trip, a family vacation, a city break, or simply want to experience what the state has to offer.

A California must-see is Yosemite National Park

California and the United States are blessed with one of the most beautiful national parks in the world — Yosemite. Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Granite Cliffs features granite cliffs, waterfalls, as well as a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Located in the Sierra Nevada about 320 km east of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park covers an area of 3081 square kilometers. Since it was the first national park established by the US government in 1890, it attracts over 4 million visitors annually.
A number of lakes and waterfalls are formed by the Tuolumne and Merced rivers, which flow through canyons as deep as 1,200 metres into the park. As a result of the geological activity of this park, there are many interesting rock formations. One of them is the Lost Arrow. In particular, “El Capitan”, one of the national rock climbing sanctuaries, stands out above them all. If you are a hiker, this is one of the best California attractions that you don’t want to miss.

Yosemite National Park Valley summer landscape California attractions

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

Yosemite National Park is near Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, another must-see natural attraction in California. As you enter this land of giants, you’ll see almost 2,000-year-old sequoia trees standing side by side. Explore General Sherman, an 84-metre-tall, 11-metre-diameter sequoia. Also, we recommend taking a stroll through the Giant Forest, which is a veritable tree museum. In addition to the Muir Woods National Monument and Redwood National and State Parks, you can view sequoias in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Kings Canyon National Park

San Francisco

California’s San Francisco is a must-see city. Golden Gate Bridge greets its visitors, creating an iconic setting. You can also visit Alcatraz, the world’s most famous prison. In addition to colourful Victorian-era houses and the quaint Castro and Mission neighbourhoods.
There is also a lively Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 with its sea lions, and the curious Musée Mécanique in this Californian city. The Cable Car is perhaps San Francisco’s most iconic attraction. Located on the National Historic Landmark list, this tramway is unique in the world. There’s no better place to start your trip to California than this landmark and the beginning of the Highway Pacific Coast Highway.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco California attractions

Los Angeles and Hollywood

One of the best things to do in California is to visit Los Angeles, which is a huge city. We enter Downtown from Los Angeles, which is divided into four zones. You can find the most impressive skyscrapers here, as well as the liveliest area, Santa Monica. On the other side, you can walk along the walk of fame in Hollywood and the movie studios. There are also stars of your favorites. Definitely one of the most popular California attractions.
California’s elegant city is a must-stop while you are traveling through the state. You can’t miss a trip to Griffith Observatory for a look at the city of stars. Furthermore, you can marvel at the imposing mansions in Beverly Hills. Find out what else you can do and see in Los Angeles by visiting this post.

Los Angeles, California California attractions
Young woman sitting behind the Hollywood sign overlooking Los Angeles California attractions

San Bernardino Forest

Los Angeles is right next to the spectacular San Bernardino Forest. You can experience nature in its purest form in San Bernardino if you are visiting California. In the middle of a colourful landscape of lush vegetation, you will be able to take on an endless number of routes and activities.

California San Bernardino National Forest Mountains Sunset

San Diego

San Diego is considered the best city in California to live in. The historic downtown of San Diego and Balboa Park date back to the mid-19th century. You can also visit its museums, stroll through the Gaslamp Quarter, which is the city’s cultural and commercial center. Imperial Beach, Coronado Beach, and Mission Beach are also stunning beaches in San Diego.

San Diego, California, USA Cityscape

Death Valley

Death Valley’s seemingly desolate appearance will not leave you indifferent. 57o C (57o C) is the hottest temperature ever recorded in the United States, and it is a natural marvel. The Badwater location is 86 metres below sea level, the lowest point in California. Water-carved canyons, sand dunes, and a vast salt flat make this a unique landscape.

Death Valley

Lake Tahoe

California’s Lake Tahoe, located on the border between California and Nevada, is a natural wonder. In the middle of nature, surrounded by sparkling blue water and lush vegetation whatever the season, it offers a variety of activities. Canoeing along its banks will be like stepping into a real postcard if you enjoy water sports. The landscape seems to be retouched due to its intense colors.

Lake Tahoe

Napa Valley and Sonoma

In California, and arguably throughout the United States, these are the quintessential wine regions. If you’re a wine enthusiast, this is the place you must visit in California if you live in San Francisco. Over 600 wineries can be found in Napa and Sonoma, which focuses on cabernet-sauvignon, zinfandel, and syrah.

Vineyard in Napa Valley area of California
Dusk on Sonoma Mountain

California beaches to visit

Of course on our list of California attractions, we have to mention the beaches. There is a reputation that California’s beaches are paradises. It is much milder and the summer season lasts a great deal longer on the southern coast of California. The north coast, on the other hand, has much cooler temperatures and a shorter beach season. They all have their own unique charm, though. Here are a few of the best known and most charming California beaches.

Santa Monica

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you can escape to two other interesting places in addition to Los Angeles. You can enjoy miles of sand at Santa Monica Beach, as well as the famous Santa Monica Pier. Every night, the roller coaster and Ferris wheel light up the coastline. Venice Beach is much more relaxed and alternative. Walk a little farther south and you’ll find it. Slow motion lovers will enjoy this little film, which has little to do with Santa Monica.
The Pacific Park amusement park on the beach’s iconic pier, the Looff Racetrack, the aquarium, several restaurants, and Muscle Beach open-air gym are among the many things that make this beach so famous.

Santa Monica pier at sunset California attractions

The must-see beach in California is Venice Beach

Venice Beach offers a 3-ring urban street circus, complete with performers, singers, weightlifters, and barefoot sand sculptors, unlike any other beach in the world. This frenetic activity is centered on Ocean Front Walk, a 3-mile boardwalk that ranks among California’s best beaches.

Venice Beach 2014

Beach at East Beach, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s East Beach stretches along State Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, at the eastern end. The volleyball championships and various popular events are held there, stretching from the pier to Andree Clark Bird Refuge. In Santa Barbara’s beach atmosphere, you can walk, bike and watch seabirds while also sunbathing and swimming.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara's Carpinteria Beach

Santa Barbara’s Carpinteria Beach is one of the typical long beaches of the area and is located in the Santa Barbara area. The surrounding vegetation, dunes, and green areas make it a perfect place to relax. Visit Carpinteria Beach and you’re likely to see sea lions and whales, as this Californian beach is also home to a lot of wildlife. During whale watching season, you may even see a whale from the shore.

Santa Bárbara beach

Malibu's Zuma Beach

It’s easy to recognize Zuma Beach. Beachwatch, Planet of the Apes, and An Indecent Proposal were all filmed there. White sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, which make it an ideal beach for surfing, are the beach’s attractions. While it is one of the busiest beaches in Malibu, it is not as crowded as other nearby beaches in California.


The beach at El Matador in Malibu

El Matador Beach is one of California’s most beautiful and best beaches. It can be found on Pacific Coast Highway in west Malibu. From the cliffs above, you can see huge boulders and deep, dark blue water with kelp forests clearly visible beneath the surface. There is a lifeguard on duty all year round and the beach attracts sunbathers, surfers, and swimmers. There are large caves and rock arches at the base of the cliff at the northern end of the beach when the tide is low.

Beautiful sunset at El Matador beach Malibu California

Laguna Beach

Orange County is home to Laguna Beach, one of the busiest beaches in California. Early in the 20th century, an artists’ colony was founded in this picturesque setting. As an added bonus, the downtown galleries and beautiful bungalows decorated with arts and crafts reflect the city’s bohemian past. Surfing is another water sport you can do at the beach.

Laguna Beach, CA

California's charming Carmel Bay beach

It is a beautiful white sand beach with turquoise waters in Monterey, not far from San Francisco. As the sea currents on this shore are almost always very strong, it is not advisable to swim in this idyllic spot. Even so, if you are looking to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery, Carmel Bay is worth a visit.

Carmel by the Sea California Beach


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