California is known for many world famous sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood and Disneyland. Home to many famous faces, film studios and the amusement parks, California doesn’t really need an introduction. But there is a lot more to experience in one of the largest and most populous American states, California. California has a number of naturally beautiful sites including giant redwoods, national parks, deserts and rock formations, and fantastic beaches, sweeping landscapes, vineyards, covering mountains and forests. California has a collection of cities and islands that are packed with fascinating sites. Here is a list of some of the most charming sites in the Golden State of America.
1. San Francisco:
One of the most populous and beautiful cities of America, San Francisco is located in northern California surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. Being a hilly city on the tip of a peninsula, San Francisco doesn’t lack when it comes to having some of the most charming sites. Known for its year-round fog, the view of the Golden Gate Bridge rising out of the fog with its orange frame against the blue water of San Francisco Bay is a sight to behold. The hills with the lovely neighbourhoods, historic sites, green spaces, inspiring cultural institutions and world-class cuisine, cosy cafes and plenty of booming nightlife venues make San Francisco a truly iconic city.
One can relax on the bay watching the sea lions, enjoy views of the city from the Twin Peaks, or for the traditional San Franciscan experience one can enjoy a ride on a cable car. You can visit San Francisco’s Chinatown, the oldest and one of the largest and most famous of all Chinatowns outside of Asia. Other charming places of San Francisco includes the Palace of Fine Arts, Alamo Square, Transamerica Pyramid, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Park and the small island of Alcatraz, and one of the most popular tourist attractions the Fisherman’s Wharf.
2. Yosemite National Park:
One of the most visited places of the US is the Yosemite National Park. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the Yosemite National Park offers a vast collection of adventure sports like skiing, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, sailing, horse riding etc. The park is equally famous among nature lovers with its mountains, valleys, rivers, and spectacular waterfalls. Yosemite National Park is also famous for its giant, ancient sequoia trees that you can see in the Mariposa Grove, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and El Capitan and Half Dome, the granite cliffs. You can also visit the shops, restaurants, lodging, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery in the Yosemite Village. Visit the Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park, in the Yosemite Valley.
You can enjoy the view of the Valley from the Glacier Point. You can relax in the gentle dome-studded Tuolumne Meadows, also see the Vernal Fall, Tioga Pass, the highest highway pass in California. The park also includes Nevada Fall, Mist Trail, Tenaya Lake, Mirror Lake, Horsetail Fall, Clouds Rest, Sentinel Dome, and the Taft Point. Cathedral Lakes, Olmsted Point, The John Muir Trail are also some of the must-visit places in the Yosemite National Park among many.
3. Lake Tahoe:
Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is another destination in California that is famous equally among the nature lovers and adventurers. The large freshwater lake and the area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe or simply Tahoe is famous for its beaches, ski resorts and one can visit the Emerald Bay State Park and the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. You can visit the Glen Alpine Road, Spooner Summit which is a mountain pass through the Carson Range. Visit the Lower Eagle Falls and Vikingsholm in the Emerald Bay. Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe is one of the finest ski resort you will experience. The Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum honours all those legends who fell victim to the harsh Sierra Nevada Winter of 1846 to 1847. Lake Tahoe is easily one of the most stunning places in the US.
4. Redwood National and State Parks:
Redwood National and State Parks are a string of protected forests that includes Redwood National Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and beaches and fields along Northern California’s coast. Each offers something for everyone with famous hiking trails and gorgeous campgrounds. The giant redwoods are one of the oldest and tallest trees on earth towering over more than 300 feet. The Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park offers a trail through dense old-growth woods. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park with its high, plant-covered walls is home to Fern Canyon. Walking through those forests will surely give you a unique experience. The top attraction in these parks includes the Tall Trees Grove, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Endert’s Beach, the Klamath River Overlook and Battery Point Light House And Museum.
5. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is the consolidated administration structure for Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. The parks are home to some of the largest and oldest living organisms on earth, filled with trees, mountains, caves and majestic views. Some of those trees are 3,000 years old. These evergreens grow up to 300 feet in height and 40 feet in diameter. Walk among those giant trees in the Giant Forest and look for the President Tree which is the 3rd largest tree. Climb the steps of Moro Rock, the granite dome for an amazing view. If you go in the summer check out the Mineral King. Don’t forget to walk or drive through the Tunnel Log. Hike up to the tallest mountain Mt. Whitney. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful Crystal Cave at the Foothills Visitor Center or Lodgepole. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is a perfect place if you want to get out of the city for a while. This parks also includes must visit places like the Buck Rock Lookout, Hume Lake, High Sierra Trail, Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, General Grant Tree, Boyden Cavern, Grizzly Falls, and Road’s End.
6. Joshua Tree National Park:
Located in southern California, Joshua Tree National Park is a vast protected area characterized by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes. The Joshua trees are the main attraction of this place but it has a lot more to offer. You can climb up the Arch Rock or take a hike at the Hidden Valley Nature Trail following the Great Burrito which is a popular climbing area. You can enjoy the beautiful view from the Keys View lookout point at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. The Cholla Cactus Garden is a great place for nature lovers and you can also find the Ocotillo Patch nearby. One can take a walk along the Barker Dam Nature Trail. The Hidden Valley in the Joshua Tree National Park is very much famous among climbers. Joshua Tree National Park has many options for climbers and hikers. With its famous Skull Rock and Keys Ranch, in the Spring, during a super bloom, the valleys filled up with a variety of flowers and if you want to Stargaze visit the park in the summer. Visit the International Dark Sky Park during New Moon on a clear day and you can see the Milky Way.
7. Big Sur:
Big Sur is one of the most famous tourist destinations in America. Located between the Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, Big Sur is a large, rocky stretch, stretching more than 90 miles of the Californian Coastline. Big Sur has a collection of State Parks including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Limekiln State Park and Garrapata State Park. The Bixby Bridge is one of the most picturesque locations in the area. The McWay Falls and the Andrew Molera State Park Beach Trail is a must visit for everyone. The Point Sur State Historic Park and the 128-year-old lighthouse on a 362-foot-tall volcanic rock is another unique place of Big Sur. Pfeiffer Beach is another fascinating location in Big Sur. The beach is famous because of its unique rock formations and purple sand.
8. San Diego:
Located on the Pacific coast of California, San Diego is an ideal location destination for adventurers and sun seekers. With its warm weather and perfect beaches, and parks, San Diego makes a fine place to spend your holidays. Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre park is the home of the renowned San Diego Zoo. The San Diego Zoo is home to some of the rarest animals in the world. The Mission Beach and Pacific and the Coronado Beach are few of the famous beaches of the city. Visit the Gaslamp Quarter for Victorian style building, art galleries and shops, theatres and trendy restaurants and clubs. Torrey Pines State Reserve, SeaWorld San Diego, Cabrillo National Monument, USS Midway Museum, Sunset Cliffs and La Jolla Cove are some of the other must visit of San Diego city.
9. Death Valley:
Located in Eastern California, Death Valley is one of the hottest places in the world. Death Valley offers a number of outdoor activities, historic sites and nature viewing. The strangely beautiful desert with Salt fields, dry parched land, sand dunes, mountains, and a lake that lies below sea level create a unique landscape in this remote valley. The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes east of Stovepipe Wells is one of the most famous spots of Death Valley. one can walk out into the dunes and climb to the highest points and will have the most picturesque location. The Badwater Basin is another must visit of the Valley. The shallow lake is the lowest point of land in the western hemisphere. The Race Track, Zabriskie Point Dantes View, Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette, Devil’s Golf Course and Harmony Borax Works and the Sand Dunes near Stove Pipe Wells are some of the must-visit places of Death Valley. Another attraction of Death Valley is the Spring Wildflowers, peaks in March.
10. Laguna Beach:
Laguna Beach is a perfect destination for your summer vacation. It’s a small coastal city in Orange County that offers a collection of beaches, parks, art galleries, and coves. The Heisler Park, Crescent Bay Point Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park: Big Bend, Treasure Island Park, Crystal Cove State Park with Victoria Beach, Main Beach, Woods Cove are just some of the many tourist attraction of Laguna Beach that offers many outdoor activities. You can visit the 95 years old Laguna Playhouse. The Laguna Art Museum which is located about 300 feet from the ocean is the oldest museum in the State of California. You can witness the Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters which has a become a summer tradition and one of the most popular festivals in America. Also, visit the St. Francis by the Sea, the second smallest cathedral in the world.