The Top 20 Best Places to Visit in California

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places to visit in california

California is known for a lot more than just celebrities. This state has Hollywood, after all! But there’s so much interest in California beyond that- Silicon Valley being the global headquarters to many big tech companies and one cannot forget about iconic landmarks like The Golden Gate Bridge either.

The best places to visit in California are as diverse and extraordinary as the state itself. From giant redwoods, deserts, rock formations, and beaches along a coast full of wonderment; there’s something for everyone here! Not only will you be able to see magnificent nature on offer but also some fascinating cultures from vineyards where grapes grow well despite their hardiness (they don’t like freezing temperatures) or San Diego’s reputation for great Mexican food that’ll leave your mouth watering even after just eating lunch – trust me I’ve tried them all).

Top 20: Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a city that has been knowing for its beach culture and counterculture. Located just south of San Jose with some incredible scenery nearby, there are plenty of things to do in ‘Surf City’ as watersports such as paddle boarding attract many people from all walks of life- making it an interesting destination whether you want to enjoy family time or get into surfing!

Santa Cruz is a wonderful seaside city with so much more to offer. It’s home to some of California’s best beaches, such as Natural Bridges State Beach and Big Basin Redwoods State Park which are both worth checking out for their lovely nature trails and spectacular scenery.

In addition, there’re tons of great places in Santa Cruz you can go eat vegetarian Mexican food at Gandhi Sq., shop all afternoon before meeting up friends, or just Drinkard until sunset over on Front Street – we’ve got everything here!

Top 19: Sonoma Valley

Step into the land of Napa and Sonoma Valley. A valley famous for its fine wines, this tranquil region is home to some lovely rural scenery with fertile vineyards that have helped make California one of America’s most prosperous states in wine production; it was here too where Americans learned how much they loved drinking their own product which led them on an international adventure known now as “The Wine Revolution.”

During your visit, you can explore all parts or just sip at local tasting rooms before taking off across the country back home again!

The Valley of the Moon is a place where people come to get away from it all. Whether you’re looking for an estate with expansive views or want some tips on how best to enjoy your wine, this valley has something special in store!

Top 18: Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a laidback beachfront city that offers tourists the perfect break from sightseeing around Hollywood, home to all of America’s movie industry. The town was founded as a seaside resort in the early 20th century and since then it has become Santa Monicains favorite spot for sun, sea sand (and more) with its bustling pier where you can enjoy some old fashioned fun on rides like Ferris wheel or carousel while kids play volleyball by one side; take part freely during daytime hours but at night there are plenty activities just waiting including surfing which many locals do every day!

Santa Monica is a city of alternative culture for those looking to get off the beaten path. There are few galleries and street murals in this bustling metropolis, but it’s home to many great artists who work with their hands rather than paintbrush or pencils.

Top 17: Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a year-round desert playground on Interstate 10, connecting the Los Angeles area with Arizona. Home to many celebrities over the decades (including Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner), Palm Spring’s golf courses are perfect for wintertime play when temperatures can be cooler than they would otherwise be during summer months in this hot climate!

Although it’s not quite as well-known these days, Santa Monica was once a popular destination for college students on spring break. And thanks to its mid-20th-century modern architecture which can be found throughout the city and celebrated annually during Modernism Week (now defunct), there are still plenty of traces left behind by past generations. One such example is former U.S Marine turned actor Sonny Bono – he served as major here before going on to achieve fame with Cher!

Palm Springs is not your typical oasis. The city was once home to Hollywood movie stars and attracted tourists in the 50s, but now has a large retiree population thanks to its proximity to nature-laden hiking trails nearby as well as museums with plenty of exhibits on offer for all interests from history buffs looking into early Native American cultures up through modern-day art pieces by famous artists like Rembrandt or Picasso – there’s something here no matter what type you’re interested in!

Top 16: Joshua Tree National Park

Ever since it was first protected by President Harry Truman intensity-one, Joshua Tree National Park has been one of America’s most stunning natural gems. With spectacular views that span from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Mojave Desert and beyond–the park offers a diverse landscape perfect for hiking or camping enthusiasts alike!

Exploring the national park’s mountains, canyons, and rock formations really is a treat, with plenty of scenic trails and climbing routes snaking through the rugged scenery. As two separate desert ecosystems lie within the park, there are lots of diverse fauna and flora on show. Coyotes, rattlesnakes, and golden eagles can all be spotted from time to time.

The Mojave Desert is a photographer’s dream. Its dramatic geology and the strange Joshua Trees that grow there, make for some amazing photos! This area has been immortalized in music with U2’s album The Joshua Tree after it was named by their fans who call this land “The Holy Grail.”

Top 15: Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is a beautiful town with lots of great beaches and luxury resorts. It’s also home to some talented artists who live here in the scenic city by the Pacific Ocean, which has a Mediterranean vibe about it.

The town of Killarney is home to many beautiful public sculptures and art galleries, with quaint cottages that dot the landscape. It also hosts several fantastic events every summer such as Festival Arts or Pageant Of The Masters where artists showcase their latest creations for all visitors’ enjoyment!

Laguna Beach, a serene paradise with miles of golden sand beaches and crystal clear water. The cliffs that tumble down to the Pacific are linked by trails where hikers can go explore while cyclists enjoy their own paths in this picturesque destination for all types; it’s also home to some excellent scuba diving sites beneath waves which make up part of its draw as well!

Top 14: Anaheim-Disneyland

Hi there! Do you want to hear about a little place called Anaheim? It’s in Southern California and has one thing: Disneyland. But that doesn’t do it justice because this city is slowly growing into the largest in Orange County with more going for itself than its famous neighbor Los Angeles can offer – which isn’t much, as far as I’m concerned.

Anaheim is a great place to visit if you want to watch baseball or hockey. There are plenty of delicious restaurants and shops as well, especially downtown where most of them can be found clustered around the convention center!

Disneyland is one of the most popular tourist destinations in California. The thrill ride and plethora of entertainment opportunities make it worth a visit for everyone from small children to seniors, who are treated equally at this family-friendly resort with its theme park located on-site along side another Spa!

Top 13: Carmel-by-the-Sea

It’s a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors and appreciate nature. Sugar-white beaches, picturesque cliffs with an endless ocean view as far down into your heart desires – there are so many reasons why this destination is at top of everyone’s list when they’re looking for beautiful scenery without having any worries about traffic or crowds in typical tourist traps!

The former artists’ colony has a very quaint look and feel; this is in large part due to its charming cottages, atmospheric old houses, paintings scattered across the town for all visitors’ eyesights desires. The rich artistic heritage is still on the show with numerous galleries as well as studios dotted around to make it an interesting place not just from an Arts point of view but also Architecturally!

The small town of Carmel is home to a pristine white-sand beach, which has been replicated and reproduced in countless paintings and artworks. The beautiful setting makes it popular with locals as well as visitors alike – whether you are strolling along the shoreline or sitting on one of its sumptuous sunsets watching ships sail by while enjoying some tasty locally made ice cream!

Top 12: Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are a small archipelago of eight islands situated amidst the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Five outlyings, these five magnificent jewels can be found within National Park boundaries known for conserving its sensitive ecosystems and preserving them through tourism initiatives that focus on environmental sustainability practices like recycling waste products as well as other green measures such as hand-carry water backpacks among others. With rugged cliffs; jagged rocks; pristine beaches – they have it all!

The island has been a tourist resort since the 1920s, with chewing gum magnate William Wrigley kicking off California’s tourism movement. The only inhabited is Santa Catalina Island which lies 22 miles off Los Angeles onshore and is home to a small-town called Avalon as well an outlying village known simply by its pronoun “Two Harbors.” Despite being inaccessible for most citizens due to access restrictions from US Navy property nearby including contiguous waters where fishing or scuba diving are allowed; however, sailing permits still apply provided you have permission first (which rarely occurs).

Over a million people visit Catalina Island every year to enjoy its natural beauty. The climate is subtropical, with temperatures that range from 54-105 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. Visitors can explore lush forests filled with cacti and tropical rainforests where they may spot some elusive wild animals like the American bison (which were brought there for filming in movies). They also might want to try out one of many fun activities including glass-bottom boat rides through reefs or scuba diving below sea level!

Top 11: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

A short walk from one national park to the next, these giants can be found in abundance. In fact, it is not uncommon for a single tree within Sequoia National Park’s boundaries to measure over 100 feet tall and 30 meters wide! The nearby town of Mariposa has plenty more examples that are just as impressive with some reaching up well past 300+ FEET TALL (90M)! Don’t forget about Kings Canyon though it boasts an astounding canyon Depth which makes its namesake seem small by comparison at around 2000 ft deep or 656m long!!!

Ever been on the trail and seen a bobcat? Or what about that time you came across an old gray fox. Who knew they existed in such numbers! Of course, not all wildlife is as lucky as these two parks boast; however if one does happen upon them then there’s always hope for their survival – because after all, it’s only human if we want more than just wilderness with no living beings around. But don’t take my word at face value: head over to this place instead where visitors might even spot mountain lions or bighorn sheep (though I’m sure some people would say those aren’t real creatures).

Top 10: Redwood National Park

Home to some of the tallest and oldest trees on Earth, Redwood National Park lies in California’s Pacific Coast. The park was established back in 1968 when it became home to all that is majestic about these ancient giants: their height; width; breadth make them a sight worth seeing!

Redwoods are the star attraction in Humboldt County. These enormous trees often tower over a hundred meters, and some of them are more than two thousand years old! Hiking or mountain biking beneath these ancient giants provides an awe-inspiring experience as you explore nature all around you on your journey through this gorgeous area.

Imagine yourself on a remote beach in California with the crashing waves at your feet and towering redwoods standing guard over you. You are surrounded by beautiful scenery, yet there is nowhere for miles other than this one stretch of sand where people don’t have to go because it’s already been taken!

Top 9: Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city that offers tourists everything they need to enjoy their vacation. The scenic view of the mountains and ocean, as well as California’s sunny climate, make it one of America’s best coastal destinations for relaxation or adventure!

The Old Mission in Santa Barbara is a must-see. The city itself has lush parks and charming Spanish-style buildings, all dotting the palm tree-lined streets of this beautiful town! Of course, there are many other attractions as well; from exquisite restaurants to boutique shops, you’ll be sure not to run out of options when visiting here. In fact, I think my favorite part was sitting out on their patio enjoying some wine while watching people go by below us–that moment alone made it worth every penny we spent during our trip 🙂

Lying just 160 kilometers to the northwest of LA, it makes for a fantastic day trip or a weekend getaway with many festivals and cultural events held here throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to hike along scenic coastline or surf at one of Santa Barbara’s beaches; there is something in this charming city that will appeal to everyone!

Top 8: Napa Valley

Napa Valley is a beautiful region of California where you can go wine tasting and explore the rolling hills in your free time. The best way to see all there is to drive around on these winding roads, but be careful when driving during peak seasons because they get pretty crowded with tourists!

Tired of your ordinary day? Then head to Napa Valley and sample some award-winning wines, gourmet food, or relax at one of the valley’s luxurious resorts. Amenities are available for all tastes as there is something here for everyone: hiking trails with spectacular views; golf courses that will test even professional players’ skills (Napa has won many awards); spas where you can indulge in therapeutic treatments such a massage therapy while enjoying breathtaking scenery & hot air balloon ride high above vineyards.

Napa Valley is famous for its wine country. The region has more than 200 wineries to offer and you’re sure to find an excellent outlet in this picturesque setting among vineyards that stretch as far down the hillside as one can see! What better way of enjoying some time away from home than sampling your favorite tipples with friends or family?

Top 7: Big Sur

Big Sur is a large, rocky stretch of the Californian coast located between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon. True to its name it covers around 70 miles (110 km) which makes up most of Highway One’s famous route along California’s beautiful Central Coast region.

A true treasure trove for anyone who loves exploring nature or looking at architecture from centuries past- Bigsur has something in store no matter what your interests may be!

The area is a magnet for travelers on road trips, who are attracted by the incredible jagged rocks and towering redwood trees. More than just beautiful scenery to look at while driving through–the Big Sur route also provides plenty of top hiking opportunities that wind their way through several state parks encompassed by this section of California’s coastline (Big Sur). These homes have sights such as iconic bridges like Bixby Bridge or rock towers located near Pfeiffer Beach; it would be an unforgettable trip if you were able to visit them all!

The Big Sur region is famous for its epic wilderness and awe-inspiring ocean views. Two million people visit the area every year to enjoy this natural paradise, making it one of California’s most popular tourist destinations!

Top 6: Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and straddles the California/Nevada state line. This beautiful water provides perfect conditions for all sorts of outdoor activities, but it also has many towns dotting its scenic shores that offer visitors everything they need from shopping to restaurants or entertainment!

The clear, blue waters of Lake Tahoe reflect an awe-inspiring view that will leave your heart swelling with joy. Surrounded by the stunning scenery for miles on end and filled with tempting vacation activities such as hiking or swimming in this untouched natural treasure trove we call home!

Lake Tahoe is a great place to relax, unwind and immerse yourself in nature. But it also has some pretty towns with gambling casinos on the Nevada side or beaches that are dreamy enough for your vacation needs! Reno isn’t too far away if you want even more of what this area has going on – there’s plenty here waiting just beyond these mountains.

Top 5: San Diego

Sun-kissed San Diego is ‘America’s Finest City,’ home to miles of golden sand and laidback surfer culture. The second-largest city in California with world-class attractions such as Sea World Adventure Park which houses almost everything from dolphins shows or killer whales swim programs while still being close enough for guests who only want an awesome view!

San Diego is a fantastic destination for people who love beaches and museums. An easy day trip from LA, this Southern California city offers visitors some beautiful coastal areas as well as historical landmarks that date back centuries in the form of mission churches like Mission San Diego de Alcala which stand witness to Spanish history on American soil. There’s plenty more than just good weather here – you can find shopping opportunities downtown or at Balboa Park where admission fees are free but remember your wallet if planning on visiting one exhibit because there will be others sure not bring enough cash!

San Diego is a perfect destination for all kinds of outdoor activities, with swimming and surfing being popular. Hiking along the coast or cycling through quaint towns are also lovely pastimes that can be enjoyed in San Diego County. If you’re looking to get away from it all, Tijuana provides an awesome day trip into Mexico!

Also see: where to stay in san diego

Top 4: Death Valley

It’s a harsh and unforgiving environment in Death Valley. The Mojave Desert is the setting, with snow-capped mountains shot through vibrant sand dunes that are like no other place on Earth! Some places of interest include scenic vistas at Zabriskie Point or historic sites such as Scotty’s Castle which houses remnants from when it was inhabited by soldiers during World War II (and then ghost towns).

The beautiful, diverse desert landscapes of Death Valley National Park are a must-see for anyone with an interest in natural history.

The Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America and Furnace Creek Ranch – one of the hottest places on earth! There are also towering mountain ranges as well as epic dunes that will make your jaw drop open before you know what hit it (literally). Hiking trails wind their way around these hauntingly gorgeous areas where life can be found even if just barely—a few oases provide relief from endless hot sandstone cliffsides covered by cacti plants or snowy high mountains dotted by glamorous lakes at unexpected turns.”

Top 3: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the second-largest city in America and home to some of California’s most beautiful scenery, like coastlines with golden beaches that are lined by crashing waves or tall mountain ranges. The vast deserts can be found inland while other regions host lush forests thanks to their proximity between these different types of terrain. Whether you’re looking for wild nightlife spots where anything goes on Venice Beach–or if Malibu sounds more your speed as it offers sandy shores perfect for building castles under hot suns – LA has something special waiting!

Los Angeles is a mecca for travelers from all around the world. It has become one of America’s most popular destinations in recent years, and it boasts some amazing attractions like Disneyland or Universal Studios Hollywood that are worth checking out while visiting L.A. The city also houses an eclectic mix of people ranging from celebrities to rich locals so you’ll never be short on opportunities when exploring this beautiful metropolis!

Top 2: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a must-see for any visitor to America. The views here are some of the country’s most impressive and recognizable, including Glacier Point with its incredible view into Yosemite Valley from above – it makes you feel like you are in “The Lord Of The Rings”! Attractions include also a nature center as well as historic places such LeConte Memorial Lodge or Ahwahnee Hotel which have been preserved just how they were back then during gold rush years when people first settled around these parts.

Yosemite National Park is a hidden treasure trove of natural beauty. The sheer granite domes and cliffs, as well as the multitude of waterfalls, are some impressive sights to be found within this remote wilderness preserve. One cannot help but feel overwhelmed by its vastness on the first arrival; it seems like there’s nothing but nature at every turn here!

Top 1: San Francisco

One of the most famous, photogenic, and open-minded cities in America is San Francisco. It’s renowned for its scenic beauty with iconic sights such as the Alcatraz prison on one side and The Golden Gate Bridge over the beautiful Pacific Ocean on another side. Tourists come from all around to visit this city which has been called a “land where dreams become realities”.

San Francisco is a city so picturesque it’s hard to believe. The hills of this rich, beautiful place offer an endless supply for exploration with their diverse neighborhoods and old victorian architecture on the show- but there are also plenty more things worth seeing in the area! You’ll love Union Square where you can go see performances or shop till your heart’s content; Fisherman’s Wharf holds many attractions like eating at iconic restaurants such as Co Go Fish & Chips then taking some time out under its famous Clock Tower before heading back home–or anywhere else really!. If adventure sporting isn’t quite what takes up all day long try checking out Alcatraz Island which has been transformed from federal prison into the museum (and includes tours every hour).

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San Francisco is a vibrant and sophisticated city that truly has something for everyone to enjoy. Taking the ride up one of its hills in a Cable Car will allow you time at the top where views are breathtaking, while also giving you access into what feels like another world; yet not too far from reality thanks to San Fransisco’s proximity by the sea!