Often idealized as the ultimate paradise, California, the golden state, offers some of the best natural scenery and some of the coolest sun-soaked cities in the world. From epic coastal road trips to state parks filled with towering redwoods, here are some of the best and most beautiful places to visit in California…
1. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco – the world-famous and iconic symbol of Northern California
Undeniably the most photographed bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is a suspended bridge connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Designated as an international symbol of San Francisco, California held the most coveted title of the longest suspension bridge until 1964. There’s more to do while you’re in San Francisco. Indeed, a great place to spend a weekend along Pacific Coast Highway.
2. Pacific Coast Highway – one of the most beautiful road trips in the world
A road trip to the U.S is incomplete without this incredible coastal trip. Here you’ll get a chance to explore the enthralling coastal views, rustic villages, pristine forests, and some refreshing wine-making districts. Extending 1000kms, the route starts at Oregon, California’s northern border to the south in San Diego. Some of the unique attractions on this All-American Road include Monterey Bay, Muir woods, Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country, Glass Beach and many more.
3. Big Sur – a rugged and very beautiful place to explore along the Californian Coast
With magnificent views of the Pacific coast, rocky bluffs, lofty redwoods and lush green hills, making it to The Big Sur is worth the extra time spent on the road. About a three-hour drive from San Francisco, this coast is easily the longest and most picturesque stretch of the coastline in the United States. The serene location has been a constant source of inspiration for many renowned artists and writers. Be sure not to miss the Bixby Creek Bridge, McWay Falls, Ewoldsen Trail, and the Pfeiffer beach.
4. Yosemite National Park – home to some of the most epic and stunning scenery in California
Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984, the Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Renowned for ancient giant sequoias, breath-taking waterfalls, majestic peaks, and fascinating history, it’s a stunning place to visit in California for nature lovers as well as extreme adventurists. You’ll never get short of the unique attractions in this historic National Park. From the tranquility of high Sierra to the power of glaciers, the Yosemite experience is going to stay etched in your heart forever.
5. Joshua Tree National Park – the incredible national park home to many beautiful yucca trees
Best known for its iconic flora, the Joshua Tree National Park is a protected area and one of the most stunning spots to explore in Southern California. The twisted bristled Joshua tree amid the arid desert and vegetated high desert offers visitors with dozens of hiking trails, nature walks, and rock-climbing activities. While the spring brings in beautiful wildflowers, the clear desert sky makes it perfect for stargazing.
6. Palm Springs – the cool Mecca of Modernism set in the heart of the desert
This cool and fun desert resort city lies within the Coachella Valley of the Colorado Desert. With an area approx. 94 sq. miles, this city is noted for uber architecture, hot springs, posh hotels, golf courses, vintage boutiques, and much more. The surrounding valley offers excellent hiking and biking trails. Gaze at the dramatic desert from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
7. Lake Tahoe – one of the most beautiful lakes to visit in California
Known for the crystal-clear water and the panoramic mountains, Lake Tahoe formed two million years ago as a part of Lake Tahoe Basin. On the southwest shore lies the Emerald Bay State Park, featuring the famous Eagle Falls & Vikingsholm, a classic example of a Nordic-style mansion. Enjoy the winter recreation activities like ski, snowboard, and ice skate in the Tahoe snow.
8. Laguna Beach – a pretty coastal resort with scenic coves and an artist community
A small coastal city in Orange County, California, Laguna Beach is best known for scenic coves, beaches, tide pools, art galleries, and environment preservation. The long eight miles of coastline offers Aliso Beach Park and a beautiful underwater park namely Crystal Cove State Park. Full of water activities, you’ll love this popular surf spot.
9. Pismo Beach – a gorgeous Californian gem known for its wineries and many beaches
A paradise-like coastal resort located on the stunning Californian Coast, this place is known its incredible ocean views, stunning beach, laid-back surf culture, mineral-rich hot springs, and surrounding wine country. It makes a fantastic stop on a road trip to relax and just take in the wonderful scenery. Alternatively, you can step it up a gear and hire a dune buggy instead – Pismo Beach is one of the only places along the coast you can buzz around on the Oceano Dunes.
10. Redwood National and State Parks – an incredible place to explore filled with the tallest trees in the world
A striking network of four National and State Parks, the Redwood National & State Park covers across 139,000 acres of vast land on California’s northern coast. Designated as a World Heritage site in 1980, the area now serves as an inspiration for backpackers & hikers. Brimming with the oldest and gigantic Redwood trees and temperate rainforests, this place will leave you spellbound!
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