California is one of the most touristic and appreciative states in the United States. Everyone wants to go, it always has something to offer, and its attractions attract several million travelers each year. And besides, you almost always have guaranteed good weather. “Sunny California,” they call it. If you are thinking of going, you will want to know what to do in California and what places you cannot miss.
- Yosemite National Park
If there are several fantastic places to visit in California, Yosemite National Park is undoubtedly one of the first. For many, it is the most beautiful National Park in the United States, and there are many reasons to think about it. The force of glaciers sculpted its substantial granite gorges, and today, it is famous for its high and numerous waterfalls. You have valleys, forests, meadows, wild nature, and endless trails to fill your lungs with fresh air too. If you want to sleep in one of the accommodations that the Park offers, we recommend that you book it as far in advance as possible.
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Very close to Yosemite is Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. If you think you have seen large trees in your life, wait until you see these because they will undoubtedly leave you speechless. Here you will enter a land of giants, where sequoias that are practically 2,000 years old tower one another as you pass. You will have to visit General Sherman, a sequoia that, despite its 84 meters high and 11 in diameter, is not the widest, but it is the largest. A walk through the Giant Forest, an actual museum of trees, will have an unforgettable experience. You can also find more specimens of sequoias at Muir Woods National Monument, Redwood National & State Parks, and Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
- The city of San Francisco
Another must-see in California. The city of San Francisco asks that you dedicate several days of your time to it. Your first destination should be at the Golden Gate so that if it gets cloudy, you have time to come back later if the sun shines. Also waiting for you is Alcatraz, the most famous prison in the world, the picturesque neighborhoods of Castro and Mission, the old streets of Chinatown, the lively Fisherman’s Wharf, the Coit Tower, among many other things. To fill the stomach, a clam chowder would not be bad at all.
- The California Missions
The Spanish left a mark on their presence in Californian lands. And from 1769 up to 21, missions were built from San Diego to Sonoma. The great person responsible for this was the Franciscan Junípero Serra, who made 9 of them, and you can still visit many of them today. For example, the one in San Francisco de Asís , in San Francisco, the Old Mission of Santa Bárbara , in Santa Bárbara, the Mission of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa , in San Luis Obispo, or the Mission of San Carlos Borromeo del Río which is quite striking.
- The city of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a bit crazy and difficult to cover, but with a few essential points that you cannot miss as soon as you get ready to see them with the very dense traffic. Of course, you will have to go to Hollywood and one of its studios, take a tour of the walk of fame and look for the star of your favorite actors and actresses. You can also go to Beverly Hills or Bel-Air to hallucinate with their houses and go up to the Griffith Observatory to contemplate the city of stars at your feet.
- Santa Monica and Venice beaches
Along with Los Angeles, you have two other places of interest that will come in handy if you escape from the hustle of the city. Santa Monica Beach presents miles of sand for you to enjoy at your leisure, as well as the famous Santa Monica Pier, where its attractions, including a roller coaster and Ferris wheel, illuminate the silhouette of the coast every night. If you walk a little further south, you will arrive at Venice Beach, a much more casual and alternative beach with little to do with Santa Monica but that delights lovers of the slow movement.
- Napa Valley and Sonoma
They are the quintessential wine regions of California, and we could say that of the entire United States, the American “Wine Country.” They are only an hour’s drive from San Francisco, and if you are a wine lover, you will appreciate taking a walk here to lose yourself in the secondary roads of its hills. There are over 600 wineries, and if you want to visit any of its wineries, it’s best to make a reservation in advance.
- The valley of death
The Valley of Death, California, is a place that impresses. It stands as the hottest spot in the United States, where it has reached 57ºC, and the lowest, 86 meters below sea level at the Badwater location. It’s also a landscape of canyons carved by water, dunes, and a vast plain of pure salt. This is an almost apocalyptic and bleak terrain that can be scorching, but it’s also a work of art of nature, after all.
- The Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert is a hot expanse of land worth traversing to see one of California’s most impressive landscapes. Here you can see the largest concentration of Joshua trees in the world, some dunes, volcanic cones, desert tortoises, coyotes, and, beware, dangerous rattlesnakes. This is also a place to go if you are looking to listen to absolute silence.
- The city of San Diego
Some say that it’s the best city to live in California, and it has not been for nothing that it has gotten the nickname of “the most elegant city in the United States.” Here you can take a walk through Old Town, where the historic center of the city from the mid-19th century is preserved, visit the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier turned museum in service from 1945 to 1992. You can also enter Balboa Park and know some from its museums, or stroll through the Gaslamp Quarter, the cultural and commercial center of the city. If you add beaches like Imperial Beach, Coronado Beach, or Mission Beach, you already have enough reasons to approach this city on the border with Mexico.
- Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is the border between California and Nevada. A cluster of brilliant blue water in the middle of nature offers endless activities, whatever the time of year, with much snow in winter and overflowing vegetation in spring. This is an ideal place if water activities impress you because taking a canoe ride along its shores will be like getting into a real postcard, as well as a landscape of colors so intense that they seem to be retouched.