California also known as the Golden State, is famous for its diversity and larger-than-life lifestyle. In fact, some of the best US tourist places are in California itself. The highlight of this place are its amazing outdoors that include the beautiful coastline, desserts, open spaces, exotic wilderness and everything from the mountains, meadows, valleys to lakes, vineyards, waterfalls and last but not least its spectacular beaches.
California has a diverse culture of music, festivals, and artistic heritage, along with an iconic history. It has urban hot spots like no other city in the world and also a thriving nightlife. Certainly, it is the kind of place where you can spoil yourself yet scintillate. The listicle of notable, exciting and beautiful places in California to visit is long. You need to scrutinise the select ones in an itinerary for their thorough exploration.
12 Best Places to Visit In California
There is no dearth of places to visit in California as a tourist seeking to explore the region. In fact, it is regarded as the world’s most popular vacation destination today, much thanks to its countless tourist attractions, be it cultural, historical or natural, and the great number of things that one can do here. Adventure junkies, nature lovers, quite souls, wanderers; California has something for everyone! Let’s explore these places.
1. The Yosemite National Park
Situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National park is a world-renowned park for its black and white landscapes. Spread across an area of 1200 square miles, it has the wildflower meadows, vast wilderness and tranquil valleys and most popularly, roaring waterfalls. It has a wide variety of plants and animals too. It is equally famous for its granite monoliths and vast forests of the towering ancient sequoias. Indeed, it really packs a punch in a very condensed space! No doubt, it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in California.
Tickets: About Rs. 2500 per vehicle
Best Time to Visit: From May to September as the roads and trails are snow-free therefore easily accessible.
Things to Do: Camping, sightseeing, trekking and mountain climbing.
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2. The Disneyland Resort
The Disneyland Resort is one of the most popular places to visit in Southern California. This is the original Disneyland and it is all about adventure, glamour and magic! It is a land of dreams where one can explore the jungles, dive under the ocean, travel in space, sail with the pirates, shake hand with Goofy or meet the pretty fairytale princesses! The Disneyland Resort has its two theme parks namely Disneyland Park wherein the 8 ‘lands’ you can get transported to other worlds, and Disney California Adventure where you get on adventures California style. Roller coaster rides with the steepest drops, other stomach-churning rides or walking down the road of history are just the tip of the iceberg! With its fantastic fireworks show, it can be one of the best places to visit California at night for unlimited fun and indulging in numerous activities.
Tickets: About Rs.8000 per person
Best Time to Visit: The holiday season i.e. from October to January
Things to Do: From adventure to experiencing various Disneyland Attractions and awesome food, there are several options!
3. Fisherman’s Wharf And Alcatraz Island
Amongst the most popular places to visit in California, you can’t forget to count in the Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz Island. While Alcatraz Island is a 22 – acre rocky land with a scenic lighthouse, the ruins of a notorious prison and breathtaking view, Fisherman’s Wharf has the hospitable community that has many exciting things to offer. You can experience a different culture here altogether!
Tickets: No cost
Best Time to Visit: Accessible and beautiful all year long
Things to Do: Take cruise rides, sight-seeing or enjoy great seafood
4. Lake Tahoe
Situated in Nevada, Lake Tahoe is an alpine lake and is a popular tourist spot. It has splendid ski resorts, interesting hiking trails and lovely beaches. Most of these are the Sand Harbour beach, Tahoe Rim Trail and Spooner Lake. Adventure seekers have always been in awe to this pristine lake and it is amongst the most popular tourist places in California today. Furthermore, Lake Tahoe’s areas also have historical towns, great places for social interactions and awesome food options from the multi-cuisines.
Tickets: No charge for visiting the lake but activities cost differently.
Best Time to Visit: Depends on what you want to explore there. February and March are great for skiing and the rest of the year for the beaches and outdoor activities.
Things to Do: Hiking, biking, mountain climbing, trekking, fishing, camping, skiing, sight-seeing.
5. Muir Woods National Monument
Situated in a solitary canyon, Muir Woods National Monument is known for its majestic 200 feet tall coastal redwood trees. Cathedral Groove and Bohemian Groove is also the sort after the places here. Climbing the hill rewards with the spectacular view of the treetops, nearby Mount Tamalpais and the Pacific Ocean.
Tickets: A nominal fee at entrance
Best Time to Visit: It is cool and beautiful all year long
Things to Do: Hiking, trekking, camping, mountain climbing
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6. Golden Gate Bridge
It is an iconic spectacle of human creativity, effort and will which was once called as the ‘the bridge that couldn’t be built.’ It is the world’s most famous landmark and has been able to bear the harsh struggles of winds, fog and strong tides. It has great views with pretty souvenirs to collect. Don’t miss the sunset here!
Timings: Open all day, every day
Best Time to Visit: It is gorgeous and accessible all year long
Things to Do: Drive, walk, cycle and sight-seeing
7. Universal Studios Hollywood
Situated just within the city limits, this is a film studio as well as a theme park. It has incredible attractions which are living, breathing three-dimensional worlds of fun, entertainment and at times horror too. It has the exciting world of Harry Potter, Minion Mayhem Land and ‘The Walking Dead’ post-apocalyptic world.
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM
Best Time to Visit: Holiday seasons
Things to Do: Enjoy the adventure rides, magical worlds
8. TCL Chinese Theatre And Walk Of Fame
Also called the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, it is a memorable site with an iconic architecture. It is popular amongst the tourists and locals alike because this theatre shows the recently released movies all year long. Immerse yourself in this ambience of glitz, magic and fun!
Timings: 10 AM to 9:30 PM
Tickets: It costs about Rs.1000 per person
Best Time to Visit: It is a worthwhile experience all year round
Things to Do: Watch awesome movies
9. Balboa Park
Situated in San Diego, this is the cultural park that should not be missed in the itineraries. It has about 16 museums, exotic gardens and all year long exciting events continuously happening. It has air and space museums which are homes to aeronautical wonders. Furthermore, it also has the Spreckels Organ Pavilion that has the biggest outdoor pipe organ. It is truly a special place!
Timings: Open throughout the day
Best Time to Visit: It is enjoyable all year long
Things to Do: Sight-seeing, exploring the museums and parks
10. Joshua Tree National Park
Amidst the two deserts, it is one of the interesting places to visit in Southern California. Joshua Tree National Park has a plethora of plants and animals. Its surreal geological aspects and huge wilderness will leave you in wonder. It is most popular for its Joshua Trees that have dagger live leaves and also zig-zag branches. You can check out the Black Rock Canyon, Covington Flats, Indian Cove, Skull Rock and the Cottonwood Spring here. With its famous dark nights, it is one of the best places to visit in California at night for a memorable exploration.
Timings: 12 AM to 12 PM
Tickets: About Rs. 2000 per person for entry
Best Time to Visit: Open 25 hours and can be visited at any time of the year.
Things to Do: Enlist in the ranger programs, camping, hiking, bird watching, rock climbing and horseback riding.
11. Santa Cruz
It is a small city with the most beautiful beaches whose cool and relaxed vibes make it one of the top places to visit in California for couples to unwind. It is also a popular place for surfing in all of the United States. It has many cultural attractions too such as the arboretums, museums, galleries of art and even a few surfing museums. Many parks, beaches, lighthouses and lakes are present here to be explored as well.
Ideal for: Surfing, sight-seeing, exploring an ancient city and their diverse cuisine
Best Time to visit: The city is a delight throughout the year
12. Oxnard Dunes
Another beautiful small city which is a perfect getaway for couples, Oxnard Dunes with its serene and tranquil beaches offers enough solitude. This city has been regarded as one of the top places to visit in California for couples. A walk around the dunes is just a pleasant idea.
Ideal for: The quiet souls to immerse themselves in tranquillity and serenity of nature.
Best Time to Visit: It is a paradise all year long.
California, with such diverse and interesting places, is a go-to vacation spot for anyone and everyone. Out of the many notable places to visit in California that have something for everyone, the above list is a must-visit for travellers exploring USA. Its well-preserved wildlife, natural beauties and Hollywood culture amongst others really is a world of its own. Don’t miss out on it! Book a trip to USA with TravelTriangle and have an exciting time visiting all these places in California.
Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In California
A) Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park are regarded as the most beautiful places in California apart from the Vernal Falls, Napa Valley, and Emerald Bay.
A) Southern California is regarded as the safest according to many surveys but the rest of California can be pleasant too if taken the basic necessary precautions.
A) If you plan your day ahead and choose to select what you want to visit and enjoy amongst all the adventure rides or theme lands, then it might take you about a day or two.
A) California is huge. That’s the number one factor you need to know. Plan ahead. Prepare for the traffic there and the weather too.
A) Bus, metro, carpool, rent a car or hire a bicycle. You are never short of modes of travel in California.
A) It could be because it has lots of activities, dining out options, a plethora of entertainment and many tourist attractions. But, it can also be a bit expensive.
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