8 Best Places to Visit in California: Top Destinations

California is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, from the redwood forests of the north to the beaches of the south. Whether you plan to visit in the summer or winter, there’s always something to see and do in the Golden State.

One of the many reasons California is an excellent go-to travel destination is its vast array of top-notch attractions. California boasts more than 120 state parks, which offer an array of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and much more. If you love to discover new cultural things to do in California, this article about Travis Preston at CalArts should help to whet your appetite! Theater lovers will love California for the shows and the concerts, too.

No matter what type of traveler you are or your interests, there’s sure to be a perfect spot for you in California.

Top Destinations For Travelers In California

With over 163,000 square miles of land, California is the third largest state in the United States. Consequently, there are different places to visit within its borders. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of our top destinations for travelers you might want to consider:

  • Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is one of California’s most popular tourist destinations boasting 22 million visitors each year. The lake itself is massive and beautiful, straddling the border between California and Nevada. In the winter, it’s a mecca for skiing and snowboarding, while visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming in the summer months.

Taking your family during the winter for a week of skiing is an excellent way to bond and create memories. Check out Lake Tahoe ski resorts nearby to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. While in the area, you can also explore the charming town of Truckee with its many shops and restaurants.

    • San Francisco

San Francisco at night

Arguably one of the most iconic cities in America, San Francisco is home to a plethora of must-see attractions. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city by the bay. Be sure to also ride one of its famous cable cars.

Whether alone or with a group, San Francisco is a place you’ll want to add to your California travel itinerary.

      • Yosemite National Park

One of the most popular national parks in the country, Yosemite is renowned for its massive granite cliffs, waterfalls, and sequoia groves. It’s also home to iconic landmarks such as Half Dome and El Capitan. Hiking is one of the best ways to experience all these park offers.

If you’re planning on visiting during peak season (May through September), make your reservations early as campsites and hotels fill up quickly. Fall is an exceptionally gorgeous time to visit Yosemite when the leaves change color. No matter when you go, you’re sure to be mesmerized by this natural wonder.

      • Los Angeles

Los Angeles skyline

From Hollywood to Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Los Angeles. This sprawling city is home to some of the most celebrities and landmarks in the world. A visit here wouldn’t be complete without a walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame or a selfie in front of the Hollywood Sign.

If you’re interested in doing some shopping, Rodeo Drive is one of the most upscale shopping districts around. Or if museums are more your speed, you can check out LACMA or the Getty Center. There is something for everyone in LA.

      • San Diego

With its temperate climate and 70 miles of coastline, San Diego is an ideal place to visit any time of year. Be sure to check out Balboa Park, home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo and many other museums and gardens. Old Town is another can’t-miss attraction with its quaint shops and restaurants.

And, of course, no trip to San Diego would be complete without spending some time at the beach. La Jolla Cove is an excellent spot for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking, while Coronado Beach is perfect for sunbathing and surfing.

      • Big Sur

Big Sur

One of the most scenic drives in the country, Big Sur winds along California’s central coast for about 100 miles. The route takes you past towering redwoods, pristine beaches, and rocky cliffs that drop dramatically into the Pacific Ocean.

There are plenty of pull-offs you can stop to take in the scenery or go on a short hike. Big Sur is also home to many state parks, waterfalls, and lookouts worth visiting.

  • Disneyland Park

No list of California destinations would be complete without Disneyland Park in Anaheim. This world-famous theme park is the perfect place for a family vacation. With its many rides, shows, and characters, there’s something for everyone at Disneyland.

Plan your visit in advance, as Disneyland can get very crowded, especially during peak season. And don’t forget to take advantage of the FastPass system to avoid long lines at popular attractions.

  • Palm Springs

Situated in the desert, Palm Springs is a popular weekend getaway for Californians looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The area is home to many golf courses, spas, and resorts. It’s also a great place to go hiking or mountain biking. And what can’t be missed is enjoying the best brunch in Palm Springs.

Stay cool at one of Palm Spring’s many swimming pools if you’re visiting during the summer. Or, if you’re visiting in the winter, you can take advantage of the area’s many ski resorts. No matter when you visit, you’re sure to have a relaxing time in Palm Springs.

Final Words

You’ll never run out of things to do in California. There’s something for everyone in this state, from its many national parks to its world-famous theme parks. These destinations should be on your list, from winter vibes to summer fun.


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