Best Places to Visit in California – Tourist Attractions: Geographical offerings, vibrant cities and critically acclaimed culinary scenes are truly the gold standard for travelers.
Whether you’re hiking the trails of one of the state’s many scenic parks, sampling some bubbly in the northern valleys, kicking back on sunny, southern shorelines or walking where stars once stood, California is truly a sight to behold.
Top reasons to visit California
- Beautiful nature
- The amazing weather
- Beautiful theme parks
- Fascinating history
- Haunted locations
- Road trips and camping
- Beautiful lighthouses
- Beautiful beaches
- Hollywood filming locations
- Diverse temperatures
- The art scene
- Fast food at In-N-Out Burger
- Celebrity spotting
1. San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge
One of the most beautiful cities in America, San Francisco should be on everyone’s must-see list. The ocean and hills offer a surprising natural setting, however the quaint neighborhoods, historic sites, green spaces, inspiring cultural institutions, and relaxed attitude are what truly make this city special.
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is one of the key sights and what many people call to mind when they think of the city, and even California.
The orange frame against the blue water of city Bay, or rising out of the fog that often covers the area is an unforgettable sight.
2. Anaheim - Disneyland
Many travelers come to Anaheim for Disneyland. A plaque at the entrance of the park reads: “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy“. Even if you have been to alternative Disney resorts, nothing beats the original’s distinctive place as a vintage landmark within the heart of Southern Golden State.
This vibrant park is still a great place for families – in fact, your kids will most likely have so much fun with Mickey and friends that they’ll never want to leave. And with plenty of thrilling rides and a bustling entertainment district, you might not want to leave either.
Plus, the park’s newest themed land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, brings a whole new attraction to the park.
The entire Disneyland resort experience features hotels, dining, shopping at the Downtown Disney District, and the Disney Adventure Park.
3. San Clemente
San Clemente is at number 3 for best places to visit in California. San Clemente is best known for its world-class surf, but century old, Spanish style buildings and a newly trending downtown lend cultural charm to this otherwise classic beach town.
Beach bums will feel right at home lingering at the ice cream shacks just above the high-tide line. You’ll find that San Clemente is one of the best California vacation spots for sun and surf—the ideal mix for a West Coast escape.
Your perfect vacation rental tops off the trip by providing a home away from home. When dinner time strikes, consider stocking up the fridge and having a BBQ on your rental’s private porch.
4. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is Incredible, extraordinary, mind-blowing, try as you might, and you’ll have difficulty finding words that do justice to the sheer beauty of Lake Tahoe.
Resting on the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe has long been a favorite destination, welcoming of 2.7 million people a year. Visitors go drawn here by the steep granite drop sides and lofty mountain tops, also because the crystal-clear waters that have attained Lake Tahoe the name of being one of the most beautiful places of water in the United States.
Whereas, the beautiful blue lake alone is worth a visit, the encircling space, additionally referred to as Lake Tahoe, miles of hiking trails, dozens of photography vistas and a few of the best skiing in North America.
5. Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is at #5 in Best Places to Visit in California: Redwood forests, beachfront entertainment, and world-class surf strike the perfect balance of crowd pleasing activities on your trip to Santa Cruz.
Spacious vacation rentals here, often including amenities like bicycles and wet suits—are some of the top-rated in the state and make this one of the best places to spend your California vacation.
Nature will love gazing at the redwoods in Henry Cowell State Park, while beach-goers can try their hand at surfing with an expert lesson.
6. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is the most scenic and most visited National Park in Northern California in the United States. The mountains, valleys, rivers, and spectacular waterfalls have drawn tourists, artists, and athletes here for decades.
Most of the key sights and things to do in Yosemite National Park are in Yosemite Valley. Carved by glaciers during the last ice age, the granite walls and huge waterfalls are some of the most outstanding features in the park. This is wherever you will find the large name attractions, like Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan.
Beyond the Tioga Road and therefore the ice mass purpose Road, each of which supply access to alpine areas, lookout points, and unbelievable views. Sometimes overlooked by tourists but also definitely worth seeing are the giant sequoias. The largest stand is located in Mariposa Grove, in the lower part of the park.
7. San Diego
Consistently sunny weather and seventy miles of splendid coastline, what draw active sorts and sun seekers alike to urban center throughout the year, that and also the mouthwatering Mexican nightlife and one among the country’s favorite zoos.
And then there are the beaches: Retreat to Mission Beach to catch a wave, to La Jolla to soak up the sun and to Coronado for a leisurely seaside stroll.
When you are able to ditch your flip-flops and board shorts for a lot of formal apparel, you will find pockets of spirited nightlife throughout, particularly close to the Historical Gaslamp Quarter.
8. Universal Studios - California
This amusement park and movie studio is one of the most popular attractions in California, and the perfect place for families with children and teens.
Rides and sets are based on famous movies, with everything from shockingly realistic simulator rides to roller coasters, and much more.
You can tour immense sets on organized studio tours. Some of the most popular experiences in the park are The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Fast and Furious – Supercharged, and The Walking Dead Attraction, among others. You’ll also find dining, shows, unique shopping opportunities, and various events held throughout the year.
9. Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle, officially known as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, was started in 1919 and built over a 28-year period, resulting in a mix of architectural styles that make it quirky and stately all at the same time.
Built by newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, the 165-room castle was never completed. It sits atop a hill at an elevation of 1,600 feet and offers fantastic views out over the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Range. One of the major attractions here is the immense collection of art.
At one time, the castle was home to the world’s largest private zoo, and to this day, zebras and other exotic wildlife can be seen wandering the grounds. The castle is located almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Drive time from either city is approximately four hours.
10. Santa Catalina Island
Best destination for boaters. Part of the Channel Islands, Santa Catalina lies about 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles. The island is a popular destination with boaters and day trippers.
Avalon is the main population center and where most of the action is centered. On the other end of the island is the much smaller village.
While most people come to Santa Catalina Island to wander around and enjoy a day of leisure, other popular things to do include glass bottom boat tours, scuba diving, kayaking, and parasailing. You can reach the island by ferry from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point.
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