Known as “The Golden State”, California is one of the United States of North America´s biggest, richest, and most diverse states. Visiting all of this territory could take a lifetime, and even then that’d be too little time. From the border of Mexico, from cities like San Diego, going north to Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, San Francisco, the capital Sacramento, California is a true melting pot of history, heritage, and culture. We at AllTheRooms encourage travelers and adventurers to see the most the state with our specially-curated list of things to do in California.
Redwood National Park
Here you’ll find the world’s tallest trees and an abundance of fauna and flora that will open your eyes to California’s true treasure: nature. The protected area is home to incredibly stunning rivers, woods, and a coastline that’ll take your breath away. You can enjoy this natural wonder during a short stay, or you can also extend your experience and wander the many hiking trails. Don’t miss out on the 8-mile long drive down the scenic Coastal Drive also.
General Sherman, Three Rivers
California is also home to the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park. On top of the wonderful nature trails, landscapes, and adventures available here, you’ll also find a very old citizen of the areas: General Sherman. The General is a Gian Sequoia tree found in the forest, it’s among the largest in the world at 275 feet and is thought to be about 2,700-years-old.
Venice Beach, Los Angeles
If there’s an iconic place to reflect Los Angeles, it’s Venice Beach. This stretch of fantastic beach is the place to go to find street performers, cyclists, roller-skaters, swimmers, sunbathers, and a magnificent cast of characters each contributing to the magical essence of the beach. Venice Beach is an icon and it’s open-air Muscle Beach holds a long history of being the training place for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, even before the days when Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived and made a splash in the film industry and the state in general.
Death Valley, Mojave Desert
The old battle between life and death takes place every day in a beautiful setting known as the Death Valley. One of the Earth´s most hostile environments, the valley’s beauty is as attractive as it is deadly. The area is one of the United States’ hottest and driest, reaching up to 134 degrees Fahrenheit in places like the aptly named Furnace Creek. Despite its deadly temperatures and dry desert environment, travelers arrive here daily for a close encounter with nature. It’s recommended to visit during the early hours of the day to avoid the intense heat. To get a great view of the valley, climb up to Dante’s View on a clear day.
To go to California and not visit Disneyland would be like going to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, or going to New York and not snapping a photo of the Statue of Liberty. Spend a day or two in the world’s most famous amusement and theme park and see why Walt Disney was truly a visionary. The huge park offers adrenaline-fueled thrill rides, a full cast of Disney’s most famous characters, dining and shopping options to the extreme, and fantastic live shows that only Disney would know how to execute.
Big Sur, Carmel – San Simeon
Probably one of the world’s most gorgeous drives, Big Sur welcomes over three million drivers each year, all making the journey to gaze at nature’s beauty from a human-made highway. Big Sur stretches from the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains to Carmel. The drive itself is an experience, and the road is filled with fascinating stops like the Bixby Bridge, the tallest single-span bridge in the world, Point Sur lighthouse, and the 80-feet tall McWay Falls.
Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada Mountains
The Sierra Nevada Mountains are home to one of the world’s biggest and best-known natural parks, Yosemite National Park. This enormous stretch of land is home to a wide selection of natural wonders and spectacles, including ten of the world’s largest waterfalls, the world’s largest single piece of exposed granite, and the famous cone geyser, Old Faithful. In Yosemite, you’re sure to find activities for everyone. Go hiking on one of the park’s amazing routes, climb rocks in one of the world’s top climbing spots, or visit one of the park’s restaurants and hotels. Whatever you do, prepare to have your breath comfortably taken away.
Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada Mountains
About two million years ago, during an ice age, a gigantic lake was formed on the border between Nevada and California. This lake is now known as Lake Tahoe and is a wonderful place to enjoy all year-round. Set sail during summer, go kayaking, jump on the jet ski, or take part in one of the many activities available. In winter, ride a snowmobile, go skiing, or indulge in a warm cup of hot chocolate next to a nice fire with good friends.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
What can be said about such a famous and iconic bridge? Well, you’ll have to go and see! The bridge is one of the most photographed in the world and stretches about a mile over the San Francisco Bay. The bridge was originally painted red to aid in its visibility and since, the color has gained it some well-deserved fame. Take one of the available tours or hop on a bike and visit the bridge on your own terms.
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
If you’re in the city of the stars, namely Los Angeles, it makes sense to visit the Griffith Observatory and gaze at the true stars out there in the cosmos. The observatory is strategically located on a hill facing Mount Hollywood and allows visitors to use the large telescopes to observe the stars or pretend you’re at one of the planetarium’s live shows.
Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles
Santa Monica is a picturesque town and its Pier is surely the area’s most popular attraction. While strolling down the pier and gazing at the beautiful ocean views, you’ll see the Pacific Park amusement park with its iconic Ferris wheel, abundant restaurants, bars, and shops. There’s also a big chance you´ll run into live music shows and many other fun entertainment options. This selection of activity and options make Santa Monica and its Pier a great year-round destination.
Universal Studios, San Fernando Valley
Universal City is home to the famous film studios as well as a theme park. If you travel to Los Angeles, there’s a big chance you love films, and there’s also a big chance many of the films you love were shot in Universal Studios. Visit here for a fantastic tour of the studios and head to the theme park to ride thrill rides, attend live shows, run into famous characters from your favorite movies, or spend a day in CityWalk where you´ll have plenty of options to dine, shop, dance, drink, and entertain yourself. Afterward, catch a movie in the local Imax theatre and see if you can identify any celebs you’ve seen that day.