There are 17 tourist destinations in California that are rated very highly.

There are 17 tourist destinations in California that are rated very highly.

Both domestic and international vacationers agree that California is one of the best states in which to take a vacation in the United States of America. An intriguing land of possibilities for travel, California is known for its lively cities, beaches, theme parks, and natural wonders that are unequaled anywhere else on the planet.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and Disneyland are just a few examples of the world-famous attractions that can be found in California’s two most populous cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively. In addition, the majority of the best cultural attractions can be found in this region.

However, the national parks, which include a variety of landscapes such as mountains, forests, deserts, coastal areas, and islands, each provide their very own exceptional experiences. The tallest and largest trees on Earth, the largest alpine lake in North America, and the famous sites of Yosemite all offer opportunities for outdoor adventure that come around only once in a person’s lifetime.

Start planning your trip to the Golden State with our rundown of the best places to visit in California. This is a good place to start if you are thinking about going on a road trip, going on a family vacation, going on a city getaway, or just looking to do some sightseeing.

1. The city of San Francisco and the bridge over the Golden Gate

Everyone should make it a point to visit San Francisco, which is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. The ocean and the hills make for a beautiful natural backdrop, but the charming neighborhoods, historic sites, green spaces, inspiring cultural institutions, and laid-back mentality are what truly set this city apart from others.

When most people think of San Francisco or even California, the famous Golden Gate Bridge is one of the first things that comes to mind. It is also one of the most visited attractions in the city. An memorable scene is created when the orange frame is contrasted with the blue sea of San Francisco Bay or when it emerges from the fog that often hangs over the region. You may take in the beauty of the bridge from a distance, or for a more intimate experience, you can drive over it, stroll on it, or even ride your bike across it.

Fisherman’s Wharf and the notorious Alcatraz Island are two other well-known destinations that draw a lot of tourists. It is highly recommended that you pay a visit to this old prison, which is now a national park. Pier 33, which is located close to Fisherman’s Wharf, is where ferries depart for the island.

If you have time to wander about the city and don’t mind getting some exercise, walking to some of the attractions is a great way to take it all in. Through reading our post about fun things for kids to do in San Francisco, families who are traveling with children will be able to discover a world of activities that will interest not only younger children but also older children.

There are 17 tourist destinations in California that are rated very highly.

2. The Yosemite National Park in California

Yosemite National Park, located in Northern California, is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and popular national parks in the United States. Since the 1970s, this region’s mountains, valleys, rivers, and breathtaking waterfalls have been a major draw for vacationers, artists, and athletes. A trip here is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys being in the great outdoors and exploring California.

Yosemite Valley is home to the majority of Yosemite National Park’s most popular attractions and activities for visitors. Granite walls and enormous waterfalls are two of the park’s most impressive natural features; they were both sculpted by glaciers during the most recent ice age. Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan are just a few of the famous landmarks that can be found in this area of the park.

Beyond the Valley are the Tioga Road and the Glacier Point Road, both of which allow access to alpine regions, viewing spots, and amazing vistas. Sometimes missed by visitors but also highly worth seeing are the gigantic sequoias. In the southernmost section of the park is where you’ll find Mariposa Grove, which is home to the biggest of the stands.

Hiking is one of the most enjoyable ways to see Yosemite National Park since it allows visitors to get up up and personal with the park’s spectacular scenery. These vary from leisurely strolls along streams and lakes to more strenuous routes that will take you to the summits of notable mountain peaks and to well-known historical landmarks. If you are planning on staying for a few nights and would want to make this location your home for a while, Yosemite National Park and the surrounding region are home to a number of exceptional campsites that you may choose from.

3. Disneyland

The world-famous theme park Disneyland, which can be found in the city of Anaheim, is often regarded as the best place in the United States for families to go on vacation. This enormous amusement park is home to a wide variety of attractions, including rides, games, shows, and other forms of entertainment. It also has hotels and restaurants. The park has both traditional amusement rides and re-created landscapes and communities from throughout the globe. Both children and adults may enjoy the many performances and other forms of entertainment that are available.

The introduction of FastPass+, which enables guests to reserve certain ride times, a hug with a character, and entertainment events, has helped to cut down on the length of wait periods and lines to some extent. On the other hand, you can count on the park to have a significant number of visitors whenever children are off from school, whether it be for the summer, Christmas, spring break, or any other holiday.

Keep in mind that Disneyland is comprised of more than simply the theme parks alone. Hotels, restaurants, and shops may all be found in Downtown Disney District, in addition to the Disney Adventure Park, which makes up the whole of the Disneyland resort experience. Even while the parks are the main attraction for your children, the rest of the family is sure to discover something that they will like doing while they are here.

4. The national park known as Death Valley

In Death Valley National Park, you’ll find some of the most inhospitable terrain in all of California. The region’s tremendous heat has shaped the oddly stunning landscape of the desert here. In this far-flung valley there is a lake that is below sea level, salt farms, dry parched soil, sand dunes, mountains, and unusual rock formations, all of which combine to create a scene that is really one of a kind.

Sand dunes in the vicinity of Stove Pipe Wells, Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, and Dantes View are among the attractions in Death Valley that are among the most accessible to visitors. These and the others may all be reached quickly and easily with a standard car. You are able to travel to more remote locations, such as The Race Track, if you have a vehicle that has four-wheel drive (4WD).

There are 17 tourist destinations in California that are rated very highly.

Death Valley is accessible as a day trip from Las Vegas, Nevada; however, given the abundance of activities available in the area, you may want to consider extending your stay. You can paddle in the shallow Badwater Lake if there is any water in the lake at the time, hike short trails, see the ruins of the valley’s former industry, and drive through the park and stop at lookouts as you go.

5. Big Sur

This breathtaking section of the Central Coast of California provides visitors with an opportunity to reconnect with nature. Garrapata State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park are two of the finest locations in which to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Big Sur begins in Yankee Point, which is approximately four miles south of Carmel, and continues along Highway No. 1 all the way up to Salmon Cove, which is approximately 17 miles north of San Simeon. This winding path through the woods provides breathtaking vistas of the gorgeous shoreline. More than 220 miles of trails may be found in the Santa Lucia Mountains and Ventana Forests, which are located to the east. These areas are considered to be real wilderness areas.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is an excellent destination for anyone who like hiking, lounging in the sun, and getting away into nature. The park features camping facilities, and for those who want a bit more luxury, the Big Sur Lodge offers a serene getaway in a fantastic setting. Camping is available at Big Sur State Park. Pfeiffer Falls, which can be accessed through the Valley View Trail, is widely considered to be one of the best attractions in the park. This route forks off in the direction of the Valley Overlook, which offers expansive vistas that include both the ocean and the Big Sur River Valley.

One more of Big Sur’s well-known destinations is the Garrapata State Park. The crescent-shaped length of golden sand that is Garrapata Beach is the primary draw for visitors to this part of the island. The waves may be rather large here, so swimming might not be the ideal activity, but strolling down the shore and soaking up the sun is a wonderful way to spend the day. There are day hiking paths in the park that provide excellent views of the ocean, mountains, and redwoods. These trails are available for individuals who are wanting to get a little bit of exercise.

6. Lake Tahoe

Stunning Lake Tahoe, which is a famous tourist destination in the state of California throughout the year, can be found high up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The term “Lake Tahoe” refers to more than just the lake itself; it also refers to the surrounding mountains and woods, as well as the quaint communities and many activities that are available in the region.

Boaters, beachgoers, campers, and anyone who are interested in nature will find the blue lake, with its turquoise coves and the mountains that surround it, to be an ideal summer playground. During the summer months, one of the most popular activities for families to do in this region is to take advantage of the area’s stunning beaches and several small coves. Around Lake Tahoe, some of the most well-known sites for beachgoing are state parks, such as D.H. Bliss State Park and Kings Beach State Recreation Area.

In the highlands and along the seashore, you may discover excellent hiking paths that are suitable for hikers of all levels. The region is home to several wonderful campgrounds, many of which are situated either on the beach or in forested regions. The beaches are the focal point of a good deal of the activity throughout the summer months. During the winter months, the ski resorts become the main attractions.

In addition to being the best place to go skiing in California, Lake Tahoe is home to a number of well-known ski resorts. Skiers and snowboarders come to the region from all over the United States during the winter months so that they may make the most of the magnificent terrain and the excellent snow conditions.

7. National Parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are sites that should go on everyone’s bucket list since they are home to the biggest trees on Earth. Many of the sequoias in this area are more than 2,000 years old, and some of them are even more than 3,000 years old. These trees are the biggest living organisms that can be found anywhere in the globe.

These neighboring parks include an area of mountains with magnificent granite peaks, deep gorges, lakes, rivers, and woods, yet they are quite distinct from one another despite their proximity to one another. If you want to see both of these parks, you will need at least a couple of days to do so.

Although Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park are both home to huge sequoia trees, Sequoia National Park is often considered to be the superior location to explore these age-old marvels. Trails suitable for strolling, the most of which are paved, wind their way through the forest and make it simple to reach the most important attractions. Mt. Whitney, which stands at an elevation of 14,495 feet, is the tallest peak in the United States and is located inside this park (apart from Alaska).

There are 17 tourist destinations in California that are rated very highly.

Sequoia National Park is home to a number of breathtaking campsites, many of which are well located to provide visitors easy access to the park’s numerous trees and other points of interest, such as Moro Rock and the well-known General Sherman Tree, also known as a giant sequoia.

Kings Canyon National Park is more rough and wild than other national parks, with craggy peaks, rushing rivers, and lonely areas where visitors may get away from the throng and appreciate the natural surroundings. It is common for people to go hiking in this park. You’ll also discover some amazing campsites in Kings Canyon, both near to the trees and away from them in the Grant Grove and Cedar Grove areas, which are located on opposite ends of the 26-mile Kings Canyon Scenic Byway.

8. State and National Parks in the Redwood Area

It seems as if you have stepped back in time when you enter a forest filled with tall redwood trees that are more than 300 feet above your head. These trees, which are descendants of trees that lived during the Jurassic Period, are the tallest trees on the earth, and they are definitely one of the finest riches that the state of California has.

Redwood National Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park are some of the parks that are cooperatively maintained and may be found along a breathtaking length of the Northern California Coast. In each one, you’ll discover something a little bit unique, but in every one of them, you’ll be able to discover wonderful hiking paths and gorgeous campsites.

9. Joshua Tree National Park (also known as JTNP)

This normally lunar-like area, known as Joshua Tree National Park, has gigantic boulders and rock formations that produce crazy designs that captivate the imagination. Joshua trees provide a sense of mysticism to this terrain. The park has a total area of 800,000 acres and provides access to a wide variety of unique locations, not limited to the Joshua trees alone.

Some of the attractions are the Cholla Cactus Garden, where chollas stretch out eternally down the slope to the mountains beyond; the remains of the ancient Keys Ranch; the enormous palm trees of the Lost Palms Oasis; and the view from almost 5,000 feet at Keys View. Also don’t miss Skull Rock; a large rock resembling an extraterrestrial skull.

If you plan on staying for a long, you should really consider spending at least one night in one of the wonderful campsites in Joshua Tree National Park, where you can sleep outside among the trees and look up at the stars.

The journey time from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park is less than three hours, while the drive time from Palm Springs is less than one hour.

10. Universal Studios Hollywood, located in Los Angeles

This amusement park and movie studio is one of the most popular attractions in California, and it is the ideal destination for families with children and teenagers of a certain age. The rides and scenery are inspired on well-known films, and they include anything from roller coasters to simulator experiences that are startlingly realistic, and much more besides.

Studio tours often allow visitors to explore expansive sets. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Fast & Furious – Supercharged, Jurassic World, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, and The Walking Dead Attraction are among the most well-known attractions at the theme park. Other famous attractions include Jurassic World and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. In addition, there are several restaurants, entertainment, shopping options, and events hosted at different times throughout the year.

Hearst Castle is number 11.

The construction of Hearst Castle, also known as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, began in 1919 and lasted for a total of 28 years. As a result, the structure features a variety of architectural styles, giving it a personality that is both eccentric and stately at the same time. The 165-room castle was built by William Randolph Hearst, who was a wealthy newspaper magnate, but it was never finished.

It has a commanding vantage point that looks out over the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean from its perch on top of a hill at an elevation of 1,600 feet. The enormous art collection is certainly one of the most compelling reasons to come here. The grounds of the castle, which once served as the location of the largest private zoo in the world, are still frequented by zebras and other unusual species of wildlife to this day.

The castle can be found very close to the geographical center of the route that runs between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The distance between the two cities may be covered in around four hours by car.

12. Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island, which is located approximately 34 kilometers (21 miles) southwest of Los Angeles, is a part of the Channel Islands. The island is a popular location for boaters and day trippers. Avalon is the primary population hub and the location where the majority of the action takes place. Two Harbours is located on the other side of the island and is a somewhat smaller town.

Glass bottom boat excursions, scuba diving, kayaking, and parasailing are some of the other popular things to do on Santa Catalina Island, however the majority of visitors come to the island with the intention of just strolling about and taking it easy for the day. Ferries depart from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point, all of which provide access to the island.

Channel Islands National Park is number 13.

Channel Islands National Park, which is comprised of five distinct islands, is an excellent location for observing animals and appreciating nature with a minimum of human interference. Due to the fact that the islands have never been connected to the mainland, they have grown and evolved independently, and as a consequence, they are home to numerous wildlife that are unique to the area.

The islands can only be reached by private boats, park concessionaire boats and aircraft, or by using private planes. They are situated just off the coast of Southern California. At the mainland tourist centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara, you may get information about the present circumstances as well as make arrangements for transportation.

14. The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California

The Getty Center is widely regarded as one of the very best museums in the whole country of the United States. The museum is home to works of art by renowned painters like as Monet and Van Gogh, as well as sculptures and other stunning examples of art that date back to the early 1900s.

The building’s design and the surrounding grounds are also important aspects of the museum experience. The structure is covered with a dazzling white curtain that flows and undulates all around it. In front of the building are elaborate gardens with waterfalls that complete the image. Be sure to visit one of the numerous terraces to take in the breathtaking vistas that stretch out over the city of Los Angeles.

Aerial Tramway of Palm Springs (number 15)

Include a trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway on your list of things to do in California if you’ve ever had the desire to spend the morning lounging by the pool and then spend the afternoon making snow angels in the same day. When it comes to the deserts of California, height is everything. The farther up you go, the more frigid it will get. The combination of snow and swimming in a pool is simple to achieve in the spring.

On the slopes of Mount Jacinto, the tramway has a total length of two miles and travels upwards for a total of 8,516 vertical feet. The architecture of the tramway is one of a kind; as it climbs, each tram rotates in its own direction, providing passengers with unobstructed views throughout the whole 360-degree panorama. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is, in point of fact, the biggest of its sort anywhere in the whole globe.

At the summit, visitors have the option of being physically active by walking or trekking on the fifty miles of trails, or they may choose to be more relaxed by taking in the breathtaking scenery while dining at one of the two restaurants. This region is home to some of the most beautiful and challenging trails in the Palm Springs area.

The Griffith Observatory, Number Sixteen

The Griffith Observatory is widely considered to be one of the best free attractions in all of California. This famous tourist destination in California, which is located atop Mount Hollywood and looks out over the city of Los Angeles, not only provides visitors with breathtaking panoramas of the area but also gives them the chance to gain knowledge about the cosmos.

There are six galleries within the observatory that are dedicated to all elements of space and the ways in which we see it. In addition to the galleries, there are public telescopes, which provide visitors the opportunity to observe the cosmos in a manner that they could not have imagined before.

Even if none of those things are of interest to you, the parking lot is a fantastic location from which to take a picture of the Hollywood sign.

17. USS Midway Museum

You are in luck if you have ever had the desire to investigate a massive aircraft carrier and you now find yourself in San Diego. The USS Midway Museum is a real-life ship that served in World War II and has been turned into an interactive museum. It is moored smack in the middle of all the action.

This is not your typical museum in San Diego, making it a great activity for families to enjoy together. In this area, you and the rest of your team will be required to navigate tight corridors, ascend and descend ladders, and make your way into the ship’s guts. There are more than 60 different exhibitions, 29 different aircraft that have been refurbished, a theater, and flight simulators spread throughout the ship. Your visit should take between three and four hours to complete.

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