Travel Destination California – Deciding which places in California to visit on your next trip can be difficult. There are hundreds of great places and attractions in the state, and you don’t want to miss out on the best of them.
I’ve lived in California all my life and I want to help you choose the best vacation spots in California. From the best beaches to redwoods to national parks, I’ll share all of my top picks for the 41 best places to visit in California.
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Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in California. Tourists flock to the park during all four seasons to admire the amazing beauty and abundant wildlife that Yosemite has to offer.
Choose from hundreds of hiking trails in Yosemite, such as Half Dome Cables or Nevada Falls. You can also apply for a multi-day backpacker permit and get lost in the woods for a few days.
Yosemite Valley is a must-see if you’re visiting the national park for the first time. You can see rock climbers climbing El Capitan and Half Dome from the bottom of the valley. Bring your binoculars and watch the athletes do the impossible.
Pro tip: If you’re traveling anywhere in the park, it’s a good idea to have a bear box to hold your food. Yosemite National Park is home to black bears that aren’t afraid to confront you if they smell food.
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Los Angeles and San Diego are the most visited places in Southern California. San Diego is one of the best places to visit in California to experience authentic Mexican food because it is so close to the Mexican border.
Sunbathe next to sea lions at La Jolla Beach, catch the waves at Oceanside or dine at chic restaurants like Addison Restaurant for the perfect day trip in San Diego.
Gaslamp County has everything you need to do in San Diego on a Saturday night. Choose from hookah bars, pubs, and dance clubs to make your night in San Diego memorable.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in California. The bustling mountain town on Lake Tahoe is full of bike rentals, hiking trails, and log cabin businesses. Most campers stay at a highly rated mountain resort or one of Tahoe’s many RV parks.
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Lake Tahoe has activities for the whole family. You can visit a local brewery, go kayaking and play beach volleyball.
Tahoe Rim Trail is the best hiking trail in the area at 165 miles. It takes 10-14 days for most people, but many visitors who don’t have much time choose to hike small sections of the trail.
Another great day hike is Mount Talak. It’s 9.5 miles round-trip and only takes 4-6 hours.
Located in Anaheim, California, Disneyland Park is the premier amusement park in the United States. The park is suitable for guests of all ages and has rides and games for everyone.
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In addition to thrills like California Screamin’ and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission-Breakout!, guests can enjoy delicious food and desserts throughout the park. Try a delicious pineapple ice cream at the Adventureland Tiki Room or a hearty churro from the tram.
A trip to Disneyland often means spending the day at the park. To get the most out of your trip, stay at the nearby Disneyland Resort or other nearby hotel and enter the park as soon as it opens. This way you will also avoid long waiting times. This is one of my top Disneyland tips!
San Francisco is one of the oldest cities in California. Founded by the Spaniards in 1776, it is now one of the top tourist attractions in the Golden State.
San Francisco is also one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, just behind New York. San Francisco’s charming homes are iconic and make great photographs.
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Just 20 minutes from Mammoth Lake, Lake June is a popular lakeside resort and fishing spot among the Sierra Mountains.
The clear waters of Lake June are surrounded by snow-capped mountains, making the area surreal. There are some crowded marinas in the area, but I recommend finding a remote part of the lake and relaxing on the lake.
If you are a fishing enthusiast, June Lake should be on your travel list. Enough salmon here!
Big Sur is the quintessential California beach. Jagged cliffs overlook the ocean along this Pacific Coast Highway oasis.
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Most tourists visit California’s famous beaches like Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach. This puts Big Sur under the radar and less crowded than Southern California beaches. Big Sur is a magical place where the mountains meet the beach and create private coves and waves perfect for surfing.
There’s no cellular service in Big Sur, so if you need to get work done or stay in touch with family, you’ll have to stop at one of the city’s many cafes to catch Wi-Fi.
A little-known mountain town in California, Wrightwood welcomes the majority of visitors to the Mountain High Ski Resort during the winter months. Wrightwood is a less developed ski town, but still offers local activities and attractions for nature lovers.
Hike up Mount Baden-Powell Wrightwood, one of the tallest mountains in the San Gabriel Mountains. There are also great mountain bike trails in the area and various tent sites.
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After you’ve explored the area, stop by the Wrightwood Brewery or the Wrightwood Inn Bar to relax with a cold beer.
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If you’re looking for fun places to visit in California, look no further than Joshua Tree National Park. This park showcases some of the best flora and fauna in all of California’s deserts.
Choose from short hiking trails like the Barker Dam Trail and Mount Ryan, or longer ones like the Lost Palms Oasis Trail. I recommend camping in the national park for amazing desert sunsets and millions of bright stars in the open night sky. This is one of the best camping spots in California.
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If your forte is rock climbing, you’ll love Joshua Tree National Park. Rock climbers from all over California dream of climbing some of the park’s hundreds of routes. Even if you’re not a rock climber, you’re guaranteed to see rock climbers in action anywhere in the park.
The Sierra Nevada is a paradise for mountain lovers. The eastern Sierra Mountains are my absolute favorite place to visit in California at any time of the year.
The town of Lone Pine is an ideal base for hiking the many mountains in the area. From this mountain town, you can reach the peaks of Mount Whitney and Mount Langley. Big Pine Lake and the Palisade Glacier trails are also just a short drive away.
Witness spring flowers in full bloom and winter snowfall at its best at high altitudes in the Sierra Nevada. Lake Sabrina in Bishop is also a great place to watch the autumn colors change.
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There are many restaurants and cafes in Eastern Sierra towns along Highway 395, as well as many hotels and campsites.
Pro Tip: Camp for free at the Alabama Hills Recreation Area in Lone Pine. Be aware of hot summer temperatures.
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Death Valley National Park is one of the hottest deserts in the world. The area holds the record for the hottest air temperature of 134.1 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s safe to say that visiting the national park should be limited in the summer.
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A visit in the fall, spring or winter to Death Valley is wonderful. Grab a sled to slide down the park’s dunes, or lace up your hiking boots to climb the park’s highest peak, the 11,043-foot Telescope Peak.
Located just 1 hour and 45 minutes from Lone Pine, the salt flats of Badwater Basin National Park are the lowest point in the United States. You can visit the lowest point and the highest point (Mt. Whitney) in the contiguous United States on the same day.
🚗 How to get there: Death Valley is quite a distance from most major cities. You’ll want to rent a car from Discover Cars in Los Angeles to get to Death Valley Park.
Napa Valley is a wine lover’s paradise. Just north of San Francisco, there are activities for the whole family, such as hot air balloon rides over the vineyards and shopping malls with play areas. The area is more popular with adult tourists looking to join a Napa wine tasting tour to visit some of the best wineries and vineyards in Napa.
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A perfect day in Napa Valley is spa treatment in the morning, golf in the afternoon, live music at dinner and a glass of wine. If you’re staying for a long time, check out the hiking trails in the area and