Best Places to Visit in California

By Ava Garcia, Posted on 10 Oct, 2021 at 01:03 pm

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Best Places to Visit in California

California is brimming with so many captivating places that it can be hard to figure out where to go, especially if you are a first-time visitor. From sun-soaked beaches to snow-covered mountains, there's everything in between. This fascinating city allures visitors with vibrant landscapes, urban sophistication, and sunshine and will put you in a trance with its enthralling wonders. California has it all; spellbinding coastlines, perfect farmlands, ancient redwood groves, and vibrant multicultural cities. Whether you want to shop or dine, you are sure to find the best spot in California. Moreover, if you are a nature lover, no worries because a great number of fascinating outdoors also sit in California; you will knock your socks off by the granite cliff wrapped with dramatic waterfalls. Well-groomed lakes and countless opportunities for fun and joy will make it hard for you to leave this dazzling place. And if you are too curious by now, let's discover the best vacation spots in California!


Located 165 miles east of San Francisco, Yosemite is one of the best and famous national parks of the county. Yosemite delivers the popular activities and things to do you can think of. From low-key activities such as bird-watching, fishing to harum-scarum pursuits like rafting and rock climbing. No matter what you opt for, make sure not to leave Yosemite without exploring Glacier Point, Vernal Fall, and Half Dome because these are the can’t miss attractions. Stick around until dusk so that you can gaze at the clear sky covered with shimmering stars.

 San Francisco:

Everywhere you go in San Francisco, you will see how it is brimming with life. Opt for zipping around the cable car, and you will see the culture-filled multifaceted neighborhoods of the city or head to the phenomenal Golden Gate Bridge to admire the sky-reaching redwoods. Head to one of the best restaurants to satisfy your tummy, or you could say that dive fork into one of the fascinating food scenes as this lively place is home to over 30 Michelin-starred restaurants—no matter what, San Francisco is always overflowing with buzz. Head to Golden Gate Park to relax your soul after a tiring day.

 San Diego:

70-miles of the coastline of San Diego is serving at its best to the visitors. Imagine the warm weather year-round, and you are standing at the boundless stretches of surfing-amiable shorelines, smelling the flavorful scent of mouthwatering fused Mexican food. Sounds just perfect, right! So, kickstart your trip from Balboa Park. At this park, you will come across many museums and then hit the USS Midway Museum. Afterward, move to the San Diego Zoo, one of the best zoos in the entire country and surprisingly famous among the visitors. Make sure to make your night vibrating just by driving to the historic Gaslamp Quarter, one of the thronging places. Ditch your board shorts and flip-flops for more formal attire before entering into dramatic nightlife.

 Lake Tahoe:

Mind-blowing, staggering, incredible, dazzling... try as much as you can, but we can bet you won't be able to put the beauty of beautiful Lake Tahoe in words. This lake resides on the California-Nevada border and is considered the best vacation spot for visitors. You won't find yourself free because Lake Tahoe provides you the ample opportunities to dive in for fun. No matter what season is going, you will be spoilt for choices whenever you come here. If you love winter sports, a ski spot will be the best option for you, and if you hit this lake in summer, rent a boat and unwind yourself through the lake. Head to the Emerald Bay State Park or D.L. Bliss State Park to take a light walk or just trek the trails and take in the lovely vistas. 


What makes the visitors coming back again and again to Monterey is the impressive natural beauty and small-town soul—nestled in central California, flooded with charismatic seaside locales and picture-perfect beaches. Jump into the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the best aquariums and beautiful places in California among all. Make sure to tour the surrounding area. Drive to Caramel and chase its art galleries and boutiques. Or, just hit Pebble Beach so that you can come across the links at its world-famous golf courses. Oh yeah! Did we mention whale watching opportunities? This is a perfect year-round whale-watching spot.

 Big Sur:

One of the most spellbinding spots that have a habit of putting the visitors into trance is the Big Sur. It's not only a destination spot but a whole state of mind—Trek to this mind-blowing destination to gaze at the bewitching scenery. Hike the trails of 90-mile craggy coastlines weaving in and out of the valleys and mountains of the area. Plus, these pathways make their way to flawless wild beaches. If you don't know where to start your journey from, head to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, one of the most go-to places for first-time visitors. Jump-start, relax, and let your eyes and ears to the sounds and sights of Big Sur.

Napa Valley:

If you are an extreme lover of wine, just dive into the Napa Valley because it is considered one of the most delicious wine destinations and a chief luxurious hot spot in the entire world. This entire valley is overflowing with chic hotels as well as numerous Michelin-starred dining accomplishments. And if you are worried about your kids, you don't need to. Because this lovely spot also has some kid-friendly wineries embracing Castelli di Amorosa. It is one of the best Tuscan castles of the 13th century that serves little one’s grape juices. And if you are done with slurping the countless sips of wines, explore the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, one of the most picturesque hikes.

 Sequoia National Park:

If you are planning a trip to a place full of iconic and towering sequoias, Sequoia National Park is one of the best finds for you. Make your California vacation memorable by hitting the Giant Forests, one of the breathtaking forest attractions that boast over 8,000 sequoias. The height of these sequoias is almost equal to 26-story buildings. One thing that bowls over the hearts of visitors is the General Sherman Tree, one of the most mammoth trees by volume in the entire world. 

 Santa Monica:

Santa Monica can easily stand alone when it comes to its destination. It is located 15 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. Fly to this beachfront city, which features numerous restaurants, hotels, and shops, plus its star attractions. Make sure to head to Pacific Park, located on the Santa Monica Pier and the beach. After spending a fun day on the sand, drive to Palisades Park to capture a never-forgettable Southern California sunset. Don't miss out on the famous Third Street Promenade.

 Los Angeles:

One of the best vacation spot in California, Los Angeles, is no doubt incredibly a dream city filled with astonishing wonders. La La Land's renowned attractions won't feel you agitated with bumper-to-bumper traffic, such as Beverly Hills and Hollywood. These two lively and iconic destinations will be at your fingertips and leave you flabbergasted. Save some time to explore the Paramount Pictures Studio and Warner Bros Studio if you love films and TVs. Head to TCL Chinese Theaters and get a good snap while strolling next to the phenomenal Hollywood Walk of Fame. Or simply, plan to hit the Grand Central Market and Griffith Park, two of the best-loved gems of the city.

 Palm Springs:

One of the most famous playgrounds residing in California is Palm Springs. The vacationers in droves are making their way to this paradise desert who want to lounge by a pool or just simply hook up with the nightlife scene. A big thanks to attractions overflowing with flora and fauna that attract nature lovers, such as the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens and Coachella Valley Preserve. Hit this place a little earlier to enjoy the comfortable weather as well as to attend an assortment of festivals and events, embracing Coachella in April and Palm Springs International Film Festival in January.

Laguna Beach:

Make the trek to this mind-blowing destination to experience Southern California small-town vibes. Nestled between San Diego and Los Angeles offering a variety of picturesque beaches. From big and remote to small and central, all beaches are right there to keep you engaged for long hours. Two of the most favorite destinations of visitors are Crescent Bay and Main Beach. Consider exploring the wild scenes of Crystal Cove State Park, highly rated by the visitors. If you wanna escape from the sun, head to the boutiques and art galleries in the downtown area. 

Anaheim Disneyland:

No visit to California can ever be completed without hitting Anaheim Disneyland, one of the Happiest Places On The Earth. It gladly appeals to all ages, and most visitors trek here from LA. Not only this, but you will also come across numerous other amusement parks such as Knott's Berry Farm and Adventure City (the best option for budget-friendly visitors). Grab a bite of yummy food from outside the theme park-like Anaheim Packing District food court, or head to Angel Stadium to watch the professional baseball game.


Nestled less than 14-miles west, the cheaper version of Napa Valley, Sonoma has earned above and beyond the praises and reputation, and it is on both wine and travel maps now. Under the shade of this spot are many atypical destinations and wineries galore. Make sure to take your kids to Safari West or hit the Sonoma Coast State Park to get a load of an array of beaches, coves, and natural arches that are simply staggering. Go for some retail therapy at Sonoma Plaza, or simply head to Sears Point to drive a sports car.

 Huntington Beach:

Famous as a Surf City USA offers the best waves in the country and so, considered one of the best vacation spots in the California. This Orange County beach houses Vans US Open of Surfing, one of the massive competitions of the world with unlimited surfing culture and history. Take a stroll along the Huntington Beach Pier and take in the views of water bathing the sand. Slurp a sip of cocktail at one of the oceanfront lounges. And if you are with your family, opt for shopping or enjoy a play at Surf City Nights Street Fair weekly.

Santa Barbara:

Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is nicknamed the American Riviera. Santa Barbara is one of the top-most destinations for celebrities. It is a perfect destination if you want to soak up in the sun lounging on the beach lined with palm trees in mild weather all year round. You will also see the stunning food scenes and get to sip the top-notch wines; if art galleries and tasting rooms are your interest, head to Funk Zone.

Joshua Tree National Park:

Head to the Joshua Tree National Park of roughly 800,000 acres to enjoy endless outdoor activities. This desert oasis equipped myriads of rock climbing routes in some park areas or ventures to hiking trails. You can also opt for horseback riding and biking. Make sure to stick around to this place after dusk. And if you are an astrophile, you definitely shouldn't miss the International Dark Sky Park. 

 Venice Beach:

One of the most famous neighborhoods of Los Angeles is an eclectic Venice Beach, a place brimming with countless things to do and see. Get a taste of one of the area's stunning art scenes at Venice Art Wall. You can also head to beaches if you want to surf in top-notch condition. But, the limelight of Venice Beaches is its Boardwalk. 


Head to Sausalito by traveling north across the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the best spots to respite from the hurly-burly of the city. Laid-back aura and flamboyant houseboats are the makings of this small town. Head to Bridgeway Promenade to get a load of restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Or, simply if you are into educational stuff, make your way to Bay Area Discovery Museum and Fort Baker.


Many celebrities have called this place their home, and it's easy to see why. Hit the Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach that invites sunbathers and surfers in droves on the gorgeous stretches of sand. But don't miss out on a bite to eat while enjoying the vistas. Feast your eyes on ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities at Getty Villa.

Point Reyes National Seashore:

Beckons to nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts at over 70,000 acres of Point Reyes National Seashore. This secluded area and one of the beautiful places in California is away from the coast of Northern California, delivering boundless opportunities to see numerous wild species such as gray whales, elephant seals, over 490 different birds, and much more. Stroll down the Point Reyes Lighthouse and explore the beaches while hiking the miles of trails. 

Mammoth Lakes:

This fascinating destination might change your mind if you had never taken California as the best ski destination place. Mammoth Lakes houses the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area located in the Eastern Sierra region. No wonder this ski spot is one of the highest ones. Bunches of trails warmly welcome the snowboarders and skiers in winter. And when the snow starts to melt, hikers, climbers, and paragliders make their way to this spot.

Kings Canyon National Park:

If you wish to see more sequoias in California, head to the Kings Canyon National Park. One of the must-see things in this national park is the General Grant Tree, one of the second huge trees by volume. The tree is nicknamed the Christmas Tree. More entertaining things it offers to outdoor fans are hiking, climbing, and horseback riding. 

San Luis Obispo:

If you are visiting San Francisco and your next vacation spot is Los Angeles, you will most likely stop at San Luis Obispo. This small town features museums, art galleries, parks, and shops-filled central district and so, is worth a stay. If you wanna satisfy your taste buds, wineries, breweries, restaurants are all there to make your trip unforgettable. 

Newport Beach:

Imagine the massive mansions and megayachts and world-class shops! You can get all at Newport Beach that compels visitors to capture the photos of sophistication and glamour of the city. Drive to the Fashion Land, one of the lavish open-air malls and Sherman Library and Gardens, where you can savor a flavor of luxury. Head to other awesome kick-back spots such as Quaint Balboa, famous for frozen bananas. Plus, boogie boarders can catch the challenging waves.

Wrapping up, there's no such thing this Golden State hasn't. Whatever you want to do, wherever you want to go, everywhere you go, you will be stunned by its beauty. Hit the beach, the mountains, the desert, or even an urban city; California is sure to give you all amongst its pleasure-filled spots. Hike a trail or kick back on a sunny day on the soft velvety sand of the beach, best vacations spots in California will provide you all. So, just hit the road and be all-ready to soak up yourself in the gems of this city.

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Ava Garcia

Ava is a 23 years old travel blogger; she focuses on educating youngsters regarding traveling the world without leaving their jobs. She has traveled across 15 countries and has written many independent travel itineraries, guided tours, and much more packed with a ton of adventure with less vacation time.