About The Golden State
California, which has approximately 40 million residents and occupies nearly 800 miles of land, is the most populous state in the USA. The Golden State extends all the way from Oregon’s border in the north to the southern Mexican border in the south. It is also home to some of the biggest cities, most impressive coastline highways, and most breathtaking national parks in the United States.
Whether you enjoy the wild outdoors or the metropolis, California is a state where you can easily spend a whole month taking in the sights. It is as diverse in terms of culture as it is in terms of landscape, ranging from the high, snowy altitudes in the state’s north around Lake Tahoe to the desert wastelands of Death Valley further south along the border with Nevada.
Things To Do In California
Since there is so much to see and do, you should set aside at least two to three weeks to take advantage of everything this city has to offer. Where to begin is the hardest choice to make. Take advantage of the metropolitan culture, Hollywood lifestyle, and Californian food when you land at Los Angeles International Airport. Beverly Hills, great beaches like Huntington Beach and Long Beach, plus a ton of amazing architectural marvels and museums can all be found in this enormous city.
You should rent a car if you want to make the most of your trip. After leaving Los Angeles, turn north and ascend to the Big Sur coastline road. When you make a stop at Santa Barbara, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to the Mediterranean since the stucco-style buildings and the pleasantly mild sea wind are remnants of the city’s Spanish colonial heritage.
Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway has magnificent cliffs, beaches, and ocean views that will make you want to turn around and take the trip back. It is a visually gratifying route. The magnificent Sequoia National Park, home to some of the tallest trees in the Redwood family in the world, the huge sequoia trees, is little over four hours’ drive from Santa Barbara.
Some of the largest sequoias are so huge that pedestrian tunnels can be constructed through them for passage. You can set up camp in the gorgeous Yosemite National Park, a place of breathtaking natural beauty that shouldn’t be left off of your itinerary, by traveling farther north and via the Sierra National Forest.
A trip to California would be incomplete without seeing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, which spans the Pacific Ocean, and the infamous Alcatraz prison, which is now a historical landmark and tourist site.
Take a stroll through Fisherman’s Wharf while in San Francisco for some great local cuisine and fish markets, as well as souvenir shopping and seal watching along the harbor’s edge.
Spend Some Time in Los Angeles
Given its size, Los Angeles is the kind of city that calls for an extended weekend to really explore. Los Angeles, with its unique history and landmarks like Universal Studios and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is unlike any other city in the world. Whenever you need a break from the Hollywood lifestyle.
Enjoy the sun, sea, and surf culture of California by taking a trip down Santa Monica Pier and along some of the state’s busiest beaches. Take a trip up Sunset Boulevard into Hollywood to learn more about this exciting metropolis.
For a taste of the Orient in Los Angeles, head to Chinatown, alternatively, for a look at American and European architecture, artwork, and wonderfully maintained gardens, visit The Getty on the city’s outskirts. Moreover, the view of the city from up there is quite breathtaking.
The Iconic – Hollywood
Everyone knows that Hollywood is one of the most important film industries in the world. Hollywood is the location of the Academy Awards and Paramount Pictures, two of the most prominent film production companies in the world. If you’re a fan of movies, you’ll love visiting the birthplace of the industry.
Going along the Walk of Fame and looking for the star plaques of your favorite actors and actresses is a great way to get a feel for the history of movies. You can also catch a flick under the stars in Griffith Park’s open-air theater.
Last but not least, if you’re interested in Hollywood’s past, you should definitely check out The Hollywood Museum. Be sure to take a picture of the Hollywood sign before you leave.
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge
California’s Golden Gate Bridge spans a narrow channel of water that connects Bay of San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean, yet it is far from the world’s most breathtaking strait. It’s about a mile wide and it’s what separates Marin County and San Francisco. Many people were skeptical of city officials’ 1920s announcement that they wished to construct a bridge across the Golden Gate. Construction would be made difficult by high winds, rip currents, and dense fog; and they believed fierce storms would bring any finished bridge crashing down.
However, in 1933, construction began on a suspension bridge built by Irving Morrow, a relatively obscure architect who had previously focused on residential and commercial construction. With his first bridge, the Golden Gate, Morrow struck gold, designing something so beautiful and well-proportioned with Art Deco ornamentation that it would come to represent Bay City.
Morrow also made the call to paint the bridge a bright orange, against the wishes of the United States Navy, who wanted it to be painted in black and yellow lines to help keep passing ships from colliding with it.
The bridge opened with a week-long celebration in May 1937, four years after the initial foundation was dug. Bay Area residents at the time took pride in having the world’s longest and highest suspension bridge.
Those records have since been broken, and the Golden Gate Bridge is currently only the 14th longest and 21st tallest structure in the world, but it is still the most well-known. In addition to the everyday traffic of commuters traveling along US Route 101 and California State Route 1, this bridge also serves as a popular route for pedestrians and cyclists. The San Francisco end of the bridge also features a visitor center with five exhibition spaces that provide insight into the bridge’s construction and history. The bridge, which required an unprecedented 1.2 million rivets, was finished ahead of time and within budget, as you will see in this article.
Although any tourist to San Francisco should make the effort to get close to the Golden Gate Bridge, some of the best sights are to be seen from a distance. The parkland that surrounds the bridge is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and it is from here that some of the best views may be had.
Kirby Cove Beach, which some consider to be the most beautiful of them all, also features overnight camping sites that may be reserved in advance, giving happy campers a front-row seat to the bridge’s nighttime lighting and early morning visibility.
Those who said the Golden Gate couldn’t be crossed were disproved in spectacular fashion. In its more than 80th year of service, this bridge has only closed three times from strong winds.
Explore the Great Outdoors of California
It’s time to hit the road again and reconnect with nature by visiting a stunning array of national parks and forests. Tahoe National Forest, located 100 miles east of Sacramento, is a great site to combine a visit to the slopes with a day at the beach. Because of the wide range in elevation, the weather can change quickly and unexpectedly, so it’s best to be ready for everything.
If you travel south along the California–Nevada border, you’ll eventually come to Death Valley National Park, a vast expanse of desert landscapes and temperatures that will shock even the most seasoned traveler. Parts of it are below sea level, and the landscape is so harsh that you may wonder if you’re still in California or on another planet.
Traveling further south into the desert, you’ll find places like Joshua Tree National Park, which protects a vast wilderness area teeming with interesting plants and animals, such as the Joshua tree, which is found nowhere else on Earth.
Southern California’s San Diego is a destination worthy of a long weekend of sightseeing. Visit the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, a huge complex with gardens featuring Spanish-Renaissance architecture in the heart of the city.
Visit the USS Midway Museum, a restored aircraft carrier with flight simulators, and see San Diego in a different light by going out at night.
While California is known for its beautiful beaches, it offers so much more. The High Sierra, often known as the Sierra Nevada, is a mountain range in California that stretches from the Central Valley to the Great Basin in Nevada. It features several spectacular attractions that should be on the itineraries of any visitor to the region. The area is renowned in the US for its stunning natural scenery and the variety of breathtaking backdrops each locale offers.
Lake Tahoe, North America’s largest alpine lake, is located in the town’s northernmost part and is the region’s undisputed crown jewel on the Sierra Nevada trail. Because of its pleasant climate, the area is popular among tourists throughout the year. It is also home to some ski resorts, as well as a variety of rough terrains and stunning open plains of water, such as Emerald Bay, which are partially shadowed by the towering peaks surrounding them.
Since the sun shines here an average of 300 days per year, this area attracts many tourists in the summer for its gorgeous Zephyr Cove and its abundance of water sports. Snow covers the mountainous regions in the winter, making it an ideal location for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. The longest slope and the most vertical drop in the area can be found at Heavenly, the most well-known of Tahoe’s mountains.
It’s best to ski on the Nevada side in the morning and the California side in the afternoon so that the sun will be in your face the entire time. The western Sierra of California is home to two of the state’s three recognized National Parks and a wide variety of lush forests, lively wildlife, and icy granite domes, making it an ideal destination for eco-tourists.
The western part of the Sierra Nevada path has a rich cultural history to explore, in addition to its stunning natural scenery. It was formerly home to some of the early Native American settlers and Gold Rush Pioneers. The western Sierra Nevada is at its most beautiful and lively in the fall when leaves are changing colors, and local festivals are in full swing.
The yearly 49er Festival and Chili/Salsa cook-off get the party started in the middle of September. Every October, Oakhurst hosts a fun event that the whole family may enjoy.
Visiting the National Parks
In the midst of all the excitement, it is highly suggested that you make a visit to Yosemite and Sequoia National parks so you may enjoy the vibrant vegetation and diverse wildlife that inhabit the conservations.
Located between the Sierra National Forest and the Stanislaus National Forest. Western California is home to Yosemite National Park. Stunning vistas may be seen at the top of several paths. At least 20% of California’s 7,000 plant species can be found there, making it one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada.
As its summits range in height from 21,127 feet to 13,114 feet, it is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers. Hot Creek in Mono County is the Yellowstone of the High Sierra desert, despite being an unknown district less than 30 miles from Yosemite’s eastern entrance. The Long Valley Caldera, where the brook can be found, is a 20-mile-wide valley formed when a volcano collapsed about 700,000 years ago. Hot Creek’s warm, geothermal waters have created a path through the crater, providing sweeping vistas of the Sierras’ eastern flank.
Sequoia National Forest, located three hours away, is home to huge sequoia trees, which can be found in one of the 38 separate groves located inside the park’s boundaries. The lands northeast of Grant Grove and the Big Meadows/Jennie Lakes area are two of the most impressive features of the 328,315-acre Giant Sequoia National Monument in the national forest.
If you travel east from Grant’s Grove along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, you’ll also pass the Converse Basin Grove, the largest sequoia grove in the Sierra region. In and around the low-elevation foothills of the Sequoia National Forest, where summers are hot and dry and winters are mild, you might see one of the many native species that live there, such as the gray fox, bobcat, spotted skunk, black bear, California quail wood rat, or western whiptail lizard. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is on the Nevada side of the border with the Sequoia National Forest. Many of the trees there are more than 2,000 years old. It is thought that the Methuselah tree in Schulman Grove, one of the forest’s 37 pine tree groves, is older than the Great Pyramids of Giza by more than 4,850 years.
The General Grant Tree, designated by President Calvin Coolidge as the official Christmas tree of the United States in 1926, is located in Kings Canyon National Park, a sister park to Sequoia National Park.
A beautiful instance of the giant sequoia, this tree is the focal point of Grant Grove and measures 267 feet tall and 29 feet broad. It was given the name of General Ulysses S. Grant in 1867, two years before he was elected as the 18th president of the United States.
A must-see for tourists is the eerie yet gorgeous Mono Lake, which is located less than 4 miles north of the Mono-Inyo Craters and is close to two famous ski resorts.
About 4.5 miles west of Kennedy Meadows, the route to the remarkable geologic structure begins right next to the Pigeon Flat Campground and extends for about a quarter of a mile. The Columns of the Giants are a group of unusual rock formations in the area, made from basalt that has been eroded through time into fascinating and bizarre forms.
In addition to being home to the basalt column, Mono Lake is also a popular spot for rock climbers across the North American continent. The lake was formed hundreds of thousands of years ago when the basin in which it sits was flooded with rain and glacier melt, but its precise origins are still a mystery.
The enormous volume of salty water was held since it lacked a sea escape. Although the lake is naturally salty due to the geology of the area, its saltiness seems to increase over time. Providing drinkable water to the expanding population of Los Angeles, natural tributaries were redirected in the early 20th century.
Since then, Mono Lake has been losing water and leaving behind more salty sediment. In places where the water level has receded, white limestone cliffs called tufa have been exposed. Through the ages, Mono Lake has become nature’s very own playground, and its natural sculptures are now on display for everybody to admire. However, the region is expected to become worn down as a result of rising tourism, so it’s best to go now while it’s still thriving.
The wide Sierra Nevada route also includes stops at Mammoth Lakes, home to the beautiful Rainbow Falls and Bodie State Historic Park. The most significant part of the park is Bodie Ghost Town, which is located in the Bodie Hills. This location is the county’s largest and best-preserved ghost town. Up to 8,500 people called it home during its heyday in the 1870s.
Many people moved there in hopes of getting rich soon by mining the region’s gold and silver. However, after a decade of prosperity, the area’s wealth dried up, and by 1886, there were only 1,500 people left in the area, while thousands of others had gone on to other places in search of money and the opportunity to live out the American Dream.
The population nearly completely disappeared at the turn of the century. The entire house’s worth of belongings was left behind. The state finally bought the abandoned and crumbling property in 1962, after it had been empty for decades. Since then, it has been in a state of “arrested decay.” A wide variety of outdoor pursuits, including fishing, hiking, trekking, boating, skiing, snowmobiling, and camping, may be enjoyed on the eastern Sierra Nevada slopes, all while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
One of the hottest locations on Earth in the summer is Death Valley, which is located on the eastern border of California and Nevada, and in the southwestern part of the Sierra Nevada.
Regarding air temperature, 56.7 degrees Celsius (134 degrees Fahrenheit) was reached on 10 July 1913 near Furnace Creek within Death Valley. Despite its terrifying moniker and sweltering heat, there is much to see on its paths, which, if taken carefully, are stunning.
Dunes, salt flats, mountains, craters, and the lowest lake in North America all combine to make up some of the most stunning landscapes in the southwest. Meanwhile, the spectacular and mind-boggling Owens Valley can be found in the southern Sierra and is a part of Yosemite National Park.
Before 1913, Owens Lake was a saltwater body of water, but when the Owens River was redirected into the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the lake’s water swiftly evaporated. The remnants of Owens Lake are still visible today.
After heavy rainfall, the land becomes a desiccated salt flat with pools of water. Along the northern boundary, there are solar evaporation ponds. In the wettest portions of the lakebed, a reddish hue may be seen due to a kind of salt-loving bacteria known as halobacteria.
Exploring the Sierra Nevada would take a lifetime. Whether it’s the natural beauty of the area that draws you to its parks and trails or the excitement of the sports available on the surrounding slopes, travelers have various choices from which to pick on whichever route they choose. Being so large means you may keep exploring it and finding new features.
The globe over, this location has served as an inspiration for photographers and nature lovers. Among these magnificent landscapes are the towering El Capitan cliff and the mysterious Half Dome rock structure.
Hiking to the top of Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall, two of the park’s most impressive waterfalls, is a must for anyone visiting Yosemite National Park, especially in the spring and summer when the falls are at their most powerful.
Tunnel View is a postcard landscape with ancient trees and granite monoliths cutting through the scene. If you venture further into Yosemite, you’ll find stunning lakes and mountains covered in towering sequoias.
To provide a change of pace, resorts open their doors for the winter season (December–March) and offer activities like snowboarding and skling.
Many of the Sierra Nevada’s most breathtaking landscapes may be found in the eastern Sierra, which runs from Lone Pine in the south to the Nevada border in the north. The Sierra Nevada’s tallest peak, Mount Whitney, may be found in the north of California.
Those who make the challenging ascent to its 14,505-foot peak are rewarded with breathtaking panoramas that stretch across the entirety of California and Nevada.
The average person would need 18 hours to make the difficult ascent to the summit of Mount Whitney and back down again. You’ll need a permit to climb the peak at any time of year, however if you plan on using one of the lesser-known routes, you should have an easier time getting one.
Hikers without much expertise should avoid going on trails during snowstorms and instead choose milder seasons like summer. Tourists flock there in the winter to ski and snowboard. It is easy to see why so many mountaineers put Mount Whitney on their list of must-climb peaks. You should choose the optimal route and gather all the necessary gear before starting out though.