HomeWorld Travel101 Cool Things to Do in California: Bucket List for the Golden State!
101 Cool Things to Do in California: Bucket List for the Golden State!
February 1, 2021
There are so many fun and exciting things to do in California that you could spend your entire life exploring it all without covering everything the state has to offer. But our California Bucket List will help you choose some of the most iconic experiences and attractions in the Golden State to remember on your vacation.
With one of the world’s most spectacular coastlines and landscapes ranging from spectacular arid deserts to the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, California offers many opportunities for exploration if you love the outdoors. If you prefer an urban lifestyle, California has much to offer, from museums and shopping to gardens and vibrant neighborhoods.
California’s famous farm-to-table cuisine and world-class wineries welcome culinary and wine travelers, and theme park enthusiasts can choose from a host of exciting options, including Disneyland. And of course, California’s beautiful climate makes it a year-round destination!
Are you ready to make your bucket list for California? Let’s start exploring the best things to do in California!
Improving California’s business environment
#1 Big SurWashing machine
The many attractions of the Big Sur coast make exploring this area one of the best things to do in California. The approximately 90 miles of coastline between Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Simeon offers some of the most spectacular views you’ve ever seen. The road alone, with its scenic views, makes Big Sur a must-see place in California.
#2 Walking (or biking) on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Goldie, as San Francisco locals call the Golden Gate Bridge, is an icon that will help you tick off your list of things to do in the Golden State. The bridge is 1.7 miles long, and you can cross it on foot or by bike for stunning views: of the city, San Francisco Bay, and Alcatraz Island. Go late at night to get the best light for the photos. And wear a jacket or a windbreaker: There may be wind and cold on deck.
#3 driveson the Pacific Coast Highway
The iconic Pacific Coast Highway is a must for any visitor to California. Whether you take California Highway 1 between the official ends of Leggett in the north and Dana Point in the south, or the more popular route between San Francisco in the north and Santa Monica in the south, you will be amazed by the beauty of the road and the many experiences it offers.
#4 Mount Whitney peak in eastern Sierra Leone
Travel through the Eastern Sierra to the top of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the 48 contiguous states. At 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney is a beautiful sight. Experienced hikers may aim to climb Mount Whitney as a day hike, but most climbers do it as a night hike. If you want to climb Mt. Whitney don’t want to hike, the drive up Whitney Portal Road from Lone Pine to the trailhead is a fun adventure in the Sierra.
#5 Marvel at the granite cliffs of Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is the most visited national park in California, and for good reason: The scenery is breathtaking. Half Dome is Yosemite’s most famous granite cliff, but there are other huge rock formations that can be seen from many vantage points in the park. The most popular viewpoints are Tunnel View and Glacier Point.
#6 The thrill of Disneyland magic
Do you like Disney? You’ll want to visit the first Disney park in Anaheim, the only one built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. At Disneyland, you can enjoy your favorite attractions like It’s a Small World, attend the Main Street Parade, see Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and admire the fireworks at nightfall. Also visit the new Disney California Adventure Park for even more fun!
#7 Visit to Dam Basin, the lowest point in North America
Death Valley National Park is home to the unworldly salt flats of the Dam Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. Visiting the salt flats of Dam Basin is one of the coolest things to do in California. Take a picture at the sign, then head out towards the plain and feel like a tiny dot in the middle of a huge expanse of salt polygons!
#8 Hawks on the world’s largest tree in Sequoia National Park
At 275 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter, General Sherman is the tallest tree in the world! Giant sequoias are the largest trees on earth in terms of girth and can reach thousands of years old. Giant redwoods like General Sherman can only be seen today in California in just over six dozen scattered groves.
#9 Pose for a photo of General Grant in Kings Canyon National Park
In nearby Kings Canyon National Park, you can see General Grant, affectionately known as the national Christmas tree. The second tallest tree in the world with a height of 267 feet and a circumference of 29 feet at the base. Stand next to him and feel his powerful presence up close! There are also many other mature sequoias in the park that are worth seeing.
#10 Looking deep into the clear waters of Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, is beautiful and one of the most romantic in California. The water in Lake Tahoe is so clear that you can see down to a depth of 60 feet! The playground, open all year round, is interesting for all kinds of visitors. You can take a walk on the beach, practice water sports or go hiking. All winter sports can be practiced in winter.
#11 Sink your teeth into a juicy In-N-Outburger.
For the ultimate California fast food experience, try the delicious Double-Double In-N-Out burger with a serving of their famous animal fries! Known for its fresh and tasty ingredients and its commitment to doing everything the old-fashioned way, In-N-Out is the closest thing to a fast-food restaurant. There are hundreds of places, so you will be able to find one no matter what part of California you want to visit.
#12 Admire the world’s oldest trees in Brislin’s ancient pine forest
Bristlecone pines are the oldest known living trees on the planet. In the arid highlands of the western United States, you’ll find conifers. In California, they can be seen in the protected old-growth Bristlecone pine forest in the White Mountains near Bishop, California. Methuselah, in this forest, 4,851 years old! A visit to this forest should definitely be on your list of things to do in California.
#13 Drive through Montereyto see the whales.
Monterey Bay, on the coast of central California, is considered one of the best places in the world to spot whales. The Monterey Underwater Canyon provides optimal habitat for whales, which can be seen year-round. In season, humpback, blue and gray whales can be seen, and the occasional fin whale, minke whale, beaked whale or sperm whale!
#14 See the world’s tallest trees in Redwood National Park andState Park .
At over 380 feet tall, the Hyperion is the largest living tree in the world. Its location in Redwood National and State Park is kept secret for protection. The parks are also home to the world’s second and third largest trees. Hiking among these giants is an experience you should put at the top of your to-do list in California: There are many parks along the Northern California coast with groves of sequoias.
#15 Sneaking Into Napa Valley
The Napa Valley is one of the premier wine destinations in the world. With several hundred wineries, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to wine tasting in the Napa Valley. And wine is not the only reason for a visit: From hot air balloon rides to gourmet restaurants, mud baths and bike trails, the Napa Valley has a lot to offer.
#16 Discover beautiful wildflowers in bloom atCarrizo Plains National Monument
In really good bloom years, when California wildflowers are at their peak, you can even see them from space! Whole hills and meadows are colorful in Carrizo Plain National Monument, one of the best places to see wildflowers in California. At the top you can literally see a sea of yellow and purple wildflowers.
#17 Walk to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.
Nothing says Los Angeles like a giant Hollywood billboard. Although you can see it from many places (our favorites are Lake Hollywood Park and Lake Hollywood Reservoir), head to the boardwalk to see it up close! Behind the sign, you have a breathtaking view of the city. The sign is protected by a fence, but you can still take nice pictures there. The Hollywood sign is one of the most iconic things about California!
#18 Travel on the Eastern Sierra Road
California’s other Scenic Highway, US Highway 395, runs through the eastern part of the state, parallel to Highway 1. The scenery along the way is very different from that of the PCH, but just as spectacular. Don’t forget to put the trip to the Eastern Sierra on your list of things to do in California! If you drive in the fall, when the aspirines, poplars and willows start to turn color, it’s a special pleasure.
#19 enjoying the beauty of Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands lie just off the coast of Southern California, and five of the eight islands make up Channel Islands National Park. The visit is an adventure, as the only options are to take the plane or ferry. Without services, the islands feel much more remote than they are and are interesting to study. Go in search of the native flora and fauna of the islands!
#20 Visit to the famous San Diego Zoo
The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. There is also a wonderful collection of exotic and rare plants from around the world. The nearby 1,800-hectare safari park is also home to many rare plant and animal species. Visit one or both parks for a closer look!
#21 California Historic Route 66.
Drive along historic U.S. Route 66 from Needles on the Arizona border to Santa Monica Pier on California’s west coast for a fun-filled adventure! This iconic route takes you past viewpoints and roadside restaurants in the Mojave Desert. It ends at the End of the Trail sign on the Santa Monica pier, where you can take the obligatory photo.
#22 Pose for a photo at the City Light Sculpture in Los Angeles!
Chris Borden’s stunning City Light sculpture, made from restored old lampposts, is of great beauty. The 202 lamps that make up the monumental sculpture are powered by LEDs that light up at sunset and go out at sunrise. Whether you pose for a photo by the statue or not, be sure to stop by after dark to see it at its best!
#23 A look into the past in the ghost town of gold rush.
The California gold rush brought hundreds of thousands of people to the state in the 19th century, and cities rose overnight, imploded and went bankrupt. Bodie, a particularly colorful gold rush town, is preserved in a state of arrested decay. Visit Bodie State Historic Park from US Highway 395 to see it as it was left by its former residents!
#24 Joshua Tree National Park Seascape hike
The landscape of Joshua Tree National Park is famous for two amazing features: huge masses of monzogranite rocks and strange-looking Joshua tree fields. Hike the many trails in the park to see the Joshua Tree Fields up close and have fun climbing some of the giant rock formations.
#25 Walk in beautiful coastal town of Carmel
If you think this name is eccentric and charming, wait until you visit Carmel by the sea! With its courtyards and secret passages to explore and its cottages that seem straight out of a fairy tale, Carmel is enchanting. The village has no street lights and the houses and buildings are not numbered. If you arrive in high heels, stop by reception to get a permit!
#26 San Francisco Bay Area Visit to Alcatraz
Alcatraz Island has an eventful past, but it is best known for the federal prison that was housed there from 1934 to 1963. From Al Capone to Mickey Cohen, The Rock has picked up some notorious prisoners! Although many prisoners tried to escape from the island’s prison, none succeeded. Take a ferry to the island and learn about the fascinating self-service audio tour of Alcatraz’s cell.
#27 Immersion in a natural hot spring
Hot springs can be found all over California, so no matter what part of the Golden State you visit, you’re sure to find a hot spring nearby to relax and unwind. Our favorites are the Wild Willie Hot Springs in the Eastern Sierra, because of its ideal location, and the Esalen Hot Springs, which are right above the Pacific Ocean (to get there, you have to book a treatment or come between 1 and 3 a.m.!).
#28 Hiking in the Dome of Yosemite National Park
Although hiking to the top of Half Dome or climbing the vertical surface of El Capitan will give you more bragging rights, these epic adventures are only for the most experienced hikers and climbers. For a less tiring, short hike with a good return, hike to the top of the Lembert Dome. The view from the top is breathtaking over the Tuolumne Meadows and the top of the Dome.
#29 Escape to Catalina Island
Looking for a romantic getaway in the Los Angeles area? Head to Santa Catalina Island, easily accessible by ferry from the Southern California mainland. The resort of Avalon offers accommodations and meals with ocean views, and many land and water activities await you. Don’t miss the flying fish and the orange Garibaldi in the water of the underwater park!
#30 Culture on view in the Getty Museum andGetty Villa
If you love museums, you’ll love these two world-class museums located just a few miles apart in Los Angeles. The Getty Museum houses an impressive collection of European painting and sculpture. The Villa Getty is a meticulous replica of a villa in Herculaneum that houses a large collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. The gardens are beautiful!
#31 Enjoy a toast to the avocado
The California Hass avocado is rich and nutty, and no presentation does its flavor justice better than the avocado toast you’ll find in restaurants throughout the Golden State. The basic recipe of spiced granola or sliced avocado on toast is emblematic, but you can also enjoy it with many other toppings.
#32 Attending a football game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles
Historic Dodger Stadium is the third oldest major league ballpark in the United States and the oldest in the western United States. It’s a must if you’re in Los Angeles. Baseball fans can schedule a game, and music fans can check to see if there’s a concert during their visit to Los Angeles!
#33 Be on the lookout for the majestic California condor.
The endangered California Condor is a huge bird, and if you see one in the flesh, you will be amazed. The largest land bird in North America, the California Condor, has a wingspan of about 3 meters! You may see one or more condors in the wild at Pinnacles National Park, Big Sur or the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge.
#34 Marvel at Yosemite’s superhigh waterfalls
At 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in California and one of many beautiful waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. The easy path provides an overview of the waterfall and takes you to the base of the waterfall. For experienced hikers, a much more challenging trail leads to the top of Yosemite Falls.
#35 Eating Julien Apple Pie
The small mountain town of Julian in Southern California is famous for its apple pie. In Julian, with its gold rush past and picturesque surroundings, eating apple pie is definitely at the top of the list. You can choose from Julian’s Pie Company, Mom’s Pie House and Apple Alley Bakery along Main Street.
#36 Stay at the historic California lighthouse
There are more than three dozen lighthouses along the California coast, many of which can be visited. They’re really cool photo shoots. But better yet, you can stay overnight in some of these historic lighthouses! The Point Arena lighthouse and Point Cabrillo lighthouse station on the north shore and the Pigeon Point lighthouse, about an hour south of San Francisco, are beautiful lighthouses to visit.
#37 Cypress Tree Tunnel hike at Point Reyes
A popular Instagram photo spot near San Francisco. The Cypress Tree Tunnel is a must when visiting Point Reyes National Seashore. In 1930, Monterey cypress trees were planted, lining the road and forming a beautiful tunnel. For the best lighting conditions, visit the park at sunset, or if you like a little mystery in your photos, visit on a foggy morning.
#38 San Francisco Cable Car Ride.
San Francisco’s cable cars have been in operation for over 150 years and are a national historic landmark. There are three funicular routes to choose from and you can choose one route or use your SFMTA visitor card to create multiple routes. There is also a funicular museum that you can visit to see the old funiculars from the 1870s. You can even pick up a cable car bell as a souvenir at the museum shop!
#39 Stay in Harmony, the smallest town in California!
Between Cambria and Cayucos, on the central coast of California, lies the town of Harmony. There used to be a dairy here that supplied the owner and guests of nearby Hearst Castle. Today, the town is a pleasant place for tourists traveling along California’s Highway 1. Take a wine tasting or visit the glass factory.
#40 Nosh on Fish Tacos
If you like fish tacos, you have no choice, as they are a staple of California’s coastal menus. A street-made fish taco from Baja, Mexico is now available in several avatars. Make it bahi-style, with fried fish, shredded cabbage, sauce and lime juice, all wrapped in hot tortillas. Or try variations with grilled fish, ahi tuna, shrimp or other seafood.
#41Take a picture of Bernie’s beautiful waterfall
Bernie Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in California. And unlike many other waterfalls in California, Bernie Falls flows year-round. Better yet, you can see nearby Burney Falls on an easy walk. The 129-foot-high waterfall is part of the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park near Redding, in northeastern California. Visit in spring or fall for fewer people.
#42 Hiking to the end of the country in San Francisco
Some of San Francisco’s best hikes can be found on the Lands End Trails in the northwest corner of the city. The trails offer breathtaking views of the water and the Golden Gate Bridge, and the opportunity to see the ruins of the Sutro Baths, a large bathhouse built in 1894. Lands End is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
#43 Admire the missions of the Queen of California in Santa Barbara
With its beautiful dark pink facade, ornate twin towers and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, the former Santa Barbara Mission is known as the queen of missions in California. A visit to the historic mission should be the highlight of any tour of Santa Barbara. For an optimal experience, take part in a guided tour with a document.
#44 Hike to the Palm Desert Oasis-Fan
The Desert Fan Palm is native to the low deserts of California. The palm can grow to a height of 75 metres and its dead leaves remain attached to the trunk, forming a skirt. Seeing an oasis of mature palm trees should be on the to-do list for nature lovers in the Golden State for lovers of the California desert. Joshua Tree National Park has five palm oases in the desert, and the Fortynine Palms oasis, accessible by a 3-mile hike, is the most beautiful.
#45 Try the garlic ice cream in Gilroy
Calling itself the garlic capital of the world, Gilroy is home to all things garlic, including ice cream! Gilroy is located on US Highway 101, which runs south of San Francisco, and has many shops and kiosks offering garlic ice cream, usually combined with vanilla, but sometimes chocolate or pistachio ice cream. Or visit us during the Gilroy Garlic Festival in July!
#46 View of the magnificent towers of Mono Tufa Lake
Mono Lake, in the eastern Sierra, is known for its tuff towers. The subterranean limestone rocks were exposed when the lake level dropped as a result of water diversion. One of the best ways to get close to the tuff towers of Mono Lake is to hike the South Mono Lake tuff trail or take a guided canoe trip to the base of the tuff.
#47 Glass Beach Search at Fort Bragg
In a case where nature returns treasure to human waste, Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach is filled with rounded pieces of colored glass made by the ocean from glass bottles broken on the beach decades ago. Unfortunately, much of the glass was taken away by visitors, but brown, clear and green pieces of glass can still be seen.
#48 Explore the Harry Potter attractions at Universal Studios in Hollywood
Harry Potter fans will want to head to Universal Studios in Hollywood to enjoy the popular themed attraction. In the magical world of Harry Potter, visit Hogwarts Castle and enjoy exciting walks, meals and shopping. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a magical motion simulation that takes you on an unforgettable adventure above the castle grounds.
The spectacular Palms to Pines Scenic Byway takes you from the bottom of the Sonoran Desert to the pine forests around San Jacinto Mountain in less than an hour! With many breathtaking panoramic views and small mountain towns like Idyllwild to explore along the way, a drive is a must for your trip to Palm Springs!
#50 Explore the missions of the Californiatrail
The Spanish missionaries founded 21 missions in California. Today, many of these missions are active churches, with museums you can visit to learn more about California’s past. Lovers of architecture and horticulture will also find them interesting. All missions in California are conveniently located along US 101, making it easy to organize a road trip to explore them.
#51 Enjoy a sweet treat at the Bouchon bakery.
Chef Thomas Keller’s bakery in Yountville is a must on a tour of the Napa Valley. From Better Nutter cookies to rainbow-colored French macarons, from soft almond croissants to chocolate bread, everything is so delicious you’ll never know what to order. There’s almost always a line at the door, but it’s usually quick.
#52 Enjoy the outdoors on Mt. Shasta
Located at the foot of the mountain of the same name, picturesque Mount Shasta is an ideal starting point for outdoor leisure activities. Enjoy hiking and biking, climbing and fishing, camping and caving in an area with breathtaking mountain views and pristine alpine lakes. The biggest adventure here is of course the climb to the top of Mount Shasta.
#53 Discover the almond orchard in bloom!
Did you know that more than 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California? Although almonds are edible, you can travel to the Central Valley to see almond orchards in bloom if you plan a visit in early spring. It’s easy to take a day trip from San Francisco or Los Angeles and take a few side roads to admire the airy masses of white flowers.
#54 Take a Hummer ride to the San Andreas Fault
The infamous San Andreas Fault stretches 750 miles across California. This fault was the cause of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. If you plan to visit the Palm Springs area, take a fun tour of the San Andreas Fault! The trail leads through rugged desert terrain, and you can cross a bridge over a ditch.
#55 See Moving Rocks at Playa Raceway
Racetrack Playa is located in a remote part of Death Valley National Park and is known for its mysterious moving rocks that glide across the dry lake bed, leaving tracks in their wake. It is the perfect place for landscape photographers! The road to it is very bumpy and the cost of a tow truck is astronomical, so it’s definitely not for everyone.
#56 Completion of multi-loop in June to fall.
The June Lake Loop Drive, a few miles north of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra, is picturesque any time of year, but especially breathtaking when you can see the fall colors at their peak. Aspen, poplars and willows turn yellow, orange and red, creating beautiful vistas along the way. The four lakes in the loop offer many recreational opportunities if you want to explore them.
#57 Increase your carbs with San Francisco sourdough bread
The San Francisco version of sourdough bread was created during the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. Century. It’s still very popular and you can’t visit the town on the bay without buying fresh bread to fill you up with good stuff. Get it at the Mill, an independent bakery next to the Painted Ladies, or at the Boudin Bread Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can order a warm clam chowder in a bowl of sourdough bread.
#58 Witness hydrothermal activity in Lassen Volcanic National Park
There are many hydrothermal zones to explore in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Follow the Boardwalk Trail to Bumpass Hell or walk the sidewalk at Sulphur Works to discover fumaroles, bubbling pools, mud pits and bubbling steam. Plan your visit in the summer, when the roads and trails in the park are open. If you come in the winter, you can snowshoe at Sulphur Works!
#59 Exploring Alabama’s Hill Arches
Alabama Hills is one of the most picturesque areas in California. The rounded shapes of the cliffs and hills that contrast with the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains create a picturesque postcard setting. The region is famous for its hundreds of natural arches. Walk to the Moebius Arch, which frames the mountains perfectly, and other name arches, or look for unnamed arches to take photos.
#60 See the architectural art of nature at the National Monument of the Devils.
Devils Postpile is a beautiful formation of basalt columns, some of which are over 60 feet high. Formed by lava centuries ago, the columns have been subject to erosion. An easy walk will take you to the base of the columns for a closer look, and you can also climb to the top of the columns to admire their hexagonal shape.
#61 John Muir Trail Backpack
The 210-mile John Muir Trail stretches across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, from the Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney, crossing three of California’s famous national parks along the way: Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Hiking along the John Muir Trail is on the list of things to do in California for many outdoor enthusiasts, but you can also do part of the famous trail as a day hike.
#62 Food from the farm to the table where it is literally practiced
The farm-to-table movement has its roots in California. If you visit Berkeley, dine at Panisse, Alice Waters’ famous restaurant, which opened in 1971 and was one of the first farm-to-table restaurants in the state. But no matter where you go in California, you’ll find farm-to-table restaurants. Some restaurants literally have vegetable gardens and fruit trees growing right behind the kitchen!
#63 Crossing the Redwood Tree
There are currently three redwoods in California: Chandelier in Leggett, temple tree in Myers Flat and Klamath tree on the Klamath River. The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree is the only one of the three whose opening was created primarily by nature. Bring a small car, and be careful driving in the hole!
#64 Visit to the farmers’ market
There are farmers markets all over California, and you should definitely visit one during your trip to the Golden State, even if you don’t want to buy food to cook. Fruit from the farmer’s market is usually much sweeter and tastier than fruit from the supermarket. You can also buy cheeses, olive oil and homemade preserves, nuts and much more.
#65 Discover a piece of Denmark in Solvang
Styled like the Danish capital of the United States, Solvang has a pedestrianized city center with beautiful Danish architecture, several bakeries serving authentic Danish delicacies and numerous wine tasting rooms. It is also an easy trip to other charming towns in the Santa Ynez Valley and one of the easiest day trips from Santa Barbara.
#66 California Diner Michelin Star
California has dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants, so make sure to reserve a special dinner during your visit! From the French Laundry in Napa Valley and Single Thread in Healdsburg to Atelier Krenn and Beno in San Francisco and Manresa in Los Gatos, you can choose from a number of three-star Michelin restaurants.
#67 Château Thor Hurst
Perched on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean is Hearst Castle in San Simeon, just south of Big Sur. The extravagant interiors with their paintings, sculptures and tapestries will amaze you. The gardens invite you to take a walk and the two pools are beautiful. The castle, the former estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, is a must-see while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Roman Pool PC : Gnohz/Shutterstock
#68 Admiring mid-century modern homes in Palm Springs
The desert city of Palm Springs is known for its mid-century modern architecture. It’s fun to visit clean, elegant homes with seamless interior/exterior transitions, expressive roofs, and eye-catching colorful doors. Get a map from the Visitor Centre (also located in a mid-century building!) and take a self-guided tour of the park.
#69 Feasting in the depths of the Ubehebe Crater
The Ubehebe crater is 600 feet deep and half a mile in diameter. The Ubehebe Crater, located at the northern end of Death Valley National Park, is easily accessible: You can see it right from the waterfront parking lot. However, if you want to hike, you can walk the path around the Ubehebe Crater to see it from different angles, and see the Little Hebe and other smaller craters in the wider area.
#70 Hawks on the sculptures of the Anza-Borrego Desert National Park
The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is one of the coolest state parks in California, with epic desert vistas, a slot canyon, and a variety of flora and fauna. But one of the coolest features of the park are the many giant metal sculptures by Ricardo Breseda scattered across the landscape. Not to be missed is the 350-metre-long sea snake, whose head and body emerge from the sand intermittently!
#71 Drive Scenic Tioga Road
Tioga Road, officially California Highway 120, between Crane Flat and Lee Winin, is one of the most scenic roads in California. You’ll pass beautiful meadows, rocky granite cliffs and pristine alpine lakes and cross Tioga Pass, the highest pass in California. The road is open seasonally, usually between May or June and October or November.
#72 Try Sushirito.
Sushirito is exactly what it looks like! He combines sushi with burritos to make them portable. Try Sushirito, a chain that has several places in the SF Bay area, where the line is usually up to the door. The large hand rolls are a mix of Japanese and Latin American flavors, and you can choose from several varieties. It’s fun to watch your sushi add up!
#73 Starry Heaven in the Desert
The deserts of California offer some of the darkest skies in the state and the opportunity to see millions of twinkling stars. If you want to see the Milky Way in all its glory, plan a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park or Mojave National Wildlife Refuge. Alabama Hills, the high desert, also offers a wide variety of stargazing opportunities.
#74 Visit California’s tallest sand dunes…. And listen to them sing!
The Eureka Dunes, located in the remote Eureka Valley, are part of Death Valley National Park. At 680 feet, the dunes of Eureka are the tallest in California and probably the entire United States. The hike to the top is a challenge, but if you make it to the top and the sand is dry, you might get a chance to hear the sand sing! In the distance we hear a deep rumbling sound as if from an airplane.
#75 Trapped by Mendocino
The entire city of Mendocino is designated a National Historic Preservation Area. Historic downtown Mendocino, with its charming Victorian-era saltworks reminiscent of New England, is a pleasant place to stay. Visit the Kelly House Museum to learn about the history of Mendocino’s architecture, or just take a stroll to admire the beautiful homes!
#76 Highest ski run in California at Mammoth Lakes
At 11,053 feet, Mammoth Mountain is the highest ski lift in California. The ski area has one of the longest seasons in the country and slopes for all levels. Even if you don’t ski, it’s worth hiking to the top of the panoramic gondola lift on Mammoth Mountain and having a drink (or lunch) with a view at the Eleven53 Cafe!
#77 Or ski on the slopes of the Olympic Winter Zone
Squaw Valley, located west of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Squaw Valley Ski Resort is a spectacular (and beautiful) ski area of over 3,600 acres on six peaks. But it’s also a great place to visit in the summer, with activities like biking, hiking, climbing, zip lines and other outdoor adventures.
#78 Enjoy California bushcraft
California may be known for its wines, but it’s also the birthplace of a number of craft beers. In fact, you’ll find more craft breweries in California than in any other state in the United States. Try the Ballast Point Sculpin IPA in San Diego, or the Double Jack IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, or the Anchor Steam Brewing from Anchor, America’s premier craft brewery.
#79 Going surfing at Huntington Beach
Although it is possible to surf in many places along the California coast, Huntington Beach is known as Surf City USA because of the regularity of the waves that occur there. Huntington Beach has five beaches with varying levels of training to accommodate all levels of surfers. And if you are a complete beginner, you can also take lessons here.
#80 McVeigh Falls plan
While there are countless photo opportunities along the Big Sur coast, McWay Falls is perhaps the most photographed spot in Big Sur. Visit the waterfall on a fog-free day to take photos for Instagram postcards. The golden hour or sunset is the perfect time to photograph the ribbon of water falling off the cliff into the pristine bay below.
#81 Say Cheese: California Cheese!
Whether you like cow, sheep or goat cheese, you will always find the right California cheese for you. Cypress Grove is one of California’s best known cheese makers, and their Humboldt Fog Goat is famous. Red Hawk from the Cowgirl Creamery and Point Reyes Blue from the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company are other gems to try.
#82 Trekking the rugged and lost coast of Northern California
California’s Lost Coast is such a rugged coastline that it’s impossible to build roads. The Lost Coast Trail is one of the most beautiful beach hikes in the United States. The northern section, from Mattole Beach to Black Sands Beach near Shelter Cove, is the best known part of the trail and is just under 25 miles long.
#83 Zigzagging on Lombard Street in San Francisco.
Lombard Street in San Francisco has a very famous section: It has eight steep hairpin bends, making it the most winding road in the world. You absolutely must walk down Lombard Street when you come to San Francisco! You can come down. Photo of Lombard Street with Leavenworth Street below it.
#84 Admire the State Capitol in Sacramento
The Sacramento Capitol is both a museum and the seat of California government. On Capitol Hill, learn more about California history and tour the museum to see interpretive exhibits in the history rooms and exhibits in the rotunda. You will also see many works of art, including two beautiful murals.
#85 See the purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur
Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach is accessible by a narrow, winding road, and parking can be hard to find, but the beautiful beach is worth the effort. Look for purple traces in the sand of manganese garnet particles washed up by the river on the hills. The purple streaks are especially visible just after a storm.
#86 Visiting Huntington Gardens
California has many high-quality botanical gardens, and you can’t go wrong when you visit one of them. The Huntington Hotel near Pasadena has more than a dozen themed gardens on 120 acres. The collection of desert gardens here is one of the largest in the world, and the flower gardens are beautiful when they bloom. The complex also has a library with rare manuscripts and an art collection.
#87 Monterey Bay Aquarium Tour
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in the middle of the ocean and is known for the diversity of its exhibits. See a forest of living kelp, with fish and other sea creatures living in it. From sea turtles to sea otters and from sharks to giant Pacific squid, you can see a variety of marine life at the aquarium. Fun for children and adults!
#88 Enjoy the best dim sum outside Asia
The San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles is known as the place where you can get the best dim sum outside of Asia. From folded ar-gao to round shu-mai, you can choose from a variety of offerings that are steamed or fried (and sometimes baked) in dim sum houses. Dumplings are filled with chicken, beef, pork, seafood or vegetables and are traditionally served as a snack with tea.
#89 Explore the Talus Caves in Pinnacles National Park
The caves of Talus were formed when the rock walls collapsed. There are two stone caves to explore in Central California’s Pinnacles National Park: The Gulch Bear Cave and the Balcony Cave. Bring a headlamp (it’s dark inside) and have fun crawling in the caves and working your way through. Check before you visit, as bat broods can cause caves to close.
#90 Admiring the little ones in Año Nuevo National Park
Elephant seals can be seen year-round at Ano Nuevo State Park, located on the coast about 55 miles south of San Francisco. The park’s nature reserve is one of the largest breeding areas for pinnipeds in the world. The native season runs from December to March and guided walks are offered during this time. You will see baby seals if you visit them during this time!
#91 Walk on Venice Beach
The famous Venice Beach boardwalk stretches about two miles along the coastline and offers great entertainment and people watching. The Boardwalk is very popular: It is the second most visited attraction in Southern California! With street performers to watch, vendors to browse, restaurants and shops, it’s a lively walk. Plus skating, cycling, handball and bodybuilding!
#92 Explore the sea caves of La Jolla
La Jolla is known for its seven sea caves. The caves are millions of years old and the water is home to many forms of marine life. You can reach Sunny Jim Cave by land (prepare for a 145-step descent!), and you can join a guided kayak tour to paddle through the seven caves and enjoy the stunning views, and explore Clem Cave, the largest of the caves.
#93 Watching the Santa Monica Ferris wheel at night.
A ride on the Santa Monica Ferris wheel is a must: The solar-powered Ferris wheel takes you 130 feet above the Santa Monica Pier for breathtaking views of the coastline. But if you ride it during the day, don’t forget to return to the quay at dusk to see the iconic wheel illuminated! The wheel is equipped with nearly 175,000 LED lights that create a spectacular light show with dynamic movement and animation.
#94 En route to Lava Bed Collapse National Monument
The Lava Beds National Monument is located in northeastern California and has over 800 caves! Twenty of them can be studied, but some may be temporarily closed to protect bats. Formed by lava flows thousands of years ago, some of the lava caves here are quite large. You can also see Native American petroglyphs, visit old battlefields and walk around the monument.
#95 Catching the Gold Rush at Columbia State Historical Park
Want to experience a Gold Rush city live? Visit the Columbia State Historical Park, where you will be transported to a 19th century mining town. With authentic buildings, a stagecoach to ride in and a working blacksmith shop, Columbia offers an entertaining journey through time. Taste the gold and take a tour to learn more about the gold rush!
#96 Monarch butterflies in hibernation admire
In several places along the California coast, you can see the colorful butterflies of the western monarchs overwintering in eucalyptus forests. You can usually see them between October and early March. Look for them in butterflies in places like Goleta, Pismo Beach, Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz.
#97 Fern Canyon Hike in Redwoods Prairie Creek State Park
Fern Canyon was used as the filming location for Jurassic Park 2: The lost world. The mile-long flat trail is a must-see in Northern California’s Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. In the narrow gorge, the walls are draped with lush green ferns and bright green moss, and moisture runs down the walls. You have to see it in person to appreciate its beauty!
#98 Drinking Museum at Balboa Park
From art and science to natural history and model trains, there’s a museum for everyone at Balboa Park. The Downtown San Diego Cultural Complex houses 17 museums and several gardens, giving you plenty of time to explore the city. Art lovers should not miss the Timken Museum of Art, also known as the San Diego Fine Arts Box.
#99 Enjoy the California poppy flowers in the Valley of the Antelope
The flower of the state of California is the cheerful California poppy. To see poppies in full bloom, visit the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve in the spring. The blooming season generally lasts from March to May, and there are eight miles of trails in the reserve where you can hike to enjoy the flowers. Here you can see more wild flowers and possible species of animals and birds.
#100 Turn on your art in the Wide.
The Broad is a renowned contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles. It is worth visiting not only for its architecture, but also for its art. The amazing building looks like a honeycomb. Inside are 2,000 works of art, including colorful sculptures by Jeff Koons and works by Roy Lichtenstein. You can even visit the Warehouse, the museum’s vault where works that are not on display are kept.
#101 Business Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. It is a must-see place, whether you want to go shopping or not. Rodeo Drive, located in the upscale Beverly Hills district, has more than 100 iconic stores, from Chanel and Hermes to Louis Vuitton and Cartier. This is also the home of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which you may remember Pretty Woman from!
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