If you’re thinking about taking a vacation in California and you are not sure where or what to visit, let us help you out. In this article we will provide you with all the “can’t miss” California vacation spots. You could spend months in California just trying to get around to all the sites, but if you’re ambitious you should be able to cover a few if not more than a few of these on your next trip to California.
Whether you’re visiting California during the summer or winter you won’t be let down as the weather is pretty mild throughout the year. However, if you are looking to do some snowboarding or skiing there are plenty of California winter resorts which you can visit in Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley Resort has even played host to the winter Olympics.
The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Quite possibly the single most well-known bridge in the United States. The Golden Gate Bridge is definitely one of the most identifiable symbols of San Francisco, maybe even of the the whole state of California, and for this reason has definitely earned its place on the list of “must see” California vacation spots.
Looming over the San Francisco Bay’s mouth, the 8,900 ft. long red bridge links the northern point of San Francisco to city of Sausalito in Marin County. The bridge was completed in 1937 and at the time was the longest expansion bridge in the world; however now it sits in the #2 position just behind the Veranzo-Narrows bridge located in New York City.
Seeing the Golden Gate bridge won’t consume a whole day, so make sure to enjoy the rest of San Francisco or take a trip across the bridge and hangout in the beautiful city of Sausalito for the afternoon. Some other San Francisco things to check out include the: San Francisco Zoo, Fisherman’s Wharf (Pier 39), Union Square, The Museum Of Modern Art, and The Palace of Fine Arts.
South & North Shore Lake Tahoe
Regardless of whether you are visiting Tahoe in the summer or winter there is plenty to do. If you’re heading to Tahoe in the winter enjoy skiing at one of the many winter resorts which include: Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl and many others. If you’re heading to Tahoe in the summer you can enjoy a swim in the lake or a hike somewhere on North Shore of Lake Tahoe. If you’re craving a little action you can visit one of the many resort casinos on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore. No matter how you do on the tables or slots of South Lake Tahoe you’ll come out a winner at this California vacation spot!
Hollywood, Los Angeles
Most recognizable from its Hollywood hills sign or perhaps because it is so closely associated with the American television and film industry, either way you’re probably familiar with Hollywood in some shape or form. Hollywood is an area of the greater Los Angeles area; located in the West-Northwest area of downtown L.A. These days much of the film industry has moved out of the Hollywood area in favor of less crowded surrounding cities like Burbank and the Westside.
Though Hollywood remains the place people think of when they travel to Los Angeles there are also many other great California vacation spots nearby like: Malibu, Venice Beach, Westwood, Santa Monica, City Walk and Downtown L.A. There is no shortage of things to do when you turn up in L.A. So make sure to plan out your trip ahead of time so you’re head won’t be spinning trying to figure out what to do when you arrive.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is just one more reason to visit beautiful Monterey. The aquarium features 500 various types of sea creatures and marine plants. The Aquarium plays host to over 1.8 million people each year! It takes more than 400 workers and about a 1000 volunteers to maintain this huge aquarium; which is much more than an aquarium. The aquarium probably won’t consume a whole day, but could eat up at least a half a day. Make sure to book your tickets online in advance to avoid lines.
After visiting the Aquarium make sure to stroll around Cannery Row made famous by the characters in John Steinbeck’s many books centered around this particular area. Some other great nearby attractions include: Carmel By The Sea, Downtown Pacific Grove and the world famous 17 mile drive!
San Diego Zoo & Sea World, San Diego
If you love animals and great weather then point the car towards San Diego. There is no shortage of animals at the San Diego Zoo which boasts over 100 acres which plays home to around 3,700 endangered rare and animals.
If you’re feeling like checking out some marine life, why not visit Sea World San Diego? This wonderful marine life park is located on the shores of Mission Bay and consumes 22 acres of prime Southern California coastal real estate. In addition to providing some great entertainment both of these parks also educate their visitors, making a trip to either great for kids, and adults.
After your visit to the either of these parks there is no better way to top off the day or evening then with a visit to San Diego’s Gas Lamp District downtown, or to La Jolla for a nice lunch or dinner!
Napa Valley Wine Country, Napa
Napa is world renowned for its great wines making it a must stop for “foodies”. For those who love great food and wine this is an experience you won’t soon forget. The region supports over 300 vineyards, charming resorts, well known bed and breakfast inns, spas, world renown restaurants and golf courses.
The areas pastoral countryside landscaping will take your breather away while you jump between wineries and tasting rooms. If don’t feel like jumping from winery to winery then catch a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. The train winds through the beautiful countryside while offering up some of Napa’s best wines and food to it’s passengers.
Once you’ve hit all the wineries you can take, rent some bikes to ride around, go on a picnic, or for those feeling adventurous take a hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley!
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a national recreation area situated mostly in the Mariposa and Tuolumne county lines and is definitely one of the must see California vacation spots for those who love the outdoors and nature. Even though the park covers over 761,266 acres, most of the 3.5 million visitors that come each year only experience about 7 square miles of the most frequented and “civilized” parts of the park. Nearly 89% of the park is deemed “wilderness”.
The park is known all around the world by outdoor enthusiasts for its magnificent granite mountains, waterfalls, crystal clear streams, large Sequoia groves, as well as biological diversity. Even if you’re not a hardcore mountain climber, or outdoor person; just about anyone can appreciate the sites to be seen on a leisurely stroll or hike around this National Park!
We hope you have found this article helpful for planning your next vacation to California. These California vacation spots should provide you with plenty to do on your very next or first trip to California. Please come back and leave us a comment as to how you trip went, we love hearing from our readers!