Bright, sunny beaches is the best way to describe California, isn’t it? Or is it Hollywood? But there’s a lot more. Welcome to my list of the 20 best things to do in California.
Apart from sunny weather and glamorous celebrities, there’s a lot to look forward to when visiting California. You can spend a day in the foggy forests or drive along the gorgeous highways of the Golden State. There’s diversity in all aspects of California, right from the culture to its landscape.
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So if you’re deciding to take a trip to California, you should continue reading.
- 20 Best Things to Do In California
- #1 Visit Redwood National Park
- #2 Marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge
- #3 Spend a Day at Yosemite National Park
- #4 Head to Venice Beach
- #5 Drive Along the Big Sur Coastline
- #6 Live a Little at Death Valley
- #7 Take a Selfie at the Hollywood Sign
- #8 Go To Disneyland
- #9 Be a Part of Lake Tahoe
- #10 Check Out San Diego Zoo
- #11Travel West to Alcatraz Island
- #12 Indulge in Wine Tasting at Napa Valley
- #13 Experience Griffith Observatory
- #14 Sleep Over at Thousand Island Lake
- #15 Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- #16 Stare at the General Sherman Tree
- #17 Spend an Evening at the Fisherman’s Wharf
- #18 Marvel at the Hearst Castle
- #19 Watch the Sunset at Santa Monica Pier
- #20 Explore the Culture at Chinatown
- That’s All Travelers!
20 Best Things to Do In California
#1 Visit Redwood National Park
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I’m sure you must have heard about this national park and even the Yosemite National Park (listed as #3). The Redwood Park is a huge expanse of beautiful woodland and rivers. You can indulge in a broad range of fun outdoor activities here.
The place has all different kinds of protected and rare species along with the tallest and oldest Redwood trees. There’s nothing better than taking a long walk and allowing yourself to become one with nature.
#2 Marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge
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Want to know one of the most exciting free things to do in California? Stare at the craftsmanship of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. You will not get tired of looking at it or from it all day long. The fun part about it all is that you can walk the bridge as well. How lucky to be alive to witness such a perfect combination of design and geography!
#3 Spend a Day at Yosemite National Park
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The kind of views that Yosemite has to offer is something that you will not find anywhere in the world. Some people take weeks to cover each and every inch of the park. And even then, there’s always something that they miss out.
Yosemite National Park is a magical place where you’ll find massive granite monoliths along with domes that are carved by glaciers hundreds and thousands of years ago. Plus, if you’re an adventurer, you’ll love biking, hiking, and even swimming there.
Every 20 best things to do in California list has Yosemite National Park on it. That’s how awe-inspiring this tourist destination is!
Yosemite National Park Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
#4 Head to Venice Beach
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Los Angeles is not only famous for its celebrities but also for the beaches. And you will be glad to know that Venice Beach is proof of that. The beach attracts all types of street performers, roller-skaters, cyclists, swimmers, etc.
Very close to this beach is another quite popular spot known as Muscle Beach. This is where you’ll find bodybuilders flexing their muscles. Sounds like super-fun, doesn’t it?
#5 Drive Along the Big Sur Coastline
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Ever heard of California Highway One? This is the famous highway that clings to the cliffs along the coastline between Carmel and Hearst Castle. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already driven along that path 50 times, you’ll still want to stop the 51st time as well. But be aware because the experience can be quite life-altering!
#6 Live a Little at Death Valley
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The natural environments of this place are extremely hostile. But that doesn’t make the Death Valley look any less beautiful. It is considered to be the hottest and driest area in the whole of North America. Due to the incredibly high temperatures, it’s best to visit the Valley before the sun starts to shine nice and bright.
Heat Beats Down in Death Valley
#7 Take a Selfie at the Hollywood Sign
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Of all the 20 best things to do in California, this is the only one that will make you feel like you’re in California. There’s nothing better to give you that Hollywood vibe than the Hollywood sign itself.
Resting on the hillside, the sign has managed to keep 9 out of its 13 original huge letters intact. The place has survived all kinds of disasters including vandals, fires, and even attempted property development. So it’s best to take that selfie and cherish it for your lifetime before something else comes up in its place, which is highly unlikely.
#8 Go To Disneyland
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When looking for things to do in California with kids, nothing beats this! Disneyland is considered to be the most exciting amusement park across the globe. Everybody, even adults, love Walt Disney characters, don’t they? And this is the place where these fictitious personalities transform into life.
Apart from that, there are crazy rides, great restaurants, and lively shops that keep you busy all day long. Also, you cannot go there and not watch one of the grand shows featuring your kids’ favorites such as Donald Duck, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse.
#9 Be a Part of Lake Tahoe
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Lake Tahoe is a huge lake; we all know that, don’t we? It is listed under the category of the largest lakes all across the world. Not many people know this, but this gorgeous water body is a result of the Ice Age. And this means that the lake is at least two million years old.
If you’re visiting in the summer season, then don’t forget to pack appropriate equipment for sailing, kayaking, or jet skiing.
#10 Check Out San Diego Zoo
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The zoo houses over four thousand animals, isn’t that impressive? And that’s not it. Tourists tend to fall in love with the natural settings of the zoo as well. Even if you spend as many as six hours, you will not be able to cover the entire San Diego Zoo.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to see the Gorilla Tropics, Pygmy Chimpanzee, and Panda Bear Habitat. Even the zoo’s Sea Lion Show is something that every tourist must witness.
Polar Bear Plunge
#11Travel West to Alcatraz Island
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The island is on the west coast, and it has a lot to offer. For one, the first fort, as well as the first lighthouse of the United States of America, were built on this island. Another tourist attraction is the federal penitentiary that operated from 1934 to 1963. At the time, the public was not allowed to visit the prison. But now the island is open to all, even at night.
#12 Indulge in Wine Tasting at Napa Valley
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The wine-making activity in Napa began long before the 1970s. And the winemakers of that place have ever since been working towards perfecting the vintages for more than a century now. The beautiful valley runs between the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains. It consists of marvelous vineyards along with wine tasting rooms. So don’t forget to visit Napa Valley for the perfect winery experience.
#13 Experience Griffith Observatory
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If you’re looking for the most exciting things to do in Los Angeles California, then you’ll love this! The facility of the Griffith Observatory is considered to be a gateway to our universe. In here, you get the fantastic opportunity to peek through telescopes. You can also spend some money in the observatory’s planetarium by watching amazing live shows. The experience here is one of a kind.
#14 Sleep Over at Thousand Island Lake
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Out of the 20 best things to do in California, spending time at the Thousand Island Lake offers the most surreal experience. Everybody goes to Yosemite National Park or Lake Tahoe. But not many know about this magical place.
The Thousand Island Lake rests ten thousand feet above the sea level. It’s a part of tiny granite islands that glitter under the sun. You can opt for a day hike on the island or even decide to spend the night. The latter gives you the opportunity to catch the fabulous light show at dusk as well as dawn.
Thousand Island Lake Sunset
#15 Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame
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When in LA, you have to go to the iconic Hollywood sidewalk. It has over 2,500 embedded, glamorous stars with names of all Hollywood legends. So you might take a while before spotting your favorite directors or actors to take a picture with. And every single second will be worth it!
#16 Stare at the General Sherman Tree
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Have you seen the world’s largest tree? You haven’t until you head to Sequoia National Park. Here, you will find the most massive tree all across the globe, the General Sherman Tree. So be ready to crane your neck and look at the super-thick branches of the tree.
And once you’re done gawking that high up in the sky, there are other fun things that you can do since you’re in one of the best national parks in the US.
#17 Spend an Evening at the Fisherman’s Wharf
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This fun little destination is in San Francisco and is considered to be incredibly popular. The best part about it is that it’s always busy. And that’s because Pier 39 consists of all great places to shop and even spot admiring seals.
But what tourists love about the Fisherman’s Wharf is the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. Satisfy your curiosity in here by looking at all the unusual and bizarre objects from all over the world.
#18 Marvel at the Hearst Castle
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Have you ever seen a mansion with 61 bathrooms and 56 bedrooms? Probably not, right? Then you have to visit the Hearst Castle. You know what’s more? Three guest houses surrounding the palace with tennis courts, swimming pools, gardens, and even a large private zoo. There’s nothing more fascinating than this scenic human-made beauty.
Anything but Humble: Hearst Castle
#19 Watch the Sunset at Santa Monica Pier
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Meet Santa Monica’s 100 years old tourist attraction. And if you’re not that into sunsets, then you’ll enjoy the amusement park located at the Pier. There are tons of other ways to keep yourself entertained here. You will find a broad range of bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, and even live music.
#20 Explore the Culture at Chinatown
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This is the last one of the 20 best things to do in California. When in San Francisco, don’t forget to stop by Chinatown. The colorful, street vibes of the place are truly phenomenal. You get to look at significant buildings like the Sing Chong and Bank of Canton.
Also, if you love authentic Chinese cuisine, you don’t have to go to China for that. Even the oriental shops make you feel like you’re taking a walk in the country’s streets itself.
That’s All Travelers!
So these are the top 20 best things to do in California. Now you know that it’s not just Hollywood but also nature, technology, art, food, etc. There are many reasons why you should go to California for your next vacation. The beauty of the state, both natural and human-made, is something that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
So tell me, what’s your favorite destination in California? Would you rather chill at the beach or in the middle of a national park?
I hope you enjoyed reading the article. I tried my level best to keep the content entertaining and engaging. So please let me know if I forgot to list down any other must-see tourist attraction.
Have fun in California, or wherever else you decide to go. After all, the whole world is a beautiful place.