California, nicknamed the Golden State, is a destination where outdoorsy people, art lovers, foodies, and history buffs get their fill. There’s always a fascinating place to visit in California, even for those who frequent it. And these spots, whether large cities or small towns that are off-the-beaten path, open doors to mind-boggling activities.
The activities range from relaxing to strenuous, so adventurers can choose what satisfies them. And with thrilling memories and stories to tell. However, there are many awesome things to do in California, and travelers can have difficulties ticking some off their bucket lists. But these 10 make a trip to the Golden State rewarding.
10 Catch A View Of The Hollywood Sign
At the top of Mount Lee sits the Hollywood Sign, one of California’s most renowned images. The Griffith Observatory, Hollywood & Highland Center, Lake Hollywood Park, and Hollywood Reservoir are some of the spots those who don’t want to trek a lot can use to capture stunning images.
However, those who want an up-close view without touching it or getting too close can take the Brush Canyon Trail. The hike takes about three hours as adventurers need time to catch their breath, admire the views, and take pictures.
9 Ascend The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Nothing beats watching spectacular panoramic views of the Chino Canyon and Mount San Jacinto from The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It takes about 10 minutes for the tram to rotate slowly and climb 6,000 feet to reach the top of the mountain. Once at the top, guests relax at the Pine Cafe and enjoy a variety of snacks.
History buffs learn about the landscape’s geology from the Mountain Station Natural History Museum. The museum rangers offer a guided tour, but self-guiders have five trail options. Although overnight camping is available, travelers need to book earlier and pack warmer clothes because the mountain is 30-40 degrees cooler.
8 Snorkel At La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove’s warm water attracts all kinds of marine life, such as leopard sharks, sea lions, seals, and all sizes of schools of fish. The bright orange Garibaldi, which grows to up to 1 foot long, also frequents this cove. Snorkelers have a one-of-a-kind experience from June through December when they swim with pregnant leopard sharks.
Snorkelers have seven caves to explore, with the Clam Cave being the largest. The best time to snorkel is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when there is a low tide and more visibility.
7 Visit The Majestic June Lake
June Lake lures outdoor enthusiasts with its tranquil and laid-back atmosphere. It is an all-season destination that sits at the base of the Nevada Mountains. Summer activities to relish in June Lake’s crystal-clear waters include swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Additionally, June Lake has two marinas where boaters can launch their own or rented boats. Anglers can also fish for different types of trout by the shores or venture deeper into the lake for a better catch.
6 Explore Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island attracts tourists with its dramatic history. The island transformed from a fort, military, and high-security federal prison to the home of indigenous activists. The high-security lock-up held famous prisoners such as Al Capone and The Anglin Brothers.
The only way for visitors to get to Alcatraz is by ferry, and there are four tours with different costs and privileges. The Escape Attempts narration happens in the dining hall and has thought-provoking stories about inmates who tried to escape prison.
5 Tackle Different Trails At Kings Canyon National Park
There’s a lot to do at Kings Canyon, which elevates up to 8,200 feet. It has a breathtaking road and a river lined with pine and cedar forests. The trails in this park lead to waterfalls, giant trees, and wildlife. Although the General Grant Tree Trail is approximately 4.5 km long, it leads to a 1,700-year-old tree and the Fallen Monarch tree, which hikers can tour inside.
Alternatively, advanced hikers can trek Kanawyer Loop Trail, which gets difficult after 3 miles. This trail leads to the mesmerizing Mist Falls after an 850 feet climb.
4 Board Restored Trains At The California State Railroad Museum
This museum has huge and fascinating exhibits, not to mention the 21 restored trains that tell the railroad history. The Transcontinental Railroad exhibit shows how difficult it was for railroads to connect California with other states. The Traveling By Train section is the most interactive as it lets tourists board some restored trains and have a glimpse of the past.
Train lovers wander in the central section as they admire famous trains displayed in all their majestic grandeur. Kids also have a blast on the second floor, where the museum lets them play with different toy trains.
3 See Gorgeous Marine Life At Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a marine sanctuary with more than 200 beguiling exhibits. It has an auditorium, an aviary, and an ocean viewing station on the deck. The aquarium also has a touch pool with sea anemones, starfish, and bat rays.
Upstairs, visitors will find an open sea holding over 1 million gallons of water with a 54-foot wide viewing window. In addition to observing divers feeding sharks, visitors see the rarely-seen black sea nettle jellyfish, moon, and lion’s mane jellies.
2 Admire The Beauty Of Glass Beach
Glass Beach has two different stories of how it came to be. The first story has a heartbroken mermaid, while the second is about a devastating earthquake that led to people dumping garbage into the sea. Despite the conflicting two tales, this beach has continued to attract curious tourists, especially after high tides when the glass pebbles are visible.
Sea glass is usually white, emerald green, and brown. One can also find blue and red sea glass, but they are very scarce. Early mornings and evenings are the best times to visit Glass Beach to revel in the astounding sunrises and sunsets.
1 Visit The Golden Gate Bridge
The towering presence of this iconic structure alone is breathtaking. But touring it, whether through biking, hiking, driving over it, or taking a guided tour, is magical. The experience is unique to every traveler as they take different routes. San Francisco City Guides offer free tours on Thursdays and Sundays to anyone interested in learning its history.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one spot tourists can’t afford to leave their cameras behind. The best time to capture enthralling pictures is at sunrise and when the sun starts setting behind it.