When most people think of California, they probably think of the golden beaches, Hollywood celebrities, and busy cities. While those are all great attractions, there's so much more to see in this diverse state. From the breathtaking mountains in the north to the sunny deserts in the south, California has something for everyone, and it just so happens to be my home state.
In this post, I'll show you my top 10 places to visit in California.
1. Redwood National park
Redwood National Park is home to California's largest coastal grove of giant sequoia trees. One of the most surreal things about this place is getting the opportunity to drive inside these massive trees and see how they grow, this park is one of the best places to visit for all nature lovers.
2. Death Valley National Park
Death Valley, located in California's Mojave Desert, covers an area of more than 3 million acres. This park reaches temperatures up to 134 degrees during the summer, but this is one of the best places to visit in winter, for its desolate beauty and lack of crowds. If you're brave, you can even hike down to enjoy one of Death Valley's many hot springs!
3. Lake Berryessa
Lake Berryessa is the 7th largest man-made lake in California. The area around the lake has some of the most beautiful places to see. The lake is home to the morning glory Spillway, where water transports 2000 feet into nearby Putah creek, this unique lake is a must-see!
4. California Zephyr
The Zephyr train route, travels through some of California's most beautiful landscapes, on its 2-day journey from Chicago to San Francisco or vice versa. Along the way, passengers can enjoy views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and beautiful Lake Tahoe, and make stops in some of the best places to visit, like Reno and Sacramento. A journey aboard Zephyr is worth checking out for those who love trains.
5. California's Great America
Great America, is California's top tourist attraction and its largest theme park, it offers families countless hours of entertainment at a reasonable price, Visitors can enjoy dozens of rides, shows, and family-friendly cuisines at this Santa Clara gem.
Also known as the rock, is the location of the state's most famous prison escape, located on an island off of San Francisco Bay, This former maximum-security prison, was home to some of the most notorious criminals, during its 29 years as a federal penitentiary, from 1934-1963, today you can take a ferry to the island, and see the place for yourself.
7. The Golden Gate Bridge
One of Northern California's top tourist attractions is also one of its biggest engineering marvels - the Golden Gate Bridge spans an impressive 1.7 miles long! Be prepared to wait in line to walk across this California landmark, but it is oh so worth it!
8. California Academy of Sciences Museum
The California Academy of Sciences is California's best place to visit for the whole family, the museum is home to a planetarium, aquarium, rainforest exhibit, and even an earthquake simulator! This place will keep you entertained for hours so be sure to bring your camera along with you!
9. Napa Valley
When most people think of wine country, they probably think about Napa Valley. This famous California destination, is filled with wineries and tasting rooms, that offer wine fanatics a great escape from the hustle and bustle of life. Whether you're looking for hotels or luxury resorts, make sure to check out California's wine country during your next visit!
10. San Diego Zoo
Home to more than 4,000 rare and exotic animals, including California's official state animal - the Grizzly Bear, the San Diego Zoo is the state's most popular zoo and one of California's top tourist attractions. In addition to the zoo, this place also has a Safari Park and The Panda Canyon, that the whole family will love.
The Golden State is a diverse and beautiful place! If you want to learn more about my home state, take a look at the full video above. I hope it inspires you to visit California for yourself someday soon.