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50 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In California In Your Lifetime

Some of the most beautiful places in the US are definitely located in California!

Apart from Orange County, Santa Cruz, and San Jose, California has no shortage of incredible locations, and as such, it can be hard to figure out where to go.

With a myriad of different places to feast your eyes on, you will have no shortage of breathtaking sights to visit in California.

To help you out, here are the 50 most beautiful places in California to visit in your lifetime.

1. Yosemite National Park

Exploring Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the top must-see places in all of America, not just California!

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, it boasts a wide range of attractions, including five cascading 1,000-foot waterfalls, imposing sequoia trees, and 13 spacious campgrounds.

Visitors can enjoy such gorgeous, scenic locations as Glacier Point, which overlooks Half Dome, High Sierra, Tenaya Canyon, and even the Vernal and Nevada Falls in the distance.

There’s also the famous Valley View, which can be found within the Yosemite Valley, home to the Cathedral Rocks, El Capitan, Merced River, and more.

2. Santa Barbara

Sunrise in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a little coastal town that provides Mediterranean-esque vibes, relaxation, and plenty of lovely beach locations for those looking for some fun in the sun.

Butterfly Beach, located in this spot, is easily one of the best places to visit in California, and it is a go-to destination for many celebrities!

Apart from the appealing beaches, you can also stroll around and take in the sight of rustic villas, engaging hiking trails, and fascinating markets and shops in State Street.

There’s a lot to enjoy and explore, and when you’re done, you can watch the stunning sunset!

Planning a trip to Santa Barbara? Check out the best things to do in Santa Barbara!

3. Santa Catalina

Catalina Island, California

Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina is the perfect destination for a weekend trip in California.

Visitors can access the island via one of three ports and a short ferry ride, and then they’ll be basking in great warm weather with lots of activities to take part in!

You can take a romantic walk down to Lover’s Point, explore in a rented golf cart, enjoy a jeep tour, have a blast with multiple different water activities like diving, kayaking, and parasailing, and even go hiking!

Plus, there’s lots of delicious food to try out while you’re there.

4. Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe Sunset

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is known for arguably being the most stunning body of water in all of California.

Located in the mountains of Sierra Nevada, this freshwater Alpine lake is extraordinarily clear, and there are plenty of trails to hike around the area to see the lake in all its glory.

Lake Tahoe is breathtaking no matter which part of it you’re in, but noticeably great areas to visit are Emerald Bay.

It’s an astonishing inlet with flawlessly blue waters and plenty of amenities for tourists, and Sand Harbor, which makes for an impeccable beach experience surrounded by nature.

5. Pacific Coast Highway

Highway 1 on the pacific coast, California

Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway may “just” be a road to help you get from some parts of California to the others, but there’s a reason it’s so well-known for its road trip value.

The scenery you see along the way through this Star Memorial Highway is nothing short of remarkable!

As you drive down this highway, you’ll see so many great locations to stop if you so choose, making it perfect for a thorough road trip of California.

Sure, thinking of a road as a gorgeous location to take a trip to isn’t the most conventional, but you’ll find that many people consider it among their top destinations.

6. Napa Valley

Hot Air Balloon Trip in Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley consists of rolling hills, old architecture, and, of course, the beautiful vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see.

There are more than 400 wineries in the region, which was once home to Patwin Native Americans, with its vineyard cultivation beginning sometime in the 18th century.

If you like, you can ride a hot air balloon to view the amazing tourist spots from above or take a trip to downtown Napa to enjoy a mix of modern luxury and old-fashioned whimsy.

It’s no surprise that this is a must-stop spot along your journey through California!

7. Mono Lake

Tufa formations at Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake is ancient, yet just as enticing as ever.

It is a saline body of water that doesn’t hold any fish due to its salt content, but alkali flies and brine shrimp enjoy the habitat significantly.

The entire location looks otherworldly thanks to numerous tufa rock formations, making it easy to see why this is one of the most awesome locations in California for a trip!

You can explore the region with a walking tour, a kayak tour, and other similar expeditions.

It’s located on one of the Sierra Mountain’s slopes and isn’t that far from Yosemite, so it’s a great stop along your travels.

8. Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood State park, California (wildlife scenic)

Redwood National and State Parks

The Redwood National and State Parks are extraordinarily delightful places, made up of a wide variety of different parks which all line up along the coast of Northern California.

Visitors can take their pick of which one to stop at, or even visit them all one by one!

Within these parks, you’ll find towering redwood trees arching 300 feet into the sky, remnants of the ancient Jurassic Period and an intimidating sight to behold.

There’s a park that caters to the interests of everyone, so you’re sure to find one that gives you the experience you’re seeking!

9. Death Valley

sun rises over Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

Death Valley

Sure, Death Valley is a bit of a downer of a name, but there’s a reason this is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in California.

Its landscape holds nothing back in providing an entrancing and stunning appearance, with rolling hills illuminated under the burning sun in the hottest place in the country.

There are a large number of unique and interesting spots in Death Valley.

The most famed is Zabriskie point, which allows you to overlook Badwater Basin (the lowest point in the whole nation) while keeping your eyes on the rising Panamint mountains that loom up ahead.

There’s also the Mesquite Sand Dunes, which provide fascinating geological terrain to explore.

10. Laguna Beach

 Three Arch Bay in Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is an absolutely breathtaking location.

This small town is the quintessential California experience, packed with splendid beaches of all kinds, ranging from large to small and from quiet to populated.

Crescent Bay and Main Beach are some of the most renowned for their beauty.

But it’s not just beaches that visitors can enjoy in this region!

Head to Crystal Cove State Park for a more untamed glimpse of the shore, or visit Heisler Park to spot exquisite wildflowers, trees, and other forms of flora.

If you’re going to this state, you just can’t miss this location!

11. Burney Falls

Sunrise on Burney Falls

Burney Falls

Burney Falls is a beautiful 129-foot waterfall that releases a lot of water out into the equally lovely Lake Britton – a whopping 100 million gallons on a daily basis, in fact!

Underground springs provide extra water, so these falls never cease in their rush.

Dive in for a cool swim, or just enjoy the mist wafting off the massive cascade!

Once you’re done checking out Burney Falls, you can go sightseeing around the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, which is the place these falls call their home.

Go camping, hiking, and even fishing, and take all the photos that you like of this paradise in California.

12. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest houses outstandingly old flora – some of the oldest in the world, not just in California!

The USDA states that some of these bristlecone pines are more than 4,000 years of age.

Among these phenomenal wonders of nature, you’ll also find the Patriarch Tree, the largest of all trees of its kind on the planet.

Enjoy a picnic, a hike, or just a little excursion surrounded by some of the best flora you’ll ever see.

13. Glory Hole

Glory Hole Lake Berryessa

Glory Hole

This amusingly named location may have a fun, odd sound to it, but it’s an incredibly beautiful spot that you just have to see.

It is a part of Lake Berryessa, a reservoir located in Napa County, where it formed due to the Monticello Dam’s construction.

The recent drought in California has caused some issues, but you can still easily see this alien-looking spillway that drains downwards in a majestic and terrifying whirlpool to the deep, dark depths of the water.

Make sure you keep your distance and just admire it from afar!

14. Cypress Tree Tunnel

Cypress Tree Tunnel, California

Cypress Tree Tunnel

The Cypress Tree Tunnel is one of those cool places you just can’t miss.

Located in Point Reyes, this “tunnel” consists entirely of Monterey cypress trees which arch overhead, forming an ethereal and whimsical bit of scenery that looks like it came out of a children’s fairy tale, not from California!

The branches on these trees lock into each other, creating the perfect shady walkway that is full of photo opportunities.

Visitors will have the most enjoyable time in the late afternoon, which is when the lighting is at its most aesthetically pleasing.

15. Ojai Valley

Ojai valley with snow on the mountains

Ojai Valley

Ojai is a beautiful little town that is laid-back, relaxed, and rustic – perfect for a calmer California vacation.

It houses quaint shops, inns, hotels, and vineyards, and there’s a farmer’s market as well as fresh, interesting foods to try out.

Go hiking through the valley to see all there is to see or ride a bike west to go towards the beach, where you can enjoy a serene day of sun and surf.

Don’t forget to watch the sunset, glowing pink as it illuminates the mountains!

16. Bowling Ball Beach

Bowling Ball Beach

Bowling Ball Beach

Bowling Ball Beach is one of those standout points of interest in California that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Located on Schooner Gulch State Beach, this nice stretch of coast is completely naturally filled with spherical rocks, made from sandstone after years and years of erosion.

You can see the full majesty of these “balls” during low tide, and you only need a short walk to get there.

To exercise caution, though, as erosion continues and may cause some cliff areas to be unstable.

17. Salton Sea

Abandoned pier on the Salton Sea

Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is definitely one of the best places to visit in California.

This saline lake lies inland at the Sonoran desert, a result of burst dams from more than 100 years ago.

This lake lies 235 feet underneath sea level and is the largest lake in the whole state.

This location gives off a melancholic vibe due in part to its ghost town, which formed around the lake and was once considered the new Palm Springs.

Today, it is largely abandoned, and you can explore houses left to rot, a fascinating and funny museum, and the lake itself.

18. Big Sur

Seascape in Big Sur in California

Big Sur

We can’t mention beautiful places in California without mentioning the Big Sur, a favorite coastal spot among visitors.

It stretches across 90 miles and houses a number of delightful sights, including jagged hills, the iconic cobalt McWay Falls, and the highly photogenic Bixby Creek Bridge, which is among the biggest, tallest of its kind in the world.

There is also, of course, Pfeiffer Beach, which is full of purple sand left behind by garnet erosion, mixing in with white and black grains for a spectacular sight.

It may be less popular than other beaches in the area, but it’s still an incredible find.

19. Dana Point Harbor

Dana Point California Sunset view

Dana Point Harbor

Dana Point Harbor is one of those tourist attractions that just seems to have everything.

It’s an amazing place to get delicious, fresh seafood while enjoying the stunning beaches.

You can go whale watching, fishing, or shopping, and there are plenty of great dining options, too.

It may not be as action-packed as some other locations, but this is one of the most relaxing and peaceful things to do in California.

It’s perfect for those looking for a little respite from the hustle and bustle of city life!

20. Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, and it showcases a one-of-a-kind side of California: one involving its greenery, nature, and all things down to earth.

Even its attached town is worthy of the trip, providing visitors with calm relaxation and a happy atmosphere.

This spot also offers some of the best camping opportunities in California, if you’re feeling up to it!

If not, just enjoy the beautiful sight of the turquoise waves lapping against the shore.

It’s not a trip that you’ll soon forget!

21. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls in undisputedly one of the most beautiful places in California.

Located in Madera County, this waterfall rushes down from its 101-foot height.

It earned its name because, at the right time, a rainbow can be seen emerging from its mist.

To guarantee that you’ll see it, head over at midday when the sun is at its highest.

It’s about a 3-mile round hiking trip to get to this stunning location, and on the way, you can go sightseeing.

Enjoy the park wildlife, peek at the lower falls, and watch the rush of the San Joaquin River.

22. Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon is endlessly iconic, making it one of the best canyons in California.

Its walls scale upwards 50 feet, coated in lush green ferns. The aesthetic of the scenery will provide a feeling of leaping back in the past to when dinosaurs roamed the planet!

In fact, multiple dinosaur documentaries have been filmed here, and some Jurassic Park scenes, too.

Some of these ferns truly are ancient, and visitors will be treated to seven different kinds, some of which are more than 300 million years old.

This short and easy but highly rewarding trail is designated an International Biosphere Reserve and is a real feast for the eyes!

23. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

It may stand out a little on this list, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art while you’re looking for what to see in California!

It boasts numerous fun displays, including prolific and extensive collections of art from a wide variety of cultures.

Of course, there’s also Urban Light – an art installation in the museum that holds the restorations of an impressive 202 antique street lamps made from cast iron.

It’s a very Instagrammable location, and it’s a magical sight to behold!

Address: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

Visiting Los Angeles soon? Check out some of the best things to do in LA!

24. Griffith Park

downtown skyline from Griffith Park

Griffith Park

If you’re looking for cities to stop by in California, Los Angeles may just top your list thanks to the beautiful Griffith Park.

Founded in 1896, it spans 4,300 acres and is a favorite of visitors, with plenty of activities to engage in.

This park is the second largest of its kind in the state of California, and it’s not just all greenery.

It holds a zoo, botanical gardens, a theatre, a museum, and the ever-popular Griffith observatory, which gives you a breathtaking view of the state, all the way up to the iconic Hollywood sign.

Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

25. Lava Beds National Monument

Lava Beds National monument

Lava Beds National Monument

The Lava Beds National Monument consists of over 700 caves, 25 of which have tubes made entirely out of lava.

You can crawl through them and gaze in awe at this otherworldly location, which is definitely among the must-see places in California.

Visitors can find out how these lava tubes formed at an information center.

While you’re there, you can go looking for different bats or check out Mushpot Cave, which is the only one in the entire site that is illuminated for an even more whimsical experience.

Address: 1 Indian Well Hqts, Tulelake, CA 96134, USA

26. Huntington Gardens

Huntington's Japanese Garden

Huntington Gardens

The Huntington Gardens were once owned by Henry Huntington, who was a wealthy railroad magnate.

These days, this 120-acre expanse of land is one of the best places to see in California, attracting all sorts of people looking for a fun excursion.

There are countless landscaped spots throughout these gardens, inspired by different regions.

If you’re more interested in history, you can head to the Huntington Library, where American and European art, manuscripts, and books of surprising rarity all wait for perusal.

Address: 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, USA

27. Hearst Castle

East side view of Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is an elegant, graceful, and opulent attraction which is one of the nicest places of interest in California.

It was built by William Randolph Hearst, who set to work building the regal building after receiving his father’s land inheritance.

The castle has 165 rooms, and it is set on a 127-acre space of land.

Within it, you can find pools, walkways, gardens, terraces, fountains, and plenty of areas in the complex to explore.

Hearst’s collection of antiquities is truly a fascinating sight to behold, and if you visit, you’ll be able to marvel at artifacts from a variety of cultures.

Address: 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, USA

28. Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument Statue

Cabrillo National Monument

The Cabrillo National Monument is one of those beautiful places in California that you just can’t miss.

Named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, it boasts gorgeous tide pools that can be viewed from the location.

You can also take a short walk to the brilliant Point Cabrillo Light Station.

Meanwhile, a hidden sea cave lurks, closed to the public due to potentially hazardous conditions, somewhere nearby.

Many people still choose to make it one of their destinations, though, heading over during the low tide and enjoying the secluded spot.

We’re not saying you should do the same, but it’s a fascinating concept to think about!

Address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

Traveling to San Diego soon? Check out our list of things to do in San Diego!

29. The Flower Fields

Flower fields at Carlsbad Ranch

The Flower Fields

If you love flowers, The Flower Fields located in Carlsbad is among the tourist attractions in California that you just have to visit!

Spanning 50 acres, these rolling fields contain dazzling flowers known as Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers, which come out in full vibrant force in spring.

The optimal time to come here is between early March to early May, and this is when the ranch opens up to the public, too.

Wander through the dazzling fields of breathtaking flowers.

You can even have lunch here on one of the numerous picnic tables available, and if you can’t bring your own food, there are plenty of light refreshments sold.

Address: 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008, USA

30. Muir Woods National Monument

redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument

The Muir Woods National Monument is home to the most beautiful redwood trees in California.

These gargantuan wonders of nature tower overhead in awe-inspiring glory, seeming to stretch on forever in their quest to touch the sky above.

Redwood trees are believed to be the tallest on the planet, and they’re not just impressive in height – their width spans outwards, often reaching diameters wider than that of a car.

Trek down through the numerous trails and take in all the wooded wonder of lush, emerald greenery surrounding you – a true paradise in California.

Address: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA

31. Sturtevant Falls

Sturtevant Falls and Creek

Sturtevant Falls

Sturtevant Falls is an incredible spot for sightseeing.

Located in the Angeles National Forest, in Big Santa Anita Canyon, this waterfall measures fifty feet in height, and the cliff that it spills generously out of is coated in untamed algae and moss.

When you look into the water, you’ll see hues and tones of various colors playing against the ripples.

This location looks just like the backdrop from a postcard, and that’s plenty of reason to check it out!

32. Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Gray Whale Cove State beach

Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Gray Whale Cove State Beach is one of the best beaches you’ll find in this state, making it a surefire hit among the top places to visit in California.

It is packed with rugged land that is perfect for hiking through, with plenty of trails to follow and explore.

Nearby, visitors can also check out the Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area as well as the Montara State Marine Reserve.

There’s lots of wildlife to see and over 40 miles of trails to trek through if you’re feeling up to it!

Address: Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA

33. Glass Beach

Glass Beach

Glass Beach

Glass Beach is a fun and unique location in California.

Unlike most beaches, it isn’t coated in sand – instead, along its shores lie hundreds and hundreds of little bits of glass.

This glass comes from all sorts of items, whether ceramics, bottles, or other artifacts, and they washed in from garbage cliffs left by early settlers.

Visitors can enjoy treasure hunting across this delightful shore, which offers just as much rest and relaxation as any other beach, with a little extra pizazz and a special twist.

Do note that rules on whether you can take home a piece of glass differ, so read up before you go!

34. Natural Bridges

natural bridge arch

Natural Bridges

The Natural Bridges are one of the most fascinating points of interest in California.

Technically, these structures are called “karsts”, and they are created due to water erosion that slowly carves shapes out of soluble bedrock.

Located in the remnants of Coyote Creek, this staggering and astounding formation is so purposeful and imposing that it’s hard to believe it all happened naturally!

You can explore the area with waterproof clothing; bathing suits are preferred with how wet it’s going to get.

35. Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

poppy blooming from antelope valley

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

The official flower of California is the poppy, so it would be a crime not to join visitors in flocking to the impeccably beautiful Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in the Mojave Desert.

In wildflower season, poppies grow in full force, typically in bright orange tones that you can see from a distance away!

The optimal time to head to this treasure in California is between March and May, which is when all the flowers bloom.

It’s such a huge location that even during its most popular times, you won’t feel like it’s too crowded to move.

Address: 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, CA 93536, USA

36. Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell boardwalk

Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell is a geothermal location in Lassen Volcanic National Park, a quieter and less frequented park in California.

It is packed with geysers, mud pots of boiling liquid, steam vents, and an uncommonly stained geography making it phenomenal to behold.

Sure, the sulfur can cause a bit of a stink in the area, but it’s still a nice little place to explore just for its scenery, history, and peculiar value.

You can find this unbelievable spot in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Be sure to stop by the Big Boiler, which is a fumarole that is among the hottest on the planet!

37. Encinitas Meditation Gardens

Encinitas Meditation Gardens

Encinitas Meditation Gardens / Wonderlane / flickr

Want a holiday away from the bustling crowds?

The Encinitas Meditation Gardens is one of the best places to visit in California for a slice of scenic gorgeousness without overpopulation.

Subtly colorful flora and ponds full of koi fish await you here, where they provide ultimate serenity.

Encinitas itself, meanwhile, is a little coastal town that has delicious açai bowls and plenty of down-to-earth opportunities to explore.

It is a breath of fresh air away from the hectic chaos of many other popular locales.

Address: 215 W K St, Encinitas, CA 92024, USA

38. Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore

Alamere Falls

Not only is Alamere Falls one of those beautiful spots you need to see once in your lifetime, but it’s also a pretty rare natural occurrence: a tidefall.

Essentially, its rushing water flows straight into the ocean – a unique sight you won’t see often in places across the country, let alone in California!

It’s a long hike to the waterfall’s base, but it’s very worth the 10-mile round trip.

While you’re at it, you can view the Pacific Ocean from cliff tops and even stop by Bass Lake to enjoy a little rope swing action.

39. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is among the most loved tourist spots in the state, and it’s easily one of the most beautiful places in California.

According to legend, the trees that populate the area, called Joshua trees, were given a Biblical name by Mormons who traveled through the area.

If you’re a rock climber, you’ll love tackling this very rough and tricky terrain to get to the more than 5000-foot-tall Keys View.

If not, you can enjoy the sight of the incredible trees with their thick, rugged trunks or head over to the Cholla Cactus Garden for more desert plants.

40. Sonoma Valley

Sonoma valley

Sonoma Valley

Napa Valley can get overcrowded with tourists.

Sonoma Valley is a great alternative within California that provides all the wonders of wine country with half the crowd and on a lower budget.

The vineyards are stunning and stupendous, and along the sides of the valley, you’ll find beautiful coastline.

Sure, it’s not as popular as Napa Valley, but Sonoma Valley is still one of the marvelous places to see in California.

It doesn’t matter if you like wine or not – the vineyards are lovely enough!

41. Thousand Island Lake

Thousand Island Lake

Thousand Island Lake

Thousand Island Lake is famous for being a little difficult to get to, but it’s very rewarding if you make it there!

Sitting just beneath Banner Peak in the range of Sierra Nevada, this alpine Lake lies in wait in the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

The lake is full of multiple small little islands and feels delightful to take a dip in!

The journey to this California lake is just as beautiful as the lake itself.

You’ll see mountain peaks covered in snow, waterfalls cascading in glimmering streams, and transparently clear lakes full of refreshing cool water.

42. The Giant Rock

Giant Rock

The Giant Rock

The Giant Rock sounds a little dull, but you’ll find that it’s one of the best spots in the Mojave Desert.

It spans across 5,800 square feet and is a completely free standing rock that is the biggest the earth has to offer.

It’s extremely tall, too – around seven stories in height!

If you’re looking for where to visit in California, this surprisingly all-natural sight is definitely worth the trip.

You’ll be amazed that something so massive can naturally exist, and how it came to stand alone like that is astonishing, too!

43. Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is packed with the well-known sequoia trees, one of which is the largest single stem tree on earth, not just in California!

It is known as the General Sherman and it can be found in the park’s Giant Forest area.

While you’re in the park, have fun by taking in the gorgeous scenery.

View Mount Whitney’s 14,505-foot peak, walk along hiking trails, and take in the sight of unique flora and fauna.

44. Golden Gate Bridge

famous Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Not many of the most tourist-worthy spots in California are in cities, but the Golden Gate Bridge stands out due to its stellar, astounding splendor and grandeur.

Over 40 million cars drive across it annually, so there’s really no excuse not to be a visitor to this marvel of modern engineering.

Around the bridge, stunning natural water laps beneath. There are lots to do in the area – you can head to Sausalito by ferry for a quick day trip, or ride a bike around Fisherman’s Wharf.

Don’t forget your camera – the Golden Gate Bridge is the most photographed bridge in the world!

45. Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco

Alcatraz Island

It’s odd to think of Alcatraz Island as a place to go in California, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of activity that you’re sure to remember.

Located just off the shore of San Francisco by 1.25 miles, this island holds the infamous Alcatraz military prison, federal prison, and fortification.

While, here you can explore the island on a guided tour and see the dated architecture, hear old legends, and view gardens and remodeled buildings.

It’s an unusual slice of California that makes for a great stop on your journey.

Planning a trip to San Francisco soon? Make sure to check out our list of things to do in San Francisco!

46. Mossbrae Falls

Mossbrae Fall, California

Mossbrae Falls

Mossbrae Falls earns its downpour from a spring, and it empties its bowels into the Sacramento River.

Its canyon walls are, as its name suggests, coated in thick moss, which creates an otherworldly sort of appeal.

Located just beneath Shasta Springs, this waterfall is easily one of the most gorgeous points of interest in California if you’re into waterfalls and a spot of fun.

It looks like it came out of some old storybook!

Traveling to Sacramento soon? You’ll definitely love our list detailing the best things to do in Sacramento!

47. Bishop

Bishop California


Bishop is one of those destinations that is perfect for nature-lovers.

This small town offers access to the 14,246-foot White Mountain Peak, which is a great excursion for passionate hikers who love working up a real sweat for picturesque, breathtaking, rewarding views!

Sure, it may not be the most popular location, but Bishop is still one of the best places to go in California.

You can visit their cultural center, museum, or city park.

There’s also the Sad Boulders, an area for hiking and bouldering, which is open to the public for all your climbing needs!

48. Monterey Beach

Monterey Beach

Monterey Beach

Monterey Beach is among the most beautiful ones along the coastline of Pacific Coast Highway in California.

Known also as Carmel-By-The-Sea, it provides wondrous views of tidepools, white sand, and teal waters – everything you need for the quintessential beach vacation.

Visitors to this beach can go surfing, whale watching, or wildflower hunting, and they can visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see some great marine wildlife up close!

If you go during the summer, your chances of spotting whales breaching the surface of the water are surprisingly high, so plan accordingly.

Planning a trip to Monterey soon? Be sure to check out our list of things to do in Monterey!

49. Nit Wit Ridge

Nit Wit Ridge

Nit Wit Ridge / Damian Gadal / flickr

The Nit Wit Ridge has a bit of a funny name, but it’s a tourist attraction for a reason.

It is a large, rustic castle that is perched over the top of a hill. It is a folk-art-type structure built on 2.5 acres of land.

The very second you visit its large expanse, you’ll wonder how such places can exist in California at all!

Feel free to explore the palace and its open rooms.

You’ll be surprised by the dissonance between the old and the new – some ancient aspects linger, mingling with more modern innovations.

It’s truly an experience you have to have at least once in your life.

Address: 881 Hillcrest Dr, Cambria, CA 93428, USA

50. Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon

The Painted Canyons are relatively easy to hike through, so it’s perfect for beginners, or just those who want a more laidback excursion in California.

Visitors to these canyons need to climb ladders to get to where they need to go on this dessert excursion.

The walls of these canyons do, in fact, appear painted – stripes of red, green, pink, gray, and brown are streaked across the walls, pass through crevices and enjoy the surprisingly cool walk through this spot in the Mecca Hills.

It’s a great go-to location for anyone visiting California!

Address: Painted Canyon Rd, Mecca, CA 92254, USA

Start Planning Your Trip To California

The Golden State is definitely one of the best places to visit in the world as it is full of beautiful attractions to feast your senses upon.

The next time you plan a trip to visit this enchanting state, make sure you make the time to stop at some of these places to go in California!