Welcome to the magnificent Golden State of sunny California, or Cali as some would call it. Here, there’s everything from first-world cities, to majestic marvels of nature all topped with a wonderful and diverse community of residents. Interestingly enough, although it’s cool for most outsiders to say use the term Cali, it’s totally uncommon for any of California’s natives to use the phrase. And while we are on the topic of interesting things, did you know, it’s common for people to think the term ‘Golden State’ refers to California’s sunny skies, bronze beaches, richness in minerals or even because it’s basically the home of cinema thanks to the unmatched success of the Hollywood film industry. But no, it’s none of the above. The name actually comes from the discovery of gold in 1848 – but wait, there’s more… you may not know this, but California was originally referred to as the Grizzly Bear State. Now the official Californian flag is starting to make a bit more sense, right?
Back to today, California is an amazing assemblage of varied cultures, geographic segments, and social classes meaning there are several fascinating and breathtaking aspects to explore. With its vibrant cities, beaches, amusement parks, and natural wonders like nowhere else on earth, California is a truly intriguing land of possibilities for avid travelers and locals alike. In the following pages, we’re going to explore some of these awesome venues, places like the gateway cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles which are home to some of the state’s most well-known sites including the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, and Disneyland. But mand-made marvels are not all on offer here, California’s national parks cover a wide variety of terrains like mountains, forests, deserts, coastal areas, and islands which all provide their own outstanding experiences… And Eureka! Here they are!
Hollywood, Los Angeles
Ah yes, the one and only city of glorious Los Angeles. There is really no place like it. Known the world over and often cited as the city of angels, Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city and the center of America’s film and television industry. Near its iconic and globally recognized Hollywood sign, studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers offer behind-the-scenes tours – a must-do for any avid movie fanatic. While you’re there, see if you can pop by Hollywood Boulevard where TCL Chinese Theatre displays some of the most famous celebrities’ hands and footprints. The Walk of Fame honors thousands of luminaries and vendors sell maps to stars’ homes so you won’t want to miss out on any of the excitement. And who knows, you might be lucky enough to witness a new set of prints being set, while you’re there. Aside from the obvious glitz and glamor, L.A. is also popular for its Mediterranean-like climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, and its sprawling metropolis.
Universal Studios Hollywood
While you’re in Los Angeles you might as well go check out what this awesome amusement park and movie studio has to offer. Universal Studios Hollywood is situated along the border of the San Fernando Valley area and the unincorporated county island known as Universal City. It is one of the most popular attractions in California and a definite must-see making it the perfect place for families with older children and teens and any avid movie fan! The available rides and sets are based on famous movies, with everything from shockingly realistic simulator rides to roller coasters, and much more. There are also a number of tours on offer providing fans with one-of-a-kind experiences through huge sets and organized studio experiences. Some of the most popular tours in the park include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Fast and Furious – Supercharged, and The Walking Dead Attraction – among others. You’ll also find dining, shows, unique shopping opportunities, and various events held throughout the year so there’s always something new to see. Visit their official website on universalstudioshollywood.com for more information.
The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Although L.A. (mainly due to Hollywood’s acclaim) is top of mind when people outside the continental U.S. think of California, San Francisco is second to none. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in America and offers more than enough fun, entertainment, and activities along with magnificent natural sights that make it a must-see for any traveler’s bucket list. The ocean and hills provide a stunning natural setting creating a sense of calm and completeness. The quaint neighborhoods are filled with historic sites and ampule green spaces while the diversity of its residents inspires a relaxed attitude that truly makes this city special. Being in the city is great on its own but the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is one of the key sights that attracts tourists from around the country and globe. So famous is the Golden Gate Bridge that it’s what many people call to mind when they think of the city, and even the Golden State – California. Seen from far, or with an aerial bird’s eye views places an orange (gold-like) frame against the splendid blue water of the San Francisco Bay making it a truly unforgettable sight. If you want to enhance your experience then don’t just look upon the bridge from afar but actually, travel across it. Take some pictures and enjoy the moment, walk or bike… just be there and live in the moment and take in the air. You’ll love it!
California seems to have it all, first Hollywood, now Disneyland too? Yes, that’s right. Visit the place of dreams and reminisce on your younger days. For decades, Disneyland, located in Anaheim has become a premier family destination and for those that have kids, it’ll be a truly memorable moment for the youngsters. Aside from all your favorite Disney characters, the massive amusement park is home to all kinds of rides, games, shows, and family-friendly entertainment. That’s not all, because adults aren’t left behind with Disneyland’s wide selection of restaurants and hotels so there’s really something for everyone. The main concept behind the theme park is creating a place of fun, mystery, youth, and magic as Disneyland combines rides, characters, props and backgrounds to recreate its many worlds and cultures. It’s more than just rides in teacups because Disneyland offers a variety of shows and other entertainment designed for both children and adults that are sure to capture your imagination. Disneyland is more of a resort than just a fun theme park, it is meant to provide its visitors with the full Disney experience taking you into their unique magic-filled world. There’s no denying that Disneyland is extremely popular with children, teens and young adults so keep in mind that during the holiday season the park is going to be very busy. To avoid long lines and waiting times ensure you get your applicable pass which offers ‘return times’ for rides so you’ll be able to experience a bit of everything that the most magical place on Earth has to offer! Visit their official website on disneyland.disney.go.com for more information.
SeaWorld, San Diego
Fancy getting your feet wet? Then pop on over to SeaWorld in San Diego. There are tons of activities on offer and like Disneyland, SeaWorld is an awesome family-friendly experience. Seaworld is a classic destination that attracts people from all over the Western United States. It’s an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium and marine mammal park that’s popularly known for its impressive live orca and dolphin shows that provides visitors with the opportunity for unique close-up encounters with some of their favorite marine life. There are many thrill rides available with dining facilities and so much more on offer making SeaWorld an awesome place to spend the day!
Death Valley, Inyo County
Here’s something different. Have you ever heard of the Death Valley National Park? It’s located near the border of California and Nevada, in the Great Basin. The Death Valley National Park is the principal feature of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve and contains some of California’s most inhospitable terrain, with extreme heat that has left this desert area strangely beautiful. Witness its salt fields, incredible mountains, sand dunes and dry parched land with a lake that lies below sea level – that creates an extremely dry yet uniquely beautiful landscape. Visitors can drive through the park and take in the sights by stopping at designated lookouts. Other activities on offer include short hiking trails and paddling in the shallow Badwater Lake – if there’s any water!
Big Sur, Central Coast
Maybe you’re eager to take a road trip and riding with the top down is more your style? Then why not visit Big Sur which is a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon. Here, you can cruise along the coast with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. Big Sur offers a chance for visitors to relax and get back in tune with nature. Aside from the awesome drive and splendid views, travels can make stops at State Parks like Pfeiffer and Garrapata where they can camp, sunbathe, hike and reconnect with nature. Really, Big Sur is all about calm and quiet. Finding your peace or enjoying moments with those that are closest to you.
Hearst Castle, San Simeon
Feeling like experiencing something a little more ‘rich’ in heritage? Then stroll on over to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. This historical monument was started in 1919 and took 28 years to complete. Although it did take long to finish, that’s not all too bad, because with that much time and effort put into the Hearst Castle it was able to incorporate a mix of architectural styles that have made it uniquely lively and fun yet also very stately. The 165-room monument rests atop a hill that offers spectacular views out over the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Range. It’s not just the castle that’s cool, but also what’s inside with its large collection of art and odd wildlife like zebras can still be found wandering the grounds. The castle is located almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco so maybe you could stop by after you visit Universal Studios Hollywood – on your way to the Golden Bridge.
Wanna hit up some pretty awesome beaches while you’re in California? Then here are a few beaches that we think are worth checking out!
Zuma Beach, Malibu
California is known for its gorgeous and sunny beaches, not to mention the many hot bods that occupy them. One such place that has all of the above is Zuma Beach located in the upmarket surroundings of Malibu. It’s about ten miles north of Santa Monica and what makes Zuma really unique is its varied beach environments. Zuma is a sandy, flat, wide beach that is exceedingly popular amongst beachgoers within the vicinity. There’s plenty to do, food available, and lots of fun and interesting people to meet. If something less public and more private is your thing then you’re in luck because not too far away from Zuma Beach is Paradise Cove with its privately operated parking and food outlets. The limited access means it’s not too crowded, and cabanas and beach chairs can be rented (and reserved online in advance).
Mandalay Beach, Oxnard
If you’re looking to explore even more and you don’t mind driving a little further out then Mandalay Beach is perfect for you with its five miles of wide, uncrowded, and sometimes even uninhabited sandy beaches. Plus, there’s even a small harbor nearby if putting on a sailor’s suit is more your thing. Mandalay is located at the northern end of Oxnard and there’s a large nature reserve behind the beach which is also open to the public. What’s really attractive about Mandalay beach is that it’s very affordable and the beachfront has a wide selection of hotels that charge a fraction of the price similarly located properties charge in Los Angeles. If you’re looking to stretch your funds over a few more days when Mandalay Beach is the place to do it.
Laguna Beach, Orange County
When you arrive be sure to stop by the main beach area suitably called Main Beach Park. This beach feels a little more upscale by design with its lightly brown sand and rocks along the edges to break up (and calm) the waves. Main Beach has gently sloping beaches on either side and is occupied by sunbathers and beachgoers from nearby counties all looking to relax and have some good, clean, fun in the sun. It’s also cool in the sense that it offers a bit more than the average beachfront would with its various hotels, sports facilities, and its long, winding beachfront bike path. If something more chilled and sophisticated is what you’re looking for then grab your sunscreen, pack a few comfortable chairs and a beach umbrella and head on over. You won’t regret it.
California became a state on September the 9th 1850.
Originally named by Spanish sailors, California is thought to be named afterQueen Califia, a character in the book written by Garcia de Montalvo.
California’s state capital is Sacramento.
California’s state motto “Eureka” means “I have found it.”
The California State Song:
“I love you, California, you’re the greatest state of all. I love you in the winter, summer, spring, and in the fall. I love your fertile valleys; your dear mountains I adore, I love your grand old ocean and I love her rugged shore.”
California is the most populous U.S. state.
California is the third-largest state by area behind Alaska and Texas.
California is also known for its massive complex of forests, which are collectively known as the Redwood National and State Parks.
California is home to the world’s largest tree, named General Sherman Tree located in Sequoia National Park.
Invented in California
Disneyland theme parks