Iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Sign and the Golden Gate Bridge are merely a prologue to California – a state with loads of sunshine. Located on the West Coast of the United States, California is bordered by Oregon to the North, Nevada to the East, and Arizona to the southeast. The state shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California to the South.
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California received statehood on September 9, 1850. Nicknamed the 'Golden State', it is the most populated state of the United States.
History of California
In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese discoverer and a retired conquistador, on behalf of the Spanish crown engaged in the expedition of the West Coast.
Led by Capt. Gaspar Portola and Father Junipero Serra, the first colonizing expedition began in 1769 which was known as the “Sacred Expedition.”
The many people from the eastern United States funneled here in the California Gold Rush of mid 19th century.
The impact of the Spanish settlers in 18th and 19th centuries is conspicuous in the culture and architecture of California.
Geography of California
Shimmering in the golden sun, California is the third largest state of the US in area, after Alaska and Texas. It covers around 800 miles from north to south. From deserts to deciduous forests, it has a wide-ranging topography and offers a landscape of stunning contrasts.
There are eight major defining geographical regions within the state: Cascade Mountains, Klamath Mountains, Basin and Range Region, The Sierra Nevada, Central Valley, Coastal Ranges, The Los Angeles Ranges, and The San Diego Ranges. Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the 48 contiguous states.
Travel Destinations in California
The Yosemite National Park and Redwood National and State Parks are famous for spectacular granite cliffs and the tallest redwood trees respectively. The Furnace Creek Death Valley National Park is among the hottest and driest places on the planet. The SeaWorld San Diego, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Disney California Adventure are popular family attractions.
The glitz and glamor of Los Angeles, the bohemian vibe of San Francisco, and the Hispanic culture of San Diego make California a place every traveler is drawn to. The vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties, Monterey Bay & Big Sur, Shasta Cascade, the beaches of Santa Barbara, San Francisco Bay Area, and Inland Empire are some of the other significant places.
The San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, Getty Center and Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, Hearst Castle, Alcatraz Island and Chinatown in San Francisco, and Lake Tahoe are popular tourist attractions in California.