California Facts and Symbols

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California Facts

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Map of California
Map of California State which lies in the pacific region of the United States

California Facts and Symbols



State Capital


Largest City

Los Angeles


37°N 120°W


The Golden State

Postal Abbreviation



163,696 sq. mi (423,970 sq. km)

Highest Point

Mount Whitney, 14,505 ft (4,421.0 m)

Neighboring States

Oregon, Arizona, Nevada

Number of Counties



39,557,045 (2,018 est.)

Date of Entering the Union

September 9, 1850

State Anthem

“I Love You, California”


Gavin Newsom (Democratic Party)

Lieutenant Governor

Eleni Kounalakis (Democratic Party)

U.S. Senators

Dianne Feinstein (Democratic Party), Kamala Harris (Democratic Party)

U.S. House Delegation

46 Democrats, 7 Republicans

GDP (Millions of Dollars)




Time Zones

UTC-08:00 (PST), Summer (DST) UTC-07:00 (PDT)

Where is California?

California, the 31st state of the United States of America, is located in the Pacific Region of the U.S. It is bordered by Arizona and Nevada to the east, Oregon to the north, and Mexico’s Baja California to the south. This state has a border with the Pacific Ocean on the west.

What is the Geography of California?

This state is spread across a total area of 163,696 sq. mi (423,970 sq. km), out of which 155,779 sq. mi (403,466 sq. km) island area and 7,916 sq. mi (20,501 sq. km) is the water area. It has 4.8% of the water area. The most significant east-to-west distance of California is 560 mi (901 km), and the greatest north-to-south distance is 1,040 mi (1,674 km). It has an 840 mi (1,352 km) long coastline.

The mean elevation of this state is 2,900 ft (884 m) above sea level. While Mt. Whitney is the highest elevation of the state at 14,494 ft (4,418 m) above sea level, Death Valley is the lowest elevation point at -282 ft (86 m) below sea level. Death Valley is also the lowest elevation point in the entire U.S.

Some of the major mountains in this state are Mount Whitney, Mount Williamson, White Mountain Peak, North Palisade, and Mount Shasta. There are many rivers and lakes in the state. Some of the major rivers are the Colorado River, San Joaquin River, and Sacramento River. The major lakes in California are Owens Lake, Salton Sea, Lake Tahoe, Searles Lake, and many more.

California has a varied terrain. Generally, the landscape is divided into Northern California (includes San Fransisco) and Southern California (which includes Los Angeles and San Diego). Northern California is more rugged and includes agricultural regions, mountains, and vineyards. Southern California is mostly an urban locale.

While there are the northwest’s giant redwood trees, the landforms in the southeast are arid (similar to the ones on Mars). The landscape diversity of the state also includes snow-capped mountain peaks, fertile valleys, and many more. Along the Pacific coastline, you will find many sandy beaches, including Coronado Beach, La Jolla Shores, Treasure Island Beach, Newport Beach Municipal Beach, and Huntington State Beach. The land’s coastal land quickly rises to steep rocky cliffs and the Coastal Mountains’ foothills.

There is a Central Valley between the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the east and Coastal Mountain Ranges, and it is 462 miles long. The highest elevation point (Mt Whitney in the Sierra Nevada) in California and 48 contiguous U.S. states is located in this landform. While the Cascade Mountains and Klamath Mountains are located in the north, a series of mountain ranges called Los Angeles Ranges are located immediately to the north of Los Angeles city.

In the southeast and far southeast, the Colorado and Mojave Deserts are located. Many irregular peaks punctuate this generally flat and vast expanse of land. An arid and scorching region named Death Valley (the lowest elevation point of California and the U.S.) is located along Nevada’s eastern border.

National Parks in California

There are 9 national parks in the state, which is more than any other state in the US. Each of them has its unique beauty and significance. California National Parks are the perfect mix of natural wonders and history. This map shows the location of all national parks in the state along with major highways and towns. Check this California National Parks Map locating all the national parks in the US.

What is the Climate of California?

This state has a very warm summer having cool evenings. The months of spring and autumn have mild temperatures with cool evenings. Most rainfall takes place during winter (January to March).

A Mediterranean climate is found in almost all parts of the state. It is characterized by hot/dry summers and mild/rainy winters. During early summer and springtime, dense fog is found in San Francisco. The desert areas have mild winters but hot summers. During winter, the high mountains remain snow-capped.

Skiers can visit Lake Tahoe during January-end and the beginning of February. For spending a sunny beach holiday, tourists can visit Southern California during July-August. During winter, the temperature hovers around 7 °F (4 °C) in coastal regions as well as low-lying inland valleys. In summer, the average temperature in these areas is approximately 25 °F (14 °C).

What is the Economy of California?

California is one of the largest economies in the U.S., having a total GDP of around US$ 3 trillion (US$ 2,997,732.8 million) in 2018. The GDP was 2,395,162.3 million in 2014. The most vibrant sectors in the state are technology (mostly in Silicon Valley), media (Hollywood), finance, manufacturing, government, and business services.

In 2018, California’s export value was US$178.4 billion, and the import value was US$441 billion, resulting in a negative balance of trade of -US$ 262.6 billion. The principal exports are aircraft, including engines, un-mounted diamonds, modems/similar reception/transmission devices, semi-conductor making machines, shelled almonds, integrated circuits, etc. The principal imports of this state are mid-sized automobiles, crude petroleum oils, small portable digital computers, cell phones, computer parts/accessories, etc.

The rate of unemployment was 3.9% in November 2019, a significant drop from the peak of 12.3% in November 2010 the last decade. Even though California is one of the most prosperous states in the U.S., it is also one of the poorest. Over 38.1 million people (11.8% official poverty rate) lived below the poverty line in 2018.

What is the Transportation System of California?

California has a dynamic transport system with a vibrant car culture on the road. The extensive railway network is also found in the largest population centers of the state. Reports say there were 31,987,821 registered vehicles by 2010-end.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) maintains the highways, expressways, and freeways. Some of the major roadways are U.S. Route 101 (US 101), Interstate 5 (I-5), State Route 99 (S.R. 99), and many more.

Some of the major railway networks in this state are Caltrain, Altamont Corridor Express, Metrolink, Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit, etc. The major airports here are Los Angeles International Airport (in Los Angeles), San Francisco International Airport (in San Francisco), San Diego International Airport (in San Diego), Oakland International Airport (in Oakland), etc. The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach are the two giant seaports in this state.

Why is California called the “Golden State”?

As the state has been associated with gold for an extended period (since the California Gold Rush of 1848), this state is called “The Golden State”. The other nicknames of the state are “The Land of Milk and Honey”, “The Grape State”, and “The Eldorado State”.

What are the Popular Tourist Attractions in California?

Major tourist spots to visit in this state are San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Pinnacles National Park, Disneyland, Death Valley National Park, Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Redwood National Parks, Joshua Tree National Park, Angeles National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Stanislaus National Forest, Shaver Lake Recreation Area, Eldorado National Forest, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld San Diego, Hearst Castle, Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands National Park, etc.

Facts About California

1) California, the constituent part of the U.S., became the 31st state of the union on 9 September 1850.

2) In terms of area (after Alaska and Texas), it is the third biggest and also the most populous state of the United States.

3) California is situated on the western coast of the country and is bordered by Nevada to the east, Oregon to the north, Baja California to the south, and Arizona to the southeast. The capital of the state is Sacramento.

4) It is interesting to note that out of the 50 most populated cities of the country, California alone is home to eight of them – Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Fransisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland.

5) There is a wide belief that the name California for the state has been derived from an early 16th-century fictional work – Las sergas de Esplandián (“The Adventures of Esplandián”). It gives an account of a paradisiacal island rich with gold and valuable stones called California. Also, the state is nicknamed The Golden State.

6) California is home to both the lowest and highest points of the contiguous 48 states of the U.S. – Death Valley and Mount Whitney.

7) Earthquakes are quite frequent here due to the location of the state along the Pacific Ring of Fire having an annual record of about 37,000, but mostly with a low magnitude.

8) California’s agricultural heartland is the Central Valley, which runs for 725 kilometers across the state’s center, forming a channel between the Sierra Nevada to the east and the Coast Ranges to the west.

9) Industries that contribute chiefly to the economic growth of the state include agriculture, education, manufacturing, aerospace defense, and biotechnology. On the other hand, significant natural resources comprise petroleum, natural gas, timber, and cement.

10) California possesses spectacular landscapes and places to visit, namely Disneyland, Yosemite National Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, Point Reyes National Seashore, San Simeon State Park, Sequoia National Park, and others.

11) To replace Gov. Gray Davis, a special recall election was held in 2003 wherein Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian-born bodybuilder-turned-actor was elected in his place.

12) In 1994, the California government passed the initiative of Save our State (SOS), prohibiting social, educational, public, and healthcare services to illegal emigrants.

13) On the contrary, Gov. Jerry Brown sanctioned a bill in 2011 giving illegal emigrant college students financial aid from the state fund. The legislation was called the “Dream Act.”

14) California has the world’s biggest interconnected water system that manages more than 40,000,000 acre-feet of water every year. It is centered on six main channels of infrastructure projects and aqueducts.

15) In road construction, California has been a pioneer. The Golden Gate Bridge, one of the more visible landmarks of the state, when it opened in 1937 was once the world’s most spread out suspension bridge main span at about 4,200 feet.

16) Constructed in 1936, the Oakland Bay Bridge of San Francisco transports nearly 280,000 vehicles every day on two passages.

17) Los Angeles International Airport, the world’s sixth busiest airport, and San Francisco International Airport, the world’s 21st busiest airport are central hubs for transcontinental and trans-Pacific traffic.

18) Since California is the most populous U.S. State, it is also one of the nation’s largest energy users. The two chief nuclear power plants of the state are San Onofre and Diablo Canyon.

19) California is home to San Francisco Bay, which is the biggest landlocked harbor in the world.

20) The wine industry of California produces over 17 million gallons of wine every year.

Maps of Popular Tourist Attractions in California

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