Landmarks like the Hollywood Sign and the Golden Gate Bridge are merely a prologue to California – a state with loads of sunshine. As every mile-marker passes by, foggy forests, glossy lakes, sandy beaches, flourishing vineyards, and the trendiest culture make ‘The Golden State’ endlessly euphoric. Let the wind caress your hair on the Pacific Coast Highway and enliven your spirits at the Sierra Nevada mountains. There might not be a heaven but there is the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ – California.
National & State Parks – Yosemite National Park (popular for spectacular granite cliffs and biological diversity) and Redwood National and State Parks (home to some of the tallest redwood trees) were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and 1980 respectively. Death Valley National Park – among the hottest and driest places on the planet – is a desired spot for stargazing.
Theme Parks – Shake your hand with Mickey Mouse or experience a 4D theater, Anaheim is the hub for theme parks like Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Resort. To enjoy thrilling roller coasters and Ferris wheels you can visit SeaWorld San Diego, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Museums – The Getty Center, an art museum, exhibits 19th and 20th-century European drawings, paintings, sculptures, and illustrated manuscripts. While De Young Museum displays decorative arts and crafts, the San Diego Museum of Art showcases artworks of Italian Renaissance and Spanish Baroque masterpieces. Other notable museums include: USS Midway Museum, Exploratorium, and The Tech Museum of Innovation.
San Diego Zoo – Located in the Balboa Park, this is a world renowned zoo. Here, visitors can encounter over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species. Owens Aviary, Panda Trek, Elephant Odyssey, and Tiger River are the highlights of the zoo.
Hearst Castle – Designed by architect Julia Morgan, this Mediterranean Revival mansion is located on the central coast near San Simeon. During its heyday, it used to be a holiday destination for A-list movie celebs. The area of this compound comprises outdoor pools, grand suites, and lush gardens.
California State Railroad Museum, Alcatraz Island, Sequoia National Park, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Griffith Park, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Bixby Bridge, and Griffith Observatory are other points of interest in California.
Absorb the glamor of Beverly Hills, catch a Lakers or Dodgers game, ride the trams as you pass by the street arts of San Francisco, hit the desert resorts in Palm Springs, discover the Lake Shasta Caverns, Run to Feed the Hungry in Sacramento, explore historical landmarks in Sonoma, check out the Gold Rush towns like Bodie and Columbia, or observe marine life on Channel Islands of California.
Beaches – Fashionably inviting beaches of the Pacific like Laguna, El Matador, Santa Cruz are preferred weekend getaways for bikini babes and surfer dudes. Swimming at Long Beach, surfing at Malibu Lagoon State Beach, scuba diving near Santa Catalina Island, and pier-fishing on the Pismo Beach are some happy distractions. Admire the street performers and skate-walkers at the Venice Beach Boardwalk or taste fresh seafood along the Pacific coast.
Lakes & Reservoirs – Shimmering in the golden sun, Lake Tahoe is the reason enough to head to northern California. Paddling, canoeing, water-skiing, bass-fishing, and winter sports at ski resorts are popular activities here. Rejoice with other recreational activities like sailing, boating, and picnicking at Mono Lake, Clear Lake, and Honey Lake.
Outdoor Thrills – With breathtaking scenery of high-altitude mountains and cascading waterfalls, the Shasta Cascade region is the gateway to outdoor adventures like skiing, hiking, and camping. California harbors innumerable opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, whether it is biking on the Humbug-Willow Creek Trail near Folsom, rock climbing in Yosemite, wine tasting in the Napa Valley, bird watching in the Bodega Bay, whitewater rafting on the Trinity River, trekking on Pine Ridge Trail, or backpacking on John Muir Trail.
Nightlife – From bizarre Halloween parties to colorful Christmas celebrations, no place in the US comes even close to the vibrant nightlife of LA. Spot the ‘stars’ on the Hollywood Boulevard or enjoy show-stopping sunset at the Santa Monica Pier. The ‘City of Angels’ offers endless entertainment with exclusive nightclubs, cocktail bars, comedy clubs, rooftop restaurants, and pool-side parties. The Sunset Boulevard, Venice, West Hollywood, and Downtown area are among the glitziest places in the world.
Shopping – Rodeo Drive in LA, Pier 39 in San Francisco, and old town of Sacramento are great places for buying pick-me-up cocktail dress, designer shoes, and going on a retail therapy. Farmer’s markets, flea markets, and antiques fairs are ideal for bargain hunting.
Festivals – Some of the most celebrated events in the state are: The San Diego Comic-Con International, Los Angeles Film Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, California State Fair, Monterey Jazz Festival, and San Francisco Pride.
Following are the major international airports in California –
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
San Jose International Airport (SJC)
Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)
Long Beach Airport (LGB)
California is located on the southwestern coast of the United States. It is bordered by Mexico to the South, Arizona to the southeast, Nevada to the East, Oregon to the North, and Pacific Ocean to the West.
By Air – Los Angeles International Airport is the busiest airport in the state. It serves as a hub for domestic and intercontinental airlines. Flights connecting European countries and the Oceania often stop by this airport. San Francisco International Airport is another gateway to the state.
By Train – Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, California Zephyr, and Capitol Corridor are the Amtrak passenger trains in the state. Moreover, downtown Los Angeles is connected to nearby counties by commuter rails like Orange County Line, Riverside Line, and Ventura County Line.
By Road – Interstate Highways (I-5, I-8, I-10, I-15, I-40, and I-80) and State Routes (SR 1, SR 99, SR 299, SR 20, and SR 33) are strategically spread out through the state. Greyhound, California Shuttle Bus, Megabus and other bus companies operating between California and neighboring states like Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona.
• California was the 31st state to enter the Union on September 9, 1850.
• Sacramento is the capital and ‘Eureka’ is the one-word motto of the state.
• It is the third largest state by area and has the highest state population in the US.
• Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the 48 contiguous states.
• Lake Tahoe is the second deepest and the largest alpine lake in North America.
• The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the US.
• Death Valley is recognized as the hottest and driest place in the United States.
• San Francisco Bay is considered the largest landlocked harbor in the world.
• Chinatown, San Francisco is the oldest and largest one in North America.
• Silicon Beach area is home to major IT company headquarters including Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, and BuzzFeed.
• Joe DiMaggio, Robert Frost, Jack London, Marilyn Monroe, and Tom Hanks are some of the famous Californians.
• Lassen Peak, an active volcano, has among the largest lava domes on earth.
• The first restaurant of McDonald’s, the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants, was opened in San Bernardino, California.