California is known as “The Land of Milk and Honey,” and for good reason. There’s sun and surf, deserts and valleys, and, obviously, tacos. Making a trek up and down the coast will show you just how diverse and beautiful this state is.
Have you been wanting to explore the Golden State but are not sure where to start? Maybe you’re a local with a travel bug, but wary about jumping on a plane right now. We have you covered.
These ten incredible destinations have something to love for everyone, and they’re a fun way to explore the state from north to south. Jump in your rental car and check out everything that California has to offer.
1) Avenue of the Giants
Start your sightseeing with a drive along the Avenue of the Giants. This 31-mile highway courses through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and gives you a stunning view of jaw-dropping ancient redwoods trees.
2) Glass Beach
Are you more of a beach bum? At Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, tourists come for the smooth, colored glass that covers the sand. It’s truly a sight to behold. But they stay for the tide pools to observe sea anemones and other sea creatures.
3) Cypress Tree Tunnel
Travel further down to Inverness, CA and you can drive through the Cypress Tree Tunnel. This road is lined with grandiose Monterey cypresses that take you to the Historic KPH Receiving Station, which you can tour to learn all about its importance during World War II.
4) Baker’s Beach trail to Golden Gate Bridge
Ready to stretch your legs? Take in the stunning views on the Baker’s Beach trail, and maybe get out on the sand. This trail will take you all the way to the famous Golden Gate bridge.
5) Yosemite National Park
You have to trek all the way to the other side of California for this destination, but to say it’s worth it is an understatement. The awe-inspiring mountain ranges, home to some rare wild animals, have been known to bring grown adults to tears. Bring your tissues.
6) Morro Rock
Further south in Morro Bay, you’ll find Morro Rock. What’s so special about a rock, you ask? To start, it’s enormous. Used as a guide for sailors in the past, it’s over 500 feet tall. It was created from ancient volcanic plugs more than 20 million years ago. And, to be honest, it’s another great excuse to head to the beach.
7) Griffith Observatory
In sunny California, you can visit the Griffith observatory. This popular destination doesn’t just give you a view of the popular sights, like the Hollywood sign. You can also get a glimpse of the cosmos.
8) Venice Beach
Once you’re done with the stargazing, do some people-watching in Venice Beach. This funky beach town has interesting people, incredible food, and over two miles of boardwalk to take it all in.
9) Joshua Tree
Yes, this is the second national park on this list – but with a state so rich in parks, it’s impossible to pick just one. Joshua Tree has a desert climate and, as the name suggests, is home to the rare Joshua trees. They can only exist in similar arid climates.
10) Torrey Pines
End your trip near San Diego by doing a hike in the coastal Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. While rewarding, it can take a lot out of you – so don’t forget to treat yourself to some tacos in San Diego afterward!