In the United States, California is a well-liked vacation destination for both domestic and foreign visitors. It is an exciting place to go because of its vibrant towns, beaches, amusement parks, and unparalleled natural treasures.
Hollywood, The Golden Gate Bridge, and Disneyland are just a few of the state’s most well-known attractions that may be found in the gateway towns of Los Angeles and San Francisco. There are also several of the main cultural attractions in this area.
The national parks, which encompass woods, mountains, deserts, islands, and coastal regions, provide unique and unforgettable experiences.
The biggest alpine lake in North America, the tallest and largest trees on Earth, and the well-known Yosemite panoramas all provide outdoor adventure opportunities.
Start with our list of the best California attractions if you’re organizing a road trip, a family vacation, a city getaway, or simply want to do some sightseeing.
15 Most Amazing Things to Do in Cali –
The top family vacation spot in the US is Disneyland, located in Anaheim.
This large amusement park includes a variety of rides, games, performances, and entertainment in addition to restaurants and hotels. The park is filled with theme rides and replica worlds and cultures. There are performances and other entertainment options for both children and adults.
Among all the things to do in Cali, visiting Disneyland is definitely one of the best.
Long lines and wait times have been considerably reduced with the introduction of FastPass+, which enables you to schedule certain ride times, a hug with a character, and entertainment events.
The park will be tremendously crowded whenever children are off from school, whether for the summer, Christmas, spring break, or any other holiday.
Theme parks are only one part of Disneyland, so please remember that. Hotels, restaurants, the Downtown Disney District’s shopping, Disney Adventure Park, and other attractions make up the complete Disneyland resort experience. Even though your kids are certainly visiting the parks, you’ll find entertainment for the whole family.
2. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, two must-see locations, have the biggest trees in the world. Most of the sequoia trees in this area are older than 2,000 years, and some are even older than 3,000. The biggest living creature on Earth, they are.
These two parks, albeit nearby, are very distinct from one another. Both are in a mountainous region with breathtaking granite peaks, tight gorges, lakes, rivers, and woods. At least a couple of days are required to see both parks.
Even though both parks may have enormous sequoias, Sequoia National Park is unquestionably the best place to view these ancient wonders.
Kings Canyon National Park is wild and harsher, with rocky peaks, raging rivers, and remote locations where you may get away from humans and enjoy nature. In this park, hiking is incredibly popular. Additionally, the 26-mile Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is home to some excellent campgrounds, which can be found in the Cedar Grove and Grant Grove regions, respectively, both near the trees and at the other end of the park.
3. California’s Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Everyone should put San Francisco, one of America’s most picturesque cities, on their travel wish list. Although the ocean and hills provide a lovely natural background, this city’s quaint districts, significant historical sites, parks, exceptional cultural institutions, and relaxed attitude genuinely set it apart.
Among all the things to do in Cali, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the best.
One of the most well-known buildings, the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, is what many people picture when they think of San Francisco or even California. Against the blue San Francisco Bay ocean or the frequently present fog, the orange frame rising from them is stunning. You can either drive over the bridge, cycle, walk, or drive over it for a closer encounter.
The infamous Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf are well-liked tourist spots. Visit this former prison that is now a national park. Pier 33, close to Fisherman’s Wharf, is where ferries to the island depart from.
If you have time to tour the city and don’t mind getting a little exercise, check out some of the sites on foot.
4. Death Valley National Park
In spite of its severe heat and some of California’s most challenging geography, Death Valley National Park is an oddly appealing desert landscape. Dry dunes, salt farms, parched soil, dunes, strange rock formations, mountains, and a lake below sea level make up the peculiar environment of this faraway region.
Death Valley’s most approachable sights are the dunes next to Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, Stove Pipe Wells, and Dantes View. You should explore Death Valley National Park. It is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Cali.
With a standard car, it’s easy to travel to all of these locations as well as others. If your automobile has 4WD, you can go to remote places like The Race Track.
There is so much to see and do in Death Valley that even though you can fly there in a single day from Las Vegas, Nevada, you may want to stay an extra day or two.
If there is water in the little Badwater Lake, you can paddle in it, drive around the park, stop at viewpoints, trek alongside trails, and take in the remnants of the valley’s past industry.
5. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
If you’ve ever wanted to laze by the pool in the morning and make snow angels in the afternoon, put a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway on your list of things to do in California. The desert regions of California are all about elevation. The temperature drops as you ascend. The pool and snow combination is simple to complete in the spring.
On the slopes of Mount Jacinto, the two-mile-long tramway ascends to an altitude of 8,516 feet. The tramway’s unusual architecture allows visitors uninterrupted views of a 360-degree panorama as each tram rotates as it ascends. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the biggest of its kind in the world.
You can be physically active on the 50 miles of trails at the summit by walking or hiking, or you may be more relaxed by soaking in the spectacular landscape while dining at one of the two restaurants for lunch or dinner. Some of Palm Springs’ best hiking may be found here.
6. The Getty Center, Los Angeles
The Getty Center is one of the top national museums. In addition to rare pieces by artists like Monet and Van Gogh, the museum also has stunning sculptures and other specimens of art from before 1900.
The museum’s actual architecture and gardens are worth seeing as well. Intricate gardens and waterfalls in front enhance the scene as the skyscraper flows and undulates in a shimmering white curtain. Check out one of the many patios to see the breathtaking vistas of Los Angeles. Free entrance is available at the Getty Center.
7. Santa Catalina Island and Channel Islands National Park
7.1. Santa Catalina Island
The Channel Islands’ Santa Catalina is 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
Boaters and day tourists like their vacations on the island. Avalon serves as the main focus of activity and population center.
On the opposite end of the island sits Two Harbours, a significantly smaller town. On Santa Catalina Island, where most people go to unwind and spend a day at leisure, additional well-liked activities include glass-bottom boat trips, scuba diving, kayaking, and parasailing. From San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point, ferries go to the island.
7.2. Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands National Park, a great location to explore wildlife and some pristine landscape, is made up of five separate islands. Since the islands have always been cut off from the mainland, they have evolved independently and have a large number of endemic creatures as a result.
The islands are off the coast of Southern California and are only reachable by private boats, park concessionaire flights, or both. At the mainland tourist centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara, you can get information about the situation right now and make transportation arrangements.
8. Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua trees offer a touch of romance in this lunar-like landscape, where giant rocks and strange rock formations inspire innovative works. The park’s 800,000 acres have a broad variety of interesting landscapes, including more than just Joshua trees.
Among all of the things to do in Cali, touring Joshua Tree National Park is one of the top things to do in Cali.
The historic Keys Ranch ruins, the giant palm trees of the Lost Palms Oasis, the Cholla Cactus Garden, the chollas that stretch out endlessly down the slope to the mountains beyond, and the view from Keys View, which is at an elevation of over 5,000 feet, are some of the attractions. Don’t overlook Skull Boulder, a large rock that resembles an extraterrestrial skull.
If you intend to stay for a while, you might consider staying the night at one of the wonderful campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park so you may sleep outside among the stars and trees.
From Joshua Tree National Park, you can drive to Palm Springs in about an hour and to Los Angeles in under an hour.
9. Big Sur
Along this breathtaking stretch of the Central Coast of California, you can get back in touch with nature. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Garrapata State Park are two of the greatest locations for camping and trekking.
Yankee Point, four miles south of Carmel, marks the start of Big Sur, while Salmon Cove, 17 miles north of San Simeon, marks the end along Highway No. 1. This wonderful drive offers stunning views of the magnificent shoreline. A true wilderness stretching to the east comprises the Ventana Forests and Santa Lucia Mountains, which contain more than 220 kilometres of routes.
Exploring Big Sur is one of the top choices among all the things to do in Cali.
Hikers, sunbathers, and those seeking a natural retreat will love Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The park offers a variety of camping options, and for those seeking a little more comfort, the Big Sur Lodge provides a tranquil sanctuary in a stunning setting. The Valley View Trail leads to Pfeiffer Falls, one of the park’s attractions. Views of the ocean and the Big Sur River Valley are available at The Valley Overlook, which is reachable by a detour off of this road.
Garrapata State Park is one of Big Sur’s well-known areas. The main attraction in this area is Garrapata Beach, a long, broad, crescent-shaped stretch of golden sand. Due to the high waves, swimming may not be the best activity here, although sunbathing and strolling are also excellent.
Day hiking trails in the park provide spectacular views of the redwoods, mountains, and coastline for anybody wishing to get a little exercise.
10. Universal Studios, Hollywood
This theme park and movie studio, one of California’s most famous tourist destinations, is ideal for families with older kids and adolescents. Numerous attractions, including roller coasters and breathtakingly lifelike simulator experiences, are inspired by well-known films.
In studio tours, large setups can be toured. The park’s most popular attractions include Fast & Furious – Supercharged, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Jurassic World, The Walking Dead Attraction and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. Additionally, there are dining establishments, live entertainment venues, retail establishments, and various events that happen all year round.
11. San Diego Zoo
The iconic San Diego Zoo serves as the focal point of San Diego’s magnificent Balboa Park. This top-notch zoo has enthralled people for more than a century with its breathtaking exhibits of exotic animals and nature. The Zoo, however, has grown and expanded to become much more than just a collection of animals housed in cages.
When visiting the city, it’s something you shouldn’t miss, and the fact that the zoo is almost a century old makes no difference to the attractions. One of the largest zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo occupies 100 acres in Balboa Park and has one of the world’s greatest collections of rare and endangered species (more than 12,000 animals in total).
Amur leopards, jaguars, red pandas, giraffes, elephants, and koalas are just a few of the many creatures that can be seen in the San Diego Zoo (the largest collection outside of Australia). An extensive network of pathways connects the exhibits, including the Monkey Trail, the Hippo Trail, and the Tiger Trail.
A variety of fascinating animals, such as hippos and bonobos in the Lost Forest, polar bears in the Northern Frontier, rhinos in the Urban Jungle, and Chinese alligators in the Discovery Outpost, can be encountered along these designated trails. You will require a lot of energy and a map in order to fully enjoy all the zoo has to offer (or a smartphone app).
12. Lake Tahoe
Stunning California’s Lake Tahoe, a well-liked year-round tourist spot, is located deep within the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
In addition to the lake, Water Tahoe is home to mountains, woods, quaint towns, and a variety of recreational options. Blue lake is a well-liked summer vacation spot for campers, boaters, and nature lovers due to its turquoise coves and mountains.
The gorgeous beaches and quaint coves are among the region’s top summertime draws for families. Two well-known beaches near Lake Tahoe are D.H. Bliss State Park and Kings Beach State Recreation Area. Excellent hiking paths may be found in the hills and along the beach for hikers of all abilities.
There are numerous excellent campgrounds scattered over woodland or coastal areas.
Much of the summertime fun is concentrated on the beaches. The attention changes to the ski resorts in the winter. The area around Lake Tahoe, which is also California’s premier skiing destination, is home to several renowned ski resorts. Skiers go here in droves to take advantage of the spectacular scenery and superb snow conditions throughout the winter.
13. Santa Monica
One of LA’s most popular tourist spots for a century has been the Santa Monica Pier. For many Angelenos, the Ferris wheel on the pier next to the ocean is a recognized landmark, and many of us have fond memories of this site.
Exploring Santa Monica is one of the top things to do in Cali.
This renowned pier is largely responsible for Santa Monica’s ongoing popularity with visitors and locals alike. Of course, families love it because of the rides and carnival fare, but anyone may have fun here.
14. USS Midway Museum and Griffith Observatory
14.1. USS Midway Museum
You are in luck if you’ve ever wanted to visit a massive aircraft carrier and happen to be in San Diego. Located in the center of the action, the USS Midway Museum is a real-life WWII ship that has been converted into an interactive museum.
This is not a dry museum; rather, it’s a great activity for families in San Diego. Here, you and your crew will be climbing ladders, squeezing into tight spaces, and entering the ship’s hold. Over 60 exhibitions, 29 restored aircraft, a theatre, and flying simulators are spread out across the ship. For your visit, allow three to four hours.
14.2. Griffith Observatory
One of the greatest free attractions in California is the Griffith Observatory. This famous California destination, perched high on Mount Hollywood and overlooking Los Angeles, provides breathtaking city views and the chance to study the skies.
Six galleries housed inside the observatory are devoted to all facets of space and how we see it. In addition to the galleries, public telescopes are available, allowing you to experience the stars in a way you never imagined. Even if none intrigues you, the parking area is a great place to take pictures of the Hollywood sign.
15. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, which is found in Northern California, is one of the country’s most stunning and well-known national parks. Mountains. Valleys, rivers, and beautiful waterfalls have long drawn tourists, athletes, and artists to this region. One of the greatest things to do in California for those who enjoy the outdoors is to visit this place.
Touring Yosemite National Park is one of the best things to do in Cali.
The bulk of the park’s most well-liked sights and activities are situated in Yosemite Valley.
If you want to spend a few nights and remain for a while, Yosemite and the surrounding area have a lot of great campgrounds.
We genuinely hope that reading about the fascinating, enjoyable, and unique things to do in California was enjoyable for you.
California is home to many beautiful tourist destinations and fascinating historical facts. Excellent chances can be found in California’s parks, mountains, and other natural areas. Make travel arrangements to California as soon as you can!