California Travel Attractions You Will Want To Experience

California, known as “The Golden State,” certainly lives up to its name with breathtaking landscapes, delicious cuisine, and unique attractions. Here are a few must-visit spots on your next California journey.

Discover Napa Valley wine country or take in Palm Springs’ mid-century modern architecture. Kids and adults alike will delight in visiting Monterey Bay Aquarium, home of sea otters, penguins and other marine life. You can enjoy swimming with dolphins in California and so much more, like what you see below. 

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island in California offers something for every traveler: history enthusiasts, moviegoers and birdwatchers alike will not want to miss. From its rugged cliffs and prison facilities, this National Park represents a living timeline of American history while being featured prominently in movies like X Men and Catch Me If You Can only adds more intrigue.

Your journey to “The Rock” begins with an unforgettable ferry cruise across San Francisco Bay, offering spectacular views of city skylines and Golden Gate Bridge. Once on the island, take an audio self-tour of its cell house while ranger-led talks explore American incarceration history.

Plan to spend 2-3 hours exploring the island. Bring snacks, warm layers, and walking shoes that provide comfortable support.

Old Mission Santa Barbara

Finding your way around Old Mission Santa Barbara, whether that means lush gardens, unique animal encounters or exciting live music performances is never an issue – with so many hotels to choose from near it, there’s sure to be something perfect to suit both budget and taste!

Santa Barbara Mission, popularly dubbed as “the Queen of Missions”, is an essential stop on any visit. Established in 1786, this historic destination contains a church, museum and gardens–including Huerta Historical Garden with plantings that reflect mission era – that make up its collection.

Staying at a hotel near Old Mission Santa Barbara is the best way to explore this popular area. Use our ‘hotel amenities’ filter to search for deals with everything from parking and pools to spas and gyms – plus don’t forget free cancellation so as not to incur costly hotel bills when your plans change!

Big Sur

Highway 1 provides the ultimate experience of California’s stunning coast, offering spectacular vistas of rugged ocean cliffs and towering redwood trees – you will no doubt stop numerous times at breathtaking overlooks and photo opps along its route.

Big Sur is known to inspire many artists and novelists, such as Henry Miller (local novelist). To commemorate him and honor his writings, there’s the non-profit Henry Miller Library: an adorable house museum and memorial dedicated to Henry Miller that hosts rotating art exhibits as well as shelves filled with books to browse.

Assuming you get lucky, crowds at popular spots such as Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park should be relatively minimal; just remember the Big Sur Pledge for responsible travel in this region – protecting natural resources, camping only where allowed, and being mindful of wildlife when camping or traveling through Big Sur.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon

These two national parks in central California are best known for their iconic sequoia trees, but there’s much more to experience and discover here than that. Visitors can relax under the General Sherman Tree (which stands as one of the largest living things on Earth by volume), or drive through Tunnel Log – an underground passageway cut through one of fallen giant sequoias at Giant Forest Grove.

For an active experience, try one of the parks’ trails; newcomers might prefer starting their trek on the three-mile Congress Trail which leads to General Sherman Tree. Hiking is also an effective way of seeing other spectacular sights in Moro Rock and Hospital Rock parks; though most popular areas like Ash Mountain and Big Stump remain closed until spring.

Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks of California’s northern coastline provide the perfect respite from overtourism, offering cathedral-like groves housing some of the tallest trees on earth as they span 37 miles along Pacific coastline.

Plan to spend several days touring this national park complex’s four incredible parks, from old-growth woods and fern canyons, to Roosevelt elk roaming freely in their natural environments.

Visit the Kuchel Visitor Center to gain more knowledge of the area’s natural history, and check for ranger-led walks and talks. Next stop should be Orick, an adventure sports hub offering kayak trips on Stone Lagoon as well as horseback rides through its forests.

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