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California Quick Facts
Uniquely California: the Golden Gate bridge
Must-See: the world’s largest tree in Sequoia National Park
Most Unusual: Winchester Mystery House
Highest Point: Mt. Whitney, 14,494 feet
Food to Try: Locally-grown artichokes and avacados
What to Do In California
1 Visit Point Reyes
2 Play the slots or take a hike at Lake Tahoe
3 See a Joshua tree
4 See the sea lions in San Francisco
5 Take a star tour of Hollywood
6 Play golf in Palm Springs
7 Drive across the Sundial Bridge
Off The Beaten Path | California
California is a beautiful state that has a little bit of everything -- mountains, beaches, deserts, and forests. Travelers will find big cities, stunning state and national parks, beautiful coastlines and much more. And of course you won't want to miss Los Angeles, Disneyland and the Golden Gate Bridge! Here are a few fun destinations that are well worth visiting, but that you may not have heard about already.
Point Reyes National Seashore and Point Reyes National Park are great options for enjoying California's natural environment and outdoor recreation. At Point Reyes you will find trails, historic structures and visitor centers. You can enjoy camping, hiking, biking and kayaking. Point Reyes National Park also features the Point Reyes Lighthouse and visitor center where you can learn all about the lighthouse. For the very adventurous, a trip down the 308 stairs to the Lighthouse is a great option.
Half Moon Bay
This beautiful coastal town is a fabulous destination for a quiet California getaway. You can enjoy the many beaches on the coast, play golf at the championship golf course or stop at the historic Point Montara Lighthouse. While enjoying the coast, you can walk on the trails and keep your eyes open for the California wildlife, especially during a visit to the nearby Pescadero Marsh Bird Refuge. Another popular destination in the Half Moon Bay area is the Moss Beach Distillery. The Distillery was a popular spot during the years of prohibition, and it is still said to have a resident ghost.
At an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Mount Shasta is the fifth highest peak in California and a part of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This mountain, which has inspired so many, stands on its own, unconnected to any nearby mountains. Many people visit Mount Shasta to make an attempt at the summit -- the climbing season lasts from April to October, but some adventurous people try to summit during the winter. Mount Shasta is also a great destination for backcountry skiing -- the most experienced climbers and skiers can climb to the summit and then ski back down. Inexperienced climbers should be aware that making a summit attempt is not easy, but there are other hiking options on trails around the base of the mountain.
Located off the coast of Southern California, Catalina is one of the eight islands that make up the Channel Islands archipelago. Catalina is part of the Southern Channel Islands, and is the only island with a significant permanent population. Visitors to California hoping to visit Catalina should either take a boat service from one of five coastal communities or, for an even more exciting adventure, take a helicopter flight from one of two costal locations. While on the island, visitors can enjoy all types of recreation including biking, hiking, golfing, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving and even a zip line tour.
San Francisco's Chinese New Year
This is one of the best and largest celebrations of Chinese New Year outside of China. During the Chinese New Year celebrations, you can enjoy the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and of course the Chinese New Year Community Fair. Throughout the celebrations you can learn about all of the important symbols and cultural celebrations. If you need a break from the festivities, spend some time at Golden Gate Park or exploring the beauty of San Francisco.
The Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House has to be one of California's most unique destinations. This house was built by Sarah Winchester with the legacy from the Winchester rifle. After the deaths of her child and husband, Sarah Winchester started adding all manner of unique architectural features to her home. Some speculate that she created the house to ward of ghosts. During a visit and tour of the house you will see twisting hallways, secret passageways, wandering staircases and doors that lead to nowhere.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
If you are looking for a wide range of California's amazing natural sights all in one area, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is a great destination. The Park ranges from deep canyons to tall mountains. In fact, within the park, you will find the highest peak in the lower 48, Mount Whitney. The park also has some amazing specimens of the giant sequoia tees. Be sure to stop and see the General Grant Tree in Grant Grove and the General Sherman Tree in Giant Forest. At Redwood Canyon you can visit the largest grove of sequoias in the world.
Fun and Funky Things To Do | California
The great state of California is not only full of beautiful sights, but it is also full of fun and quirky places to stop during your journey. Here are a few spots you may want to stop and see during your visit to California.
Great Statues, Auburn
Within the town of Auburn there are a few amazing giant statues. The largest of these is over 40 feet tall and weighs over 120 tons. These statues include Amazon archers, a nude man wrestling with chains, and a coolie pushing a wheelbarrow. The statues in Auburn were created by Ken Fox, a dentist in the town. Some of the statues are placed in the parking lot for his dentists office. The more minimally clad statues are located closer to Ken Foxes home, rather than right in town.
Calistoga's Old Faithful Geyser
One of Calistoga's attractions is California's Old Faithful Geyser. This geyser is one of the few in the world that erupts with regularity. Old Faithful of California erupts approximately every half hour. The geyser erupts steam and scalding water, which sprays 60 to 100 feet in the air. Visitors can learn all about the unique geological circumstances that create geysers, while watching Old Faithful erupt.
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose
The Winchester Mystery House has to be one of California's most unique destinations, probably one of the most unique location in the country. This house was built by Sarah Winchester with the legacy of the Winchester rifle. After the deaths of her child and husband Sarah Winchester started adding all manner of unique architectural features to her home. Some speculate that she created the house to ward of ghosts. Visitors will see twisting hallways, secret passageways, and even doors that lead to nowhere.
Museum of Pez Memorabilia, Burlingame
This fun and unique little museum is located in a small storefront that only has two rooms open to the public. These rooms are filled with Pez dispensers. The museum's collection includes all 550 characters that Pez ever made. Visitors to the museum can be treated to a tour of the collection, the owners show visitors their favorite Pez characters as well as learn all about the history of Pez. The Museum of Pez Memorabilia is certainly a Pez lovers dream, and it is a lot of fun for those who don't know much about Pez.
Route 66 Museum, Barstow
Travelers in California should stop at the Route 66 Museum in Barstow, California. The museum is located in a former Harvey House, Casa Del Desierto. The Harvey Houses were run by the Fred Harvey Company and built by the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company. The museum has lots of information about Route 66, including photos and artifacts. As well as learning about the interesting history of the Harvey Houses.