If you've never been to California, then you're crazy. What have you been doing this whole time? There are places in California you have to go to when you travel to this Golden State. Don't let this opportunity pass you by. If you have vacation time, California is where you want to be to escape the normalcy of everyday life. Pack your bags and get ready for some sun, sand, water, and so much fun you'll never want to leave.
1. Yosemite National Park
Pick up your camera and walk the trails of this breathtaking national park. The mountains and waterfalls will make your jaw drop. It's a great place to go with friends and family. You can even get married amongst the nature that surrounds you. Yosemite has been naturally preserved before you even knew what a national park was, and it's a place where you want to preserve your own memories for years to come. Take lots of picture and fill up those photo albums.
Your hiking experience will never be the same. You'll be looking at so many beautiful parts of nature that you will become so overwhelmed and amazed at what surrounds you. You can travel with a guide on the day hikes for a few hours or a full day's trip to Half Dome to learn more about Yosemite. You can also camp on any of Yosemite's 13 campgrounds. Every view you will ever want to see exists on these campgrounds. You can set up a tent or bring your RV to rest amongst the nature.
2. The Golden Gate Bridge
You've seen this attraction in the 90's when you use to watch Full House, but nothing beats seeing this beautiful structure in person. Whether it's seeing the bridge from far away or while you're driving across it, the Golden Gate bridge is something you can't miss. It's red! Did you know it stretches from San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean? Wow, that's long! When this red bridge came to be, it was the longest bridge in the world.
Construction began in 1933 of the Golden Gate Bridge and ended in 1937. This date will always be significant in San Francisco history. 12 men lost their lives during the construction, but they made something that will stand the test of time. Tourists can visit the south San Francisco Vista Point where parking spots are available for people to rest, find a bathroom, go shopping, eat, and an exhibit. You can also stop by the North Vista Point on the Marin Side to rest and regroup. You can tour the Golden Gate Bridge from the sky in a helicopter, and it's views are something you won't be able to take your eyes off of
Take family pictures with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. It is a park that will entertain your children and bring out the child in you. This was Walt Disney's vision and before he even built the park, he went around the world looking at other parks to inspire his vision. How many people actually do this nowadays? Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Frontier Land, and Fantasyland are attractions within the park that you need to check out. Don't miss out on this experience because as they say it's fun for the whole family.
You know you've arrived when you see the Disney's signature castle standing tall and proud. When the park has worn you out, you and your family can stay at the Disneyland Hotel to rest and get ready for the next day of fun and adventure. Meals can be eaten inside the park at places like Aladdin's Oasis, Ariel's Grotto, and so many more delectable places to dine. The world of Alice and Wonderland can be explored, and your kids will be entertained. The Bakery Tour is available for families to see the bakery and how San Francisco's sourdough bread is made. At the end of the day you can stop by souvenir shops to purchase your child's favorite character.
4. Big Sur Coastline
The view is enough to make you want to stay and never ever leave California. Take pictures to remember the moment. See the cliffs, ridges, and the redwood trees that make up this amazing coastline. Their hiking trails will bring out the adventurer in you. As you drive down Highway 1, you will see all the attractions the Big Sur Coastline has to offer. Make sure you pull off to the side of the road to admire the big, blue ocean.
It's a romantic spot where you can watch the sunset. Offshore of the coastline is the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary that is protected from oil drilling. On land there is the Ventana Wilderness, which is a protected part of land you as a tourist can visit, but you have to respect the land. You can also hike the trails west of the highway in places like the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Ventana Wilderness. When you've had enough of the wild outdoors, you can visit Big Sur's galleries, studios, and shops. The Coast Gallery, the Big Sur Lodge Gift Shop, and The Local Color are just some places in Big Sur where you can buy souvenirs and view the art.
5. Universal Studios Hollywood
You've been to the Universal Studios in Orlando, but you've never been to the one in Hollywood. Well, what are you waiting for? Get packing and go! This theme park started as a tour through the lot of Universal Film Studios but turned into a place where rides and attractions bring in people from all over. The Simpsons, Shrek, and Despicable Me are just some of the attractions you have to checkout, or you can't really say you've been to Universal Studios in Hollywood. If you're more into thriller and action attractions, this theme park offers water and stunt shows that are sure to entertain that side of you and don't forget to look out for the characters wandering the park because you may get your chance to take a picture with Marilyn Monroe.
The wait times for their entertaining rides are not that long but if you're hungry, you can head on over to the dinning areas. Inside the Universal lot you have a variety of dinning options to choose from. The upper lot has the Krusty Burger, Moe's Tavern, Mel's Dinner, and more. The lower lot has a Jurassic Cafe, Panda Express, Starbucks, and Ben & Jerry's. The food is cooked fresh daily by professional chefs and free of Trans Fat with no peanut oil or MSG. They even accommodate to the needs of people who are require gluten free and vegetarians.
6. Death Valley
Don't let the name scare you away from this attraction. Be brave! It may be the hottest and most driest place in the US, but the view is simply amazing. Geologist will enjoy this part of California because of its valleys, canyons, and other structures to study up close and personal. You should NOT hike the Death Valley trails in the summer because they do not call it Death Valley for nothing. Don't let this discourage you as you look up at the stars in the night sky and see why this attraction is a can't miss place to be.
Its 3.4 million acres of sandy landscape is much more then a wasteland. A four wheel drive car is the best way to experience the historical sites. Start earlier in the day when it's still cool so you can cover all the spots in one day. Have a picnic during the hospitable months and enjoy the food as well as the sunshine. When you're done with the weather outside, the Visitor Center by Furnace Creek Ranch is a great place to visit and see the exhibits. Travel to Badwater from Furnace Creek to see great salt formations, the views, and the lowest place in the western hemisphere.
7. Sea World, San Diego
How do you not know about Shamu? If you haven't been to Sea World, you have to take this trip at least once in your life. Well you'll learn about this orca whale and other sea creatures when you enter the world of Sea World. Your kids will look wide eyed at the animals as you take them through the park. People have come from all over since 1964 to learn about the creatures of the sea. What you're really here to see is Shamu the whale perform amazing water tricks that will splash you if you're sitting up front to watch this astounding creature.
Know everything about your trip to Sea World before you go. Online you can find information about admission, attractions, food and beverages, the fun card, lockers, transit, park hours, and so much more. Their shows, rides, and exhibits will keep you as well as your children occupied and entertained throughout the day. Your family can dine with Shamu, the Shipwreck Reef Cafe, All Fried Up, Fusion Smoothies & Wraps, and so much more. There are so many places like the Dolphin Treaures, The Sea World, The Shamu Shop, and other stores to shop for souvenirs for kids and adults alike. You will enjoy your time at Sea World.
8. Lake Tahoe
It is certainly one of the most unique views you will ever see on your trip to California. It is a lake that rests between California and Nevada. Wow, that's huge! The trees and mountains bring together skiers, snow mobile riders, hikers, and many more people to experience what nature has to offer. These activities will no doubt keep you coming back to Lake Tahoe. You will remember your trip to Lake Tahoe when you capture every memory on film.
You can view the lake from the skies of a helicopter tour as you learn about the area. If a sky tour makes you uneasy, jet ski tours are available to spend some time on the water. If you want to relax on the water, Lake Tahoe offers a sightseeing cruise of the landscape. If you are curious about how beer is made, the North Lake Tahoe Brew Tour is perfect for you. Rent a paddleboard and sail on the lake with your partner until the sun goes down. When you feel hungry, you make your way to the Hard Rock Cafe where you will experience classic American food and rock music blasting from the speakers as you rock your head to the music.
9. Santa Catalina Island
The Bison walk among you at your stay at Catalina Island. It's something you will probably never see anywhere else in California. If the herd of Bison isn't enough of an attraction, a tour in a glass bottom boat will surly attract you to the sea life through the glass. You'll even get to see ship wrecks and the beautiful coral reef. Maybe you'll even see a surfer moving along the waves of the water. The sun setting below the water is a great way to end your day.
Avalon and the Two Harbors are two hotels you might consider when you're staying at Catalina Island. An ocean front setting is always welcome when you dine at the Avalon Grille or the Desscano Beach Club. If you're looking for somewhere more private to dine, you can enjoy your food in your very own Cabana. When you're finished tasting the food of this island, the Laugh Factory Comedy Club is the perfect place to relax and laugh your head off. Their tours of the island range from Zip Line to Skyline and Flying Fish Boat Tours. Relax on the vast green golf course, paddle board on the water, and at the end of the day enjoy a private massage by the sea.
10. Redwood National Park
The tall redwood trees will make you feel so small as you look up at their never ending height. it's almost intimidating. You can even drive your car through one of these trees as you make your way into the park. Highway 101 also exists through Redwood National Park. Attractions and motels within the park have been around for a long time. You can't see this kind of beauty in any theme park that's for sure.
You can camp beneath the tall trees that reach to the sky. You love the outdoors and among nature is where you want to be. It's for all ages, backgrounds, and levels of experience to try and have an up close and personal relationship with nature. There are two options of camping you need to be aware of. Developed campgrounds are the well known campgrounds were amenities are easy to come by. Backcountry camping are for those who like to get away from the usual trails where there are more than 200 miles of backcountry to explore.