14 Most Beautiful Places to See in California

by Jane Sophia
places to see in California

California is the second most visited tourist state among all other United States. California is a pretty large state comprising approximately 424,000 sq.km! It has a great list of places to see in California.

Naturally, such a large area in the U.S means large occupancy. Nearly 40 million people chose to live in the colorful and weather-friendly California state.

In addition, the large area means numerous places to see in California.

California’s geography is quite diverse. There is a long Pacific coast on the west paving way for spectacular beaches.

Among the national parks in California, Yosemite National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.

You can see thundering waterfalls, lovely valleys, scenic Pacific coastal highways, national monuments, and dynamic cities.

In spite of Sacramento being the state capital, the big cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco lure Americans from other states and tourists from Asia and Europe

14 Most Beautiful Places to See in California

Here is a big list of attractions and places to see in California. Being a big state, you need to travel the length and breadth of the state to see these tourist landmarks of California.

  1. Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon

I long to visit this rather eerie looking canyon whose walls are fully covered with evergreen ferns.

The height of the canyon wall is 50 feet! Some of the fern species date back to several hundred million years old!

This iconic tourist landmark of California is located in Humboldt County and is part of the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Do you know even the UNESCO liked the Fern Canyon and announced it as a World Heritage site?

Tourists are recommended to take a long walk on one of the lush green trails to appreciate the beauty of the canyon filled with ferns.

In addition, you can spot the majestic Roosevelt Elk and the rare red-colored frog.

Roosevelt Elk

Roosevelt Elk

  1. Yosemite Waterfall


Can you guess the height from which the water starts falling in Yosemite National park? It’s a whopping 2400+ feet!

This spectacular waterfall is the star attraction in Yosemite National Park, the most visited national park in the U.S

Yosemite waterfall is one of the primary places to see in California. It is located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

The best time to see the waterfall in full flow is May and June. After that, it abruptly ceases because all the snow would be completely melted and fallen as water.

Oh, you can still see a trickle but then, you will be disappointed if you don’t time your visit to this California attraction.

  1. Santa Anita Canyon

Santa Anita Canyon is located in Los Angeles, California. The major attraction while visiting the canyon is the breathtaking site of Sturtevant Falls.

The video above had captured all the natural beauty of the Los Angeles National Forest. In addition, the 5.3 km hike through the forest, the thrill and the adventure of walking through the trail to see the waterfall were creatively captured in the video.

The water is falling from an altitude of just 50 feet.

The surrounding San Gabriel Mountains offer stunning views.

More than the sight of the waterfall, the experience of walking up to it gives more pleasure.

  1. Santa Catalina Island

Places to See in California-Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island

Californians love beaches. The geography of California also comprises fantastic beaches. The finest beach in Los Angeles County is the highly celebrated Long Beach.

Santa Catalina is an island in South California. It is not a big island; it measures just 35 km by 13 km in length and width respectively.

Its proximity to Long Beach makes it one of the highest visited places to see in California. Santa Catalina is loaded with world-class amenities and expensive restaurants.

You can reach Catalina by ferry from Long Beach. The 50 km distance is covered in just an hour. Moreover, two other ports of departure also ply ferries that include Newport Beach and Dana Point in Orange Country, California.

Once you land in Santa Catalina, you can hop into a glass-bottomed boat to see the submerged wrecks of ships and the lovely corals.

Since the water is clear, snorkeling is eagerly pursued by the tourists and the locals.

Below is the magnificent sight of Catalina Express as you reach it by ferry.

Catalina Express

Catalina Express

Santa Catalina Island finds a place in the list of top 10 beautiful places in California.

  1. Road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway

Road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway

America’s most mentioned scenic road is the Pacific Coast Highway that stretches from Oregon in the north of California up to San Diego in southern California.

I believe the road’s length is a little more than 1000 km.

You can start from several big coastal cities of California such as San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Malibu, and Santa Barbara to go to Long Beach or San Diego city.

The road trip however short it maybe is full of stunning locales. The Pacific Ocean will tag you all long your memorable road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Allocate at least half a day in California to enjoy a short but breathtaking car drive on the Pacific Coast Highway.

  1. Street Cable Car ride in San Francisco

Places to See in California Cable Car ride in San Francisco

Cable Car ride in San Francisco

I am sure you want to take a ride on this cable car that plies through the dynamic city of San Francisco and feel a part of the history.

A street cable car ride is the best way to see around San Francisco’s skyscrapers, pavement cafes and eateries, beautiful parks, and big shops.

It resembles the trams in Calcutta.

  1. Lake Tahoe

Places to See in California Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Need I say any more about this breathtaking place in California? It’s Lake Tahoe, one of the several picturesque and large lakes in the state of California.

Lake Tahoe is classified as an alpine lake because of its high altitude location (6200 feet!). The lake is mostly fed by the melting snow that covers the majority of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

As a natural lake formed millions of years ago and fed by snow and rain, the water is crystal clear and potable.

Lake Tahoe comprises a large area measuring a mind-boggling 1500+ sq.km thus conducive for a range of water sports that include:

  • Sailing
  • Paddle boating
  • Parasailing
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Angling
  • Scuba diving

Lake Tahoe is located close to Nevada State, the gambling capital of the world. To serve the needs of the perennial tourists, you can find convenient hotels and ultra-luxury resorts on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

The ski resorts and casino resorts command excellent occupancy. If you are a keen celebrity watcher, Lake Tahoe will keep you busy always.

In addition, when the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains are covered with thick snow, the whole area of Lake Tahoe becomes a bustling ski resort.

Lake Tahoe occupies a higher position in the list of beautiful places to see in California.

  1. Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

Among numerous beautiful places in California, waterfalls garner a major chunk of visitors throughout the year.

Vernal Falls’ summit from where the water begins its descent is located at about 320 feet! Vernal Falls is part of the Yosemite National Park in California State.

The mist that is generated from the falling water is a spectacular sight. Tourists are encouraged to take a short 2 km trekking and in the process getting wet from the blowing mist. It will be a pleasant experience.

  1. Glory Hole

One of California’s most beautiful places to see You simply cannot afford to miss is the Glory Hole.

Look at the video below.

There is a reservoir built on Lake Berryessa. The name of the dam is Monticello. The excess water from the dam drains through a huge gaping hole sucking into it even ducks.

Watching Glory Hole from the perimeter of the dam is a mesmerizing sight.

  1. Cypress Tree Tunnel

Imagine walking through a surreal tunnel made entirely of Cypress trees that create a very cool walkway.

As you can see, the branches of the trees lock into each other that are inseparable.

When the sun is high above the trees, its rays strive hard to penetrate the trees and the resulting scene is simply stunning.

Cypress Tree Tunnel is a beautiful place to see in California.

  1. Emerald Bay

Places to See in California Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay

What a beauty! Emerald Bay, actually a lake island situated in Lake Tahoe. The serene beauty invites you to sit and gaze at it for a long time and let peace enshrouds you.

Alternatively, take a brisk walk around the lake and enjoy the breeze on you.

Emerald Bay as a National Natural Landmark commands considerable tourist attraction. Passionate nature lovers stay overnight in a camp pitched on the shore.

Other things to do in Emerald Bay State Park include:

  • Take a guided tour of a historic mansion called Vikingsholm that has 38 rooms!
  • See the Eagle Waterfalls
  1. Muir Woods National Monument

Imagine a forest full of just trees that are declared as a national monument. That is America for you.

Below is Muir Woods.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

If you are an ardent tree lover, you would die to enter this dark wood. In the U.S, numerous areas spread across the length and breadth of the country that demarked as the National Recreation Area.

Muir Woods is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California. The trees you see in the image are Redwood trees.

Interestingly walkers lured to choose their trail by attractive names such as Cathedral Grove and Bohemian Grove.

Muir Woods is located on the outskirts of San Francisco.

Here is another view of the Muir Woods, one of the beautiful places in California.

Places to See in California Muir Woods Trail

Muir Woods Trail

  1. Sequoia National Park

This world-famous national park in California is home to the largest tree in the world. The large area is full of Sequoia trees one of which is the giant Sherman Tree.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

  1. Bowling Beach

Bowling Beach

Bowling Beach

The boulders scattered on the beach and softened by the relentless crashing of waves over several centuries.

The resultant boulders look like bowling balls. In addition, the sight is beautiful and rare for a beach, Bowling Beach is usually a part of the list of beautiful places in California.

You can see the bowling balls only when the sea withdraws during low tide.

  1. Alamere Falls


Alamere Falls

The Alamere Waterfall is one of the most beautiful places in California to see. In fact, it is a must-see tourist landmark in California.

Moreover, Alamere Falls is located in Point Reyes National Seashore, California.

In addition, the uniqueness of the Alamere waterfall is the water falls directly into the Pacific Ocean.

If you love the sight of waterfalls, San Diego must be your destination because there are 10 beautiful waterfalls in San Diego.

California known for its great beaches that are difficult to choose from.

In conclusion, the beautiful places to see in California are endless. You need to spend a full 15 days in San Francisco to see them.

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