The Golden State has a nearly infinite number of attractions to appeal to the culture-seeking tourist, the eco-adventurist or the star-struck traveler. This spectacular state occupies more of the Pacific Coast than any other contiguous U.S. State, stretching from the wild, cool climates of Del Norte County down to the arid stretches of San Diego. What is now the state of California was populated as early as 12,000 years ago, and the area underwent a series of pioneer settlements since its European discovery by Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo in 1542. California joined the Union in 1850, and since has been a popular destination for travelers and transplants seeking its environment and opportunities.
San Francisco is one of Northern California’s largest cities, and is often a destination for visitors traveling to the area. The city is renowned for its signature Golden Gate Bridge, its plethora of parks and hospitable locals. The city is one of Northern California’s major cultural epicenters, and sports a cornucopia of local shops, restaurants and art galleries along its hilly streets. One of the city’s most famous attractions is its cable car system, which was actually imported from Dunedin, New Zealand. After riding the signature cars, guests can take a ship to visit the prison on Alcatraz Island or see the city’s famous sea lions at Pier 39.
Visitors can stop by the state’s capital, Sacramento, to learn more about California’s political system. Guests can stroll through streets lined with classic Victorian houses or visit the state capital buildings. The city also boasts an exciting nightlife and club scene in its Midtown area. The nearby Sacramento Valley provides a peaceful escape from the city. The valley is home to the Sacramento River and a plethora of orchards. Those driving through the Sacramento Valley can continue on to the state’s interior to indulge their taste buds with one of the California’s famous exports. The state offers a number of wine counties, but visitors might want to forgo the tourist-leaden Napa Valley in exchange for a peaceful retreat to Sonoma Valley’s wineries. Sonoma Valley offers more than 60 private wineries all located within a scenic, romantic 7-by-17 mile valley.
Guests who want some time in the mountains can head to Lake Tahoe. The second deepest lake in the country offers 72 miles of lakeshore and stunning scenery that ranks it among the most beautiful lakes in the United States. Summer guests can enjoy water activities such as kayaking, boating or windsurfing, or explore the surrounding mountains on hiking trails. In the winter, the Lake Tahoe area is home to a number of spectacular ski resorts.
Located in the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park provides adventurous guests with a plethora of outdoor activities. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers non-stop natural wonders beautiful enough to lure visitors out of their cars and onto the trails. The park is home to some of California’s most signature natural attractions such as Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and the giant sequoias in Wawona.
For visitors who would rather enjoy year-round sun and balmy temperatures, Southern California offers a nice retreat. The city of Los Angeles is home to some of California’s most prestigious destinations such as Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This bustling city offers an extensive coastline that boasts sandy beaches where palm trees sway, a young and hip nightlife, along with plenty of shopping and dining. Visitors can catch a concert or show at the famous Hollywood Bowl while outdoor aficionados can explore the rugged Santa Monica Mountains. Family travelers can delight in the abundant nearby family-friendly attractions such as Disney Land and Universal Studios.
The Raveable guide to California Hotels was created by analyzing the millions of traveler reviews found all over the internet.
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