Vacationers Find Themselves California Dreaming For Good Reason
From upscale winery tours to laidback surfing action, California is a state of contrasts with more to do and more to see than most destinations could ever hope to rival. Covering an expansive 163,696 square miles, the state features an extensive Pacific Ocean coastline, mountains, desert and many lakes, rivers and streams. Beyond the natural wonders, California is also home to some of the world's most famous cities and attractions.
Due to its size and distinct geographical features, California is often spoken of as having 12 very different regions for travel. Each offers its own unique draws. The things to see and do in California include:
- Bay Area: With destinations like San Francisco, Oakland and Napa Valley, the Bay Area is one of California's most famous regions. From the world famous Fisherman's Wharf and rolling hills of San Francisco to the wines of Napa, visitors here can find a little bit of everything. The region is also home to Alcatraz Island, Chinatown and Berkeley.
- Central Coast: This region is home to Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Simi Valley. Here visitors can stroll the expanse of Pebble Beach, visit the world famous Hearst Castle and even see the wonders of Los Padres National Forest.
- Central Valley: This coastal strip, featuring Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton is loaded with historic sites and miles of farmland. Some of the major stops include the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, Paso Robles Eberle Winery and the California Living Museum in Bakersfield.
- Desert: Visitors who want to see how rugged California can get like to get away from it all in this region. This area is home to the splendor of Death Valley, mountain landscapes and the oasis of Palm Springs, where shopping, golf courses and spas always await.
- Gold Country: Home to the state capital of Sacramento, the Gold Country boasts picturesque towns, historic Gold Rush-era sites and Fort Bragg.
- High Sierra: Outside of the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood area, the High Sierra region might be one of the state's biggest draws. Here visitors will find Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon Park, Lake Tahoe and more. With giant redwoods and rising mountain peaks, the High Sierra region is an outdoor lover's paradise.
- Inland Empire: The inland area near the tip of the state's main land mass is home to San Bernardino and Riverside. It features an array of historic sites and the 10,000-foot-high peak of Mt. Baldy. Shopping, dining and sites like the Riverside Art Museum and the Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail await visitors.
- Los Angeles: Brushes with fame in this area are not at all uncommon. With cities like Los Angeles, Hollywood, Burbank and Malibu all waiting exploration, this major region is famous for its movie sets, beaches, shopping along Rodeo Drive and more. Visitors can take a ride on the Catalina Island Ferry or even tour streets the stars call home.
- North Coast: Home to Crescent City and Eureka, the North Coast features giant redwoods, high bluffs, coastal lands and quaint, historic homes. Here visitors can visit the Lost Coast Trail, visit wineries in Sonoma or ride the Skunk Train.
- Orange County: Home to Anaheim, Laguna Beach and Santa Ana, Orange County is a major sightseeing region not only for its beaches, but also Disneyland the Mission San Juan Capistrano.
- San Diego: With mild year-round temperatures, the San Diego region is home not only to this famous city, but also Oceanside and others. Visitors here can witness the world famous San Diego Zoo, pay a visit to SeaWorld and take in the sights of Old Town.
- Shasta Cascade: Home to Redding and Chico, this area in the north of California is noted for its outdoor activities. The area is home to Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Mt. Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park.
From the shooting stars of Los Angeles and Hollywood to the incredible redwoods of the national forests, California offers wonders like no where else. Perfect for star gazers, outdoors types and wine connoisseurs alike, this state leaves many California dreaming.
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