If you are visiting California for the first time or have a limited amount of time on your schedule to go sightseeing, you want to make sure to include some of the top spots to visit.
The Top Places that you absolutely Must See when visiting California:
#21 - Redwood National Park
See the home of the tallest trees on earth at Redwood National Park. While there, you can also see two rivers and enjoy beach time with a view of the coast. Drive through or stop and take a hike to see local wildlife and the massive trees that have made the area famous.
#20 - San Simeon State Park/Hearst Castle
The Hearst San Simeon State Park offers beautiful views of the ocean and shoreline and features a 3.3 mile trail. Benches and intriguing overlooks are scattered along the trail with portions wheelchair accessible.
#19 - California State Capital Museum
Guided tours of the building along with self-tours of certain areas are available at the museum. A tour of the grounds takes you to the 40-acre park, which also includes the lovely World Peace Rose Garden and numerous monuments.
#18 - The Queen Mary
Enjoy dinner or an overnight stay aboard the historic Queen Mary. Numerous tours and attractions are sure to capture your attention as you explore the ancient ship.
#17 - Knott's Berry Farm Theme Park
Knott's Berry is filled with fun for people of all ages. With roller coasters, water rides and live entertainment, it is sure to excite the kids. For adults, there is shopping, thrill rides and fun places to eat.
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#16 - Napa Valley
Napa Valley offers some of the best wine tours that California has to offer, but it is so much more with balloon rides, exquisite restaurants and beautiful scenery.
Learn more with our Napa Valley Visitor Guide
#15 - Driving the 101 North of San Francisco
For an unforgettable experience, travel Highway 101 from San Francisco north and have ocean views almost all of the way. Stop in quaint little coastal towns and find all kinds of treasures.
#14 - The Huntington Library and Gardens
This lovely museum offers a variety of cultural attractions and events, including a library, art collection and botanical gardens. First begun by Henry Edwards Huntington, it has expanded into a massive collection of works and natural resources.
Photo by: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
#13 - Lassen Volcanic National Park
Nature-lovers will enjoy exploring the Lassen Volcanic National Park with its volcanoes and mountains. They can go backpacking, camping, fishing or skiing in the winter for year-round fun.
#12 - J. Paul Getty Museum
This museum has two locations: one in Los Angeles and one in Malibu. Each one features unique pieces of art. The location in Los Angeles holds European sculptures, paintings, drawings and other historic pieces. The Malibu location has artwork from ancient Greece and Rome as well as Etruria.
Photo by: BKingFoto / Shutterstock.com
#11 - Newport Beach
Newport Beach is more than just sand and sun with its shops, restaurants and grand hotels. Water activities are popular, including kayaking, swimming and paddleboarding. Visit the Balboa Fun Zone for fun for the entire family.
#10 - Universal Studios Hollywood
Movie-inspired rides are just one aspect of this theme park. You can even find out what it is like to make a real movie on the Studio Tour.
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#9 - Lake Tahoe
This fresh body of water separates California from Nevada and offers something for everyone. From casinos, live entertainment and plenty of nightlife to skiing, water sports and hiking, you'll never be bored when you visit.
#8 - Six Flags Magic Mountain
With rides for the entire family and plenty of shopping, Six Flags Magic Mountain offers a full day of fun. Try out the thrill rides or take the little ones on the kid rides.
#7 - Death Valley National Park
Visit for a few hours or camp overnight in the cooler months at Death Valley National Park. The desert offers a surprising range of scenery, including snow-capped mountains.
#6 - Sea World, San Diego
Get up close with the water animals and experience several amazing exhibits. Enjoy the rides and shows and interact with the wildlife at Sea World, San Diego.
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#5 - Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon
The incredibly dramatic and beautiful landscape surrounding Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon is a testament to the size, beauty, and diversity of nature. Within these two parks you'll find soaring mountains, rugged foothills, canyons, caverns, and the largest tree's in the world - the Sequoias.
The two parks are adjacent to one another in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley.
#4 - San Diego Zoo
Enjoy some of the most magnificent animals at the zoo, such as the Giant Panda, Anaconda, Giraffe, Polar Bear and Koala. See the shows and learn about your favorite animals in their natural habitats.
#3 - Disneyland Resort and Theme Park
Meet your favorite Disney characters, experience the thrill of exciting rides and just be a kid at Disneyland. With pirates and princesses popping up around all of the attractions, you are sure to believe in magic again by the time you leave.
Photo by: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
#2 - San Francisco & the Golden Gate Bridge
One of San Francisco's biggest attractions, plan to walk or drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. While you are in town, visit Fisherman's Wharf or schedule a trip to Alcatraz.
Learn more on our detailed San Francisco page.
#1 - Yosemite National Park
Enjoy the most popular of California's attractions at Yosemite National Park. From skiing in the winter to hiking and camping in the summer, it is a place to visit any time of the year.
Read more on our California National Parks page.