Top Places To Visit In The Golden State
If you’re California Dreamin’ then these are must-see places to visit in the Golden State.
PubClub.com’s Top 10 list includes beaches, waterfalls, spectacular sunsets, giant trees, coastal cliffs, famous landmarks and a legendary sports venue.
So grab a coastal-brewed craft beer or some wine from one of the state’s many wine countries and start planning your trip to California.
1.) Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is fantastic. You can drive over it, walk over it, even bike over it. You can look at it from both sides of the San Francisco Bay and it looks the same but also different from each angle. You can even walk or run under it (well the base of it anyway) by taking a path past Chrissy Field on the San Francisco side. And you know what – it’s worth every view.
2.) Hollywood Sign
Hooray for Hollywood! And the Hollywood sign.
The top landmark of Los Angeles is more than a block of large, white letters. It’s a statement, a visual verification that you are in LaLa Land. A good, clear viewing area is from a walkway at the Hollywood & Highland mall. A bonus is that you’re also right there to also see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and to check out the celebrity footprints and handprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, which is actually a real theater showing first-run movies.
3.) Pacific Coast Highway – Especially Between Hearst Castle And Big Sur
Just about any part of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is worth your time. San Diego between Del Mar and Oceanside, thru Huntington Beach, from Malibu to Oxnard, in the north from Santa Cruz to San Francisco and through Mendocino County are some of its highlights.
But there are few more beautiful spots in all of California than the stretch from Hearst Castle outside Cambria to Carmel, which includes stunning, stop-every-30-seconds jaw-dropping scenery, in particular in the Big Sur area. The highlight of the highlights, if there is such a thing, is the arched Bixby Bridge; the best photo ops are from the south end.
Tip: Drive PCH South; all the scenery and scenic viewpoints will be to your right.
4.) A Golden California Sunset In Hermosa Or Manhattan Beach
One of the things that makes California the Golden State are its golden sunsets, and two of the best places to view them are at and around the piers in Hermosa Beach & Manhattan Beach. These two small beach communities in L.A., just south of LAX, are filled with fun locals and have several unobstructed views of these sensational nature shows. Plus, good post-sunset cocktails are just a step away or here’s great places to have drinks during sunsets.
5.) Yosemite Valley’s El Capitan & Waterfalls In Yosemite National Park
Some say that Yosemite is California’s most beautiful location. It’s certainly a place that will make your jaw drop to the valley floor. Two “must see” sights are the many waterfalls – some dropping as many as three tiers – and the massive rock face of El Capitan.
Tip: Plan your trip to Yosemite at least 3-4 months in advance, especially in the summer.
6.) The Mendocino County Point Arena Lighthouse
This is the least visited place on PubClub.com’s list but it certainly deserves to be here. Big cliffs with huge shale-like rocks look out onto the sea and the lighthouse – a few miles up PCH from the community of Point Arena just so you know – makes it that much better. The lighthouse and adjacent museum are open to tours (10 a.m.-3:30 daily, $7.50 for adults) but the views from the neighboring cliff have no opening or closing time.
7.) The Giant Sequoias & Waterfalls In Sequoia National Park
One of the most unusual sites in the state, the giant sequoias show off the incredible diversity of California. The General Sherman Tree dominates the Giant Forest and Tunnel Tree is a tree you can actually drive through; it fell over the road in 1937. Plus, there’s underground streams and rock formations at Crystal Cave, and Moro Rock is a granite dome with big views of the park.
8.) The Pacific Grove Shoreline Along Monterey Bay
Give your eyes some visual exercise before going on PCH by driving thru Pacific Grove, a gorgeous community between Monterey and Carmel. Unlike Big Sur, here you’re almost at eye level with the ocean, which has unique waves-shaped rocks between the shore and the break. It looks like something from another planet. Stop and admire or in the summer go for a swim at Lover’s Point cove, then keep driving and take the 17-Mile-Drive to Pebble Beach. Oh, and parking along the road is free!
If you’re looking for a great meal with this view, then visit the Beach House at Lover’s Point.
9.) The La Jolla Cliffs & La Jolla Cove
Ahh, sunny San Diego. You could put this entire area on your visit California wish list and La Jolla Cove should be at the top of that list. It’s a scenic spot in the most scenic of spots and is part of a long cliff that provides vast views of the California coastline and Pacific Ocean. You can climb on giant rocks in front of multi-million dollar homes and see the seals basking in the sunshine on a small beach they have taken over from humans. If you don’t mind cool water, go snorkeling in the cove.
10). Dodger Stadium
PubClub.com just had to include a sports venue in things to see in California, and none is more picturesque then the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Located in a ravine – Chavez Ravine – between downtown and Pasadena – it’s a beautiful ballpark in a prefect setting. It’s more aesthetically pleasing than the Coliseum and has many more events than the Rose Bowl. Like pretty much anything in L.A., getting in and out of it can be a challenge but just be patient; it’s well worth the effort.