California Attractions and Sites of Interest
Even people who have lived in California all of their lives have probably not seen every nook and cranny of this huge state which (except for Alaska and Texas) is the third largest by way of land.
No matter what type of scenery is a personal favorite practically everyone's idea of perfection can be found in California because the land is so varied. Having had the opportunity to visit this vast western state on several occasions, I thought that I would mention some interesting and beautiful places of interest that I found very much to my liking.
Adventurous mountain climbers might like ascending Mount Whitney which is the highest point in the contiguous United States at an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). Although I have not attempted that feat I have driven in the mountains. A friend and I did go to the lowest point in the contiguous United States, a place called Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park. It is an amazing 232 feet or 86 meters below sea level!
From rocky Pacific Ocean shorelines to lush ancient forests, farmlands to cityscapes, desert lands and more, join me on this look at the most populated of our states which is bordered by Mexico to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the north and the states of Nevada and Arizona to the east. You will be in for an amazing journey!
San Francisco Sites
Except for one vacation when a friend rode with me in my car from Houston to California and back, most of the time our California vacations have started with an airplane ride to San Francisco. After renting a car but before heading out in various directions we would always made it a point to see and do a few more things in that scenic city.
San Francisco is a beautiful tourist spot and for good reason. It has a very mild climate and therefore beautiful vegetation as can readily be seen in the gorgeous parks and surrounding areas.
It is a city comprised of hills...50 of them in fact! The buildings are constructed to blend into the topography of the land. My hubby and I have huffed and puffed our way up and over quite a few of those hills.
Of course we have also ridden the famous cable cars of San Francisco fame and gone down the crookedest street (supposedly in the world) with hairpin turns called Lombard Street.
There are marvelous San Francisco restaurants representing just about every ethnicity of cuisine and we have relished many a good meal there.
So many iconic sites exist in San Francisco including the Golden Gate Bridge, the large and most interesting Chinatown, the famed Alcatraz Island and so much more.
Heading out of the city of San Francisco and to the north one can be whisked away into what feels like a primeval forest where one can hike and commune with nature. It is the fabulous Muir Woods National Monument named after naturalist and environmentalist John Muir. It is such a peaceful place to spend some time decompressing from the daily rigors of life.
California Wine Country
There are many notable wineries all throughout California and my hubby and I have visited quite a few of them. We actually got to stay as a guest in Lily Langtry's home one time as guests of Guenoc Winery. That was certainly a treat and an experience we will never forget.
Do I have your attention yet as to some of the spectacular sites that can be enjoyed in this most populated of states in the U.S?
- Los Angeles is the second largest of all cities in the United States and using the 2010 census just had shy of 3,800,000 people living there. Other populated cities in California include in descending order San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco the latter of which had a little over 800,000 people using the same census. The capitol city of Sacramento had 466,000+ people.
- The attractions in the various cities are many as one might expect. Is there anyone in the world who has not heard of Disneyland? Walt Disney made this theme park in Anaheim famous. The success of this park spawned Disney World on the other side of the U.S. continent in Orlando, Florida where more people can experience those thrilling rides and amusements.
Leaving the cities behind Mother Nature pulls out all the stops when it comes to what she has created in California. Around 45% of the state is forested some of which are those tallest redwood trees and the cypress trees of such massive dimensions which must be seen to be fully appreciated.And then there are the national parks each of which shares some of Mother Nature's beauty and wonder. They are the following as of this posting:
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon
- Lassen Volcanic
- Joshua Tree
- Death Valley
- Channel Islands
When my German girlfriend and I traveled to California we visited all the national parks as of that time which numbered 5. More have been added since that time and this list will probably continue to grow over time. It is wonderful that areas like this are set aside for everyone to enjoy.
- Did you know that California has the 3rd longest coastline after Alaska and Florida?
We have driven along different areas of it and it never fails to impress the senses with its wild power and beauty.
- Did you realize that farmers in the Central Valley of California grow about 8% of all the food produced in the United States? Hundreds of crops in this fertile centrally located valley that is 450 miles (720km) long and about 40 to 60 miles (60 - 100km) wide can be viewed as the seemingly endless fields stretch out on all sides almost as far as the eye can see.
My friend and I purchased fresh picked strawberries from a roadside stand in the Central Valley and feasted upon them for days!
If you have not yet visited California, just know that seemingly endless treats await your discovery. I know that I would enjoy seeing more of this wondrous state someday.
If you have not yet visited California, did reading this spark your interest in doing so?
© 2012 Peggy Woods