State of California: Numerous Attractions, Incredible Sites of Interest, and Facts
Even people who have lived in California, all their lives, have probably not seen every nook and cranny of this enormous state, which (except for Alaska and Texas) is the third-largest landmass.
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 fascinating and beautiful places of interest that I found very much to my liking.
Adventurous mountain climbers might like ascending Mount Whitney, 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 incredible 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 state. Mexico borders it to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Oregon to the north, and Nevada and Arizona to the east. You will be in for a fantastic journey!
San Francisco Sites
Except for one vacation when a friend rode with me in my car from Houston to California and back, our California vacations 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 a good reason. It has a very mild climate and beautiful vegetation, as can readily be seen in the gorgeous parks and surrounding areas.
It is a city comprised of hills...50 of them! The buildings 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 most crooked street (supposedly in the world) with hairpin turns, that of Lombard Street.
There are marvelous San Francisco restaurants representing just about every ethnicity of cuisine, and we have relished many a good meal there.
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 an ancient 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 throughout California, and my hubby and I have visited quite a few of them. We got to stay as a guest in Lily Langtry's home once as guests of Guenoc Winery. That was certainly a treat and an experience we will never forget.
Below are a few facts and sites to see in California.
- Los Angeles is the second largest of all cities in the United States, and using the 2010 census 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 capital city of Sacramento had 466,000+ people.
- 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.
- Did you know that California has the 3rd longest coastline after Alaska and Florida? We have driven 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 450 miles (720km) long and about 40 to 60 miles (60 - 100km) wide are seen as the seemingly endless fields stretch out on all sides far as the eye can see. My friend and I purchased freshly picked strawberries from a roadside stand in the Central Valley and feasted upon them for days!
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. A person must see them in person to fully appreciate them! 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 at that time, which numbered five. More have been added since that time, and this list will probably continue to grow over time. It is terrific that areas like this are set aside for everyone to enjoy.
If you have not yet visited California, know that seemingly endless treats await your discovery. I know that I would enjoy seeing more of this wondrous state someday.
Life in California is beautiful.— Oscar Nunez
If you have not yet visited California, did reading this spark your interest in doing so?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods