The golden state of California is deeply admired by many and for good reason. With all the stunning and breathtakingly beautiful sights to see and visit, it’s no wonder that people spend their days California dreaming. From north to south, California is filled with surreal sights that will take your Instagram game up a notch.
Next time you plan a trip to California, make sure to stop by these spectacular places, as nothing comes close to these sights on the golden coast:
Off the coast of California’s Pacific Coast Highway is a stunning town called Big Sur. Known for its cliffside beach views, Big Sur gained a lot of momentum as of late, all thanks to Instagram. As you stand by the edge of the coast, you’ll witness the crashing blue waves and rugged mountain views, which sets the landscape to the tiny town filled with tiny shops and cafes.
Located in the desert of SoCal in Imperial County, sits an art piece created by Leonard Knight. Made out of clay and paint, this colorful gift to the area is a masterpiece that celebrates love, religion, and nature. The rainbow-colored rocks stand out from its environment but make for a stunning backdrop for photos and memories.
Sitting right by San Francisco’s downtown core is an island known as Alcatraz. Many have heard of the infamous and may have seen it in movies, but seeing this place in real life is just what the title of this article says – surreal. As you take a boat ride from Fisherman’s Wharf and get a good look at the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll get a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be stranded on an island.
Known as one of the hottest places on earth, this desert with the lowest elevation on the planet is quite extreme but worth the visit. It’s one of the largest national parks and brings in roughly a million or so visitors each year. You can visit for a day or camp and explore the various scenic areas this dry but impressive desert.
For something charming and unexpected, head out to the small city of Ojai in Ventura County. Filled with art galleries, New Age shops, and local forms, it has that “small town feel” you crave after spending days in a hustling and bustling city like LA. You may not know it but Ojai is also known for its olive oil so during your visit, make sure to taste and learn the history of the California olive trees.
Yosemite National Park
Known for its massive towering mountains, impressive waterfalls and giant sequoia trees, Yosemite National Park is a must see when visiting California. You can easily spend a few days exploring and hiking your way through each area of the Park, including Half Dome, Glacier Point, and Yosemite Falls. If you truly want to be one with nature and have your very own “Wild” moment, this the best place to be.
If wine is your favorite drink of all time, you definitely have to go to American’s wine heaven, known as the Napa Valley. Napa is filled with hundreds of small and large wineries, most of them open to the public for wine tastings. As you make your rounds from one vineyard to the other, you’ll feel like you’ve been instantly transported to Italy or Spain.
Carmel By the Sea
This quaint beach town looks it comes straight from a T.V. set (hello Big Little Liars!) and rightfully so. Filled with surfers, retirees and the occasional celeb, you can shop at the local pop and mom stores, do yoga right on the beach or simply spend your days relaxing while enjoying the spectacular sea views.
Just south of San Diego’s downtown core, sits an island town known as Coronado Island. Your heart may skip a beat as you drive over a massive bridge over the water and into the small but unbelievably charming city. This blissful area is perfect for some casual boutique shopping, local restaurant dining and of course fun water activity.
For witnessing a desert unlike any other, head to Joshua Tree, one of California’s largest national parks. The park is perfect for exploring new grounds, as the desert is formed by rugged rocks and filled with Yucca Brevifolia trees. Whether you spend a few days camping or an entire day hiking, you’ll uncover stunning new sights and views that will certainly take your breath away (and an Insta photo simply won’t do it justice).