Cycling at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz
Kayaking off the shores of La Jolla in San Diego
The historic Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, the city's nightlife and cultural epicenter
Illuminated view of Costa Mesa in Orange County
The famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles
Looking down a row of grape vines at Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach in San Francisco
Rock piles perfect for climbing at Joshua Tree National Park
California: one of the world's best holiday destinations
The Great Outdoors: National Parks California
Nearly 300 state and national parks show off California’s spectacular lands.
With its stunning coastline, dramatic deserts, and rugged mountains, California offers wide-open spaces for everything from scenic road trips to adrenaline-fueled adventures.
In parklands including UNESCO World Heritage sites Yosemite National Park and Redwood State and National Parks, enjoy year-round activities. In spring, raft Gold Country rivers and take wildflower hikes in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, or swing a club at famous golf courses. In summer, surf “The O.C.” or Santa Cruz, or rent a houseboat on a sparkling lake. Come fall, photograph brilliant High Sierra foliage or join a wine country grape stomp. In winter, ski celebrated slopes, or take a whale-watching cruise off the North Coast.
Make California’s rich, anything-goes culture part of your vacation experience.
California’s arts and culture extend beyond the walls of its world-class museums. Communities like Carmel-by-the-Sea, Idyllwild, and Laguna Beach showcase its rich artistic heritage. Spanish missions shed light on California’s roots.
Celebrate the state’s music scene at festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival near Palm Springs, Monterey Jazz Festival on the Central Coast, and San Francisco’s Outside Lands. Experience diverse cultures in San Francisco’s Chinatown, or Mexican-influenced Old Town San Diego.
When it comes to big-city fun, California’s urban hot spots shine.
California is a land of great urban gateways, with exciting hubs like San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, Los Angeles’ dynamic downtown and Sunset Strip, and San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Discover buzz-worthy chefs at innovative restaurants, or sample California’s booming (and delicious) food truck fare. After dark, enjoy a mixologist’s cocktail, catch a concert or play, or dance the night away.
Leave time to experience iconic urban attractions like Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, SeaWorld San Diego, and Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as hidden gems ranging from tucked-away city gardens to expansive leafy retreats, like San Diego’s Balboa Park and world-famous zoo.
California offers an unparalleled range of unexpected “spoil yourself” experiences.
Escape into bliss at a luxurious spa or a serene wellness retreat. Sip top vintages at elegant wineries. Slip into haute couture styles at Beverly Hills’ boutiques, or at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Take a VIP tour of movie back lots and top attractions. Savor meals created by Michelin-starred chefs, like Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Yountville or Wolfgang Puck at Spago, in Los Angeles.
Priceless indulgences abound. Catch one of the world’s best light shows—a California sunset—from the cliffs of Mendocino. Watch mystical fog swirl through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and gaze up at waterfall rainbows at Yosemite National Park.
California contains both the highest point (Mount Whitney) and the lowest point (Death Valley) in the contiguous United States.