Traveling in California
Sightseeing in the beautiful US state of California
With its great climate, natural wonders, beaches, and amusement parks California has become one of the top vacation destinations in the US.
Yosemite National Park is located in northern California. It is one of the most scenic and visited national parks in the US. The park is surrounded to the southeast by the Sierra National Forest and to the northwest by the Stanislaus National Forest. Visitors enjoy the mountains, valleys, rivers, and amazing waterfalls.
Among the most visited are Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan.
Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road offer access to alpine areas and lookout points offering spectacular views. You can enjoy the giant sequoias with the largest stand located in Mariposa Grove at the southern end of the park. One of the best ways to explore Yosemite is to hike along the many hiking trails. If you wish to spend more time here, there are some fantastic campgrounds.
Death Valley National Park has some of the most inhospitable terrain in California. The desert area has extreme heat but is very beautiful. Here you can explore salt fields, dry parches land, sand dunes, unique rock formations, mountains, and a lake that lies below sea level.
Among the highlights are the sand dunes near Stove Pipe Wells, Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, and Dantes View. It is possible to get out to more remote places with a 4WD vehicle. There are also short trails to hike and you can paddle on Badwater Lake.
Big Sur is a scenic road that begins about four miles south of Carmel in Yankee Point and stretches along Highway No. 1, as far as Salmon Cove. This road offers some fantastic views along the coastline. There is wilderness to the east like the Santa Lucia Mountains and Ventana Forests offering over 220 miles of trails.
Pfeiffer Big Sur Park is the place to go for anyone who wants to get close to nature. You can enjoy sunbathing and hiking. The park also has places for camping and if you want better accommodation there is the Big Sur Lodge. Among the highlights of this park is Pfeiffer Falls. You can reach the falls along Valley View Trail. At the Valley Overlook you can get fantastic views of the ocean and the Big Sur River Valley.
Garrapata State Park is another place people enjoy in Big Sur. The highlight here is Garrapata Beach. It is a great place for sunbathing but not swimming due to the big waves. There are many hiking trails offering fantastic views of the coastline, mountains, and redwoods.
Lake Tahoe is located high in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. It is a popular vacation destination year-round. There are mountains, forests, and small towns. The lovely lake is surrounded by mountains and summertime activities include sunbathing, boating, and camping. Popular beach destinations are D.H. Bliss State Park and Kings Beach State Recreation Area. There are plenty of hiking trails to enjoy nature and the shoreline and you can camp at the beachfront location or wooded areas.
In the winter, Lake Tahoe is a premiere skiing destination with several popular ski resorts.
Sequoia National Park has easy walking trails beneath the giant sequoia trees. Many of the trees are over 2,000 years old. It is home to Mt. Whitney, which is the highest mountain in the US. There are many lovely campgrounds.
Among the highlights are Moro Rock and the famous giant sequoia called General Sherman Tree.
Kings Canyon National Park has a rugged landscape with jagged peaks, remote sections, and tumbling rivers. It is a great park for hiking and you can enjoy walking through forests of giant redwood trees which are the tallest trees on the planet. There are great campgrounds close to the trees in the Grant Grove area and in the Cedar Grove area at the far end of the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway.
The Joshua Tree National Park has an amazing lunar-like landscape with giant boulders and rock formations in all kinds of shapes. The Joshua trees are the most unusual of all trees. The trees are native to the Mohave Desert. In 1936 this park was declared a national monument, and in 1994 it was designated as a national park. Campgrounds are available.
The Cholla Cactus Garden within Joshua Tree National Park seems to stretch endlessly along the hillside to the mountains. Here you can see the ruins of the historic Keys Ranch and the giant palms of the Lost Palms Oasis. Keys View offers a vista of more than 5,000 feet. Also of interest is Skull Rock, a huge rock that looks like an alien skull.
Hearst Castle is officially called the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument. It was built by newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, but the 165-room castle was never completed. The castle sits on top of a hill offering awesome views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Range. At one time this castle was home to the world’s largest private zoo and to this very day you can see zebras and other exotic wildlife roaming the grounds. It is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Santa Catalina is located about 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles. It is part of the Channel Islands and a popular destination for day trippers and boaters. The main population center is Avalon, and on the other end of the island is the smaller village called Two Harbors. Some of the popular things to do on Santa Catalina Island are taking glass-bottom boat tours, going scuba diving, kayaking, and parasailing. The island can be reached by ferry from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point.
Channel Islands National Park consists of five individual islands and is a great place to commune with nature and see wildlife.
An amazing thing to do is to take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The higher you go the colder it gets. The tramway runs for two miles and ascends to an elevation of 8, 516 feet on the slopes of Mount Jacinto. You get views across a 360-degree panorama. This tramway is the largest of its kind in the world. At the top are fifty miles of hiking trails and you can enjoy the awesome view relaxing at one of the two restaurants.
Burney Falls is one of the most stunning falls in California. It is located in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range. The waterfall is one of the many stops along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway. There is a natural spring above a basalt cliff at Burney Falls, giving it, its thunderous volume. The 129-foot waterfall spans the entire ledge. As the mist rises from the falls, rainbow clouds appear.
Rainbow Falls is located within Devil's Postpile National Monuments which is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Inyo National Forest. This is a 101-foot plunging waterfall with an amazing waterfall mist. The shroud of mist comes from the San Joaquin River and on sunny days can offer spectral colors.