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California is one of the places that has what feels like unlimited sunshine. But while it’s known as the Golden State, there is much more to do here than just the beaches. 

Yes, 840 miles of coastline make for amazing beaches, and many travel solely for the surf camps California has to offer. But you can’t spend 24/7 in the sun, sand, and surf!

So here are many more great reasons to visit California. 

Great Reasons to Visit California

Wine Country

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California is America’s top producer of wine, and while you may instantly know names like Napa Valley and Sonoma, there are wine regions spread all across the State. 

637,000 acres of the State have been planted to wine grapes, and there are wine tasting experiences to suit every interest; head to Napa Valley for your high end pairings, to Sonoma County for a glass of Pinot Noir, or to Mendocino County to pair it with advenure.

Los Carneros is known for crisp Chardonnay, and is an easy drive from San Fran, the Santa Cruz Mountains have warmer climate grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot, and Monterey features unusual grapes like Albariño.

Wine has been produced here since the 18th century, and in Napa Valley alone there are 240 + wineries, including one in a Tuscan castle. 

The Beaches

Sumoii Sand Free Beach Towel Review Best Travel Beach Towel (1)

Yes, we said this would give you more reasons than just the beach, but we’ll also provide you with some of the best ones!

California living is all about the beach, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re into surfing (head to Huntington Beach), strolling along a pier (Santa Monica), or whale watching, there’s a huge diversity to fit every mood.

Sunworshippers have found their spiritual home in SoCal. If you’re after a famous beach, head to Manhattan or Hermosa. Laguna Beach will offer the Insta-worthy shots, Malibu has some great hiking and beautiful landscapes, and Pfeiffer Beach has purple sands and amazing sunsets.

The fog that blankets the beaches during winter tends to lift by spring, giving you that gorgeous view of the ocean; some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Pacific is based on the beaches in California.

Spring is migration season for California gray whales, and these giants make the swim for the warm water in Mexico to the cooler climates in Alaska. You’ll be able to see them making their way along the California coast.

National Parks

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If you love getting stuck into nature, California has some of the most incredible National Parks in the United States. 

You can marvel at the world’s largest tree in the Redwood National Forest, head to the wildflower fields in Yosemite, or head over to Joshua Tree just to be able to see the desert blooms.

People think that California is packed with hustle and bustle, and yes, the cities most certainly are. But it doesn’t take long to reach some of the world’s most natural and most beautiful places.

Death Valley national park sounds like a place to avoid, but is a stunning desert, with vivid colors. Point Reyes national seashore offers wild beaches and wildlife like seals, whales, raptors and nesting sea birds.

Pro tip: If you book to visit in April you can keep an eye out for the Lyrid meteor shower. This is a dancer shooting star that happens around every April and is visible in mendocino, Death Valley and Big Sur.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks are just south-east of Yosemite, and this is where you can see the Redwoods up close.

Sailing Culture

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If you love being on the water, California offers more than just beaches, and sailing culture is huge, with some fantastic, worldclass harbors. 

Many even live on their boats in California.

Because it’s such a popular hub, California marinas tend to have good amenities, great locations, and great security. Lake Shasta is a popular place for houseboating and watersports, and San Diego is a hub for cruising and sailing day tours.

Marina del Rey is a popular harbor where you’ll find a lot of jet skiing, paddleboard yoga, and surfing. And San Francisco is great for beginners – you can sign up for sailing lessons in San Francisco or just sip a glass of wine as you sail past the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Theme Parks

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There are plenty of theme parks around California, and while Disneyland Anaheim is the most famous, you also have the choice of:

  •  Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Legoland California
  • California’s Great America
  • Belmont Park
  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Castle Park
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom


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If you’re visiting California in Spring, you’ll note that the many reserves and national parks across the State come alive with seasonal surprises.

One worth noting in particular is the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve where you can see the poppies in California.

The newly blossomed wildflowers and other flora are beautiful, but the poppy is actually the state flower.  The duration and intensity of colors and scents vary from year to year, but season is usually from mid-February through May.


California has a huge range of festivals all year round, though they put on some exceptional film festivals.

There are close to 100 film festivals each year in California, and with the glitz of Hollywood, and some of the best celebrity spotting in the world, these are an opportunity to catch premieres, screenings of upcoming films, and rub shoulders with actors and directors.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival is in January and always a star studded event. It’s black tie, and attracts dozens of A-list celebrities.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is also in January and is open to the public, with 200+ films screened over the 11 day event. It includes independent and foreign films as well as documentaries, and there are many free events. 

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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