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Things to Do in California

The umpteen varieties of mind-boggling things to do in California can totally be credited for an ultimate fun vacation in this gorgeous US state. California promises to offer its visitors a wide range of activities along its scenic coastline, alluring natural landscapes, age old heritage sites, and modern upscale settings. The most interesting part of California is that it has kept something or other for every kind of tourist starting from romantic couples to family vacationers and from wanderlust solo travellers to group adventure seekers.

Some of the most sought after activities to do in California include taking a road trip to Big Sur to capture some breathtaking views of the pacific ocean and visiting the Hollywood sign to enjoy hiking.

While exploring Mono Lake’s Astonishing Tifa's will get you great views of the Sierras and a few smaller nearby volcanoes, visiting Sequoia National Park will give you a chance to marvel under the sky piercing trees. A trip to check out some of the best things to do in California will give you a wholesome experience of the place and you will get to uncover zillions of unheard stories.

Here are some of the best things to do in California:

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Anaheim Disneyland
A fairytale-like place that is not only filled with different kinds of attractions but also themed with your favourite characters was the first ever Disneyland that came into existence. This place has no bar on age or gender.It has therefore always been an exciting place where imagination meets reality. Do not miss out on this wonderful place of magic, tales and unlimited fun.Location: Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802, United StatesTiming: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PMEntry Fee: $310 - $395
Yosemite National Park
Located in Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park is considered to be one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks that support a diversity of plants and animals. This park consists of 160 varieties of rare plants and is characterized by unique soil properties.

With surreal waterfalls, giant valleys and grand meadows these popular Tourist Places in California are best for vacations with your dear ones.

Location: California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, United States

Entry Fee: About Rs. 2500 per vehicle
Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is best known for its wonderful beaches and ski resorts. This is a large freshwater lake, straddling the border of California and Nevada.  Here you can not only enjoy the scenic panoramic views but also have a good time near the mountainside retreats, skiing, snowboarding etc.

One of the best Places to Visit in California it is safe and well maintained for you to have a great time without over thinking.

Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling the border of California and Nevada
Joshua Tree National Park
A land that is sculpted well by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain, is basically two deserts coming together to form one amazing national park which is now known as the Joshua Tree National Park.

Being one of the most sought after Places to Visit in California, it not only hides a great cultural history but also is a home to a variety of plants and animals. You must have detailed information about its camping ground since there are no grocery stores or restaurants nearby.

Location: Southern California, United States

Timing: 12 AM to 12 PM

Entry Fee: Rs. 2000 per person
Death Valley National Park
A desert valley in Eastern California constitutes much of the Death Valley National Park. This valley is famous for its telescope peak in the Panamint Range which forms the highest peak in the Death Valley with an average elevation of 11043 feet.

Some of the notable attractions here are bad water basin, china ranch, devil's hole, Oasis at Death Valley, sailing stones, Scotty’s castle, tecopa hot springs and many more.

Location: Eastern California and Nevada
Palm Springs
Palm Springs is a beautiful city in southern California that is known for its hot springs, lavish hotels, golf courses and spas. Being one of the best Places to Visit in California, it showcases every bit of mid century modern architecture along with a shopping district that features vintage boutiques, interior design shops and different restaurants.

The valley nearing this spring is known to provide hiking, biking and horseback riding services.

Location: Sonoran Desert of southern California
Carmel By The Sea
In California’s Monterey Peninsula you’ll find a small but pretty beach that is called the Carmel by the Sea. Being one of the popular Places to Visit in California, it is known for its museums, fairytale cottages, galleries of its village-like centre and for the library that belongs to the historic Carmel Mansion.

Here you can go surfing on the beach, scuba diving and even to watch birds and other sea animals.

Location: California's Monterey Peninsula
Big Sur
Big Sur has been known for being the longest and having the most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline. This just resembles a mountainous section that exists in the southern coast of California between Carmel highlands and Cam Simeon.

Its stunning views, beaches, hiking facilities, redwood forests and other recreational opportunities have made Big Sur a popular destination for everyone who lives within a day’s drive kind of distance.

Location: California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is basically thousands of acres and acres of forested mountainous terrain. This park is known to have the highest peak in the contiguous United States called Mount Whitney.

This place is also notable for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree that is known as the largest tree on earth by volume.

Location: Adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park in California's southern Sierra Nevada mountain

Entry Fee: $70
Mc Way Falls
An 80 foot tall waterfall on the coast of Big Sur in Central California that continues to flow from the McWay creek is popularly known as the Mcway fall.

You can either enjoy a perfect drive amidst this beautiful vista of this place or you can simply choose to go for hiking, relaxing by the beaches, enjoying at their restaurants and so on.

Location: Coast of Big Sur in central California
Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Touted as the World’s greatest wax museum in existence, it is one of the most popular places to see in Los Angeles. Designed on 3 floors, take all the celebrity fun that you can, including some very famous personalities such as Marilyn Monroe.

Also available is a fun adventure in 4D with the superheroes from the Marvel series. This is a complete package of fun and exciting adventure for you and your family. Getting clicked with A list stars, Pop icons and marvel heroes is a must when you visit the museum.

Location: 6933 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, United States

Timing: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entry fee: $26.99
Vernal Falls
600 steps and an hour’s journey will take to one of the most gorgeous waterfalls on the Merced River just downstream of Nevada fall in the Yosemite National Park, California.

This waterfall is known as the Vernal Falls that has a total height of 317 foot. This place is not that crowded so you can easily find Tourist Places in California to relax or simply go for a nice hike.

Location: Merced River just downstream of Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park, California.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is easily one of the deepest canyons in North America and has the most popular sights that should be a “must see” on your list.

The National park is quite famous for its Grant grove, General grant tree, cedar groves, giant grove stables, Boyden cavern and for the wonderful Zumwalt meadow.

Location: Adjacent to Sequoia National Park in California's Sierra Nevada mountains

Timing: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: $70
Point Reyes National Seashore
A natural sanctuary or a human haven that is not only filled with the calmness of the ocean waves crashing against the rocky headlands or the warm sand but also leads you to a place that is filled with greenness, brushy hillsides, forested ridges and an easy access for all its visitors to discover the raw beauty of 1500 species of different plants and animals.

It’s even better for people having pets since all kinds of pets are welcome. Besides you can also prefer going for hiking, ranger guided programs, boating, backcountry camping or even watch the Point Reyes lighthouse.

Location: Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, United States

Timing: 6:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Emerald Bay
If you have already had your visit to Lake Tahoe then the Emerald bay is just a short drive away from South Lake Tahoe and can be easily accessed through highway 89. Emerald bay is a beautiful oasis of shimmering greens and turquoises amidst the deep Blue Mountains that serve as a beautiful backdrop.

Emerald bay is hence the crown jewel of Lake Tahoe. There are also a variety of adventures that you can occupy yourself with. Such activities include going hiking, biking as well as multiple water sports. You can also visit the popular Fannette island that is located right in the heart of the emerald bay and is regarded as “the most photographed place on earth”.

Location: 138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, United States

Timing: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Entry Fee: $10

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California Things To Do FAQs

What are the best things to do in California?

1. Road Trip Big Sur: The Big Sur in California coast is renowned for its rugged cliffs, green mountains, and deep blue water. The majority of the popular viewpoints are on the coastal side, so driving north to south will allow you to make right turns into and out of the viewpoints. A Big Sur road trip will provide you with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean as well as the opportunity to explore the ruggedly beautiful coves. It is , without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Taking a stroll through redwood groves. Beautiful coastal bluffs to stroll along. Visiting a landmark lighthouse, walking on a beach of purple sand, taking countless images from scenic vantage points are some of the best California things to do. A Big Sur road trip should be on your bucket list if it isn't already.

Location: California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon

2. Visit The Hollywood Sign: Griffith Park is the perfect spot to see the Hollywood Sign. Mt. Hollywood has a number of hiking trails that start from the back corner of the Observatory parking lot. The main Griffith Observatory hike leads to a vantage point from which you can enjoy a comfortable view of the sign. Look up at the Hollywood and Highland Center sign from town to enjoy one of the best activities to do in California. Hike the West Trail in Griffith Park or follow a guided trail ride out of Sunset Ranch, at the end of Beachwood Drive, for a more exclusive way to see the sign. Sunset Ranch offers a variety of horseback riding tours, including one- and two-hour rides through Griffith Park, evening tours with dinner, and even overnight stays, all of which provide excellent photo opportunities of the famous sign as well as other L.A. scenery stretching all the way across the city.

Location: Los Angeles, CA 90068, United States

3. Explore Mono Lake’s Astonishing Tufa’s: There are just a few places in California, if not the entire world, that will make you believe you're on Mars. One of them is the Mono Lake Tufa State National Preserve. From Panum Crater, a nearby volcano, you can get a great view of the entire Mono Lake. Hiking this 2.1 mile loop trail requires some time since there are some steep sections and the trail is gravel. Besides views of Mono Lake with South Tufa, you also get great views of the Sierras and a few smaller nearby volcanoes during one of the best activities to do in California.

Location: Mono County, California

4. Sequoia National Park: The National Parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon in California will broaden your horizons, refresh your spirit, and test your sense of awe. The size of Sequoia and Kings Canyon is ancient and epic, like the sky-piercing trees that grow only here. Enjoy thrilling Sierra recreation on a scale that field guides and trail maps can only hint at. Hike on trails that include the General Sherman Tree and gaze at the General Sherman Tree.

Location: California, United States

5. Anza Borrego Desert: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is located in California's southeastern corner. It is California's largest state park, spanning more than 600,000 acres and stretching 25 miles east to west and 50 miles north to south. There are several spectacular locations within the park that will characterise your visit and provide excellent photo opportunities. Some of the hottest spots in the city can be found in the park. As you begin to explore Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, you will note that it has a rich archaeological history, with traces of past human inhabitants found on nearly every surface of this arid region. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the park many times, offering 50 miles of exciting hiking, which is one of the best activities to do in California.

Location: 200 Palm Canyon Dr, Borrego Springs, CA 92004, United States
Timing: Open 24 Hours

6. Paddle Board On Lake Tahoe: Tahoe is one of the world's clearest, biggest, and deepest alpine lakes. It has one of the most unique paddle board destinations in the world. Infact, Paddleboarding has become one of the most common water California things to do in recent years, owing to its surprising simplicity. Well, it may be shaky at first, but there is a fast learning curve. Your arm, back, and abdominal muscles will be put to the test in this exercise! The trick is to have so much fun that you won't even know you're actually exercising. Here, you have a better view looking down into the popular Tahoe waters because you're standing up. This is hands down one of the most beautiful ways to view the lake and the mountains that surround it!

Location: Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling the border of California and Nevada

7. Visit Joshua Tree National Park: The park's most prominent resident is the slow-growing Joshua tree, which graces much of the park's desert ecosystem. Serious mountain climbing is also common in Joshua Tree, along with a range of spots have already been set up for climbers who are familiar with the required equipment and techniques. Inside the park, there are a number of hiking opportunities. The Ryan Mountain trail, an up-and-back hike that takes you to the top of one of the park's highest points and offers breathtaking views of the Mojave Desert, is definitely a must-see. Additionally, if you're fortunate enough to camp in Joshua Tree National Park, you'll have access to some spectacularly clear and starry night skies which is considered to be most sought after activities to do in California.

Location: California, United States
Timing: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Price: $12

8. Explore Danish Town Of Solvang: If you're looking for a special getaway,then the historic Danish village of Solvang offers the best of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara wine country in a comfortable and quiet atmosphere. Don't forget to try out those lip smacking Danish pastries at world- famous bakeries. Here, in this town you can stroll through the village and marvel at the old-world European architecture. Along with that, you'll find the ideal souvenir in one of the many charming boutiques and shops. For families longing to enjoy some of the best things to do in California, a trip on the Solvang trolley is a must. Solvang's rich cultural heritage and offerings include this historic, wooden, horse-drawn streetcar. Near Solvang, there are over 120 wineries and stunning vineyards to visit, as well as plenty of dining choices, including California farm-to-table cuisine.

Location: 1529 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463, United States
Timing: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

9. Visit The Carson Mansion: The Carson Mansion is a massive Victorian house in Eureka, California's Old Town. The house is "considered the most grand Victorian home in America," with one of the best examples of American Queen Anne style architecture. It is one of the most well-known and photographed Victorian homes in California, if not the entire country. Visitors can drive by and admire the magnanimous house and it's rich heritage.

Location: 143 M St, Eureka, CA 95501, United States

10. Visit Catalina Island: The most preferable time to visit this Island is early in the morning and witness the spectacular orange sunrise. The sun, the ocean, and the sea life all collaborate in what sounds like a nature-directed opera. It's definitely an unrivalled and spectacular way to start the day. There's also the Zip Line Eco Tour, which immerses you in exhilarating thrills while surrounded by stunning scenery. Since it's fast, convenient, and exhilarating, the zip line is very popular with day trippers and they just love to spend time taking part in these things to do in California. You'll have an awesome island getaway experience with everything from water sports and aerial adventures to food tours and the great outdoors. So, if you're looking for a unique vacation destination that's just an hour away from the California mainland, Catalina Island should be at the top of your list.

Location: southwest of Los Angeles

What are the best adventure activities to do in California?

1. Roam around Tufa at Mono Lake: The ancient Mono Lake offers you to experience the audacious sights that are laid along its shoreline. You'd spot the naturally formed limestone formations which are also identified as the tufa towers aroused from the surface of the sea . Also the exotic mountain views with a warm sunset are worth watching when at this place on a tour of exploring the best things to do in California.

2. Camping at Joshua Tree National Park: Experience the marvelous nightscape by spending your night at Joshua tree National Park. You'd also spot the naturally formed huge rocks. Camping out in this park would be a very solitary experience and one of the best things to do in California as all the campsites are curled up within the vast peculiarly formed boulders.

3. Skiing at the best resorts of California: Apart from all the magnificent features, California also offers you the most adventuresome skiing as it hosts numerous ski resorts with huge varieties of expanding arenas for skiing. Some of the skiing resorts like Big Bear, Snow Summit and Mountain High , Sierra Nevada range where you could experience the best ski skills.

What are the best things to do in California for couples?

1. Watching magnificent views at Big Sur: Big Sur is a beautiful landmark with wild landscapes that would unleash the wilderness within. The spellbound spot would make you much more fantasized when you're with your partner. You can pamper your loved ones at the luxurious restaurants as well as hotels.

2. Spend love moments at Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara or American Riviera is a gorgeous place located at the shoreline having scenic ambience. Spend the most delightful times with your better half cherishing your love along. The adventuresome atmosphere is best suitable for biking, sailing, and hiking. Visit the local heritage sites having Spanish-style buildings homing to various art galleries, restaurants, cafes and what not.

3. Seek loveable adventure at the Russian River: Go for weekends to the Russian River which is a marvelous spot offering the couples with adventurous California things to do such as hiking in the forests, swimming in the crystal clear river water, sunbathing,kayaking and fishing, etc at the river as well as riverside beaches. The astounding views and the scenic environment with historical significance make this place a perfect relaxing getaway with your partner.

4. Visit the romantic Half Moon Bay: Plan out your date to the most beautiful spot, The Half Moon Bay which is a romantic place worth visiting. Hike onto the short trails into the woods, walk along the cleanest shoreline with your partner enjoying the tranquility of the environment and spare the loveliest moments with your partner at the vibrant restaurants. This is also the best place to plan your wedding on. All these stunning amenities makes this place even more inspiring

Which are the best places for shopping in California?

1. Westfield Century City: Located in the middle of the city, Westfield Century City Mall happens to be the most buzzing place for shopping. It has ample amount of street shops, food banquets, famous brand stores and many more that can fill out your cart with your choices.

2. Third Street promenade: Experience the aesthetic welcome by the fluttering palm trees of the Third Street promenade. From floating blissfully on the pier with a relaxing vibe to shopping at the most popular shops like Urban Outfitters, GUESS and Armani Exchange are awe-inspiring features of this place.

3. Hollywood and highland: Hosting numerous shops, this place draws the attention of a huge number of tourists every now and then. Increase the strength of your shopping hobby and spend hours inside this place buying your favourite stuff in window shopping. Not only for shopping but also this place hosts many entertaining events like live music, lighting and sound shows and some movie theatres where you can outlay your time.

What is the best time to visit California?

The best time to visit california would be from the month of May to the month of September. Heading over to this place during these months, you will be able to enjoy sunny and warm climate. If you are looking out for an ultimate California getaway, then you can also visit during the months of April and October.

What is famous in California?

California is home to some of the vibrant cities, enthralling natural wonders, pristine beaches, and thrilling amusement parks. Heading over to this place, you will be able to get a chance to marvel at some of the iconic places like Hollywood, Disneyland, Golden Gate Bridge, and many others. California will surely tranquilize your senses with its national parks, mountains, coastal areas, islands, and deserts.

Is California worth visiting?

Yes, California is definitely worth visiting as it is a country that is loaded with alluring natural beauty, vibrant food culture, lively movies and music, and cutting edge technology. You will surely get a chance to spend time in the midst of an upscale environment with your loved ones and also learn more about the past heritage.

Is California safe?

Yes, California is definitely a safe place to visit as the crime index is very low and it is one such in the world that never sleeps which means you can stroll around the place till late night without any fear. It is however suggested to be vigilant while at crowded public places.

How many days do you need in California?

You would need at least 4 - 5 days to cover all the important tourist destinations in California. While on a trip to California, you can experience the Magic at Disneyland, explore the Natural Beauty of the Lava Beds National Monument, take to safaris and surfing at San Diego, explore Wilderness at Yosemite National Park, bask in the sun at China beach in San Francisco, spoil yourself silly in Los Angeles, uncover the unexplored at Glacier Point, get lost in nature at the Joshua Tree National Park.

How to reach California?

By Flight: You can visit California from every single corner of the world by direct regular lights. California is served by some of the world class airlines like Etihad Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Air Canada, Air India, Qatar Airways, and many more. The major airports for international transfers in California are Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and San Diego International Airport (SAN).

By Road: California is accessible from some of the neighbouring regions of the United States by road. Buses operate along the scenic routes giving tourists high class services. You can also go ahead with car rental agencies like Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty, and Avis to get a self drive car for the epic road trip.

By Train: California is accessible by train operated by Amtrak serving 70 stations in the Golden State. You can reach California from about 46 different cities of the United States by train. Though train journeys are time consuming but taking one will surely make you day by giving you a chance to witness the scenic views on all sides.

Newly Added California Experiences

California Things To Do Reviews

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Marylene LENOIR
Reviewed: 22 Feb 2024
5.0/5
Service rapide et voucher reçu le jour même pour les 2 parcs à Disneyland Anaheim. Prise de contact rapide par le staff de Thrillophilia avec coûts des villes aux 2 parcs beaucoup moins cher que le site internet officiel de Disney.
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Younkyong Kim
Reviewed: 05 Feb 2023
5.0/5
친구 소개로 다녀왔는데 전망대부터 공ㅈ원, 전시물 모두 멋졌어요. 좀 떨어져있긴 했지만 당일 무료 관람이 가능한 리전 오브 아너도 다녀와 갓ㅇ동받았습니다. MOMA보다 더 좋았어요.
Younkyong Kim
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Claudia Santos
Reviewed: 07 Feb 2023
5.0/5
O Guia o Alan era espetacular. Gostamos muito. Obrigada.
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Jasmine Wilson
Reviewed: 18 Dec 2022
5.0/5
Enjoying various rides and attractions at SeaWorld was a wonderful experience for our family. Even the lunch included in our package was delicious. Many thanks, Thrillophilia for suggesting this trip and arranging it for us at the last moment at a great discount.
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Mesbah Bibi
Reviewed: 22 Dec 2022
5.0/5
Our tickets got emailed within an hour or so super quick and the zoo was great lots of animals and beautiful plants.
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Katarina Petrovic
Reviewed: 21 Nov 2022
5.0/5
As art lovers, my friends and I had a blast exploring the museum, and we are grateful to Thrillophilia for suggesting this tour. Booking tickets in advance online was helpful, all thanks to Thrillophilia’s easy bookings.

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