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  • May 28, 2018
  • 30 min to read

Top 30 Places to Visit in California

Top 30 Places to Visit in California

The State of California is one of most gorgeous places in the world to take outdoor photos. Here are some of the best locations you will find to take photos in the nation’s most populous state.

 Most Beautiful Places in Northern California

Shasta Cascade

The Shasta Cascade region of California borders Oregon and Nevada. It includes lots of national forests for your enjoyment, including Klamath National Forest and the Lava Beds National Monument, among other locations. The area is also the home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. 

The Klamath National Forest is located in Yreka, the county seat of Siskiyou County.

The Lava Beds National Monument is located in Siskiyou and Modoc countries, located around the northeastern flank of Medicine Lake Volcano in the Cascade Range. 

The Redwoods

California Redwoods

There are two types of California Redwoods, the Giant Sequoia, found in the Sierra Nevada range, and the Coast Redwood found in the ocean areas of Big Sur northward to Oregon. 

Ideally, you should visit the Giant Sequoia National Monument, part of the Sequoia National Forest. Here you will find 38 of the 39 Giant Sequoia groves located in the national forest.  Be on the lookout for the Boole tree, the sixth largest tree in the world.

You can find California Redwoods on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range of California.

Trinity Alps

Meanwhile, in the Klamath Mountains, you’ll find the Trinity Alps. Based in the Pacific Coast Ranges physiographic region, this area includes notable peaks, including Granite Peak and Ycatapom Peak. 

McArthur–Burney Falls

The McArthur–Burney Falls Memorial State Park features the famous Burney Falls. It’s also an excellent place for camping, fishing, water sports, hiking, and horseback riding facilities. 

The state park is found six miles north of Burney, California.

Point Reyes

Point Reyes, located 30 miles west-northwest of San Francisco, includes Tomales Bay on the northeast and Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast.

The headland is part of Point Reyes National Seashore.

When visiting here, take a look at Point Reyes Lighthouse, the coastline from Chimney Rock, and more. 

Bay Area

Natural Bridges State Beach

Santa Cruz is the home to the 65-acre Natural Bridges State Beach. The park includes a natural bridge across a section of the beach. It's also a great place to watch monarch butterfly migrations. 

After enjoying the beauty of the natural bridge, be sure to take a closer look at the tide pools at the beach. You’ll find urchins, sea stars, hermit crabs, and more. 

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is California’s oldest surviving amusement parks and one of the only seaside parks on the western coast of the United States. Founded in 1907, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an excellent place to people watch, during the day and at night. 

Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most famous suspension type bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County, California. It's one of the Wonders of the Modern World, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Snapping photographs of Golden Gate Bridge is a must-do event while in San Francisco. Take photos of the bridge from miles away and then get closer and take images while walking across the structure. 

Cornerstone Sonoma

Located less than an hour north of San Francisco, Cornerstone Sonoma features walking gardens, shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms. Take your time in the gardens and nearly exhibits, which change often.

Located at the gateway of Sonoma and Napa County in California's Wine Country, Cornerstone has been described as “a place to shop, sip, eat, play, and explore.”

Central California

Nevada City

Nevada City, California offers attractive natural surroundings and stunning views, especially during autumn. Look closely, as some of the buildings in town might look familiar since the city also serves as a setting for film and television productions. 

Nevada City is the county seat of Nevada County, California and located 60 miles northeast of Sacramento and 28 miles north of Auburn. 

Mono Lake

Mono Lake in Mono County is a unique Salina soda lake formed nearly 760,000 years ago. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline. Come here to see exciting aquatic life and birds. Stay to learn more about the indigenous people of Mono Lake, the Kutzadika’a.

Bodie

East of the Sierra Nevada mountain range you’ll find the ghost town of Bodie, California. Once a booming gold town, National Historic Landmark Bodie is the home to protected old buildings, each with stories to tell.

Bodie’s located about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe.

Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular attractions in the United States. Featuring nearly 750,000 acres of protected land, Yosemite is the home of granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95 percent of the park is considered wilderness.

Among the places to visit: Half Dome, Glacier Point, Mirror Lake, Badger Pass, and the Yosemite Conservancy.

Lake Tahoe

The giant freshwater Lake Tahoe straddles the state line between California and Nevada. It’s known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. Lake Tahoe is a great place to explore and take part in winter sports, summer outdoor recreation, and scenery.

Central Coast

Big Sur

At Big Sur, located between the Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, you’ll see where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise from the Pacific Ocean, making for a breathtaking view. A global tourist destination, Big Sur is most visited during summer vacation and holiday weekends.

When in Big Sur, be sure to visit the Bixby Creek Bridge, Point Sur Lightstation, and McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Monterey

In Monterey, California, you’ll find lots of present-day attractions, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf, and rocky beaches.

Among the places to visit are Lake El Estero, which is known for its paddle boats, and Dennis the Menace Park, named after the famous comics character, There’s also Pebble Beach, one of the most renowned golf courses in the world. 

Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a city in Monterey County, California that’s situated on the Monterey Peninsula. It’s known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Carmel is a great place  enjoy the  white  sandy shores of   beach.


Interesting fact: Carmel is known for its interesting laws, like prohibiting selling and eating ice cream on public places.

Point Lobos

The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, called the “crown jewel” of California’s state parks, offers marine protected areas, hiking trails, and historic buildings waiting to be discovered. Look at the impressive China Beach!


Best Places to Visit in Southern California

 Palos Verdes

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is a landform found in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The peninsula contains a group of affluent cities in the Palos Verdes Hills, including Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, and Rolling Hills Estates. The hill cities here are known for far-reaching ocean and city views and extensive horse trails.

When visiting Palos Verdes, be sure to check out the South Coast Botanic Garden, Point Vicente Park, Fort MacArthur Military Museum, and Del Cerro Park. Meanwhile, Ryan Park offers beautiful views of nearby Catalina Island. 

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is an urban cultural park located in San Diego, California. It offers open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths. It’s here where you’ll find museums, including the San Diego Zoo. 

Be sure to visit Balboa Park’s many gardens to snap beautiful outdoor scenes. 

Santa Monica Pier

Over 100 years old, the Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier located on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California. Highlights include Pacific Park with its solar-paneled Ferris wheel and an original carousel hippodrome dating back to the 1920s. 

Sunset Cliffs

The Sunset Cliffs are located in the Point Loma community of San Diego, California and named after the gigantic cliffs that border the ocean. The cliffside trails are favors for walking and for watching the sunset.

Scripps Pier

The Scripps Pier in San Diego is a favorite spot to take photos at sunset.  Scripps Pier is part of  the Scripps Institution of Oceanography n in La Jolla, California.

Playa Del Rey

In this coastal neighborhood in Los Angeles, you’ll find rolling hills that are the result of ancient, wind-blown dunes that rise to 125 feet above sea level.

Desert Areas

Death Valley

Finally, there’s Death Valley, a desert valley that’s located in Eastern California. Part of the Mojave Desert, the area is one of the hottest places in the world.


In Death Valley, you’ll see a brilliant example of a graben, or a down-dropped block of land between two mountain ranges. Be sure to experience the Zabriskie Point at sunrise.

One Final Point

Once you come inside with your outdoor photos, be sure to utilize Photolemur photo editor to make your images even better. Thanks to PerfectEye technology, which is coming this spring to Photolemur, we’re getting ever-closer to making sure your photos look as perfect as they did when you snapped them. 

The new PerfectEye engine works with different types of images, including optimized JPEG images. In doing so, your JPEG images become smoother and better than ever. 


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