Beautiful & Best visiting Places in California, Top & Amazing destination & Spots in California, most Attraction Vacation on beaches Pictures, Yosemite Photos, Big Sur images, to Joshua Tree and Santa Barbara, California is home, There’s nothing shy about California and its alluring charms are well and truly on display. Hollywood, Disneyland, Zuma Beach, the state of California boasts a huge number of stunning tourist draws, both natural and manmade, that bring in visitors from all over the world. But what about the lesser-known sites all over California where you can experience the true beauty of the golden state.
From the arid, other-worldly sand dunes of Death Valley and the pre-historic ferns of Fern Canyon to the quaint Danish charm of small-town Solvang and the golden bling of Coronado Beach, California has lots to offer the beauty-hunting explorer. Taking care to look for places off the beaten path and mix them in with never-to-be-missed staples of the Californian tourist’s diet
Avalon Town, Catalina Island, Los Angeles
Catalina Island is located 22 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles. The main population hub on the island, Avalon, is like stepping out of California and straight into the Mediterranean. With a rich history that goes back thousands of years, Avalon is the main tourist draw for the upwards of one million visitors Catalina Island enjoys each year. It’s not just the history that beckons though, Avalon is one of the most beautiful places in California with its pretty hillside homes, crystal clear waters and colourful vegetation. The weather is mild all year round so Avalon’s quaint streets, waterside shops and restaurants, and seaside charm can be enjoyed even in autumn and winter. Avalon is accessible by ferry, private boat or small plane and once you arrive on the island you can get around using taxis, bicycles or golf carts.
Coronado Beach, Coronado, San Diego County
Coronado Beach is located along Ocean Boulevard in Coronado, San Diego. Due to a mineral called Mica that occurs naturally in the sand, Coronado Beach literally glistens in the sun. A 1.5 mile long stretch of fine sand, Coronado Beach offers beautiful views, both out to sea and back towards ‘The Crown City’ where the iconic Hotel del Coronado and other beachfront mansions provide an atmospheric backdrop. Glorietta Bay offers a stunning view of the San Diego Coronado Bridge and attracts families looking to get active. Silver Strand Beach is 4.5 miles south of Coronado Village and is a great place to view a traditional grunion run where locals watch the grunion fish lay eggs on the sand at night. You’ll need to time it well though as this natural spectacle only takes place between March and September at high tide and two to six nights after new and full moons.
Sandpiper Golf Club, Santa Barbara County
If golfing is your thing there is no more picturesque place to tee off than at Sandpiper Golf Club in Santa Barbara. The old-time serenity of Pebble Beach Golf Links is the best competitor but its exorbitant fees put most golfers off. The Sandpiper Golf Club is a par-72 seaside course and an affordable alternative to Pebble Beach. The 7,000 yard tract is enough to challenge even the most seasoned of golfers but most visitors here enjoy the views even more than the game. Looking out onto the Pacific and flanked with mountains, the Sandpiper course comes within swinging distance of the water resulting in the sea collecting its fair share of golf balls and lending the whole experience an aura of beach-side calm. There may be no fancy lodge for after golf drinks but nearby amenities should do the trick.
Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, San Bernadino County
The Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernadino County offers its visitors a plethora of hikes and trails to explore the unique terrain, flora and fauna of this infamous park. But one part of the park stands out as a particularly beautiful spot to spend a day, or night. Spectacular granite boulders give Hidden Valley its name and serve to make this spot feel fairly secluded even on the busiest of days. Climbers rejoice in Hidden Valley’s unusual landscape of stacked, jumbled rocks and nature buffs embrace the area’s beautiful pinyon pines, oaks, yuccas and desert wildlife. If you hang around and stay the night Hidden Valley is also a perfect place to admire the night sky, light-pollution free. Last but not least is the lure of the stark limbs of the other-worldly Joshua Trees that can be seen all along the Hidden Valley trail.
Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Inyo National Forest
Located in eastern Madera County, California, Thousand Island Lake was discovered by Ansel Adams the environmentalist and nature photographer who lent his name to over 200,000 acres of wilderness stretched across the Sierra and Inyo National Forests. A stunning alpine lake 10,000 feet above sea level, Thousand Island Lake itself was named for the scores of tiny granite islets that glitter on its surface. With fewer crowds than nearby Mount Whitney, Thousand Island Lake offers some of the most stunning Sierra views going and rivals the Northern Lights in the phantasmagorical effect of alpenglow on Banner Peak. Spend a day hiking Thousand Islands trails or sleep over in the campsite to take in the light show that illuminates the sky every dusk and dawn. To find Thousand Island Lake leave the California 203 near Mammoth Mountain and continue for seven miles past the Agnew Meadows Trailhead.
San Luis Obispo County
Six miles from Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County sits Montaña De Oro State Park, a heartbreakingly beautiful stretch of cliffs and bays where the sea winds come charging from the Pacific, blowing anything that stands in its path sideways. The seafront is rocky but makes the waters a perfect home for a variety of Californian wildlife including otters, dolphins and tons of fish. The whole area is popular with hikers and nature lovers just happy to get out into the wild but it is the 1,000-foot cliffs at Montaña De Oro that set it apart from other sections of California’s long, rocky jawline. There are over 50 campsites to choose from and the sunsets at Montaña De Oro are among some of the most spectacular to be found in all of California.
Nevada City, Sierra Nevada Mountains
Sitting pretty in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Nevada City is a love letter to gold rush era California. Located just 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, Nevada City is a historic landmark with even more than its fair share of heritage buildings and historic points of interest. Local Nevadans are so proud of their past that they have carefully preserved the century-old Victorian buildings and regularly celebrate the uniqueness of their home city with festivals and parades. Recently dubbed the ‘Carmel of the Sierra Foothills’, Nevada City offers visitors many ways to pass the time including shopping at beautiful boutiques, sampling fine Nevadan cuisine, discovering any of the city’s numerous art galleries and exploring the great outdoors of the Sierra Nevada Mountain’s western foothills. Nevada City’s annual Victorian Christmas celebrations are also not to be missed.
Los Angeles city-folk flock to Ojai on weekends and summer vacations to enjoy a relaxing retreat from their hectic lifestyles so the best time to schedule your own Ojai break is when most of the masses are working. Located 90 miles north of Los Angeles, Ojai is a scenic and historic town that dates back to the early 1800s. Most of the old architecture in Ojai is colourful and distinctive Spanish Mission Revival, such as the Arcade Plaza which is also the town’s premier spot for shopping and dining. Art galleries are also in abundance in Ojai and the Ojai Valley Museum and Ojai Art Center are popular with tourists. It’s no surprise the locals are inspired as Ojai is surrounded by the majestic scenery of the Los Padres National Forest and the Topatopa Mountains. Ojai also enjoys close proximity to some wonderful vineyards.
Solvang is very special indeed. A perfectly-preserved Danish town with streets that would look a lot more at home in historic Copenhagen than Santa Barbara, Solvang is home to generations of Danish people who immigrated to America in the early 20th century. Settled in 1911, the name Solvang means ‘sunny field’ and Solvang’s traditional Bethania Lutheran Church, pretty windmills and colourfully painted cottages never fail to give visitors a sunny feeling. As you would expect the restaurants offering Danish cuisine and quaint gift shops in Solvang are definitely worth a visit for authentic treats and the town’s few museums give real insight into Danish culture and the history of those Danes who chose to settle in California. Solvang’s location in the Santa Ynez Valley is also fortuitous as it is in the very heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country and there are a number of fine vineyards nearby.
Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Humboldt County
Fern Canyon can be found in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County and is an international biosphere reserve protected by the UNESCO world network for its balanced relationship between people and nature. But what Fern Canyon is really famous for is for Steven Spielberg’s use of it as a location for The Lost World: Jurassic Park. As if that wasn’t enough the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs was also filmed here. Some of the fern species in Fern Canyon date back 325 million years and can be enjoyed by embarking on a short 0.5 mile hiking trail that follows the canyon and creek with one end of the trail connecting on to the James Irvine trail. It may have been here for millions of years but don’t miss out on your chance to see it for yourself.
Death Valley, as the name suggests, should for the most part be avoided. Located in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley makes up the majority of the Death Valley National Park and is the driest, hottest, most desert-like place in North America. But there are some parts of Death Valley that offer a wide variety of outdoor activities and can be, at dawn and dusk especially, very beautiful. The surreal, alien sand dunes that make up most of Death Valley are unique in California and despite its frightening name a great variety of life can be found here. A land of extremes, Death Valley is located below sea level and yet its towering mountains are snowy-peaked and rainstorms, although infrequent, bless the valley with wild vegetation. Places to visit include the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, numerous creepy ghost towns and Scotty’s Castle.