Kenna loves to travel and share cool places to visit so others can have a wonderful, if not better, time than she did.
California is one of our largest states, with some of the most jaw-dropping views near me. From the highest peaks to the windswept coastal line, the vibrant national parks, and painted canyons, there is a location you still have yet to view and marvel over.
Sequoias and Redwoods
Talking about jaw-dropping sites to behold, some call them the redwoods while others say they are the Sequoias. Either way, these two types of trees are distinctly different from sky-scraping forests. They define a backdrop of mesmerizing heights. Unique in appearance, these ancient forests sustain some of the most intriguing and irreplaceable trees on Earth.
Both openly thriving only in beautiful California, these two giants reveal cinnamon-colored bark and the desire for reaching the highest heights with overwhelming breadth. Below is the shade of grandeur. One can witness gardens of fresh, vigorous ferns, rhododendron, lilies, gaultheria, and wild mushrooms.
Adventuresome hikers savor Marin County’s classic Alamere Falls on Point Reyes National Seashore. Only by foot you arrive and view the spectacular site starting at the Palomarin Trailhead. Beautiful ocean views surround the hike to the majestic falls and a relatively hard hike to the cascading water into the Pacific Ocean. One of two tidefalls, a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean, in the region, the view remains all year but is best at the end of winter and during the spring rains.
Golden Gate Bridge
Let us start with the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. The structure connects San Francisco to Marin County. The welcoming site highlights the grandeur of beloved California. Historically, the orange-colored bridge offered weary travelers hope for a new life and success if they played their cards right. We reflect as it stands majestically today, and one can't help but pause and feel its serene ambiance and beauty.
Mount Whitney is the highest summit in all adjoining states. The mountain beckons hikers worldwide to climb to the top with an elevation of 14,505 feet. A lottery ticket guarantees a hike up this incredible trail. Many conquer the imposing mountain, where very few plants grow near the summit. Except for a pristine white butterfly, known as the Apollo, will flutter by as you make the final ascent.
Santa Catalina Island
People call it Santa Catalina Island, Catalina Island, or Catalina. The rocky, tropical island in the Gulf of Santa Catalina projects twenty-two miles of jaw-dropping paradise. The island boasts two harbors with crystal clear water shorelines.
The only way to get to the island is by boat. Don’t let the sight of bison scare you or make you wonder how they got on the island. Well, being close to Hollywood and film production, a crew brought 15 over to shoot a movie and left them on the island. Many film stars lived or frequented the island, like Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, and Errol Flynn.
Poet Joaquin Miller defines Mount Shasta, "Lonely as God, and white as a winter moon, Mount Shasta starts up sudden and solitary from the heart of the great black forests of Northern California."
The 14,179 feet majestic mountain seems lonely by itself. But it stands with the Cascade Range in Northern California. Native Americans see this grandeur as the center of creation. Spiritualists journey to the mountain because of its mystical power, reportedly. The white-capped snow reflects vibrant colors caused by the sun. The mountain's beauty draws visitors from all over the world.
Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in the wine capital of California. Lake Berryessa is a reservoir in the Vaca Mountains. Even though no one would dare to swim near The Glory Hole, this strange waterway stays open, 72 feet in diameter. It's a huge drain, like the one you find in a sink or tub. The lake at full capacity causes the drainpipe to function. It spills excess water into the nearby creek.
Bowling Ball Beach
The spherical sandstone creations are not bowling balls, but they do look like bowling balls. If you head to Mendocino along the Northern California coast, you might have a good chance of seeing the mind-boggling piece of coastline nestled at Schooner Gulch State Beach. The bowling balls are only visible during low tides, so check the tide tables before venturing out, climbing down, and clambering over large rocks to get to the unique bowling balls.
Seven Tea Cups
One of the most jaw-dropping and natural wonders in the heart of the California Sierras is the Seven Tea Cups. To this place, or let alone experience it, you require rigging to climb it. Once you conquer the climb up, the reward on the way back down is awe-inspiring. Look at the picture and imagine the experience each adventurer goes through as they cascade down the teacups.
Natural Bridges Near Vallecito
Natural Bridges near Vallecito consists of a large creek winding through massive caves. Visitors wear shoes as they wade through the caves with a sense of discovery. The cathedral chamber is breathtaking, while the pristine creek water is rejuvenating. Shallow points are at the entrances, but deep water is in the center. There is not a whole lot of flat area to rest. There are plenty of rocks to sit on if you are not swimming or drifting through a cave in an inner tube.
You need to visit one of the most beautiful views of the California Bay area ever is all I can say about this extraordinary hilly peninsula. I went with my husband and daughter. All three of us could not believe the majestic, pristine 360 panorama view. A former military site, the area is perfect for those who love to hike, ride bikes, and be mesmerized.
We were a bit disappointed because we took a hike down to the black sand beach on our visit. The trail washed out with no foreseen repairs happening soon. A handful of visitors did brave the trail saying the last bit was rocky. They recommended good walking shoes.
Because the park service said the trail was closed, we didn't go. But, on the hike back up the hill, we discovered a butterfly sanctuary. Along the guardrail were fluorescent colored pupae.
To get to this secret haven, head to Sausalito and then to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Google Hawk Hill, follow the directions, and you will reach the highest point of the headlands.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
I visited Lassen Volcanic National Park when I was sixteen. I appreciated its splendor and tranquility later in life when I visited the park with my husband and daughter.
Lassen's summers are short compared to lower elevation parks in California, which keep the byways and trails uncrowded. We found Devils Kitchen, the second largest hot springs in Lassen, well-worth a couple of miles on a dirt road and a simple hike.
Manzanita Lake's surface turns to a mirror in the early mornings and evenings if no one is on the lake. We were fortunate to take in its beauty several times during our stay.
Campsites are available from June to October, with half of them available for reservations. I advise you to check the national park's website and check the conditions and availability. Campsites open as the snow melts, so not all of the sites open in June. You need to bring drinkable water because usually, it is unavailable, but the campsites receive discounts when water is unavailable.
What do you think?
California Tourist Attractions
Taking the time to discover the beauty of California as a tourist or camper is the best low-budget vacation I ever experienced. Los Angeles, as a tourist attraction, is fun and entertaining. Universal Studios and going to Disneyland parks are pure unadulterated excitement. The parks and hiking trails throughout the State surpass any theme park ride I have ever experienced. I recommend visiting California state parks and hiking trails whenever you are in the State.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Kenna McHugh
Trac on December 04, 2018:
California is calling me. I hope to be there someday. Thank you.