10 Top Tourist Attractions in California

With so many man-made attractions, natural playgrounds and dramatic landscapes that are all world-famous, it is no wonder that California attracts millions of visitors from all over the globe. Only in this state can one experience the likes of stunning coastal drives, a forest of the world’s tallest trees, a lake that offers year-round fun, magical theme parks and shows starring killer whales. To learn more about what to see and do in the Golden State, check out the following top tourist attractions in California.

10Redwood National Park

The Redwood National Park is much more than tall trees. In this vast parkland of woodlands, rivers and miles of spectacular coastline, visitors can enjoy a wide range of fun outdoor activities. There are several interesting exhibits, guided walks and nature programs on offer at the various visitor centers. Activities include horse riding and mountain biking along well-maintained trails, fishing for salmon and rainbow trout and kayaking down the trickling rivers. Scenic routes through the forest allow visitors to admire the amazing redwood trees, wildlife and waterfalls while a drive along the coastline offers breathtaking views of the ocean and glimpses of gray whales and seabirds.

Redwood National Park Guide

9SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diegoflickr/lolilujah

Situated in sunny San Diego, SeaWorld is characterized by its theme of marine mammals, daring rides and live shows. Through shows, displays and enclosures people can learn about the world’s oceans and the creatures that inhabit them such as dolphins, killer whales, walruses, penguins and Polar bears. Rides include a flume roller coaster, rafting through the Shipwreck Rapids and a simulated helicopter ride to experience the Wild Arctic. The main attraction however is the Shamu Show, which involves dancing fountains and talented performances by killer whales.

Where to Stay in San Diego | SeaWorld San Diego Guide

8General Sherman
General Shermanflickr/goingslo

General Sherman is a Giant Sequoia located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in California. The trees of the Giant Forest are among the largest trees in the world. In fact, if measured by volume, five of the ten largest trees on the planet are located within this forest. With a height of 275 feet the General Sherman tree is the largest of them all. The tree is believed to be between 2,300 and 2,700 years old.

7Venice Beach
Venice Beachflickr/cam i am

Venice Beach is one of Los Angeles, most popular beaches. The sandy three-mile beach here is just one of the attractions. During the summer season and on weekends, the Ocean Front Walk fills up with street performers and people just doing their thing: biking, rollerskating, swimming, sunbathing, and people watching. Muscle Beach is a special area where fanatic bodybuilders pump iron in a public show of strength.

Where to Stay near the Venice Beach

6Dante's View - Death Valley
Dante's Viewflickr/wwarby

Set high on top of the Black Mountains, Dante’s View is a terrace that offers stunning views of Death Valley. This unique valley is home to the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin, as well as to the hottest and driest areas in North America. How hot is Death Valley? Well, temperatures in Death Valley’s Furnace Creek once reached a sizzling 134 degrees °F (57 °C). Because temperatures can be so extreme in Death Valley, travelers are advised visit Dante’s View early in the morning, especially during the hottest months of the year.Travelers who visit Dante’s View on a clear day may be able to see Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the contiguous United States, and Mt. Whitney, the highest point.

Where to Stay near the Dante's View | Dante's View Guide

5Disneyland

Located in Anaheim, Disneyland is a world-famous amusement park where Walt Disney movies and characters all come to life in a magical, make-believe kingdom. Featuring thrilling rides, roller coasters, dazzling shows and colorful districts packed with restaurants and shops, Disneyland offers adventure for the whole family. In themed neighborhoods like Main Street, USA, visitors can step back into the early 1900s, visit Tarzan’s Treehouse in Adventureland or meet Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck in Mickey’s Toontown.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles | Disneyland Guide

4Big Sur Coastline

Stretching about 90 miles along the Central Coast of California is one of the most scenic driving routes in the world. Known as Big Sur, this stunning coastline covers an area between Carmel and the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Most of the 3 million drivers who visit Big Sur every year travel the popular Highway 1 to admire and photograph some of the country’s most dramatic scenery. Attractions along the route include the historic 40-foot Point Sur Lighthouse, Bixby Bridge, which is one of the world’s tallest single-span bridges, and the splendid, 80-foot McWay Falls plunge directly into the ocean.

Big Sur Coastline Guide

3Lake Tahoe

Created about 2 million years ago during the Ice Age, Lake Tahoe is one of the largest lakes in the world. The lake is located along the border between California and Nevada. Surrounded by majestic mountains, this popular tourist attraction offers exciting events and activities all year around. In the winter, the main activities are snow skiing, snowmobile riding, snow-tubing and snowshoeing at one of the ski resorts. From spring to fall, visitors can enjoy a host of water sports and other activities like sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boating and swimming.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

2Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridgeflickr/aslakr

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most visited tourist attractions in California and the US. Spanning over the San Francisco Bay for more than a mile, this famous landmark is one of the world’s most photographed bridges. The famous red-orange color of the bridge was specifically chosen to make the bridge more easily visible through the thick fog that frequently shrouds the bridge. The splendor of this bridge can be experienced by driving, walking, cycling or participating in a walking tour to learn about the rich history of the bridge.

Where to Stay in San Francisco | Golden Gate Bridge Guide

1Tunnel View - Yosemite National Park

Located in Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central eastern California, Tunnel View is an overlook where visitors can enjoy amazing views of El Capital, Bridalveil Falls, Half Dome and the gorgeous Yosemite Valley. The overlook, which was first built in 1993, was renovated in 2008. Tunnel View is very popular with park visitors, and it attracts between 5,000 and 7,000 visitors a day during the tourist high season. Travelers can find Tunnel View at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel off of Wawona Road.

Where to Stay near the Tunnel View | Tunnel View Guide

Map of Tourist Attractions In California

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11 comments

  1. Joselyn Seifer

    Well, I guess we’ve seen about half of the major attractions so far anyways. The kids’ favorite is of course Disneyland. I love Yosemite, and it looks like we’re going to have to go see old “General Sherman.” That tree is huge!

  2. DavyRay

    Big Sur is definitely a must! By the way, your photo for the BIg Sur coastline currently shows Yosemite mountains.

  3. Pretty good list. I’d include the Monterey / Carmel area on the list as well. There’s tons of wildlife, beautiful views, good food and one of the best aquariums in the world. Also, I want to note that there’s a lot more to do in Sequoia, and neighboring Kings Canyon National Parks , than just visiting General Sherman. General Sherman is impressive but I found other parts of the parks much more interesting and less crowded. My wife and I have written extensively about the California nature scene on our travel blog: triptwitch.com

  4. srian pedibhotla

    awesome

    i obviously love the san diego and disneyland parks, and they are full of imagination and fun

  5. I have been in Redwood National Park.I will also in the near future visit Disneyland with my family.My son will be very happy.

  6. Mikey Fitz

    Okay I’m going to assume this list is geared towards people that don’t get out much. Redwood forest awesome! Big Sur is a must! But please let’s just discuss Sea World, Disney Land and Venice Beach…for all you east coasters Disney Land is a joke compared to Disney World rest assured you will be dissapointed and Venice beach as much as I love it, it’s honestly a s**t hole the water is gross and the boardwalk is basically a tackier version of canal street if such a thing exists and SEA WORLD?! REALLY?! Maybe after we can petition to reopen the roman colosseum…

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