We have all the reasons to love glittery California. The golden state of California shines like a beautiful daydream in the minds and hearts of tourists from different parts of the world.
California has a lot to offer — towering redwood forests in the north, beautiful vineyards in the center, and vibrant orchards in the south. There’s no place for disappointment as California is loaded with man-made wonders and breathtaking natural beauty.
Get to know more about the Golden State and its famous landmarks. We’ve narrowed down the best California landmarks you should visit before this year ends.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is one of the best engineering marvels of the world with its elaborately designed suspension system. The bridge was opened in 1937 and is known for its distinctive color — international orange –, which was selected because of its visibility in the fog.
As one of the best California landmarks and architectural icons, vacationers from around the globe always pay a visit to the bridge to take photos with the Baker Beach and Fort Point National Historic Site in the background.
It was once the longest bridge span in the world. If you want to sweat a little, you can walk or bike on the bridge which has a 1.7-mile span.
The bridge offers a romantic, foggy horizon in the morning and a dramatic sunset setting in the dawn with a stunning skyline view.
2. Death Valley
This national park is called Death Valley for a reason… it’s the hottest, lowest, and driest park located below sea level in southeastern California.
This part of California has little water and brutal record-breaking heat in summers. Behind the Death Valley are mountain peaks that look like vanilla ice cream in winters. Occasional rains create a wide space for wildflowers to bloom.
Death Valley is actually far from being barren. This valley houses a fantastic diversity of life — fish and wildlife. And oh, don’t miss the Devil’s Golf Course, which features a field of rock salt shaped by the elements into spiky spires.
3. Humboldt’s Coastal Redwoods
To say that California’s redwoods are tall tress is an understatement. They’re not just tall, but actually, the world’s tallest living plants that have grown from seeds the size of mustard seeds into imposing trees that go as high as the Statue of Liberty.
You can see first-hand the coastal redwoods as far south as Santa Cruz. However, the remaining forests are under the protection of parks up north near the Oregon border.
You can sleep under the trees in Jedidah Smith State Park or walk under the shadows of the redwoods in Prairie Creek State — either will give you an unforgettable experience. The redwoods and the cool air will surely relax even the most tired.
4. Yosemite National Park
The Yosemite National Park contains some of the landmarks the park is best known for — this includes two famous granite formations, Half Dome and El Capitan.
The valley was designated as a national park in 1890. Since then, it has lured thousands of travelers and has been known as one of the best California landmarks.
There you will feel the power of glaciers, hear the splash of waterfalls, see the force of granite, and sense the wilderness. The valley is also famous because of two magnificent falls, Bridalveil and Yosemite.
The rock formations mesmerized both young and old. When you visit this captivating 1,200-square miles park, why don’t you explore the field and find valleys, giant sequoias, and grand meadows?
5. Coastal Highway 1
Only it is in California that a highway can be a landmark. No, we’re not kidding at all. The Pacific Coast Highway runs like 147-mile silk along the California coast from Carmel to Morro Bay.
The drive is crazy, wild, and exhilarating — something that you won’t forget. Experience a road trip like no other. Start your drive in Monterey and follow the highway that will lead you to the Big Sur with a stunning view of the mountains rushing into the Pacific.
And don’t you dare the magnificent 260-feet high and 700-feet long Bixby Bridge. Stopover San Simeon and take a guided tour of William Randolph Hearst’ 115-room mansion known as Hearst Castle.
There’s no reason for Disneyland not to be in the list of California’s best landmarks. This flagship park for the Disney empire is the second most popular amusement park in the globe.
Disneyland is located in Anaheim and was built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. This popular amusement park was opened on July 17, 1995. It had 12 rides only, but because of the multiplying number of visitors, the park opened 54 more attractions to entertain guests — young and old.
Have you visited Disneyland? How was your experience?
7. Hollywood Sign
One of the most photographed and most iconic Hollywood sign is perfectly perched in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. The 45-feet tall letters symbolize the glamour of the entertainment industry.
You can go right up to the sign or go to the prime viewing at Hollywood and Highland and Franklin Avenues and Gower Boulevard. Well, actually, the closest you can get to the Sign is above it, which is accessible if you take a hike within the Griffith Park. There you will see a dramatic view of the horizons and cityscape of Los Angeles.
Indeed, your trip to California wouldn’t be complete if you don’t take the time to view the famous Hollywood sign. The huge white sign was built by Harry Chandler, a Los Angeles Times publisher, in 1923. Back then, the sign was meant to be a billboard for his real estate business, Hollywoodland.
8. Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
Perched on a cliff, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum offers a panoramic overlooking view of the surfing spot Steamer Lane. The museum features historic photographs, vintage redwood surfboards, and early wetsuits — most of them trace over 100 years of surfing history.
The museum was built in May 1986. Tourists, especially hard-core surfers and surfing fans, visit the museum to learn about the history of surfing.