The golden state of California contributes the largest GDP to the United States of America. Great climate and spectacular scenery make California a premier tourist destination. Visitors can spent their entire vacation in California without seeing anything twice or ever getting bored and still have plenty of things left to explore for their next vacation.

Northern California

San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Bay Area mapEvery year San Francisco lures millions of visitors to one of the most scenic views in the world. The city by the bay is rich in history and packed with tourist attractions.

East of San Francisco, Oakland's bustling harbor is one of the largest in the west. Berkeley with its beautiful gardens and world-renowned university is as much a tourist attraction as it is the cradle of many cultural and social revolutions.

San Jose in the South is the center of the Silicon Valley, the world's largest collection of high tech companies and the birthplace of the computer revolution and the successive internet revolution. San Jose, although not as attractive to tourists as San Francisco, features many cultural highlights with its rich collection of Museums.

The coast near Half Moon Bay is a popular retreat from the valley. Spectacular beaches and farms offering fresh produce draw families from all over the bay. Between the coast and the valley lies a mountain range. Skyline Boulevard runs along the mountain crest. Fantastic Vistas and cooler climate draw bikers, motor bikers, and convertibles up here for one of the most pleasant drives in the area.

Further North

Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, just north of San Francisco are two of California's most famous wine regions. Conditions are ideal for wine making due to the shelter of the surrounding mountains.

Planning their road trips between large cities, tourists tend to prefer the coastal stretch between San Francisco and L.A.. The north coast is just as spectacular and in summer often even more beautiful. On your trip up north from San Francisco, take a short detour to Muir Woods, a state park of giant California redwoods.

Bodega Bay is a romantic coastal town with excellent dining opportunities and impressive vistas. Bodega Head is one of the best whale watching spots in California.

Fort Ross State Historic Park is a former Russian trading outpost. After the local otter population declined due to fur hunting the Russians abandoned the fort.

Former New England residents who moved to California built Mendocino. The buildings closely resemble those of New England. Hollywood taped the famous TV show "Murder she wrote" here but it took place in New England.

Driving north even further, we will get to the Avenue of the Giants where a scenic byway leads through Giant Redwood Groves. The Avenue runs parallel to highway 101 and is well worth the extra time it takes to travel. Take a stop and go for a stroll among the giants. There is much less visitor traffic up here than in Muir Woods.

Ferndale is a small city only a short detour away from highway 101. The old Victorian Houses here often even more spectacular than those of San Francisco. Highway 101 and all the detours up here are crawling with Police. Drive the speed limit to avoid the radar traps.

Eureka does not have much to offer except a fabulous Victorian style mansion outshining even those in Ferndale and San Francisco. However beyond the mansion there is not much to see except an over abundance on homeless people.

Just north, the city of Trinidad is a stark contrast to Eureka. With a small lighthouse overlooking Trinidad Bay and quiet streets with relaxed restaurants, the city is a wonderful retreat for the stressed traveler.

Redwood National Park is likely California's least visited National Park. Protecting some of the largest Redwoods and pristine beaches, the park stretches along the coastline north of Eureka.

Southern California

Downtown Los AngelesDowntown Los AngelesThrough pop culture and television, the mega blob of the greater Los Angeles area also lures many visitors into its concrete landscape. Glittering high rise buildings and a fascinating freeway system that keeps the megalopolis alive are amongst its most interesting sites. Hollywood and its beaches are amongst its most famous though.

Further South

San Diego is California's oldest city and has the best climate of the state (desert and sea). It is located just minutes from the Mexican border.

Eastern California

Sacramento is California's capitol. The city can be explored in a single day, but the surrounding gold country and tours on Highway 49 make a visit to the Central Valley worthwhile.

National Parks

California is home to many National Parks and State Parks.
Yosemite FallsYosemite FallsYosemite National Park is one of the most famous and most frequented Parks in the entire country. It is visited by over one million visitors each year, making the Yosemite Valley the longest traffic jam in Northern California (Nothing beats L.A. in the south). Many tourists miss the parks vast backcountry that is almost deprived of visitors, even during the high seasons. A visit to nearby Bodie State Park, an old western ghost town is also not on everybody's map (yet).

Death Valley National Park is the hottest place in California and also the lowest point in North America. The sensible choice is to avoid the park during the summer months. Otherwise we can only recommend a visit, especially in the early spring when wildflowers are blooming and temperatures are very comfortable. The park is very large and the gas inside the park is very expensive.


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