There’s no shortage of amazing ways to spend time in the Golden State, but here are 10 ideas to give you some inspiration.
1. Take a road trip up (or down) the coast
It’s the quintessential California experience: driving along the Pacific Coast Highway (preferably in a red convertible), wind blowing through your hair, listening to your favorite songs. If this is your first trip to California, why not go all out with a trip to remember?
2. Have a star-studded experience in Hollywood
Head to Los Angeles for a few days of glitz and glamour. Check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame, hike up to the Hollywood sign, and have some carefree fun on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Splurge—or just window shop—on the iconic Rodeo Drive, and explore The Grove mall. For a uniquely L.A. experience, head to the La Brea tar pits.
3. Explore the Bay Area
Hit up all the hot spots in San Francisco: Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, the Ferry Building Marketplace, and Union Square. Then, take a ferry over to Alcatraz Island to hear the sordid tales of some of the most infamous criminals in history.
4. Get outside at Joshua Tree
It’s only $25 per carload to spend the day at the National Park, and there’s so much to do besides gawk at the massive trees, like hiking and climbing.
5. Have a luxurious weekend in Santa Barbara
It’s one of the most idyllic places in the whole state—and the entire country. With upscale shopping and dining, plus spa galore, you can’t go wrong here.
6. Have an adventure in Tahoe
If you’re an outdoorsy type, look no further than Lake Tahoe and its surrounding area. There’s Emerald Bay State Park, Eagle Falls, Heavenly Mountain, Commons Beach Park, and much more.
7. Experience the magic in Anaheim
Home of Disneyland, Anaheim is just 27 miles from Los Angeles, and the perfect place to have a fun-filled family vacation filled with rides and games.
8. Do it all in Carlsbad
From the LEGOLAND Hotel to the beautiful Flower Fields to Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park with its colorful peacocks, there’s a variety of activities.
9. Get away in Palm Springs
A true desert paradise, Palm Springs has a little something for everyone: adults will love the art galleries, antique stores, and the Palm Springs Art Museum, while little ones will enjoy the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens and Cabazon dinosaur sculptures.
10. Visit Death Valley National Park
This bucket-list destination is great for hiking, camping, backpacking, biking, and stargazing.