61 Best & Fun Things To Do In California – Ultimate Travel Guide
California is a state that evokes images of creativity, innovation, and natural beauty. It is the most populous state in the United States and boasts some of the country’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the beaches of Los Angeles, and the towering redwoods of the north coast.
The options are virtually limitless when it comes to experiencing the best of what California has to offer. This state truly has everything from stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain ranges to bustling cities and quirky small towns.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or an adrenaline junkie, there’s something for you in California. So, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next adventure, check out our list of the 60 best and most fun things to do in the Golden State.
From classic attractions like Disneyland and the Golden Gate Bridge to hidden gems like the Salton Sea and the Mushroom Rock in Fresno, we’ve got you covered. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the best of California.
60 Best & Fun Things To Do In California
Welcome to California, the land of endless possibilities. With so many amazing attractions, deciding what to do first can be overwhelming. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of the 60 best and fun things to do in California.
1. Surfing in Santa Cruz
For thrill-seekers and beach enthusiasts alike, surfing in Santa Cruz is an activity not to be missed.
With its picturesque coastline, it’s no wonder that this northern California gem has become a surfing mecca.
Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a newbie, the waves of Santa Cruz offer a challenge for all levels of expertise.
And what’s even better is that the nearby town has everything you need for a fantastic day at the beach, from great restaurants to unique shops.
Make sure to check out the iconic Boardwalk while you’re there – it’s the perfect way to top off an incredible day of catching waves.
Grab your board, head to Santa Cruz, and experience the thrill of surfing in one of California’s best beach towns.
2. Wine tasting in Napa Valley
Napa Valley is the ultimate destination for wine lovers and enthusiasts.
The picturesque vineyards and sunny landscapes are a treat to the eyes, and the wine is a treat to the palate. Wine tasting in Napa Valley is an adventure in itself.
You get to explore different wineries, taste different varietals and learn about the different techniques used in wine-making.
This experience is not just about drinking wine; it’s about immersing yourself in the culture and lifestyle of Napa Valley.
The tasting rooms are designed so you can enjoy the stunning views while sipping on your favorite wine. So grab a glass, take a sip, and enjoy the moment.
3. Exploring Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a spectacular destination offering endless exploration and adventure opportunities.
As one of the most popular parks in California, there are numerous best and fun things to do in Yosemite. Hiking is a must-do activity in Yosemite, with trails ranging from easy to challenging.
Witnessing the stunning waterfalls, tall cliffs, and unmatched views of Half Dome are just a few of the rewarding experiences on offer.
For those seeking a more leisurely activity, taking a scenic drive through the park or enjoying a picnic while taking in the breathtaking scenery are also great options.
Whether you’re here for a day trip or a longer stay, Yosemite National Park is a must-see for anyone seeking the best and fun things to do in California.
4. Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
When it comes to must-visit attractions in California, the Golden Gate Bridge always on my the list.
This iconic bridge stands tall, connecting San Francisco with Marin County and providing a stunning view of the city’s skyline.
Whether you’re a fan of architecture, or engineering, or simply looking for a great photo-op, the Golden Gate Bridge is sure to impress.
Take a stroll across the bridge and stop at the many lookout points to take in the incredible views of the infamous Alcatraz Island, the Pacific Ocean, and the vibrant cityscape.
With its bright orange hue and elaborate design, the Golden Gate Bridge truly stands out as one of California’s best things to do.
5. Riding the roller coasters at Disneyland
Riding the roller coasters at Disneyland is a quintessential California experience that will leave you feeling exhilarated and thrilled.
From Space Mountain to the Matterhorn Bobsleds, each coaster has its own unique twists and turns that will take your breath away. If you’re looking for a real adrenaline rush, the California Screamin’ coaster is a must-try, reaching up to 55 miles per hour.
And let’s not forget about the classic wooden coaster, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which takes you on a wild ride through a western mountain range.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking for a fun day out with the family, Disneyland’s roller coasters are not to be missed on your trip to California.
6. Exploring Hollywood and the Walk of Fame in Los Angeles
Hollywood and the Walk of Fame in Los Angeles are two iconic destinations that every movie buff should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Known for its glitz and glamour, Hollywood is home to some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and the Walk of Fame is a tribute to those who have contributed to the success and popularity of Hollywood.
Stroll along the star-studded sidewalks and take in the sights and sounds of this legendary destination. From the TCL Chinese Theatre to the Hollywood Museum, endless opportunities exist to be entertained and inspired.
This location is a must-visit for classic Hollywood and modern blockbusters fans, and is guaranteed to create unforgettable memories.
7. Hiking in Big Sur
Looking for a thrill? You won’t regret checking out the breathtaking sights of Big Sur while hiking.
This pastoral escape along the California Central Coast is home to some of the most stunning views and landscapes, and hiking in Big Sur is a favorite of those seeking adventure.
From the rugged coastline to the towering redwoods, this destination has something for everyone.
With options ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous treks, you’ll find endless opportunities to soak up the natural beauty of Big Sur. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
8. Exploring the beaches of San Diego
There’s no shortage of stunning beaches and San Diego boasts some of the very best.
Whether you’re searching for a peaceful spot to soak up the sun or are looking to catch some waves, San Diego’s beaches have got you covered.
Spend a day lounging on the soft sands of Coronado Beach or take a walk along the iconic Ocean Beach Pier.
For thrill-seekers, head to La Jolla Cove and snorkel with leopard sharks or venture to Torrey Pines State Beach for a hike with breathtaking ocean views.
Don’t forget to catch the sunset from any of the beaches; with the palm trees swaying in the breeze and the waves crashing against the shore, it’s a picture-perfect moment you won’t want to miss.
9. Riding the cable cars in San Francisco
Few things in California can beat the peculiarly charming experience of riding on a San Francisco cable car.
This centuries-old mode of transportation has become synonymous with the city, and for a good reason. Not only does the cable car offer a uniquely scenic ride, but it also provides a sense of historical significance that embodies the city’s essence.
From the stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge to the bustling streets and steep hills, the cable car allows you to soak in the beauty and energy of the city in a way that no other mode of transport can.
Don’t forget to ride one of San Francisco’s iconic cable cars to get the best experience California offers on your trip.
10. Visiting the famous Hearst Castle
If you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience in California, look no further than a visit to Hearst Castle.
Nestled in the hills overlooking the picturesque central coast, this historic estate is a must-see destination for anyone who loves architecture, art or history.
Hearst Castle has been meticulously maintained to preserve the legacy of famed media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who spared no expense in creating a lavish retreat that would impress even the most discerning guest.
From the stunning Neuschwanstein-inspired architecture to the exquisite collections of art and antiques, this castle is truly a feast for the senses.
11. Exploring the Redwood National and State Parks
Welcome to the enchanting world of the Redwood National and State Parks. Embark on an adventure of a lifetime as you explore these marvels of nature spread across California’s northern coast.
With acres and acres of unspoiled wilderness, towering trees reaching for the sky, and a wide variety of fauna to discover, the Redwood Parks is an ideal destination for any nature lover.
Hiking, camping, birdwatching, and fishing are exciting activities that await you here. But the most remarkable experience, undoubtedly, is walking amidst the giants- the coastal redwoods, the tallest trees in the world.
So come, let yourself be awed and inspired by the sheer magnificence of these natural wonders, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
12. Taking a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most iconic roads in California, and driving along its winding pathways through the sea cliffs and rugged coastlines of the state’s coastline is an experience like no other.
From Big Sur to Malibu, you’ll encounter breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and stunning ocean views. Stop by unique towns such as Carmel-by-the-Sea or visit Santa Barbara, a beautiful city between the mountains and the sea.
With winding roads and stunning ocean views, this scenic drive offers some of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever experience.
Start your journey in San Francisco and go down to the iconic Santa Monica Pier, soaking up all the natural beauty and charming beach towns. You’ll be amazed at every turn, from towering cliffs to picturesque lighthouses.
13. Visiting the Getty Center in Los Angeles
The Getty Center in Los Angeles is an architectural masterpiece and one of the most popular tourist destinations in California. Located atop a hill overlooking the city, the center offers stunning views of downtown L.A. and unparalleled access to some of the world’s finest art collections.
The Getty Center is home to more than 1.3 million works, from paintings and sculptures to photographs and manuscripts, spanning centuries of art history.
Visitors can explore the impressive galleries, gardens, and outdoor spaces at their leisure, taking in the beauty of the architecture as well as works by renowned artists like Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.
The center also offers a variety of educational programs and workshops for visitors to explore the world of art further. Whether you’re a casual observer or an avid art enthusiast, the Getty Center will surely be a memorable experience.
14. Exploring the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe
An outdoor adventure to Lake Tahoe is a must for a true taste of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Straddling two states (California and Nevada), this stunning lake is home to some of North America’s most spectacular natural scenery.
From crystal-clear blue waters to expansive beaches, majestic alpine peaks, and lush green forests, Lakeoe offers a variety of activities visitors.
From swimming and fishing to hiking, mountain biking, and skiing in the winter months, there’s something here for everyone. For those looking for a more peaceful experience, take a day trip and enjoy the tranquil beauty of this natural wonderland.
15. Exploring the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe
No trip to California is complete without a visit to the infamous Alcatraz Island. This iconic destination was once home to one of America’s most notorious prisons, and today it stands as a reminder of an era long gone.
Take a tour of the prison and hear stories from former inmates and guards, or explore the island alone. You can also take a ferry ride around the island and admire its picturesque views of San Francisco Bay.
From history and art to culture and nature, California offers endless opportunities for exploration.
Step inside the cells where Al Capone and other notorious inmates were locked up, and learn about the daring escape attempts over the years.
The island also offers stunning views of the Bay Area and Golden Gate Bridge, making it a must-see destination for any traveler.
16. Surfing in Huntington Beach
Head to sunny Huntington Beach for some of the best surfing in California. With 10 miles of sand and perfect waves, it’s no surprise that this beach town is considered one of the top surfing destinations in the world.
Rent a board or take a lesson from an experienced surfer, then ride the waves as you soak up the sun and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery on the West Coast.
Huntington Beach is also home to a wide range of restaurants, bars, and shops for visitors to explore. Be sure to take advantage of this beach town’s culture by attending one of its popular street festivals or catching a show at one of its famous venues.
17. Exploring the art scene in San Francisco
The art scene in San Francisco is vibrant and diverse, offering something for everyone. From galleries and museums to street art and murals, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the city’s creative side.
Take a stroll through Chinatown to admire its colorful murals or visit the Museum of Modern Art to experience its renowned collection of contemporary works.
For a unique experience, head to Yerba Buena Gardens and explore its outdoor installations. For an even larger selection of works, visit one of the many independent galleries in the city, where you’ll find everything from photography and sculpture to painting and printmaking.
No matter what your tastes may be, there is no shortage of art waiting to be discovered in San Francisco.
18. Enjoying the world-class cuisines of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is an absolute paradise for foodies, with a wide range of options to satisfy any palate. From classic American cuisine and Mexican street tacos to Michelin-starred restaurants and the latest culinary trends, there’s something here for everyone.
Take a food tour of Little Tokyo and sample the delicacies of Japan, or visit Grand Central Market to try some of LA’s most popular dishes from around the world.
You can also head to one of the city’s many farmers’ markets for fresh produce and ingredients so that you can cook up something special back at your hotel.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a full-on culinary experience, Los Angeles has something to offer.
Whatever your interests may be, California is full of adventure and beauty waiting to be explored.
19. Taking a hot air balloon ride in Napa Valley
Take in the stunning views of Napa Valley on a hot air balloon ride. As you soar above vineyards, mountains and forests, you will be mesmerized by the natural wonderland below.
It’s also an opportunity to experience a bird’s eye view of some of California’s most famous wineries as you drift over their picturesque estates.
Napa Valley is home to a wide range of hot air balloon companies, so you can choose the ride that best fits your needs and budget. From private flights to group tours, there’s something for everyone.
Once you’ve landed back on solid ground, be sure to take advantage of some of the area’s incredible wine tasting experiences.
20. Exploring the historic town of Monterey
The historic town of Monterey is home to a number of landmarks and attractions that are sure to delight any traveler. From its fascinating aquarium and world-renowned golf courses to its sweeping views of the ocean, there’s something here for everyone.
Take a stroll along Cannery Row and explore its many shops, galleries and restaurants or take a stroll through the town’s historic downtown district to get a glimpse of its past.
Be sure to visit Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can observe some of the region’s marine life up close. Then head out on one of the many boat tours available in the area and keep your eyes peeled for whales, dolphins and otters playing in the waters.
No matter what your interests may be, Monterey is sure to captivate and enthrall.
21. Camping in Joshua Tree National Park
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect spot to explore. From its beautiful rock formations and cactus gardens to its star-filled night skies, there’s something here for every nature lover.
You can camp in one of the park’s many campsites or take a hike along its trails and admire the vast desert landscapes. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks and a camera, as you’re bound to come across some incredible sights.
You can also take the time to explore Joshua Tree’s dark skies and star gaze at night. With no light pollution, the stars here are truly dazzling.
22. Enjoying the nightlife in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter
For those looking to experience a vibrant nightlife scene, the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego is a must-visit. This historic district is home to some incredible bars, clubs and restaurants that come alive after dark.
Adventurers can take part in one of the outdoor activities available, such as kayaking or paddle boarding through the harbor.
Be sure to take the time to explore some of San Diego’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Embarcadero and Seaport Village. Here you’ll find plenty of shopping and dining options, from casual cafes and eateries to upscale restaurants and bars.
Whatever your pleasure may be, San Diego is sure to provide a fun and exciting night out.
23. Visiting the San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo is a must-see for any animal lover. With more than 3,700 animals and 700 species, it’s one of the largest zoos in the world.
Here you can observe everything from giant pandas to koalas and experience some of the zoo’s interactive activities and shows. The San Diego Zoo also offers special guided tours, which allow you to get up close and personal with some of the rarest species on earth.
Don’t forget to take a stroll through one of the zoo’s lush gardens or take a ride on its double-decker bus for an unforgettable experience.
No matter what your interests may be, the San Diego Zoo is sure to provide you with an unforgettable day out.
24. Exploring the unique architecture of Palm Springs
For those interested in architecture, a visit to Palm Springs is a must. This desert oasis is home to some of the most iconic mid-century modern buildings in the world and its distinct style can be seen throughout the city.
From the soaring downtown skyline to its luxurious resorts, there’s something here for everyone. Be sure to take a stroll along Palm Canyon Drive, where you can admire its unique architecture and shop in its many boutiques.
You can also take the time to explore the city’s art galleries and museums or relax by one of its many swimming pools.
Whether you’re looking for an exciting day out or just some peace and quiet, Palm Springs is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience.
25. Riding the iconic Highway 1 in a convertible
For those looking for a unique way to explore the California coast, consider renting a convertible and taking a drive down Highway 1.
This iconic stretch of road is known for its breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and its winding roads, making it an exhilarating experience.
You can take in some of California’s most beautiful scenery as you drive, such as Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Santa Cruz and Monterey. Be sure to bring plenty of snacks and a camera, as you are sure to come across some amazing sights.
A drive down this iconic highway is the perfect way to experience California’s stunning coastline in all its glory.
26. Exploring street art in Los Angeles’ Arts District
Los Angeles’ Arts District is a must-visit for any art lover. Here you can explore some of the city’s unique street art and colorful murals and shop in its many galleries and stores.
You can take a walking tour to learn more about the area’s history or visit one of its trendy bars and restaurants.
The Arts District is also home to some of the city’s most creative minds, so there’s always something new and exciting to explore.
Visitors can spend hours wandering through the streets of the Arts District, exploring the diverse range of art styles and themes on display.
From large-scale murals covering entire building facades to smaller, hidden gems tucked away in alleyways, there is always something new to discover around every corner.
Many of the murals in the Arts District convey social and cultural messages, reflecting the unique identity of Los Angeles and its vibrant artistic community.
Visitors can appreciate the creativity and talent of the artists and also gain insight into the local culture and history through the artwork.
27. Taking a boat tour of the Channel Islands National Park
The Channel Islands National Park is one of the most beautiful places in California, and a boat tour is the perfect way to experience it.
This park is made up of five islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara.
Each island has its own unique ecosystem and wildlife species that you can observe from the boat.
You can explore the sea caves and dramatic cliffs of Anacapa, take in some of the most breathtaking views in Santa Barbara, or relax on a secluded beach in Santa Cruz.
The park also features some rare species, including whales and elephant seals, which you may be able to spot from your boat tour.
The Channel Islands National Park is a truly remarkable place and a boat tour is the ideal way to experience it.
Taking in the majestic vistas and unique wildlife, you won’t forget this incredible journey for years to come.
28. Exploring the quaint coastal town of Mendocino
For a truly unique and laid-back experience, head to the quaint coastal town of Mendocino.
This charming village is situated on the picturesque Northern California coast, surrounded by rolling hills and majestic redwood forests.
Here you can explore its many art galleries, antique stores and boutique shops or take a walk along its rugged shoreline.
You can also take a boat tour of the nearby islands and get up close to the area’s natural wonders, such as the crashing waves, towering cliffs and sea lions.
Mendocino is also home to some of California’s best wineries, where you can sample some of the region’s finest wines while taking in the spectacular views.
For a true taste of Northern California, Mendocino is the perfect place to explore.
29. Visiting the California State Capitol in Sacramento
The California State Capitol is an iconic landmark in the state, located in the heart of downtown Sacramento.
Here visitors can take a tour of the building and learn about the state’s history and government. The building itself is an architectural marvel, featuring grand hallways and impressive gardens.
The Capitol is also home to some amazing art pieces, including historic paintings and sculptures.
Visitors can also explore the building’s many exhibits, which include memorabilia from past governors and artifacts relating to the state’s history.
While at the Capitol, be sure to visit the California State Museum, where you can learn more about the state’s culture and take in some of its vibrant art displays.
No matter what your interests are, the California State Capitol is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Sacramento.
It’s full of history, art and culture that you won’t find anywhere else in the state.
30. Taking a scenic gondola ride in Mammoth Lakes
Mammoth Lakes is a beautiful mountain town in the Eastern Sierras that’s famous for its incredible landscapes and outdoor activities.
One of the best ways to experience this stunning region is by taking a scenic gondola ride.
The gondola will take you up to an elevation of 8,000 feet, where you can take in the majestic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
You’ll also get an up-close look at some of the area’s wildlife, including bald eagles, marmots and deer.
The gondola ride is a great way to explore the area without having to exert too much effort.
At the top of the gondola, you can visit some of Mammoth Lakes’ best restaurants and take in the sunset from a viewing platform.
It’s an experience like no other, so don’t forget to bring your camera!
31. Exploring the natural beauty of Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is one of the most unique and beautiful places in California. Home to towering sand dunes, rugged canyons and stunning salt flats, this desert oasis is a must-see for any visitor to the state.
The park features some amazing hikes that will take you through its breathtaking landscapes. You can explore ancient canyons, traverse towering sand dunes or wander through its unique geological formations.
You can also take a guided tour of the park to learn more about its history and wildlife. Take in the stunning views from Zabriskie Point or visit Scotty’s Castle for an up-close look at its fascinating architecture.
Death Valley Naional Park is also home to some of California’s darkest night skies, making it the perfect place for stargazing.
So don’t miss out on this incredible destination and explore the natural beauty of Death Valley National Park today!
32. Visiting the USS Midway Museum in San Diego
The USS Midway Museum in San Diego is an amazing place to explore. Located on the former aircraft carrier, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the ship and learn about its history.
There are over 60 parts of the ship that you can explore, including the bridge, engine room and galley.
You will also have the chance to experience flight simulators and explore interactive exhibits about the aircrafts on board.
The museum also features a variety of special events, from live music performances to educational lectures.
Take some time to wander around this incredible floating museum and get an up-close look at history.
33. Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the California coast.
This stunning aquarium is home to over 35,000 animals and plants, making it one of the world’s best oceanic exhibits.
Visitors can explore everything from colorful fish to giant jellyfish in the tanks that fill the space.
Aside from its living exhibits, the aquarium also features a variety of educational programs, including interactive touch tanks and guided tours.
You can also take part in some behind-the-scenes activities to get a closer look at the animals.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a great place for kids to learn about ocean life and have an unforgettable experience.
34. Going wine tasting in Paso Robles
Paso Robles is a charming wine country destination in California that’s known for its incredible selection of wines.
Take a day to explore the vineyards and sample some of the region’s best wines.
You can visit a variety of wineries, ranging from small family-run operations to larger commercial vintners. Each winery offers its unique experience, so visit a few to get the full experience.
You can also take part in wine tastings and educational tours to learn more about winemaking and the region’s history.
Paso Robles is also home to some amazing restaurants and shops, so don’t forget to explore the town after your wine tasting.
Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or just learning about wine, Paso Robles is the perfect place to sip and savor.
35. Exploring the historic missions of California
California is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful missions in the United States. Take a trip back in time and explore these historic landmarks that have stood for centuries.
You can visit Mission San Juan Capistrano, which is known as the “birthplace of California,” or explore Mission Santa Barbara, which was founded in 1786.
Each mission has its own unique history and architecture, so you’ll get to experience something different at each one.
You can also take part in guided tours that will teach you more about the missions’ important role in California’s history.
So don’t miss out on the chance to explore these incredible landmarks and learn a bit about California’s past.
36. Riding the Ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier
Take a trip to the Santa Monica Pier and experience the magic of this iconic destination.
The pier is home to classic amusement park rides like the Ferris wheel, roller coaster and carousel, so there’s something for everyone here. You can also take part in some fun activities like fishing, mini-golf or even a carnival game.
Be sure to take some time to wander around the pier and soak in the sights – from street performers to souvenir stands, there’s no shortage of things to explore.
End your day with a ride on the Ferris wheel for an unforgettable view of the coastline. Santa Monica Pier is the perfect place to make memories that will last a lifetime.
37. Taking a scenic train ride through the Napa Valley vineyards
Take a scenic train ride through the rolling hills of Napa Valley and experience some of California’s most breathtaking sights.
The Napa Valley Wine Train offers a unique way to explore the region’s vineyards, with stops at some of the most renowned wineries along the way.
You can taste some delicious wines and take in the stunning scenery while listening to informative commentary from the onboard staff.
At each stop, you’ll have time to wander around the vineyards and learn more about winemaking before hopping back on board for the next leg of your journey.
The Napa Valley Wine Train is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your trip has ended.
38. Exploring the vibrant food scene in San Francisco
San Francisco is a city that’s known for its vibrant culture, and the local food scene is no exception.
Take some time to explore some of the city’s most popular restaurants and discover why San Francisco is such a culinary hotspot.
Visit iconic spots like Ferry Building Marketplace, where you can find everything from artisan cheeses to freshly caught seafood.
Head to the Mission District for an array of ethnic eateries, and don’t forget to check out the North Beach area for some of the best Italian food around.
No matter what you’re in the mood for, San Francisco has something delicious to offer. So come hungry and explore all that this amazing city has to offer.
39. Taking a helicopter tour of Los Angeles
Experience Los Angeles in an entirely new way with a helicopter tour of the city.
Take off from the Hollywood Hills and soar over some of the most iconic landmarks, including the Hollywood Sign and the Staples Center.
You’ll get unparalleled views of downtown LA and its famous skyline and sprawling beaches like Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier.
You can also get an up-close look at the Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Observatory and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
It’s a truly unforgettable experience that will give you a new appreciation for Los Angeles’ vibrant culture and stunning architecture. So don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to view the city from above.
40. Visiting the California Science Center in Los Angeles
The California Science Center in Los Angeles is the perfect place to explore science and technology.
Featuring interactive exhibits and live demonstrations, you’ll learn about everything from robotics to space exploration.
Be sure to check out the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit where you can examine a full-scale replica of the shuttle and its components.
Other highlights include the Discovery Room, a hands-on activity center for kids and adults alike and the IMAX theater, where you can watch educational films about space exploration.
An afternoon at the California Science Center will leave you feeling inspired and ready to take on the world!
41. Going whale watching in Monterey Bay
Experience the beauty of nature up close with a whale watching tour in Monterey Bay.
From humpback whales to orca pods, you’ll get an unparalleled view of these majestic creatures as they navigate their way through the bay’s waters.
Your knowledgeable guide will be on hand to answer any questions and share interesting facts about the wildlife you’ll encounter.
Throughout the tour, you’ll also have a chance to spot other wildlife such as sea lions, dolphins and even sharks!
It’s an experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for the natural world. So don’t miss out on this incredible adventure.
42. Exploring the unique rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park
Take a trip to the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park and explore its incredible rock formations.
From the towering monzogranite boulders to the stunning desert landscaping, you’ll be in awe of this stunning park’s unique beauty.
Hike up to some of the highest points for unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape, or take a drive through the desert to spot some of the park’s wildlife.
While you’re at it, be sure to check out the night sky for some incredible stargazing opportunities.
No matter what activities you choose, a trip to Joshua Tree is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and a newfound admiration for this unique landscape.
43. Visiting the San Diego Museum of Art
The San Diego Museum of Art is a must-visit destination for art lovers.
Featuring both permanent and rotating exhibitions, you’ll get an immersive look at the work of some of the world’s greatest artists.
Explore the museum’s magnificent collection of European paintings, sculptures, photographs and more. You can also take part in educational programs and workshops designed to help you appreciate art in a new way.
The museum is also home to an impressive set of outdoor sculptures that are sure to captivate even the most novice art enthusiast.
A visit to the San Diego Museum of Art will broaden your horizons and give you a newfound appreciation for the beauty of art.
44. Taking a sunset cruise in Newport Beach
Take a leisurely cruise around Newport Beach in the evening and enjoy some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see.
As the sun sets over this stunning coastal city, you’ll get a chance to witness its beauty from an entirely new perspective. You might even catch glimpses of dolphins playing in the waves!
Your experienced captain will be on hand to answer any questions and share interesting stories about the area.
Soak up the stunning scenery, enjoy some delicious snacks, and relax with a refreshing drink as you take in the sights of Newport Beach from the comfort of your boat. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.
45. Exploring the quaint coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea
Take a stroll through the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea and explore its unique beauty.
Admire the colorful homes, admire the beautiful gardens, or take a peaceful walk along the beach. You’ll get an intimate look at this quaint coastal town and its many attractions.
Visit some local boutiques for a unique shopping experience, or explore some picturesque galleries and museums. Be sure to grab some delicious food from one of the local restaurants too!
A visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, no matter which activities you decide to do. You’ll be ready to take on the world afterward.
46. Visiting the famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose
Take a trip to the infamous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose and explore its mysterious history.
This maze-like mansion is full of unusual features, from staircases leading nowhere to doors that open into walls. You’ll hear about the story behind the house and its eccentric former resident, Sarah Winchester.
You can also take a guided tour of the house and get an up-close look at its many peculiar features.
Your visit to the Winchester Mystery House will be a unique and unforgettable experience, as you learn about this one-of-a-kind home and its mysterious past.
47. Going skiing or snowboarding in Lake Tahoe during winter
Experience the beauty of Lake Tahoe in winter with a ski or snowboarding trip.
Hit the slopes and fly down the mountain on your choice of beginner, intermediate, or expert runs.
Take a break from skiing and enjoy some breathtaking views of the lake as you sip hot cocoa at one of the nearby lodges.
You’ll also have access to fun amenities like snowmobiling, ice skating, and even dog-sledding.
Whether you’re an experienced skier or just looking for a way to enjoy the winter wonderland of Lake Tahoe, it’s sure to be an unforgettable trip.
48. Taking a scenic hike in Point Reyes National Seashore
Take a hike through the breathtaking scenery of Point Reyes National Seashore and experience the beauty of nature up close.
Choose your own adventure, from easy trails to more challenging ones with stunning views.
You can also take part in guided tours and learn about the area’s unique ecology.
Be sure to bring some snacks and plenty of water, and don’t forget your camera – you’ll definitely want to capture some of the incredible sights.
You might even be lucky enough to spot some wildlife during your hike!
A visit to Point Reyes National Seashore is sure to leave you feeling inspired and energized. So, take a break from your usual routine and explore this special part of California.
49. Visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach
One of the highlights of the Aquarium of the Pacific is its stunning exhibits, which showcase the diverse marine life found in the Pacific Ocean.
From the colorful coral reefs of the Tropical Pacific Gallery to the playful sea otters in the Northern Pacific Gallery, there is something for everyone to marvel at.
The massive Blue Cavern exhibit, featuring a 142,000-gallon tank with a kelp forest and a variety of fish species, is a true spectacle that will leave you in awe.
The interactive exhibits at the Aquarium of the Pacific also make it an exciting and engaging destination.
Visitors can get up close and personal with marine animals at the touch tanks, where they can gently touch and learn about creatures such as stingrays and sharks. The Shark Lagoon exhibit offers an opportunity to see these magnificent predators up close and learn about their conservation efforts.
The popular Lorikeet Forest allows visitors to feed and interact with colorful lorikeet birds, making for a unique and memorable experience.
With its diverse exhibits, interactive experiences, and educational programs, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach offers a truly unforgettable adventure for visitors of all ages.
50. Exploring the historic Old Town San Diego
Located in the sunny state of California, Old Town San Diego is a historic gem that offers a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
As you wander through the cobblestone streets and adobe buildings, you’ll feel transported back in time to the early days of California’s history.
One of the best things to do in Old Town San Diego is to explore the various museums and historic sites that dot the area. The Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a must-visit.
You can learn about the early Spanish settlement in California and its impact on the region’s culture and history. The park also features a reconstructed plaza, original adobe buildings, and beautiful gardens that provide a serene escape from the bustling modern city.
For a fun and interactive experience, head to the Whaley House Museum, which is believed to be one of the most haunted houses in America. You can take a guided tour of this historic home and learn about its fascinating history and eerie legends.
If you’re a history buff, visiting the Junipero Serra Museum is also a must, as it showcases the life and work of this famous Spanish Franciscan friar who played a significant role in California’s history.
51. Taking a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge
Embarking on a bike ride across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is an exhilarating adventure that ranks high on the list of best and fun things to do in California. Located in San Francisco, this world-renowned suspension bridge spans 1.7 miles and offers breathtaking views of the city skyline, Alcatraz Island, and the Pacific Ocean.
The bike ride begins at the bustling Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can rent a bike and gear up for your scenic journey. As you pedal along the well-maintained path, you’ll be captivated by the panoramic vistas of the bay, with the iconic red-orange towers of the Golden Gate Bridge beckoning you in the distance.
As you approach the bridge, you’ll feel a sense of awe as its majestic architecture looms above you. Riding across the suspension bridge, with the salty sea breeze in your face and the San Francisco skyline in the backdrop, is an unforgettable experience. You’ll have ample opportunities to stop and capture Instagram-worthy photos or simply soak in the grandeur of this engineering marvel.
Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you can explore the charming seaside town of Sausalito. With its quaint shops, inviting cafes, and stunning waterfront, Sausalito is a perfect spot to take a break, indulge in some local cuisine, and enjoy the laid-back California vibe.
52. Visiting the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles
Perched atop the scenic hills of Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory is an iconic landmark that offers breathtaking views of the Los Angeles skyline, the famous Hollywood Sign, and the Pacific Ocean.
Visitors can start their day with a stroll through the beautifully landscaped grounds of the observatory, which provide a serene setting for a leisurely walk or a picnic.
One of the highlights of the Griffith Observatory is its state-of-the-art planetarium, which offers immersive and educational shows about the wonders of the universe. Visitors can catch awe-inspiring presentations covering topics such as astronomy, space exploration, and the universe’s history.
The planetarium also hosts special events, such as live telescope viewings and lectures by renowned scientists, making it a fascinating experience for anyone interested in astronomy and space science.
For those looking to learn more about the night sky, the Griffith Observatory offers free telescope viewings in the evenings.
Visitors can observe celestial objects such as planets, stars, and galaxies through high-powered telescopes guided by knowledgeable astronomers who provide insights and answer questions.
It’s a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the wonders of the night sky.
53. Exploring the unique shops and boutiques of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf, located in San Francisco, California, is a bustling waterfront area that is famous for its unique shops and boutiques.
Exploring the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the best and most fun things to do in California for both locals and tourists alike.
One of the highlights of Fisherman’s Wharf is the variety of specialty shops offering unique and unique items.
From quirky souvenir shops filled with San Francisco-themed memorabilia to boutique stores showcasing local artisan crafts, there is something for everyone’s taste and style.
Visitors can find a wide range of items, including locally made jewelry, clothing, artwork, and gourmet food products.
In addition to the unique shopping experience, strolling through Fisherman’s Wharf also offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant maritime culture of San Francisco.
The area is known for its historic fishing fleet, and visitors can watch fishermen unloading their catches of the day or even try their hand at crabbing from the piers.
For those who appreciate the culinary scene, Fisherman’s Wharf is a haven for seafood lovers. Numerous restaurants and cafes line the waterfront, offering fresh seafood dishes, such as clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls or Dungeness crab cooked in various styles.
54. Going stargazing in Joshua Tree National Park
Stargazing in Joshua Tree National Park is an absolute must if you’re looking for a unique and awe-inspiring experience in California.
This renowned national park, located in the southeastern part of the state, offers some of the best stargazing opportunities in the country.
With its stunning desert landscapes and minimal light pollution, Joshua Tree National Park provides an ideal setting for observing the night sky.
As you venture into the park after sunset, you’ll be greeted by a vast expanse of stars that seem to stretch infinitely above you.
The sheer magnitude and brilliance of the night sky in Joshua Tree will leave you breathless as you gaze up in wonder. With the naked eye, you’ll be able to spot constellations, planets, and even the Milky Way galaxy.
For an even more immersive experience, consider bringing a telescope or binoculars to closely examine celestial wonders. The park’s dark skies offer excellent visibility for observing deep-sky objects such as galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters.
To enhance your stargazing adventure, you can join one of the park’s ranger-led astronomy programs or participate in one of the special stargazing events organized by local astronomy groups.
These programs provide educational insights and fascinating facts about the night sky, making your stargazing experience even more enriching and enjoyable.
55. Taking a scenic drive through the wine country of Sonoma Valley
As you embark on your wine country road trip, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of rolling vineyards, lush green hills, and charming small towns.
You can start your day by visiting some of the best wineries in the region, where you can indulge in tastings of award-winning wines and learn about the winemaking process from passionate vintners.
Aside from wine tasting, there are plenty of other fun activities to enjoy in Sonoma Valley. You can take a hot air balloon ride and soar above the vineyards for a bird’s-eye view of the stunning scenery.
Explore the picturesque towns of Sonoma and Healdsburg, where you can stroll through quaint streets lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants. For nature lovers, hiking and biking trails abound, offering opportunities to immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty.
No visit to Sonoma Valley would be complete without savoring its renowned farm-to-table cuisine. Treat your taste buds to farm-fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and locally sourced meats at one of the many farm-to-table restaurants in the area.
With its picturesque landscapes, exquisite wines, and vibrant culture, a scenic drive through the wine country of Sonoma Valley is truly one of California’s best and most enjoyable experiences. So, buckle up, roll down the windows, and let the beauty of Sonoma Valley captivate your senses as you embark on an unforgettable wine country adventure.
56. Exploring the natural beauty of Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park, located in northern California, is a hidden gem filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty and thrilling activities for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the best things to do in Lassen Volcanic National Park is to explore the unique geothermal features, including mud pots, fumaroles, and hot springs.
Bumpass Hell, a popular destination within the park, offers a boardwalk trail that takes visitors on a fascinating journey through a surreal landscape of steaming vents and boiling pools.
For adventure seekers, hiking is a must-do activity in Lassen Volcanic National Park. With over 150 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks, there is something for everyone.
Hiking to the summit of Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world, rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Camping is also a favorite pastime in the park, with several campgrounds offering stunning views of the volcanic landscapes and starry night skies.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy fishing in the park’s lakes and streams, or embark on scenic drives along the park’s roads, such as the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, which offers panoramic vistas of the park’s picturesque landscapes.
For those seeking a more relaxed experience, Lassen Volcanic National Park is also an ideal destination for picnicking, bird-watching, and photography.
The park’s diverse ecosystems, including meadows, forests, and lakes, provide ample opportunities to observe wildlife, including deer, bears, and a variety of bird species.
57. Visiting the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is a must-visit destination for nature and science enthusiasts. With its unique blend of exhibits and interactive experiences, it offers a plethora of best and fun things to do for visitors of all ages.
One of the top highlights of the California Academy of Sciences is the Steinhart Aquarium, where you can marvel at over 40,000 marine animals, including colorful fish, mesmerizing jellyfish, and fascinating coral reefs. The hands-on exhibits allow you to learn about marine ecosystems and conservation efforts, making it an educational and entertaining experience.
The Morrison Planetarium is another must-see attraction, featuring a state-of-the-art digital dome that provides a breathtaking immersive experience of exploring the universe. You can embark on a virtual journey through space, learn about celestial bodies, and even witness a live show about the night sky.
For those interested in the Earth’s biodiversity, the Rainforest exhibit is a treat. You can walk through a four-story rainforest replica, complete with lush vegetation, exotic birds, and butterflies. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the importance of rainforests and their delicate ecosystems.
In addition to the exhibits, the California Academy of Sciences also offers a variety of hands-on activities, such as panning for gold, touching live animals, and conducting scientific experiments. There are also special events, workshops, and lectures that cater to different interests and age groups.
58. Going horseback riding in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Horseback riding in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is an adventure that promises an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.
Nestled in the heart of California, the Sierra Nevada Mountains boast stunning vistas, serene meadows, and pristine forests that are best explored on horseback.
One of the best things about horseback riding in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the opportunity to connect with nature in a unique and immersive way.
As you navigate the scenic trails, you’ll be enveloped by the sights, sounds, and scents of the wilderness, from the majestic pines to the babbling streams. The crisp mountain air and the gentle rhythm of your horse’s hooves will create a sense of tranquility that is hard to replicate elsewhere.
But horseback riding in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is not just about serenity; it’s also an adrenaline-pumping adventure.
As you traverse the rugged terrain and tackle challenging trails, you’ll experience the thrill of navigating steep slopes, crossing creeks, and encountering local wildlife in their natural habitat.
The bond you’ll develop with your horse as you tackle these obstacles is a unique and cherished experience that will create lifelong memories.
59. Taking a kayak tour of La Jolla Cove in San Diego
Embarking on a kayak tour of La Jolla Cove in San Diego is a thrilling and immersive experience that should be at the top of any adventure-seeker’s list of best things to do in California. La Jolla Cove, located in the picturesque coastal community of La Jolla, is renowned for its pristine waters, abundant marine life, and breathtaking scenery, making it a perfect destination for an unforgettable kayaking adventure.
As you paddle through the crystal-clear waters of La Jolla Cove, you’ll be surrounded by stunning rock formations, sea caves, and kelp forests teeming with diverse marine species. From playful sea lions to curious seals, and even the occasional dolphin or sea turtle, the opportunity to encounter wildlife up close and personal is one of the highlights of a kayak tour in this area.
In addition to the incredible marine life, the unique geological features of La Jolla Cove make for a truly awe-inspiring experience. Paddling through sea caves, such as the famous “Sunny Jim Cave,” carved into the cliffs by the relentless pounding of the Pacific Ocean, is an exhilarating adventure that allows you to explore hidden nooks and crannies of the coastline that are inaccessible by land.
Kayak tours in La Jolla Cove are suitable for all skill levels, with experienced guides who provide safety instructions and equipment. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, the thrill of gliding through the pristine waters, exploring sea caves, and encountering marine life in their natural habitat will make for an unforgettable adventure in California.
60. Exploring the historic town of Sausalito
Sausalito, a historic town nestled on the northern shores of the San Francisco Bay in California, offers a plethora of best and fun things to do for visitors of all ages. As you explore this charming town, you can indulge in a variety of activities that showcase its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.
One of the best things to do in Sausalito is to take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront promenade, which offers stunning views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco skyline, and Alcatraz Island. You can also rent a bike and ride along the scenic waterfront bike path, which takes you through lush parks and past beautiful houseboats.
For art enthusiasts, Sausalito is home to numerous art galleries, showcasing local talent and international works. You can spend hours browsing through the eclectic collection of paintings, sculptures, and jewelry, or even attend art workshops and events.
If you’re a history buff, a visit to the famous Bay Area Discovery Museum is a must. This interactive museum is perfect for families, with hands-on exhibits that educate and entertain children about the natural and cultural history of the area.
For those who enjoy outdoor adventures, you can go hiking in the nearby Marin Headlands or visit the Muir Woods National Monument, home to towering redwood trees that are over 1,000 years old. You can also embark on a kayaking or paddleboarding excursion in the bay, or simply relax on the sandy beaches and enjoy the stunning vistas.
Foodies will also find plenty to delight their taste buds in Sausalito, with its diverse culinary scene offering a variety of gourmet restaurants, cozy cafes, and waterfront eateries serving fresh seafood and farm-to-table cuisine.
61. Exploring the picturesque Redwood National Park
Located along the rugged coastline of northern California, Redwood National Park is a natural wonderland that offers a plethora of best and fun things to do for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Hiking through the ancient groves of towering redwood trees is a must-do activity in Redwood National Park. Trails like the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail and Tall Trees Grove Trail offer awe-inspiring views of these magnificent giants, some of which are over 2,000 years old. You can also embark on a guided tour with a park ranger to learn about the park’s unique ecosystem, flora, and fauna.
For adventure seekers, exploring the park’s pristine coastline is a thrilling experience. You can kayak along the crystal-clear waters of the Smith River, go on a scenic drive along the iconic Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, or enjoy camping under the starry night sky at one of the park’s campgrounds.
Wildlife watching is another highlight of Redwood National Park. Keep an eye out for Roosevelt elk, black bears, and a diverse array of bird species as you traverse the park’s trails.
For an immersive cultural experience, visit the nearby Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, where you can learn about the rich history and culture of the Native American tribes who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
All-in-all, California is the perfect getaway destination for anyone looking to freewheel around and have a blast while doing it.
Whether you’re looking to hit up some amusement parks, experience some iconic landmarks, relax on the beaches, party in downtown Los Angeles or San Diego, do some wine tasting in Napa Valley or take in some beautiful National Parks and forests in Northern California, you’ll be sure to make lasting memories here.
Each corner of the state has something unique to offer, so no matter what region you decide to visit for your trip, you’re sure to find something fun and exciting.
The beauty of California cannot be put into words; one must see it for themselves. Be sure to explore all its offerings; you won’t be disappointed.
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Colin Borden wanderlust takes him to stunningly beautiful places, where he delights in discovering new cultures and cuisines. With a passion for storytelling and a vivid imagination, Colin captures his experiences through heartfelt words that bring his adventures to life.