California is America's land of milk and honey. It has deserts, mountains and oceans cliffs, and in one day you can travel from 100 F degree weather to 30 F and snowing. If you're planning on hitting the road this summer, here are 10 amazing, sometimes hidden, places to visit while you explore the Wild Wild West.
1) Start your trip in San Diego. If you have time, hop over the USA border for a quick trip to Tijuana to see a bull fight. In San Deigo, be sure to check out the San Diego Zoo, and get a bus pass. Get in line early, and explore the zoo atop one of the double decker buses that covers over 70% of the park. You'l get a camera full of amazing pictures and a great suntan in one day.
2) Next stop is LA. Instead of doing the tourist-y part of town, take a visit to the Griffith Observatory. From the top, you'll get a 360 view of the city, and a great view of the famous "Hollywood Sign". On the way out, take a drive through the winding hills of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. If you're visiting close to a weekend, check out the numerous farmer's markets that happen throughout the city. Fashion Junkie? Be sure to check out the wholesale markets downtown. You'll have to put your bargaining and bartering hat on, but it'll be an adventure worth having. If you want to do a Touristy thing, check out the Iconic Disney World, Chinese Theatre, or City Walk at Universal Studios.
3) Instead of driving up the main highway to travel North, hop on Highway 1. Highway 1 is a scenic route that takes you through insane winding roads (that may rival the world's deadliest road in Bolivia). To you left you'll see ocean raging cliffs and lighthouse overlooks and to your right: mountains. You'll be wedged somewhere in between, with adrenaline pumping, and if you lucky, you'll catch a car commercial being filmed.
4) Camp on the beach. Highway 1 is the perfect spot for beach camping. Beware, its cold and very windy, so pack accordingly.
5) No matter what, visit Pfiefer beach. This beach is completely hidden from plain site, and the entrance to it looks more like a hillbilly road to no-man's land than a path to one of Cali's hidden treasures. Once you make it past the entrance, you'll eyes will feast on hidden caves, raging waves, and a lagoon.
6) Don't forget Northern California. Mount Shasta sits near the state line, and stays snowcapped year round. Legend has it that an alien society lives under the snowcapped mount. If you're feeling brave, you can hike in to mount shasta and get a pass to camp, then hike back out.
7) Visit Whiskeytown Lake while you are in Shasta County. Whiskeytown lake is a manmade lake that comes along with a rowdy origin story. During the gold rush, Whiskeytown was established as a boom town in Northern California. It was named that for a good reason, and when the season died out, locals say the government flooded the area by damming a local stream. Whiskeytown Lake was born, and locals love sunbathing on its beach. Be sure to check out the 'Glory Hole', a huge plug that is designed to prevent the lake from overflowing.
8) Do the National Park Circuit. Yosemite is worth seeing, for days. You can also visit the world's largest tree at Sequoia, then head north to Redwood National Forest. On the way to Redwood National Forest, drive the the Avenue of the Giants, which is a scenic cut-away from the highway. The world's tallest tree hides somewhere in Redwood National Forest, but its location is unknown. You could always go camping with friends in the forest and hike in to treasure hunt for the world's biggest tree. If you find one bigger, you win.
9) San Francisco gets at trump card for 'coolest' city in California (and that's saying something). While there, do the classics like a picture outside of the 'painted ladies', a row of houses that the intro to Full House was filmed in. Check out streets after stress of unique dining and coffee houses.
10) Go on factory tours. California is home to many start-ups in this nation, and certain American factories offer tours, such as the Taylor Guitar Factory and Fender Guitar Factory.