Looking for inspiration on the best places to travel in California? Check out these 10 amazing destinations!
You’ve been dreaming of a California road trip for ages and now you have finally decided to go for it! Awesome!
If you’re wondering where precisely should you travel in California, or where could you go for a mini vacation, then look no further, I’ve got you covered.
Here a list of the 10 most beautiful places to travel and things to do or see along the way.
10 Beautiful Places to Travel in California, Perfect For Road Trips
1. Los Angeles
Let’s start with The City of Angels. There’s plenty to do and see in Los Angeles so consider spending a few days here.
If you’re up for some sightseeing here’s what to add to your list: walk on the Hollywood Boulevard, visit the Griffith Observatory (the Planetarium show, it’s mindblowing), and from here hike up to the Hollywood sign.
The next day, have a stroll through Beverly Hills, walk on Santa Monica Pier and why not, take a bike ride to Venice Beach. Make sure to stay until the evening to admire that gorgeous sunset on the beach.
2. Sequoia National Park
This is truly one of the most unique places I’ve traveled to and a must-see in California.
A walk through this national park is like nothing you’ve experienced before! You are surrounded by extremely tall and very old trees, most of them over 2.000 years old! Watch out for your neck (and your step) as you’ll mostly be looking up, in awe!
You’ll also find here THE BIGGEST TREE IN THE WORLD. Its name is General Sherman, 275 feet tall and 2.200 years old. It’s not the highest, but the volume of its trunk makes it the biggest tree in the world. Such a beauty!
3. Big Sur
Breathtaking beauty! There is NO WAY you can plan a road trip through California and not add this place to your list.
It’s easily accessible from the Pacific Coast Highway, but you need to keep in mind that there’s not really much to do here (besides taking a million pictures ;)), as the area is closed. Regardless, it’s definitely worth a visit.
As we’re still going through a pandemic, have a look here for tips on how to travel safely.
4. Yosemite National Park
Missing the fresh mountain air? Then get your hiking books ready and let’s hit the trails!
Gorgeous waterfalls, spectacular views of the mountains surrounding you from all sides, deers walking around next to you – simply nature at its best. This park is one of the best places to travel in California, so you can’t miss it!
As there is SO much to do and explore, make sure to plan a couple of days for the visit, so you can really enjoy it and not have to rush.
This is also a VERY popular destination so consider weekdays rather than weekends. Parking especially can be really tricky so arrive early morning to grab your spot. And I do mean EARLY, like 7-8 AM. We drove around for about 2 hours to find a parking spot as we got there in the afternoon.
5. Napa Valley
Napa Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in the country, and the world actually.
So how about planning a girls’ getaway weekend and spending a few days here: walk through the wine yards, have a tour, and a private wine tasting at one of the many wineries in the area.
Saint Helena is a gorgeous little village, perfect for booking your accommodation to explore the area and check out Whitehall Lane Winery for a private tour and tasting. We loved it!
6. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe must definitely make it to the top best places to travel in California!
Whether you’re thinking of a week-long summer holiday or a maybe weekend in the fall, this place is magical in every season.
The beautiful beaches and clear, turquoise water, are just perfect for paddleboarding and a nice swim in summer (although the water might be a bit cold, it’s usually between 68-72F/20-22C). And there are also plenty of hiking routes with gorgeous views if you’re up for it. Such a great destination all year round!
7. San Francisco
Get your walking shoes on and let’s explore this beautiful city! Be prepared for constant up the hill down the hill type of sightseeing, this city is like nothing I’ve ever seen before!
But no worries, if you’re not a fan of hiking the streets of San Francisco (yes, it does feel like proper hiking, believe me!), the open tram is also a great option to see it!
For a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, drive up to Vista Point. Be prepared for very strong winds up there.
8. The Pacific Coast Highway
Longing for the ocean? Then hop into your car and drive along on one of the most beautiful (and famous) highways in the world!
From LA to San Francisco, make sure to stop along the way to take in the views, breathe in the salty ocean air and walk on the white, sandy beaches.
Definitely don’t miss out on Pebble Beach, the gorgeous small cities along the way (like Monterey and Carmel), and look for those cute sea lions enjoying a lazy afternoon in the sun.
Malibu is a great choice for catching some waves (if you’re into surfing), or simply spending a few relaxing days at the beach. Stroll on the Malibu Pier for a great view of the ocean and the coast.
10. Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a lovely little city nearby LA. You will fall in love with the Spanish architecture and the Mediterranean feel all around it!
Spend a day here walking on the mile-long beach and admire the ocean and the view of the city from the Stearns Wharf.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of the most beautiful places to travel in California and that it helped you plan an amazing trip!