I am a native Californian, from the Bay Area (an hour east of San Francisco). If I had a dollar overtime someone sang me a song about California when travelers or locals ask where I’m from, I’d have enough money to never stop traveling! “Oh! Californnia Girl! Katy Perry!” “Oh! The Eagles! Hotel California!” “Oh! Tupac! California knows how to party!” The serenades are hilarious! There must be something special about the Golden State because everyone I meet seemed so impressed and so excited that I am from California. Everyday I see people with shirts that say California or one of our cities. There seems to be a global affection for California. My state is more than just Hollywood celebrities and surfers. I’ve actually never even surfed in my own state!
Many travelers who’ve traveled to my homeland have told me that they did not like Los Angeles very much. They’ve complained it’s dirty, smoggy, expensive, too commercial , too big, and has terrible traffic. I honestly have not been to L.A. as an adult. I went to Hollywood Boulevard and Rodeo Drive when I was young, but it hasn’t appealed to me as an adult to return. It seems to be very materialistic, when I am more interested in adventure. LAX is a common airport for travelers to come through, but it doesn’t seem to entertain many backpackers as most of us are like minded and seem to be unimpressed. If you must fly in to Los Angeles (flights are probably cheapest too LA and SF), see the Hollywood sign and the pink stars on Hollywood Boulevard, then move on. I suggest skipping this city because California has so much more to offer!
Here is my suggestion for top 4 Places to Visit in California:
On the border of Mexico, this coastal town is always sunny 75! It is home to the first California mission built by the Spaniards so it has a lot of history. But what makes this my favorite city, a place where I would love to settle down someday, is the vibrant nightlife, gorgeous people, perfect weather, great beaches with warm seas, plenty of adventurous activities and large amount of breweries! There are two large universities, so there are tons of young outgoing people around, and they all seem to be beautiful and fit! Pacific Beach is my favorite area, with beachside bars, full of people day and night. Pub crawls are so much fun, especially when you get a group to dress up in theme. In addition to water sports like surfing, stand up paddle boarding or diving, you can rent rollerblades or bikes along the beach, do yoga, go on nearby hikes, ect. San Diego seems to be very health conscious and full of active people and great healthy eating options. You stay classy San Diego!
“If your going to San Franciscooo” “I left my heart in San Francisco” Yes, many more songs have been sung to me once I mention the city I’m closest to. San Fran is truly a unique city because it is so open minded and crawling with freaks and weirdos.. in a good way! People watching in SF is so entertaining. I would suggest trying to go to some kind of even or festival in the city because everyone goes all out with costumes and get really into whatever they’re celebrating. Whether it’s PRIDE weekend, St, Patrick’s Day, Santa Con, Bay to Breakers, Outsidelands music festival, or a giant pillow fight on Valentine’s Day, it is sure to be amusing! There is no city more colorful than the city by the bay.
San Francisco’s scenic beauty attracts tourists from all over the world. The rolling hills and the famous Golden Gate Bridge are such a pleasant sight. There is so much to see in the city that I have not even seen most of it! So many parks to chill with friends, neighborhoods to explore, and interesting bars and restaurants to visit. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is our metro system and it makes it easy to get around without a car. I am honestly too intimidated to drive in the city! The surrounding Bay Area (about a hour radius from SF) has so much to explore, too, like old hippy town Berkeley and hipster Oakland, or the beautiful state parks like the magnificent redwoods. The Bay Area is very proud of it’s sports teams, all doing very well recently, so it would be fun to catch a game. Take your time to explore this timeless city and its surrounding areas.
This National Park is famous for a particular mountain called Half Dome, named for its unique shape. To hike it, you must have a permit, and it’s only accessible certain times of the year. It takes guts to climb the face, only holding onto the chains that lead to the top, so it is a proud accomplishment. There are many other hikes, rock climbing, and waterfalls in the park and it offers great camping or cabins to rent. The scenery is breathtaking and even just the drive through is spectacular. If you want to satisfy your hunger for adventure, make a stop at Yosemite National Park.
This lake sits on the border with Nevada. You will see bumperstickers everywhere with the slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue” because we cherish this lake and want to maintain its cleanliness. This lake is in the Sierra Nevada mountain range so it is at a higher elevation. The mountains offer great slopes for skiers and snowboarders in the winter like Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe or North Star in the north where the Olympics were once held. The lake itself is huge so it does not freeze over, but it’s so lovely surrounded with snowy pine trees and mountains. New Years Eve is especially fun in South Lake Tahoe because you can walk over the border to Nevada and visit the clubs and casinos on the strip. At midnight, everyone crowds the street and pops champagne! In the summer, the weather is perfectly warm and great for boating. You can go wake boarding or water skiing, tubing, jet skiing or just lounge lazily in a floaty. There are many beautifully made classic wooden boats on this lake, mostly in the north. Celebrating Independence Day is great fun in Tahoe, especially at Zephyr’s Cove where all the young people like to party on the beach in their red, white and blue swim wear. Fireworks over the water are a great show at night, and bonfires with marshmallows roasting for s’mores are a great treat when camping.
Rent a convertible car and drive up or down Highway 101, our famous coastal highway with stunning views of the ocean. Stop by some beach towns along the way and enjoy the California sunshine!