California is an incredible state. Being the third largest state in the US, California has a lot of land area and is very diverse in ecology and climate, offering some very incredible sights and natural wonders. In addition, California is the most populated state in the US and therefore has a vast number of top-rate attractions.
Within my list of the top twenty places are a variety of different types of sights to visit, varying by cost and location. However, all of them are family friendly. Each place chosen will be given a brief description and one or two web links to help you easily find more information. For general referencing, click here, to visit the California tourism site.
Enjoy your stay in California!
#20 San Simeon State Park/Hearst Castle – Located along California’s Hwy 1, the Hearst Castle and the San Simeon beach are a powerful duo. San Simeon has a really cool viewing area for Sea Elephants and is a fabulous place to watch a sunset. The main building of Heart Castle has 115 rooms and the property features eight beautiful acres of cultivated gardens.
Hearst San Simeon State Park Website
Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument Website
#19 The California State Capital Museum, Sacramento – Tour the California State Capital Building. Public tours are available daily.
About the State Capital
#18 The Queen Mary at Long Beach – The famous RMS Queen Mary lies docked at Long Beach. Tours and overnight stays are offered.
Queen Mary Site
Queen Mary Info
#17 Knotts Berry Farm Theme Park, Buena Park – Visit one of Americas funnest theme parks.
#16 Napa Valley and the Vineyards – Visit one of the most beautiful and well known vine producing regions in the world.
#15 Driving the 101 North of San Fransisco – Enjoy breathtaking scenery of redwood forests and costal shores.
US Route 101
#14 The Huntington Library and Gardens, Pasadena – Tour gardens, art exhibits, and Library.
Huntington Library Website
Huntington Library Info
#13 Larson Volcanic National Park – This site is little known, but hosts some of the most incredible views in the state. Over 150 miles of hiking trails, 8 campsites, and 106,372 acres of beauty are offered.
#12 J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles – View incredible displays of artwork and fascinating exhibits. Admission to the Getty Center and Museum is free. Parking is $15 or free after 5pm.
#11 Newport Beach, Orange County – One of the wealthiest, cleanest, and most visited beach communities in the country. The area hosts many attractions like the Balboa Peninsula and the Orange Country Museum of Art as well as lots of beach access. There is also a famous Christmas Boat Parade held there each year.
Newport Beach Visitor Site
Newport Christmas Boat Parade
#10 Universal Studios Hollywood – Hollywood’s number one attraction!
Universal Studios Hollywood Site
#9 Lake Tahoe – The largest freshwater lake of the Sierras. Also features some great ski resorts.
Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Guide
Lake Tahoe Info
#8 Six Flags Magic Mountain, Los Angeles – Visit one of the country’s most premiere theme parks with 16 major thrill rides including the Goliath with a 26 story drop and the Viper, with seven nail-biting inversions.
#7 Death Valley National Park and Mt. Whitney – The lowest and highest spots in the contiguous 48 States!
Death Valley National Park Website
Mount Whitney Info
#6 Sea World, San Diego – Get up close to some of the world’s most beautiful creatures.
Sea World Website
#5 Redwood National Park – Experience some of State’s best hiking and camping among the world famous redwoods.
#4 San Diego Zoo – See over 4,000 animals in one of the largest zoos in the world!
#3 Disneyland Resort – Can’t visit Cali without a stop to Disney!
Unofficial Disney Theme Park Guide
#2 San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge – A California Classic. From Lombard Street to the trolley cars, San Francisco is a must see!
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Site
San Fransisco Visitors Site
#1 Yosemite – The most amazing views in the world. Weeks of visiting in Yosemite couldn’t unlock all the beauty and majesty displayed there. Far and away the number one place to visit in the great state of California!
If you enjoyed this article click here to visit the Jason Matthew’s travel site and see a great list of travel articles including other articles in the “State Top 20 Series”.