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California Travel Guides

Welcome to California, the Golden State!

California is located in the southwestern quadrant of the United States, bordered by Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico.

This is the 3rd largest state by area and it is also the most populous state.

Capital: Sacramento

Population: About 40 million

Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time (PST)

View of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco California
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

California Highlights

California is one of the most coveted travel destinations in the United States. The Golden State is home to iconic cities, bucket list landmarks, diverse National Park landscapes, stunning sunsets and epic road trips.

National Parks In California:

  • Yosemite National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Redwood National and State Parks
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Channel Islands National Park

Want more National Parks? Head to our National Parks page.

  • San Diego
  • Los Angeles
  • Santa Barbara
  • San Francisco
  • Disneyland
  • Palm Springs
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Lava Beds National Monument
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Valley View in Yosemite National Park during fall
The famous Valley View in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain range. It is famous for its granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome as well as the ancient sequoia trees and numerous waterfalls.

This National Park is one of the most photogenic parks in all of the United States. Be sure to stop by the Ansel Adams Gallery where you can see famous early photographs of this stunning area.

Below you can find our popular guides for Yosemite National Park:

  • Yosemite Itinerary – This is an ultimate first time visitor guide to Yosemite featuring a one, two and three day itinerary.

Heading to Yosemite? Shop our Yosemite travel ebook to help plan to your trip.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is located in eastern California in the northern Mojave Desert and in summer, this park becomes one of the hottest places on earth. This National Park is home to the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin.

Joshua Tree National Park

This National Park can be found in southern California straddling both the Colorado and Mojave desert. The name comes from the picturesque twisted Joshua trees which are scattered throughout the area.

Need a new hiking app? Check out the best hiking apps and get 20% off a Gaia GPS subscription with our special link.

Bridge in Big Sur along California's pacific Coast highway
A stop along California’s Pacific Coast Highway

California Pacific Coast Highway

State Route 1 runs almost the entirety of the pacific coastline in the United States from Washington all the way to California. But the longest and most popular section of this road is located in California.

The California Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is known as one of the best American road trips of all time. Most people drive just a section of the California PCH anywhere from San Francisco to San Diego.

San Francisco

  • Alcatraz Tour Review – Is a tour to the mysterious Alcatraz Island worth your valuable time and money?

Los Angeles

San Diego

Crab cooker hot spring in northern California with Sierra mountains in background
Kristen enjoying the hot springs in northern California

Northern California Hot Springs

California is home to many stunning hot springs surrounded by epic vistas which makes for a great addition to a road trip. Be sure to check out all of our hot spring guides below.

Many of these popular hot springs are located near Yosemite National Park and make for a great trip after a long day of hiking.

More California Guides