There are many things to do in California. The best time to visit is usually from mid-October to mid-November as the winter rains have not yet arrived most years while the stifling summer heat has already passed. Starting in late February and continuing through the middle of May is another great time to visit California. If you are planning to come to California there are many things to see, activities to explore and places to eat. Follow this guide to find the best things to do in California.
1. Visit Yosemite Park
Camping, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing and birdwatching are just some of the things that you can do when you visit Yosemite Park in Northern California making it one of the most fantastic things to do in California. Generally, it cost $30 per car to get into the park for seven days. Understand that different activities may have additional fees. Just driving along the scenic highways can be a wonderful adventure. Swimming is available at two outdoor pools during the summer and at numerous streams while rafters and boaters enjoy spending time on the rivers. Numerous backcountry camping opportunities exist within the park.
While the summer is the busiest time at Yosemite Park, there is plenty to do all year long. The park has some of the best skiing conditions during the winter months, including cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowshoeing. While everyone can enjoy this park, it is important to choose activities based on ability levels.
If you are looking for things to do in California with kids, go to Disneyland. This will cost $155 a day for those over 10. Visitors can play in eight major themed lands, which allows families to choose where they want to spend their time. More than 600 million people have visited the park since it opened in 1995. Almost 40,000 people visit the park every day.
One of the main reasons that people love to visit Disneyland is to see the characters. Visitors can get a daily schedule for where their favorite characters will be by visiting City Hall. People also come to the park to see and ride on the 58 attractions. Located in Anaheim, and covering 85 acres, this park is best visited by those who are able to walk all day.
3. Drive Across Death Valley
Death Valley is the hottest, driest and lowest national park in the United States. There is no cost to visit Death Valley National Park. Driving along the scenic highways is a great way to explore this park. The 3 million acre national park is a designated wilderness area. Hiking across deep canyons, sand dunes, desert peaks and salt dunes is a popular activity. People often list this as one of their favorite things to do in California. Badwater Basin, that seldom has water, is the lowest point in North America. Visitors can drive near many of the most historical spots.
The best time to visit Death Valley is in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. Be very careful about visiting in the summer when daytime temperatures often reach over 120 degrees. Everyone can enjoy a visit to Death Valley, but it is important to choose appropriate activities.
4. Escape to Nature at Big Sur
Starting about 4 miles south of Carmel in Yankee Point, and stretching along Highway No. 1 as far as Salmon Cove, visitors find the Big Sur area. One of the best free things to do in California is to escape back to nature here. At the heart of Big Sur lies Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park covering about 1,006 acres. Visitors can hike, camp, swim and fish in this park that charges $10 per car to enter. About one mile from the park is Big Sur Beach that visitors have voted one of the top beaches in the state. This beach is known for its cooler temperatures. Visitors can often watch the sea otters playing just off shore. The area has many wonderful restaurants including Lucia Lodge which was voted as having one of the top 10 fish and chips in the Untied States that costs about $10.
There are a variety of activities in the scenic Big Sur area, so visitors can find something that will suit everyone’s ability level. While visiting the area is free, many of the activities require a fee.
5. Play in the Water at Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the Untied States. There is no cost to visit the lake. It is the sixth largest lake by volume in the United States. Downhill skiing is a major winter attraction throughout the region while water skiing is a popular summertime activity.
The area is gaining popularity with wakeboarders and slalom skiers. During the summer, the lake hosts a unique wooden boat show in early August annually that visitors lists as one of the top things to do in California. Dramatic underwater drop-offs makes it a popular spot with scuba divers. The 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail that circles the lake is loved by hikers. Fees may be required for different activities.
The best time to visit Lake Tahoe depends on the activity that you want to do. Winter resorts usually open by mid-December and usually stay open until mid-March. Water skiing takes place in the summer months from June to September. This area is best for those in great physical shape as most activities take place outside.
6. See the Redwoods
Many of the redwood trees located in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are believed to be over 3,500 years old. Buying a $30 vehicle pass allows you to visit both parks for up to a week. The great scenic beauty found within these parks makes them one of the best things to do in California. The General Sherman Tree located inside the Sequoia National Park is the largest tree by volume on earth. Both parks are popular with hikers with many hikes culminating with an overnight backcountry camping trip. Visitors can tour a marble cave, ride horses or climb the large granite cliffs. In the winter, the area is popular for snowshoeing and skiing.
While seniors and those with physical limitations often enjoying picnicking and the scenic drives in the park participating in most activities in the park requires that a person be in good physical condition. The best time to hike and camp in the park is often in the spring and fall as summer can get very warm. Winter usually lasts from December to early April. While playing in the snow under the giant redwoods can be fun, remember that driving in the snow may be quite dangerous.
7. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge
There are many different ways to experience the Golden Gate Bridge that was constructed in the early 1930s. Visiting the bridge is free although there are several shops in the area so you may want to bring along souvenir money. Its unique golden color was chosen to make it more visible to ships on the water. Learn about the history of the bridge on Tuesdays and Saturdays by participating in a free walking tour. The Golden Gate Recreational Area on both ends of the park offers hiking opportunities. The Golden Gate Park located near the bridge contains a music concourse, a conservatory of flowers, art studios and other attractions.
The best way to experience the bridge is to walk across it which is 1.7 miles long. The bridge is open to cars and bikes 24 hours a day. Huge summer crowds are drawn to the bridge, so the rest of the year is often the best time to visit. Consider an early morning visit as the fog lifts around the bridge.
There are many wonderful things to do in California. Choose from activities including playing in the snow, visiting Disneyland, driving on scenic auto tours and water skiing. Whatever your favorite activity, you will find an opportunity to do it in California.